Chillout Experience 1 and 2 Review

A DVD such as this is often much harder to review compared to the standard film/video/audio/extras format. A film is not being reviewed, but rather an ‘experience’ that is meant solely for certain situations.

The term chillout has come to represent music that is ambient electronica with synth dum beats and often soothing vocals. Chillout music is essentially used either by stressed out execs to calm down after a heavy day or by hardcore clubbers coming down from a higher place. Artists such as Air, Chicane, Moby and Zero 7 have all rose to prominence in this music genre, and as a DVD experience the chillout concept is a strange but effective one.

Chill Out Experience is already out on DVD and the sequel Chillout Experience 2 is released 24th September 2001. They are essentially the same product with just different songs making up the ‘experience’. Although, with each release you are also treated to a free Chill Out CD which contains a number of blissfully mellow tunes to calm you down.

The first Chill Out release is essentially split into two – Atmospheric and Hypnotic.

The atmospheric section contains selected tracks that are featured on the bonus CD. They are not accompanied by music videos, but essentially visual wallpaper of situations that are supposedly calm. Examples range from situations such as first person scuba diving or flying over the Seychelles to being whisked through the Sahara desert. It sounds strange, but as visual wallpaper the concept of a Chill Out DVD works on the atmospheric section. Stick it on whilst doing other things and the tension will not fail to be relieved. However, as a full on viewing experience you’d struggle to watch it in its entirety. Also, although the music tracks are good none of the artists are of much note, compared to the likes of Chicane and Moby that feature on the hypnotic section.

The hypnotic section is just that – extremely hypnotic with kaleidoscopic pulse wave imagery on the repetitive loop, which coupled with the trance music from artists such as Chicane and Moloko produces the desired effect. Not that mind altering substances are condoned at all by me, but this section certainly is more suited to those hardcore clubber over-indulgers for coming down.

The sequel, Chillout Experience 2 is essentially more of the same of the first release, with different tracks and visuals. The bonus CD contains selected tracks from both the atmospheric and hypnotic sections. Overall, it’s hard to find anything new to say about it over than you will definitely like this if you enjoyed the first one.

Picture quality is variable at best. Most of the atmospheric visuals appear to have been taken from other stock footage sources and from medium quality video. The hypnotic section is very repetitive, even for a hypnotic visual, and maybe a slightly bigger amount of variation could have been implemented.

Presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround, the sound is crystal clear with tracks probably being sourced directly from the CD versions anyhow. Maybe the inclusion of relevant sound effects such as waves crashing and birds tweeting might have added that extra edge to the proceedings.

You either love this sort of thing or you don’t. I suggest you sample the DVDs first before buying them as they may not suit your mentality. Even so, the chill out DVDs serve their purpose and you have to commend them for that, even if the purpose is quite limited.

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