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Liquid Vinyl (DVD Review)

12 May, 2010 By: Billy Gil

Street 5/18/10
Channel Sources/Walking Shadows
Music Documentary
$14.95 DVD
Not rated.

Liquid Vinyl explores the beginnings of house music, from its early ’80s roots through modern-day superstar DJs.

The filmmakers trace house from its origins as a successor to disco, in the nightclubs of cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York. Particular attention is given to New York’s scene.

The film does a fine job of making viewers feel like they were there in the original scene, and of pointing out the importance of house music as a unifier, bringing together whites, blacks, gays and straights alike. By showing how the music has progressed through rave culture and now into the mainstream, with DJs such as Carl Cox and Tiesto bringing in record crowds to festival shows, it also helps legitimize the genre and its DJs as true artists (the point that remixing has basically become rewriting entire songs is a strong one), while allowing for criticisms — that some of its DJs don’t innovate but rather just play records.

Liquid Vinyl mostly works because it doesn’t try to be comprehensive but keeps the focus on the music and the atmosphere it creates, which is where it belongs.

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