Gitane Demone was one of the lead singers for seminal deathrock band Christian Death before going solo in 1989. This 2-DVD set is a record of her various solo efforts, tracking various incarnations, most notoriously (and most prominently featured in the release’s packaging) being the fetish performances for the likes of the DeMask club and Skin Two magazine. Present here is a mix of television interviews, one video, and a raft of live footage.
Given the necessarily raw, semi-underground nature of the material (more one the picture and sound quality below), this is not really a release for the previously unconverted. The fuzzy picture and muzzy sound is not likely to draw in viewers who don’t already have an investment in the subject. That said, the interviews are interesting, with Demone, in most articulate fashion, clearly situating herself within various scenes and phases of her life, and explaining how all this has affected her art. As for those who are fans, this is a very valuable record of a decade of performances.
I’ve said this before, and I know I’m going to have to say this again, but star ratings for sound and picture quality on a release of this sort are irrelevant, misleading, and pointless. These are records of concerts from between ten and twenty years ago. They were not shot professionally. The sound is muzzy, audience members talking close to the camera sometimes drown out the music, and there is plenty of static and hiss, even when the footage is a TV show or a demo recording on the included CD. No audiophile is going to be ecstatic with this. But nor should a reasonable person expect anything else.
The same goes double for the image. Grainy, dark, sometimes very murky, but what else would you expect? Essentially, the viewing experience of this DVD is the same as what one is used to on YouTube. But again, I need to emphasize that this is a document, not a professionally shot concert. The source material is Hi8 and VHS. There may be the deadening effect of flatly shot performances, but there is also an agreeably raw, underground vibe to the whole affair.
Along with the aforementioned CD (containing ten demo recordings), there is a booklet with an essay where Demone looks back over her life in general, and this phase of her career in particular, which helps situate the material on the DVD.
All in all, another intriguing release from Cult Epics, taking the viewer off the beaten path, and doing so with commendable rigour.