Various Artists

Circuit (4)

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The Circuit series of DVDs gives modern music fans a peek into the lives and inspirations of their favorite performers. Circuit (4) explores the music of bis, the Afghan Whigs, Robyn Hitchcock, Luna, Mission of Burma, Ben Harper, G. Love & Special Sauce, 60 Channels, and Justin Clayton. Ten to 20 minutes are given to each artist, in the form of performances, music videos, interview segments, and behind-the-scenes footage. Some segments are illuminating, others more mundane. For example, the Afghan Whigs segment is an unpleasant glimpse into the smoky, drink-fueled world of rock star clich├ęs, while the Robyn Hitchcock segment presents interesting solo acoustic performances by the always intriguing singer/songwriter. The main menu is a cumbersome affair, with far too many options for accessing the same information -- as on previous Circuit DVD magazines. It would be nice if the DVD were split into two areas, "Artists" and "Play All," but instead there are almost ten selections from the main menu. (Anyone who can find the live Mission of Burma segment in under three minutes deserves a prize, as it's given a seemingly arbitrary placement in the menu system.) Any DVD that requires an "Instructions" feature (requiring multiple pages, no less) is simply not designed for an intuitive user. Circuit (4) contains informative, fun material for music fans, but is made somewhat tiresome by the clunky interface.