Picks and Pans Review: The Evolutionary Spiral

UPDATED 11/05/1984 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/05/1984 at 01:00 AM EST

Ever since music video first blipped across our television screens, it has been touted as a new art form. The product, however, has since wallowed in visual clich├ęs and an endless parade of lip-synching pretty boys. Only occasionally has a band's integrity, a director's craftsmanship or a producer's good taste lifted a video above the eye-blearing norm. Enter writer-director Larry Lachman and producer Mark Mawrence, two visionaries who believe a new medium is the natural place to say something about the new age. In The Evolutionary Spiral, they have wedded the electronic jazz of Weather Report to a montage of film and computer-animated images using the theme of planetary evolution. The resulting 15-minute tape forecasts the future of music video. The first part depicts how humanity reached its present troubled state, beginning with the birth of our solar system out of a whorl of interstellar matter and ending with Albert Einstein's words, "The splitting of the atom changed everything, save man's mode of thinking." The tune Plaza Real from Weather Report's 1983 LP, Procession, weaves through the imagery with a blend of tribal, rhythms and mantra like undertones that perfectly complement the message. The second part features Two Lines off the same album with Wayne Shorter's lyrical tenor sax creating a romantic mood for an optimistic theme of rebirth. Footage from earth-orbiting space flights and stunning computer animation suggest that humankind can overcome its alienation from both technology and nature, and so escape ecological and social disaster. Compared to the average illustrated coffee table book, The Evolutionary Spiral is a steal at $16.95, especially for a quality audio-visual work that, unlike most music videos, offers something fresh and enlightening every time you watch and listen. (Sony Video 45)

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