Various Definitive Jux: Little Movies Big Noises

Little Movies Big Noises may be missing contributions from some of the label's most stellar artists, like Cannibal Ox, who unfortunately lack any videos, but the 15 videos compiled here — the complete collection of music videos from the Def Jux family — are from nothing less than the label's a-list performers: El-P, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, MURS, C-Rayz Walz, RJD2 and Hangar 18. Without the big money of Canadian institutions like VideoFACT or FACTOR helping out this independent label, the artists have had to make due with a gritty, lo-fi production quality; nothing here will be mistaken for the glossy videos of MTV or BET. Instead, there is a general attempt to bring creativity to the table, most noticeably with this compilation's centrepiece video, El-P's "Stepfather Factory," an already good song made better by a dark, animated interpretation that remains very faithful to the lyrics. RJD2's "The Horror" also attempts the video as short film technique, using his instrumental song as the soundtrack for a quick horror-thriller complete with twists; and for his instrumental track "1976," photo collage and cut-and-paste techniques are put to effective use. Also notable is Mr. Lif's humorous social commentary "Live from the Plantation" and El-P's controversial "Deep Space 9mm." Best of all, you get the guest appearances of wrestler John Cenna on "Bad Man" and Digital Underground's Shock G. and Humpty Hump on the lo-fi party anthem "Risky Business," both MURS tracks. Amongst the bonus features is live footage of Mr. Lif, Hangar 18 and the Perceptionists, as well as featurettes on the making of videos by Aesop Rock and RJD2, both of whom also get some semi out of date promo spots. All in all, Little Movies Big Noises is a great package for both newcomers looking to get a feel for the label and Def Jukies looking to complete their collection. (Definitive Jux, www.definitivejux.net)