Mike Batt’s Zero Zero (and the Mike Batt Music Cube)

Zero Zero is the title of a Mike Batt album which is the soundtrack to a video production he created for Australian TV in the early 1980’s. If you’ve heard of it, you know exactly what it is. If you haven’t, the one-line summary is “Boy in a future society where emotions have been banished falls in love and gets a lobotomy for his trouble.”

Zero Zero - Main Title

This video has never been officially released. All that has been available has been a YouTube video of one of the songs.

Mike Batt’s official web site entry says “Since opening the Official Mike Batt website, we have received more corespondence (sic) about Zero Zero than any other project.”. At various times, a stand-alone release of Zero Zero was reported to be “coming soon”, and earlier this year, “this Fall”.

While a stand-alone release of Zero Zero still seems to be unavailable, a DVD of the performance has been included in the Mike Batt Music Cube, a compilation of nearly all of Mike’s work (the only albums that appear to be missing are “Classic Blue” and “The Very Best Of”). In his usual humorous way, Mike says: “After 40 years in the industry, this could either be seen as a service to fans or the biggest ego trip on Earth. In fact it is a combination of the two.”

I was lucky enough to get an early shipment of the Music Cube from Amazon UK, when they had it priced at £48.68 + £3.08 shipping to the US (about US $84). The Amazon UK price has since increased to £74.98. If you want to help improve their profits, Amazon US will sell it to you for $207.98 (up $16 from when I first posted this article).

Of course, the first thing I did when I got it was to pop the Zero Zero DVD into the player (article continues below):

Zero Zero - Characters Playing Cards

Zero Zero - Number 17 Emoting

Zero Zero - Brain Surgery

Zero Zero - Dance of the Neurosurgeons

I won’t spoil the surprise for you, but I will say that there is something about Number 36 that you’ll discover when watching the video, even if you’ve listened to the record many times.

Picture quality is quite good for something that’s nearly 28 years old. Judging by some lint on the image, at least part of the project was originated on film and then transferred to video. As is usual with video-to-DVD transfers, there is some slight underscan, so you can see the last interlaced line on the bottom of the image and there is some fuzziness at the left and right edges of the video. This does not detract from the overall appearance, though. The only other video copies I’ve seen have been Nth-generation copies of an off-air taping of the show, and this DVD far exceeds all of them in quality.

The disc is Region 0 (plays on any player regardless of country) but is mastered in PAL, so some NTSC players and televisions may have problems with it. You can always watch it on a PC that has a DVD drive, of course.

Audio is similarly good. And of course the Music Cube includes a remastered version of the CD if you just want to listen to the music.

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