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September 24, 2006

{     Flux TV     } you do not live in Italy, Japan or the Netherlands, chances are you do not know what Flux is. If you live in the UK or Ireland and are very up to speed, you may have already looked for the right frequency, since Flux started broadcasting there on September 6th. In either case, be warned Flux is an experiment worth following. I stumbled upon the Italian beta version of Flux, then called Y.O.S, standing for Your Open Source, in early November 2005, by mistake, while tuning my TV. And for a good 6 months wondered what the fuck this channel was about: they were broadcasting only indie music videos from morning to 2 AM, mostly very recent with some old ones throw in as well (Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd...), every now and then with a bizarre non music clip to break the video sequence (we saw a guy teaching how to make tie knots (and now I have learnt the difference between a Full Windsor and a Shelby), a grassroot lady painting on rocks and lots of other oddities), no commercial ever and no presenter. An MTV hater, indie-music lover heaven! In April (I think), Y.O.S. came out of the closet and disclosed itself as Flux, with a 24 hours countdown (plain numbers on the screen for 24 hours), a proper website and an online community platform which can rightfully deemed as the MySpace for the indie tribe. It also came out that this superbly anarchic station is (sadly) an MTV product: some sort of dispute between the station and the fans came out since many were unwilling to appreciate an independent product of the capital driven pop whore MTV. This is also when Flux stopped being underground and opened up all doors. And that is pretty much when I lost some of my interest (the though of seeing it going, since they were rumors Flux was going to disappear from regular frequencies to appear as a digital channel only, was truly terrible to me at the time): I am still tuned in often but I am not a community member (probably I just refuse to mingle with the cool-hype-rocker wannabee teenagers). Anyhow, since Flux revamping in the spring, very little has changed, luckily. The music videos are all belonging to the indie streams of pop, punk and rock: to give you an idea, We are Scientists, Franz Ferdinand, The Knife, Sigur Ros, La Tigre and loads of other smaller bands (from Forward Russia to Barbara Morgenstein) with a video to present are broadcasted, even if they have no album out yet. Commercial are still unseen and there is a strict no-presenter policy (even the news appear as text and images only). What has changed the most is what goes in between videos: ties and rocks have disappeared to leave space to new, unfortunately more frequent, intervals (some of the stuff is really good, but some is not and to wait 5 minutes for the next 3 minute video, just to jump right back into more junk is not the best way to enjoy the music presented). The variety though is pretty impressive: clips of live interviews with off-the-mainstream personalities (from John Turturro to Fisherspooner), Andy Milionakis (hideous) junk, various shorts by acclaimed directors like Chris Sheperd (with his "Dad's Dead"), a japanese cartoon series ("The Digital Tokoro - A Comical Cartoon"), the risquee Wondershowzen/Kids Show, lots of other randomness and, what's best, users' material. Anybody can submit a tag line ("And now, on MTV Vatican, Madonna") to go in between videos but that's not all: there are also full shorts submitted by the viewers. Yes, you can submit your short, show it to the community first and if it is enough appreciated, up it goes on national TV. Annoucements for contests, initiative and festivals are also all gathered in the exauhstive website, together with a well designed community platform where you can upload both your video and your audio content for others to see. All in all, an unbeatable music channel, in Italy already available for live streaming from the internet.

     » FLUX International Beta Version
     » Fully functioning Flux Italy (in English as well)

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