I think we are in agreement on a few things: 1. The songs are not lengthy. Almost everyone would like songs to be longer, aside from Blur’s “Song 2″ which was appropriately short. 2. The CD is not as brash or hard as the 1st.However,look at it this way: 1. Don’t take each song as an individual. They seem to work together, almost telling a mood changing story, from the highs of “Free”, which rocks, and the lows of “Blue”, which is the most BEAUTIFUL song I have heard. 2. If you wanted “Music for the People” to sound exactly like the first CD, then why buy this one? You should have bought “Visual Audio Sensory Theater” again. This CD should stand on it’s own.And to anyone saying VAST is trying to go mainstream with this release and are trying to be “radio friendly”, COME ON! On the first release there were 3 or 4 songs that were “radio friendly”, except the morons that listen to the radio for music, wouldn’t get it.In conclusion, this CD stands alone as a wonderful and beautiful piece of work!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks guys for giving me hope that there are groups out there that actually care about music.
With his 1998 debut, Visual Audio Sensory Theater, Vast’s Jon Crosby unveiled his dark musical vision and gave an insight to a childhood spent learning classical music, listening to U2 and the Cure, and watching MTV. On Vast’s follow-up, Crosby’s adds to his debut’s components a masterful understanding of how to use his gifts. For the majority of Music for People, he delicately balances morbid melodies with tender orchestration. Trombone and ethereal strings lift the downtrodden ”Blue,” while joyous, overblown hooks elevate the sinister ”The Last One Alive.” Crosby’s balancing act accentuates his love for pure rock drama. Unfortunately, this passion can also be his undoing; his operatic barking on ”Song Without a Name” is too grandiose to be taken seriously. In the main, though, Crosby’s smoldering vocals, cryptic words, classical leanings, and twisted blend of rock and electronica posit Vast as U2’s heavy-rock cousins. –Dan Gennoe
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First, I must say that Jon Crosby has an artistic mind that is unsurpassed in popular music in the last 20 years. How rare a find is a CD that you can listen regardless of your mood? That is what Vast’s first self-titled release was, absolutely brilliant. Edgy thoughtful and prescient… if you don’t have their first CD go buy it and savor every minute. If you are listening to it for the first time I envy you because this second release is nothing of the sublime epiphany that VAST was.With this latest release I believe the hardest thing to swallow is watching an ingenious artist slice and dice his music into perfectly square 3-minute chunks. I am sure this will assist in getting the band’s name out across a myriad of radio stations but at what artistic price? And where has all the sampling gone? Could it be that a project created in a year will never be as good as a well simmered 4 or 5 year cogitation? So why do I still recommend this CD? If your tastes run towards more introspective acoustic guitar and a mostly natural created sound then you will find this a good release. There are several cuts that really do stand out but over all it has a much slower gate than the previous release. If you are expecting to add another mellow mood music CD to your collection of; Morrisey, Tori Amos, Siouxsie Sioux, The Cure or others of this genre buy it now. But if you were expecting a repeat you will be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong I still recommend it. But you will not listen to it for months straight without taking it out of your CD player like you did with the first one.
I can understand how some people can be disappointed with this album but it certainly doesn’t deserve any bad reviews. I myself wasn’t thrilled with the utter change in Music For People but I also wasn’t pulling my hair out in tears. To be terribly disgruntled would be an exaggeration but when I first heard Music For People I remember detesting it almost as much as I had their first release, just because it was so completely different. Orchestration was present on Visual Audio Sensory Theater but it was never in the forefront like it is here. The first album consisted mostly of sinister goth rock with deep profound lyrics (most of which were questioning Gods existance) with gregorian monk singing to give a slight Enigma feel. My views on their first album, however, have desperately altered since I first bought it back in 98, ranking up there now with my ten favorite albums. The whole gregorian influence is still present in songs such as “What Else Do I Do” and “Song Without A Name” but they are less apparent as they bleed into the background to the point of nonexistence. In many aspects this album is more rock oriented with tunes that could have easily been sung by artists such as Queen and Pink Floyde (namely on “Land Of Shame” and “The Gates Of Rock ‘N’ Roll”). Jon Crosby’s gorgeous male vocals (which sometimes remind me of frontman David Gahan of Depeche Mode) really shine on slower ballads “I Don’t Have Anything”, “We Will Meet Again” and “Blue” which swims with flowing strings. The darkly lavished “Lady Of Dreams”, however, closes this album with the same atmosphere that his first album carried, only with a purer more instrumental awakening.
Due to poor marketing, VAST (Visual Audio Sensory Theater) does not receive the recognition it truly deserves. Music for people is a monumental original piece that takes styles from many areas of music. The album opens with “The Last One Alive”, a song that starts with a simple guitar rhythm, but then the piece explodes into a song that holds many harmonic sounds on top of the main melody. It’s wonderful.The album progresses from that song into other variations of styles and rhythms. The second song, “Free,” retains the original sound from VAST’s wonderfully moody first album, while the song “A Better Place” seems to hold strong alternative roots embedded into the guitar melodies and string harmonies. Once the album is complete, it is easy to see that it holds musical tastes for anyone that loves any type of rock. The key to what makes the entire album so good though is that VAST keeps their signature moodiness in their lyrics and overall tone. I highly recommend it for everyone (along with their self titled first album- “VAST”).
Obviously this disc, John Crosby’s 2nd, is different from the first. It is not as heavy or as raw… but it is still rich enough in textures and emotion for several bands’ repertoire. It’s just an incredible trip from start to finish and I think it is one of the most polished, smooth, perfect listens in all of rock music. It has a melodicity, a harmony, a brilliance to it that is unmistakably VAST.There is a dark, solemn, melancholy feel to the songs, drawing the listener ever closer to the sentiment being expressed. Exemplifying contemporary rock music as deep experience, and all the while attempting to express the profound, the record moves from note to note and song to song effortlessly, while constantly sustaining a rapt attention from the audience. A song like “A Better Place” to me is lyrically, emotionally, and musically on a definitive and definite wavelength alongside the first album’s “I’m Dying.” Ditto “Touched” and “I Don’t Have Anything.” I know just about anyone going through a heartbreak or a lost love can approach the sort of wistfulness and yearning inherent in the mood created by these last two songs.Mr. Crosby’s songwriting is excellent and he is obviously extremely talented. Not many 21 year olds can go into a studio and play almost every instrument on his debut album. It is pleasant to see that his musicianship has not suffered on the sophomore effort, and that his unique sound is still present, despite what must have been an increased recording budget. Notenough has been said I think about not only Jon’s playing, but also his singing, which is very fine, and also the lovely, lush interweaving of ambient, native, ritual, and world music samples and chants. Any Enigma, Enya or even Delerium can do this, but few I’ve heard do it in a rock and roll context. I suppose the last one to do it really well was The God Machine– extinct legends in their own right. In fact the very same “piletze pe” vocal that is sampled in “Touched” is used in The God Machine’s “Home.” (When I met Jon I asked him if he knew The God Machine’s music, because they were the only band whose compositions I can compare the best of Vast to. He said “I’ve heard *of* them, but I haven’t *heard* them.”)In summary you will not go wrong popping this CD in when in one of your darker moods. While not exactly a goth-trip it is a sensual and formal foray into rock and roll’s utter beauty and possibility in talented hands.