Picture of VAST

Visual Audio Sensory Theater

VAST - Visual Audio Sensory Theater ©1998 Elektra
1. Here
2. Touched
3. Dirty Hole
4. Pretty When You Cry
5. I'm Dying
6. Flames
7. Temptation
8. Three Doors
9. The Niles Edge
10. Somewhere Else To Be
12. You

You can blame it on the advent of electronics or blame it on Trent Reznor, but the one man band has become quite the reality in the late 90's. The major problem that most of these artists face is creating in the vacuum of being the sole source of inspiration. VAST's Jon Crosby, a rather young individual, is a great example of someone who has moved beyond those expectations and created quite a strong album. The large, expansive lush feel of VAST is quite impressive. He is able to convey various elements into powerful emotional statements with clarity and precision. There are hints of Enigma, Dead Can Dance and just a trace of Nine Inch Nails (mostly in the emotion his voice carries) in VAST, but with no single sound outweighing any of the others. You can't just pigeonhole this as industrial or ambient as it still qualifies as a full on rock record. The album works as a full piece of work that requires attentive listening throughout. With any luck his association with Elektra records will not diminish his aspirations and hopefully the industry will allow him to continue in writing and performing this honest sort of music. Very nice work indeed.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Music For People

VAST - Music For People ©2000 Elektra
1. The Last One Alive/Angelite
2. Free/Zulu
3. I Don't Have Anything
4. The Gates Of Rock & Roll
5. What Else Do I Need/Epithalamica Excerpts
6. Blue
7. Land Of Shame
8. A Better Place
9. Song Without A Name/Virgines Caste...
10. We Will Meet Again
11. My TV And You
12. Lady Of Dreams

When I was first introduced to VAST's music over three years at a concert, I was immediately impressed with the then twenty-one year old Jon Crosby's immense musical vision and talent. The young prodigy was a very unassuming, genuinely open man who had been picked up by a major label and was on his first real tour of the states. His debut, Visual Audio Sensory Theater, was as impressive of a debut as you may hear in modern rock. The one daunting obstacle for Crosby was the question if he could release a second album that was as powerful as his original. After all, he had many years to write the first release. A second one would be essentially a more rushed product.

Initial reviews and commentary on the album was mixed. People accused Music For People of being too poppy and lacking the inspiration of the original while others seemed to rather enjoy it. After listening to this album a few times, I can safely place myself in the latter category as Music For People is a subtle description of the difference between his debut and his sophomore releases. The debut was a multilayered, provactive record with a wide array of dressing. Music For People takes the essential core of the music and presents in a less colored manner, but one that still retains Crosby's knack for writing an emotionally charged song with an extremely timely melody. Each of the dozen songs on this album is the type that endears itself to the listener over repeated listens and there isn't a throwaway track on the album. Crosby's vocals are the kind that perfectly deliver his lyrics, an almost strained, sometimes desparate, but always evocative voice. The songwriting has a way of moving the songs along, creating builds and climaxes in the choruses. Some of the more exotic, worldly elements of the debut are still intact, but subdued and sublime. It's almost as if someone whispered, "Be a singer/songwriter type of artist" into Crosby's ear and this is how he interpreted that.

While the newly rockstar adorned back cover photo of the CD suggests the record label had their hand in trying to transform a humble, down to earth kid into a rock icon, Music For People thankfully retains the essence of Crosby's talent and in the process, gives the listener a second good album. I wouldn't say this necessarily surpasses his debut nor does it overcome the marvel of sliced bread, but Music For People is better than nearly all the forced angst you are hearing on the radio these days.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2001

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