0021. VAST – Visual Audio Sensory Theater [1998]

Vast

Good evening to you all, my dearest perverts!  Tonight, I’ve got a treat for you all with this, VAST’s debut album, Visual Audio Sensory Theater.  I was introduced to these guys by a childhood friend (who was introduced to them by his psychiatrist, interestingly enough).  The best way I could describe the sound is exotic rock.  Sort of “world rock,” if you will.  If you’re into the heavier U2 songs, you’ll probably dig this.

I actually once saw these guys at Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC.  They were on a bill between the intense metal band Spineshank and electro-rockers Orgy.  To say it was a misstep in placing them after Spineshank, nay on that bill at all, would be a serious fuckin’ understatement.  Not to say I wasn’t thrilled to see them live, but the poor guys were getting heckled by a bunch of meathead metal fans.  They were performing a lot of acoustic numbers from their second album, Music For People, and the insults and jeers just kept coming.  It really sucked, because if they would’ve just shut the fuck up for two seconds, they might’ve enjoyed the music.

Anyway, I’ve loved this album for many, many years, and I hope someone out there will love it like I did (and do).

Wikipedia Says:

Visual Audio Sensory Theater is the debut album by the band VAST, released on April 28, 1998 by Elektra Records. The album mixed samples of Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Maur and Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, with an 18-piece orchestra, guitars and electronics.

Jon Crosby originally signed onto Elektra Records when he was only 17, and recorded his demo EP, VAST Is… which featured certain songs to be featured on their debut in an unfinished form. He also traveled across the world and recorded demos of world choirs that he used in various songs on the album, which gave the album its trademark world-music theme.

The first single released from the album was “Pretty When You Cry”. Led by a supporting music video, it gained modest success on the music charts. However, the band’s and the album’s popularity didn’t skyrocket until the second single, “Touched”, was featured in a film soundtrack and the music video was put in play on MTV. No other singles were released for the disc, and “Touched” is still VAST’s most famous song, it being featured in the Angelsoundtrack, Angel: Live Fast, Die Never the companion CD to the Everworld book series, and as a song featured in WrestleMania XXV. The track also appears in the movie The Beach but is not featured in the soundtrack.

Other album tracks featured in various media include “Flames”, which was used in the German film Summer Storm, and “Here”, which has been used in two episodes of Angel. The songs “Here”, “Dirty Hole”, “I’m Dying”, and “Temptation” were also used in the unaired pitch video for Angel. “Touched” contains elements of the song “Pilentze Pee”, sung by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. “Touched” was featured in the surfing film Step into Liquid.

Track listing

All songs written by Jon Crosby.

No. Title Length
1. “Here” 4:56
2. “Touched” 3:57
3. “Dirty Hole” 5:36
4. “Pretty When You Cry” 3:50
5. “I’m Dying” 4:09
6. “Flames” 4:37
7. “Temptation” 3:09
8. “Three Doors” 4:58
9. “The Niles Edge” 4:35
10. “Somewhere Else to Be” 3:05
11. “Untitled” 3:42
12. “You” 4:55

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars [2]

Reception to the album was mostly positive. Allmusic said that “the rich textures created here are quite impressive,” and gave the album 3 stars out of 5. Sputnikmusic gave the album a 4 out of 5 and claims that “it’s a wonderful find, but kind of disappointing because of the massive hype surrounding the album.” It has been listed in various lists as one of the best debut albums as well.

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