Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
February 26, 2004
Amazon Disco:
Visual Audio Sensory Theater Visual Audio Sensory Theater
April 28, 1998
Elektra / Wea
Nude Nude
February 24, 2004
456 Entertainment
Music for People Music for People
September 12, 2000
Elektra / Wea
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VAST
Nude

Trent Reznor's 1999 magnum opus, The Fragile, put to shame the mediocre efforts of his Industrial counterparts. existing within both discs were rarefied moods of despair and dereliction articulated not only with the lyrics but also punctuated by the use of broken instruments. what's especially interesting is that Industrial was on decline when Reznor released The Fragile and though it went platinum--absence, it seems, still makes the grieving, suicidal heart grow fonder--he was properly lobbed from the charts soon after his brief resuscitation. though Reznor has made a career out of the corrosive nuances in music, one can't help but wonder what he could have written if he had a cheerier outlook on his lot in life. it's an entertaining thought but, if one were paying closer attention, one would notice that VAST has been doing that for 6 years now.

VAST is Jon Crosby. hailed at the tender age of 13 as a guitar prodigy by Guitar Player Magazine, Crosby was playing in clubs before he even graduated high school. eventually he landed in the same genre as Reznor (with reservations, of course) and proceeded to make music as Reznor did: alone. from Visual Audio Sensory Theater to Nude, Crosby has been the main architect in the studio. but this is where similarities to his more doleful cohorts end. to consider Crosby's construction antipodean to Reznor's is simply an understatement. instead of harsh distortion and pummeling guitar lines, Crosby offers symphonies, inflection, and esoteric chanting. on Nude these elements are assembled to make an amalgam tremendously different than what is traditionally expected. 'Be With Me' has its most pronounced moment when the bass line kicks in to buttress a song already building with chants and strings. 'Lost' follows in the same path with Crosby sounding eerily close to Bono in certain parts, redeeming himself with some synth and a saxophone to close. all the while 'Japanese Fantasy' is a swirling, drug-inducing vortex of guitars and vocals. clearly Crosby hasn't lost his tremendous ability to paint pictures with notes.

but with careful listening one finds that the intricately crafted aggro is missing or severely blunted for nothing less than (pretty good) ballads. 'Turquoise,' almost recalling the emotional ascension and descent of 'Touched,' initially sets out that Crosby hasn't fundamentally changed anything except maybe in organization. yet nothing seems to capture that same vocal rev or orchestral apogee on the rest of the album. of course, this exclusion is probably part of the thematic device on Nude and shouldn't be used to fault the artist to such a great extent. after all, if he did continue on the same path as his first album then critics would have easily vituperated him for it. though i miss the more straightforward elements of his work, Nude stands as an achievement worthy of some of the highest accolades.

Release date: February 24, 2004
Label: 456 Entertainment
Rating: 7.0 / 10

[RMR]