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Masterpiece Mixtape - Thrown Away

 article about Masterpiece Mixtape - Thrown Away

This article belongs to Masterpiece Mixtape column.

Chances are you've heard the music of Jon Crosby. Chances are you also have no idea who he is.


Crosby is the driving force behind the critically-lauded, popularly-ignored industrial rock band VAST. I call VAST an industrial rock group for lack of a better term. Quite simply, there's no other band that blends musical elements in the same way that this group does, with songs that incorporate heavy metal guitar work with Gregorian chants.


Even if you can't name a single song by VAST, you've still mostly likely heard one. Touched, one of the singles from the group's debut album Visual Audio Sensory Theatre, became a worldwide hit when it was used in – amongst TV shows and car commercials – Danny Boyle's The Beach. The song has an archaic mystery combined with a feverish power that perfectly encapsulates everything that VAST is about.


Since Touched, however, VAST has languished on the edge of popular success. Their follow-up album, Music for People, failed to garner much attention, even with an expensive music video directed by film clip auteur David Meyer that seemed to anoint them as The Next Big Thing.


Between Music for People and their next album, Jon Crosby became heavily involved in Internet culture, interacting with his fans to a degree that most rock stars never do. This led to VAST having a, well . . . a vast Internet following. Since then, Crosby seems to have shifted his focus to online releases. Turquoise and Crimson were two albums released online that comprised all the tracks that would make up VAST's third studio album; Nude in 2004.


From this album we take Thrown Away, the Masterpiece Mixtape song of the week. Thrown Away is the second track on the album, and with its unique vocal samples, driving acoustic rhythm and cathartically monstrous electric guitar jams, the song is a highly powerful one. But, as with many VAST songs, it's also a highly vulnerable one, detailing the hurt, heartbreak, confusion and anger at being left by one's lover.


Just as with Touched, it strikes the perfect balance between peace and chaos that makes up the majority of VAST's work. It's a song that gets under your skin and stays there, and it shows that there's more to this band than a song featured in a Leonardo DiCaprio box office flop.


Since Nude, Vast have made a number of online-only releases, including a double record combining Turquoise and Crimson and a live album. All of this appears to be leading up to their fourth studio release, due sometime this year. With luck, this will prove to be the album that allows VAST to break through into mainstream consciousness and receive the acclaim they so richly deserve. If it doesn't, however, that's no great loss. So long as they keep making music for people, I think their fans can count themselves lucky.


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