DEVIN TOWNSEND Talks Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 DVD - "The Live Record Is Just An Afterthought; It's The Visual Part Of It That's Important"

September 27, 2020, 8 months ago

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DEVIN TOWNSEND Talks Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 DVD - "The Live Record Is Just An Afterthought; It's The Visual Part Of It That's Important"

During a conversation with Ultimate Guitar's Justin Beckner, Devin Townsend talked about Frank Zappa, with whom he is occasionally compared to by some music fans, while also touching on the ongoing lockdown and how it's been affecting him.

On the new live album Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 

Devin: "If you've only participated in the audio version of this, that's really not what it was meant to be, it's the visual part of it that's important. The audio gets released (for preview) simply because the audio is done. The main purpose of the Order Of Magnitude is the visuals because we had tiki bars and visuals and costume changes and ten people on stage. The overhead for that is preposterous. If it was just a live album, that would be different. But the live record in this case, is just an afterthought."

UG: There will be some more volumes of that coming out in the future.

Devin: "Yeah, so two weeks ago I did a green screen concert that was Empath Volume II and I had Wes Hauch on guitar and Samus Paulicelli on drums and Liam Wilson on bass. It was a lot more heavy stuff - much more in line with how I've been doing stuff these past few years with click tracks and backing tracks. But the Volume I was just an anomaly for me because there was no click, there were no backing tracks, it was literally ten people on stage replicating this monstrosity. Volume II, I really liked it - it's good for my OCD to have things that tight. Next will be Volume III and that will be an entirely different thing altogether too."

Read more here.

Townsend will release Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 on October 23, a document of his Winter 2019 European tour that saw him taking on possibly his most ambitious live show to date. August 28th saw the launch of the first clip from the release, and you can watch Devin and the Empath Volume 1 live band performing the track "Genesis"  below.

Devin comments: “Here is the first song we’ve chosen to release from the upcoming DVD concert, Order Of Magnitude, which was the first volume of my Empath touring band cycle.

This particular band consisted of ten people onstage, all without click tracks or backing tracks, with the aim of reproducing my work in a new and creative way. A lot of what I’ve done in the past has been very structured, and the opportunity to interpret the music with high degrees of improvisation and flow was a fantastic experience.

This song, 'Genesis' from my latest album Empath seemed an appropriate way to introduce this concert to the audience. It’s kind of an example of ‘musical anarchy’ in some ways- as the song is all over the place structurally to begin with.  But to have a chaotic piece of music, played by these extraordinary musicians I had the honour of being with, in a no-holds-barred production, was really cathartic. It was about being free to do whatever we wanted in a time where rigid ideas of what is acceptable or not are stronger than ever.

I hope you enjoy it. Volume 2 is next, and is in a lot of ways the polar opposite to this, but on my journey of musical exploration, I am grateful for all of it, so thanks again for the support."

Recorded in December 2019 in London, UK on the penultimate night of the tour in support of his latest album Empath, this run of shows saw Devin joined by an incredible lineup of musicians. The band was made up of guitarists Mike Kenneally (ex-Frank Zappa) and Markus Reuter (Stick Men, The Crimson Project), drummer Morgen Agren (Kaipa, Mats & Morgan, Frank Zappa), bassist Nathan Navarro, Haken keyboard player Diego Tejeida, and guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval, as well as vocalists Samantha & Anne Preis and Arabella Packford.

Devin’s plan for the Empath touring cycle was to divide it up into three ‘Volumes’, and this was Volume 1. The idea behind the shows was a simple one: none of the backing tapes or click tracks that had long been necessary to bring the kaleidoscopic cacophony in his head and on his records to life in the flesh. This would just be Devin Townsend and a band of genius-level musicians getting up there and trying to keep it from spinning off into outer space. Or maybe just letting it spin-off into outer space for the sheer hell of it.

“The whole objective was that I wanted to make that statement: This is by the seat our pants,” he says. “Because it's important to me to represent this hyper anal-retentive music that I've made over the years, but in a human way. Rather than it just being, ‘Well, here it is, perfectly done.’”

“I was overwhelmed by the fact that all these brilliant people that I have so much respect for were willing to come together and play this weird shit with me,” says Devin. “I had these unique players and this interesting instrumentation that allowed us to interpret the music in different ways. It was clear to me that I could just have fun and be me and know that they would be effortlessly be able to follow that.”

That sense of fun and freedom was evident to anyone who was there on the night. Visually, it was an assault on the senses in the best possible way. A digital screen projected vivid images throughout the show. A giant gleaming mirrorball hung from the ceiling. There were multiple costume changes and a tiki bar onstage (a tiki bar!).

Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1 will be released as a Limited Deluxe 2CD+Blu-Ray+DVD Artbook (including expanded artwork & photos), Limited 2CD+DVD Digipak, Standalone Blu-Ray, Gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set & as a Digital Album. The Blu-Ray disc includes a bonus behind the scenes documentary, and both DVD & Blu-Ray feature a 5.1 surround sound mix.

Look out for the first clip and pre-order start on August 28.


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