- Sound Tribe Sector 9- Live As Time Changes
Its hard to believe that nearly ten years have passed since Sector 9 (they would pick up the Sound Tribe part later) first hit the scene. Even as dozens of other bands create their own versions of the livetronica genre invented by STS9, The Disco Biscuits and a handful of others, by constantly looking forward the Sound Tribe has managed to stay one step ahead of the pack. Their futuristic electronica/techno/jam hybrid still sounds as if it comes from a distant planet, or at least some more evolved Earth several millennia down the span of time.
And time has always been a preoccupation of the bandcheck the DVD title. They have based tours around the Mayan calendar and performed special shows to coincide with celestial events, but the annual New Years Eve run at the Tabernacle in Atlanta is always extra-special.
This DVD is culled from last years three-show musical odyssey, and packs a lot of what makes STS9 one of the most interesting bands on the scene. The visuals, the audio mix, and the overall production value of a Sound Tribe event are second to none, and that carries through to this well-done DVD.
Of course, the bands shortcomings are also on display, particularly the repetitive nature of their music. If youre in the venue dancing your butt off, you probably wouldnt mind hearing the same groove for ten minutes, but if youre watching a DVD on the couch, it can seem redundant and stagnant at times.
But when its good, it can be REALLY good. The new song Instantly uses some interesting vocal samples in a creative way, and creates a slammin groove that will give your sub-woofers a workout. Moonsocket has always been one of my favorite STS9 tunes, and this version is tight and powerful, with some good improv. By the time the band takes a setbreak halfway through the DVD, they have already delivered a lot of quality music.
While its tempting to focus on the music, its worth taking a minute to praise the visual quality of Live As Time Changes. Sound Tribe tours with one of the best light shows in the business, and the spectacular visuals from the show are cleverly edited into mind-expanding montages that fit the music perfectly. There is a whole section of the DVD that talks about all the people who make an STS9 concert such a multimedia event, from the artists who paint the music live on stage to the man responsible for the floral art that decorates the stage.
The second half has many more highlights. Dance starts off with a funky groove, which slowly accelerates to breakneck speed before dropping neatly back into the pocket. A simple device, but it rarely works as well as it does here. The show-closing combo of Evasive Maneuvers>Kamuy features the band hitting on all cylinders, moving seamlessly from the dark, sinister soundscapes of the former to the light, airy space of the latter. The Baraka encore is no joke either, an intense musical and spiritual journey that spans the breadth and depth of what STS9 is all about.
In a nutshell, this release isnt likely to change anybodys mind about the band, but this is a must-have for Sound Tribe fans. As the footage filmed outside the Tabernacle demonstrates, STS9 has a passionate fan base who think they are the best band on Earth. They might not be there yet, but _Live As Time Changes_offers some compelling evidence that they are at least trying out for the job.