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(30:00; Bonobo's Ark Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. I Don't, Can't 2. Madamme 0 3. Statement Heels 4. Hopeful Impression of Happiness 5. Da-I-Na-Ma-I-Yo / Deta LINEUP: Yumi Hara - piano, voice Daevid Allen - voice, guitars Chris Cutler - percussion, drums
Prolusion. You, Me & Us is, or perhaps was, a trio formed in 2013 consisting of composers and musicians Yumi Hara, Daevid Allen and Chris Cutler. According to my notes they have three official releases out, of which this live DVD is the most recent to be given an official release. This DVD was made available towards the end of 2018 through Yumi Hara's own label Bonobo's Ark Records.
Analysis. A production such as this one will undoubtedly be regarded as important in more ways than planned when it was initially made, as one of the musicians participating was a legend in his own time, and that he passed away back in 2015. As such, this is one of the final live DVD's featuring his talents, and this production will be of interest in that context alone. There are other sides to this production that are worthwhile as well of course, but for fans of the late Daevid Allen this will probably be among the more important ones. As I tend to do with live DVD's, I do not concentrate all that much about the music as such. I do note that the style is pretty much how I would expect a band being described as avant-garde progressive rock to sound like, with elements from both jazz and classical music assembled inside a rock context and explored with expressive intent. Rather more important is the performance of course, and from how I understand music and musicians this is a strong, good and tight live performance, or at least parts of a performance. Clocking in at 30 minutes or so I would assume that the entire concert was a tad longer, but the selected material showcase a band on top of their game. If you want to hear and see a high quality live performance by an expressive avant-garde progressive rock band, this is a pretty good example of just that. The sound itself also appears to have been captured with high quality, with vocals and instruments coming across as sharp, clear and well defined. Not absolutely top of the range, but then again this isn't a band I would imagine having the budget resources to go all out on the highest end audio equipment out there either. The visuals isn't quite at the same level, with a limited amount of cameras in action and an image quality that is more in the so-so department. We do get some close-ups, and some experimentation on visual effects appears at the end of the DVD, but the images as such are a tad fuzzy and not all that crystal clear. Think 1980's live concerts on VHS cassettes. So those who own big flat screen TV sets and want to watch a concert in all it's high resolution glory will probably find this particular specimen lacking in a few departments. Of course, I rather suspect the footage here, taken back in 2013, wasn't made with the intention of making a commercial DVD at the time either. Still for potential customers this is a part of the totality and merits a description.
Conclusion. A live DVD of this kind will have a substantially different worth given what audience that seeks it out. Regarded as any other live DVD, which is how I regard it, this is an average production in total. The performance is this production's strongest point, while image quality and the length of this DVD are more detrimental. But for many fans of the late Daevid Allen as well as for fans of You, Me & Us a DVD like this one will be just about priceless, as well as for those who are interested in the performance first and foremost. I rather presume, given this conclusion, that additional guidance for potential buyers really shouldn't be needed.
Progmessor: July 17th 2019
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