Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Devin 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.
Today sees 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 honor 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, U.K. 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 and 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 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 and photos), limited 2CD+DVD digipak, standalone Blu-ray, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set and as a digital Album. The Blu-ray disc includes a bonus behind-the-scenes documentary, and both DVD and Blu-ray feature a 5.1 Surround Sound mix.
The track listing is as follows:
05. Gigpig Jam
08. Heavens End
09. Ain't Never Gonna Win
12. Lucky Animals
14. Spirits Will Collide
15. Disco Inferno
In June, "Empath – The Ultimate Edition" was released, the definitive version of Devin's latest studio album. It features a glorious 5.1 Surround Sound mix with accompanying visuals, plus a host of bonus material including mixing lesson, documentary, as well as a live set filmed during his April 2019 acoustic tour.
Last month, Townsend announced a new virtual event dubbed "Empath Volume 2: By Request". Set to take place on September 5, it will see him run through the set he was due to perform at this year's edition of United Kingdom's Bloodstock Open Air festival. Townsend will be joined by drummer Samus Paulicelli, guitarist Wes Hauch and bassist Liam Wilson.