Yes-Keys to Ascension (1996)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast
DVD Credits
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 118:31 (Case: 150)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve Mitchell
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Jon Anderson
Steve Howe
Chris Squire
Rick Wakeman
Alan White
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Yes


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

This title has been withdrawn and is to be remastered.

    Keys To Ascension is Yes’ 1996 get-together, and a trippy one at that. The ethereal looking and sounding Jon Anderson leads an eclectic-looking group of musicians for nearly two hours of progressive rock the likes of which could be said to be suited to Yes fans only – this is not mainstream music by any means, though that is not a bad thing. Myself, I was intrigued, having heard Jon Anderson’s unique work with one of my favourite composers, Vangelis – and together, they weave magic.

    Great musicianship, a unique vocal quality and lyric writing and a whole mess of great old analogue synthesizers make this concert performance more of a curiosity for myself, and apart from the shockingly bad presentation, Yes fans should love it.

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Track Listing

1. Siberian Khatru
2. Close To The Edge
3. I've Seen All Good People
4. And You And I
5. The Revealing Science Of God
6. Going For The One
7. Turn Of The Century
8. America
9. Onward
10. Awaken
11. Roundabout
12. Starship Trooper

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is the worst video transfer I have seen on DVD yet, and would make a very poor VHS master.

   Whilst the concert is presented in a ratio of 1.75:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, the source is most clearly 1.33:1 video. This means some zooming, the odd vertical panning and even squeezing to fit things in – though most of the time it is just zoomed in with very poor results.

    The image is very soft at the best of times, with ghosting readily apparent on hard edges. At the worst of times it is amateurish and frighteningly indistinct with often severe pixelization as though being very low resolution. Shadow detail was acceptable, though grain was almost constant, and depending on the camera used could almost overwhelm the image. Low level noise was in abundance thanks to the poor MPEG compression, and chroma noise was constant.

    This transfer is an example of poor MPEG compression, and there are better VCDs around than this. Mosquito noise was constant, and many close-ups were simply digital zooms after compression, since the mosquito noise was more prominent during those times. It would seem to me that this concert has been put together using amateur equipment, especially given the large number of very tacky compositing and fades used throughout, the large amount of noise in the image and the very cheap “digital” look it exhibits.

    Although the packaging claims the disc to be a DVD9, it is in fact single layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack fares slightly better than the video, and although the packaging lists only a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track, there is indeed a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix included which I listened to predominantly.

    The soundtrack was serviceable in that you could hear the music, however it is a far cry from being in any way hi-fi, with limited frequency range and an overly-compressed quality. Jon Anderson’s voice could cut through solid rock, and whilst he is blessed with perfect pitch and technique, his lyrics are simply impossible to understand for the most part simply because they do not follow any real pattern or predictability, and rhyme is a closed book as far as he is concerned. Another indication of the amateurish nature of this transfer is that audio sync came and went like the tide, and could be grossly off in some places, whilst being perfect in others.

    The surrounds were used constantly, though I felt they were somewhat artificial and not truly recorded. In any case, they add an ambience similar to that which you would expect from a concert recording.

    The soundtrack never went low enough to need the subwoofer, though the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix when heard via Dolby Pro-Logic did offer the most bass, at least on my system.

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Menu Audio

Biographies-Cast

DVD Credits

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Both versions seem identical, and equally poor sounding.

Summary

    I would consider this disc to be a lemon from a technical standpoint. It just screams amateurism, and could only be considered if Yes is your all-time favourite band.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Cordingley (bio)
Sunday, November 18, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DB-930
SpeakersFront & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500

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