I’ve only been an Owl City fan for about a year, and I can’t get enough. I’ve purchased everything I can find by Adam Young. He brings a breath of fresh air to the Synth Pop genre, not to mention that he’s a genuine, talented individual who knows much more than simply the fundamentals of orchestration and music theory.
I’ve heard comments regarding “auto-tune” use, which I believe are absurd. I believe there are those that condemn the use of vocoders as a form of style, which most synth and pop styles use in that manner. They’re pretty obvious to detect, and the only time I’ve heard anything like this was for style, and not for correction of the tuning in his voice. He’s proven himself as a gifted vocalist, over and over, be it through impromptu radio performances, and other such endeavors.
But on to the “Live From L.A.” Blu-ray video concert. Video is very good, but I wouldn't call it reference quality. You’ll see some amount of video blocking as cameras sometimes turn directly into the stage lights and darkness of the audience, a mistake I see often in concert video recording. But it's nothing that interfered with my overall enjoyment of the concert.
The audio is superb, and the mix, credited to Adam Young, is perfect. Now I realize that some may not hear as much of the live cello and violin as they would have liked, but I think this may depend on your audio playback settings. The concert video includes a non-compressed, PCM track that I listen to using Dolby Pro Logic IIx (7.1 speaker setup) and I am blown away by the ability to distinguish the clarity of all of the individual performers. I find Young to not only be an outstanding composer, orchestrator, and performer, but very proficient in audio mixing. (I spent many years as at a sound board and understand how much is involved in producing optimal sound levels for a large number of microphones and digital inputs.) I was amazed with how well I could hear the cello and violin among all the other instruments that were playing.
If there is one critique I’d mention, it would be the modulated vocal effect used on Breanne Düren’s vocal was sometimes too intense, and her voice became a little too synthetic; but I only noticed this with some of her solos; harmonies were beautifully mixed and sounded spot on and smooth.
Overall, I felt this was a five-star performance! The music flowed perfectly from one song to the next, and though there was limited re-arrangements to some of the songs (which were all breathtaking – as far as I’m concerned), Adam didn’t stray far or often from the original compositions. For me, this is one of those rare performances that makes you smile and applaud throughout the whole concert, as you watch from the comfort of your home. I only wish there was more on the way!
I have to add one final comment: I’m nearly 59-years-old, and I’m not very impressed by most of the stuff I hear these days that passes itself off as music. Owl City, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and a few others have given me new hope that there are still talented composers and performers out there.