SOUND THEORIES: REVIEW THREAD

This is the forum for all Steve Vai-related discussion including Steve's albums, videos, performances and frequently asked questions.
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Jeroen
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SOUND THEORIES: REVIEW THREAD

#1 Post by Jeroen » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:21 pm

This is the thread for you to post your reviews, comments and thoughts on this unique Steve Vai release.

We would love to hear your feedback.

Jeroen :)
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#2 Post by amanvai » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:50 pm

Boy, did Steve become or what...??

Wow. That was the most touching elecrtic guitar performance I have ever heard. It moved me to tears. And I'm talking about the ones that feel good. The whole album is so out there. And Steve's little black dots seem to work real magic too. Thankyou Steve Vai for such a glorious experience and for proving time and time again how you are so much more than just a wonderful musician and a unique and virtuoso guitarist.

A.

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#3 Post by prman » Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:25 pm

I was extremely thrilled when I heard about Steve`s orchestral project the first time, couple of years ago. I wasn`t able to attend the actual concerts so I hoped for a CD or DVD and when those where announced to be in the works, you can imagine how I felt... Now I have the CD portion of the project in my hands and I`ve given it quite many spins on my player. So, how can I review something like this? Something that I`ve waited for so long?

The technical aspects (editing, mixing, mastering...) of the CD are flawless. The overall sound is pleasingly "live" and through my Genelecs it conveys the feeling of being there myself. The orchestra sounds as massive or as delicate as it can be and Steve is placed right in the top of this sonic mountain, always in perfect balance.

I`ve always loved live recordings and Steve`s are no exception. The raw and overwhelming energy of a live performance, the delicate balance between preconceived execution and on-spot improvisation are evident on this album. And what can you say about Steve`s playing? Well, it`s Steve Vai... (On a side note: the guitar player of the orchestra throws in a nice fusionesque solo on Frangelica Pt.2. Love it!)

The arrangement of the "old" material is interesting giving the songs fresh flavour. The songs sound like they were composed to be like this in the first place. The orchestra doesn`t sound like "pasted on" and there`s not the basic under-usage of the orchestra (meaning: "You guys play the chords while I shred on top of it!"). The only thing I have to whine about are some of the song selections (and that is of course a matter of personal taste). I could have done easily without "The Attitude song" and "For The Love Of God" being recorded and released once again. Of course they both are remarkable songs and landmarks on Steve`s career but personally I would have liked to hear something more "rare" (even though the performances are powerful and the arrangements give new edge to both of the songs).

The new material is very enjoyable on both CD`s. On CD 2 I didn`t even miss Steve! :shock: The little thematical quotes of Steve`s previous works are fun and merged with style with the new material. The overall feeling of the compositions is playful while still being musically ambitious. This proves once again that humor does belong in music for sure! Steve has said that he would like people to acknowledge his compositional and arranging skills also and this album is a great "tour de force" on both of them.

"Sound Theories, Vol. 1 & 2" is highly enjoyable and may introduce new fans to Steve`s vast catalogue. To old fans it offers new insights to Steve`s older compositions and challenges the listener with new material where the guitar is not the main focus. This leaves me craving for more and I bet "Sound Theories, Vol. 3" may already be in the works. Hasn`t Steve hinted us about recording a new album on tour with the "String Theories Band"? Well, I better not think about it and give this album a new spin!

Thank You, Steve!

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#4 Post by jenarom » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:16 am

I'm reposting my original review from the other thread....


OK, after a few listens I've to say I'm pretty excited about this release and for what could come next in these series.

What I regret is that there was almost nothing new for me, because I had already listened to the NPS webcasts. It's like what happened to me with the new Star Wars films, I had read all the spoilers before the movies came out.

Anyway, I enjoyed The Murder, Answers, Gentle Ways, the amazing version of For The Love Of God, and specially Salamanders In The Sun. Salamanders just sounds beautiful with this orchestration.

I'm Becoming is such a sweet piece that left me wanting more, a lot more. It is beautiful, simple, heart-felt, but sadly too short for me. I wanted 10 more minutes of this! :wink: I'm adding it to my 7th Song playlist on my ipod.

Now, for the part I was most expecting: Volume II.

In Shadows I loved the little orchestrations of pieces like Lucky Charms, Whispering a Prayer and the Fire Garden Suite (Bangkok). I started to imagine these 3 pieces in full orchestration. I hope Steve tries this.

Violin solo in Sparks was nice, but for me, Frangelica Part 2 is my favourite. This is a piece where I can clearly identify Steve Vai in the notes. I think that if I had listened to this piece somewhere else for the first time without knowing anything, I would've been like crazy wondering how this composer was influenced by Steve Vai. :)

I also liked Helios and Vesta a lot, but Bledsoe Bluvd., which was another nice surprise like Salamanders, I think I need more listens to fully take in all the details within this complex piece.

One thing I was thinking last night is that Lotus Feet should've been the 7th song for this volume. In my humble opinion, I think it deserves to be here more than in Real Illusions. I will add it as a bonus track on my ipod. :D

I also remember from the 2004 shows pieces like Memories of a Silent Rose, Reflections and Theadolite. I wonder what happened to them. Maybe on the DVD, maybe not. Ballerina could've also been on Volume I.

Speaking of the DVD, when will it be released?

On another note, did you guys noticed that somebody classified Volume II as "Unclassifiable" in the Genre field on iTunes? That left me wondering how would you classify this kind of music? How does Steve classifies it?

One last note: I'm also contemplating with great expectation the new tour. I think I will have to fly to the US this time because it's going to be an out of this world experience.

Well, that's enough. Thanks for reading!

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#5 Post by jenarom » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:23 am

prman wrote: The arrangement of the "old" material is interesting giving the songs fresh flavour. The songs sound like they were composed to be like this in the first place.
I completely agree with this. After several days of listening, my favorite piece is "Salamanders in the Sun". It does sound like it was originally composed for orchestra. This is the song that I can't take out of my mind after listening to the CDs.

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#6 Post by resha » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:48 am

After the first listen (in the car's Bose system) I gotta say it's just unreal.

The Murder Prologue makes me cry, especially when the little Lotus Feet refrain comes in... The horn section it's unbelievable.

The richness of an orchestra (in terms of frequencies) is amazing, a rock band could never reach that level of "musical density".

I'm shocked, an it's only the first listen (yup we all know this stuff so much that... you know :wink: ).

The mixing and editing work seems just perfect. Steve will deserve another time my deepest congratulations for His work (and not only in terms of guitar playing :P )

I'm Becoming is one of the purest melodies I've ever listened to in my whole life, one of those melodies that flies in the universe and only waits for someone to grab them.

Thank you Steve, as usual.


Wait until I consume the cd's for another -deeper- review of the all stuff, it'll be a real fun!

Raffaele (Resha)

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#7 Post by Samuele » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:36 am

Yes, I preordered the Ltd. Ed. Digipak from Vai.com on 06/02, but I just could not wait until delivery day, so this morning I went into the local store and bought a "standard" copy off the shelf.

Let me just say (for now) that this one ties with the first installment of Real Illusions as my favorite record ever. The music, the sound, the mix, the cover and artwork, even the liner notes- I love it from head to toe, and as of now it's more important than the actual food.

When I receive the Digipak I will post a more in-depth review. Now I am just too excited and need to come back onto earth! :)

Samuele
(Diving back into the euphoria of listening to the album...)
Last edited by Samuele on Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#8 Post by beyondthenotes712 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:21 am

no words...

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#9 Post by cnc74 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:35 am

I'm still waiting for the digipak to arrive, but I could not let another day go by without this masterpiece in my hands. It's the most phenomenal piece of work my ears have ever heard. I will write more once I retrieve my jaw from the car where it's been cranking all day.
Thank you, Steve!
Christin

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#10 Post by poemind » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:12 am

Like most here, I am still digesting this incredible piece of work! I will post a more lengthy review later, but WOW!!! Thanks Steve!

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#11 Post by VoYTaZ » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:48 am

It's fu**ing awesome Steve. I'm speechless.

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#12 Post by GreenMeanie » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:36 pm

Your reviews are making me salivate with anticipation! I preordered mone thru Sony weeks ago and it shipped last Thursday but it isnt here yet :cry: Mariah and I had a girls night planned all around it. :( Oh well there is always tomorrow! :D

Joanne

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#13 Post by Guitarmonky55 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:48 pm

wow! Amazing. I am just simply at a loss for words. This entire album is just...wow. I must say at first I was hesitant(not to buy it!) but I was hesitant that it wouldnt live up to the phenominal stuff that Steve has put out lately, such as RI and whatnot, because a large body of it is old work revisited. I was a tad worried that it might resemble that malmsteen album, where it just sounded like yngwie wanking over band in a box. But I know better now than to ever doubt Steve. He is definitely one of the brightest musical minds in recent history, and this just proves it.

Disc 1 appeals to the guitarist in me, and makes me practice tons. Disc 2 is beyond words, it appeals to my soul. It has inspired me to start writing some killer music and make use of my in progress college music theory classes...And after the first hearing I have started (trying) to transcribe Bledsoe Bluvd...Although im not sure if I can do it. But hey if I can it will make a neat addition to that freak show transcript that I'm about to finish.

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#14 Post by mroppy » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:20 pm

Guitarmonky55 wrote:.And after the first hearing I have started (trying) to transcribe Bledsoe Bluvd...Although im not sure if I can do it. But hey if I can it will make a neat addition to that freak show transcript that I'm about to finish.
GOOD LUCK!

The song is SOOOOO over the top (in the best way possible)! ^_^

Mr>Oppy

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#15 Post by amanvai » Tue Jun 26, 2007 6:51 pm

I thought over-the-top was good in Vai land? Ha, its ok in my book too.

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