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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:42 pm 
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bkornaker1977 wrote:
Ok after a good few days of critical listening......

The guy who "mastered" this album screwed up big time. Im hearing distortions/pops/crackles all over the place and its almost on every song. This album was pushed way too hot.....and the funny thing is, its not even 'commercially loud'. Kinda disappointing cause this songs do sound great and they are nice and bright, balanced and crisp.......but these random distortion crackles bug the crap out of me. kinda annoying


I bought the album from HDtracks, which is 24bits 96khz (opposed to 16bits 44.1 khz on cd). It's supposed to be the same quality as the master. I checked this on Gravity Storm, and the cracks and pops are there in the beginning.
I tend to believe that this is intentional. Steve is quite a perfectionist when it comes to his sound and playing. He re-records his live material. Or pospones a releasedate on a live dvd because he's not quite happy about it. So I can't imagine he'd put out his first cd since 2007, and his first "normal" cd since 2005, with mistakes in the mastering.

I like the cd quite a lot. Much better than Real Illusions. The soundquality of the HDtracks version is amazing. So much better than the cd. If you have a good hi-fi, or a good pair of headphones with a quality soundcard which plays 24bits 96khz like it should, get this version.
Only problem I have with the cd is that my taste of music has evolved. I'm not a lot into guitar stuff anymore.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:57 pm 
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***Random Thoughts and Weirdness ahead... continue reading at your own risk!***

Ok, this is just my own weird brain going to (probably) very silly directions. But when one goes on a Vai Marathon, I suppose consequences should be expected, LOL!
So I was playing a bunch, and I found myself going from The Ultra Zone, to Real Illusions: Reflections and of course then to The Story of Light.
And... it's not a perfect fit, not all of The Ultra Zone goes with the story that Steve is weaving with the Real Illusions stuff..
But there are a couple of pieces that seem to fit.
The energy of The Ultra Zone (the song) could weave in, as could Windows To The Soul and The Silent Within. I can also see I'll Be Around and Here I Am working, too. To some degree.
Could even be like little side-stories (coz though the storyline is centered on Capt. Drake Mason, no one person's story is ever just the one... There are a million threads in every tapestry.)
But I just found myself tying some of The Ultra Zone into the Illusions story. And I was a little amused and surprised at how it seemed to fit, LOL.

**and could the illustration of Steve as the cool "Ultra Zone Alien Guitar God" be Pamposh before being sent down.?. LOL, no. Now that's going to even sillier places.!. :oops: :lol:

I don't know. Maybe it's the Full Moon messing with me. Maybe my brain is still in a delightful spin from the concert. Maybe I need more sleep.
Maybe Voodoo Acid and Fever Dreams messed with my head (LOL!)
Maybe I'm just weirder than I thought.
Who knows!


...anyway
That's all. :roll:
You may all feel free to explain just how crazy I am, now, LOL! :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:44 pm 
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What I like: the songs! I thought this album way WAY more consistent than RI, though RI does contain the best song (LF) from both albums. RI songs in some cases marred by ridiculous things such as that dying cat effect on Glorious. I am very happy about the fact that The Story of Light doesn't have stuff like that. The album is just stronger as a whole. In terms of the songs I am really happy about the album.

What I do not like: Steve's tone is just completely flat, and also has NO sustain. I don't know if this was a production issue or the new amps and pickups or what, but within songs, the guitar just has no highs and lows, and notes fizzle away with no sustain. I also feel like the articulation of the notes wasn't as strong. I don't know if this is partly due to Steve's loss of technique, which has been very obvious over the years, or part of the production. This is the weakest his tone has ever sounded. The 7th track has a sustainer I believe, and the tone just sounds like he's playing a tube amp at a really low volume. Also, I didn't like the DVD. I agree with the guy who said that it was too self indulgent and not enough about the guitar playing in the songs. It was too much about the story. I can definitely understand why some people are interested in the story, but it just doesn't interest me; mostly due to the fact that it's obvious some, if not many, of these songs were composed independently of any preconceived story line, and therefore more sensible as stand alone pieces (rather than one coherent concept album).

overall 8/10. cant wait for the live show!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 1:17 am 
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pdruh wrote:
SugarNips wrote:
Prezidentman wrote:
I can totally relate, around the mid 90's I honestly thought the man could not release anything I wouldn't immediately drool all over. I think you hit the nail on the head about the changing tastes.


You made a good point too about the humour. I didn't think of that - but you're right. Since Sound Theories came out there hasn't really been any humour on the albums. I used to like Steve's quirky humour! Flex-able has it in buckets!


Well… In my opinion Steve didn't lose his humor. He is only dedicating to this trilogy, that is something a bit more serious, a huge and blowing mind story! And even on this trilogy there is a bit of humor (Yai-Yai, Book Of Seven Seals…)

And of course I think he will comeback with humor when he do his kind of ALS album (that is more guitar and virtuosity extravaganza than a story or epic concept album.

I think that you're right, pdruh. Steve's not lost any humour. In this phase of the story, that's not where the focus is. The story that Steve is crafting here doesn't really lend itself to a lot of humour, anyway. There are moments where that unique sense of humour twinkles through... give a few more listens, and you'll hear it. :wink:
There is a lot of joy that can be heard, too. (It's actually a bit of a chaotic roller-coaster, at this point, what with the songs being in the "wrong" order...)
And yes... when he decides to do that ALS type album, we will hear that humour a lot more! 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:40 am 
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Jenn Pix wrote:
And yes... when he decides to do that ALS type album, we will hear that humour a lot more! 8) [/color]


I think it'd be much safer to say IF he ever decides to that type of album again....Í don't think it's at all a certainty.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
I don't know if this is partly due to Steve's loss of technique, which has been very obvious over the years, or part of the production.!


Loss of technique? I haven't noticed it over the last few years. If you compare to Passion and Warfare, than yes. But he was in his late twenties/early thirties back then. He's 52 now. I think that's normal. Ussain Bolt will not break records at that age (but still be faster than me in my prime). I read your opinions on the Petrucci boards, but I don't agree. Vai's approach to music was always different from other shredders. Vai never was the most technical guitarist out there. He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.
When it comes to his guitar playing, I believe is views on technique changed. Playing fast is not a priority anymore. He comes up with other stuff, like the bends on Gravity Storm or keeping a note in pitch with the whammy bar while sliding his left hand up and down the neck. That takes some practice.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:45 pm 
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ocuj wrote:
Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.


Don't agree. I didn't read too many interviews during the ALS/Fire Garden/Sex & Religion days where he talked so much about his love of composing. The composer stuff has only been talked about in the last seven years or so.

Frankly, it's becoming a bit dull. But that's just me. I love the guitarist. I care very little for the 'compositional' pieces. Sounds Theories is still utterly dreadful music and I absolutely guarantee nobody listens to the second disc, except when they are doing the housework.

I have come to the conclusion, after two solid weeks of listening, that I'm not that bothered about The Story of Light. I don't hate it, but I find myself skipping tracks 3, 4, 5 and 7. The thing that gets me.....and think about it......is that Steve is an unbelievably talented guy. Crazy, chops, just an amazing gift with the guitar, every note he hits has so much power (see Astoria DVD for many examples), he has such control over the guitar....BUT.... considering all that.......he comes up with a song like Mullach a' tSí. That song is so undeniably mundane.

Anyway, I still have faith he'll return with a bang.

PS. I agree about the production. It doesn't sound great and I still think his tone is wishy washy. But producing it yourself is obviously cheaper.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:26 am 
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Bryceybhoy wrote:
Don't agree. I didn't read too many interviews during the ALS/Fire Garden/Sex & Religion days where he talked so much about his love of composing. The composer stuff has only been talked about in the last seven years or so.


I didn't mean to say that he was all into composing classical music. I meant to say that when you consider his music, he was always more of a composer. If you look at songs like Liberty, Fire Garden Suite, Blue Powder, Freak Show Excess, it's hard to denie Vai the Composer. Offcourse there are insane guitarparts in all those songs, but those songs are more about composition than about shredding. If you listen to him talk about these songs, he's talking about chords, influences, harmonies and melodies. Not about where he puts his fingers.


Last edited by ocuj on Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:54 am 
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ocuj wrote:
[quote="BryceybhoyDon't agree. I didn't read too many interviews during the ALS/Fire Garden/Sex & Religion days where he talked so much about his love of composing. The composer stuff has only been talked about in the last seven years or so.


Quote:
I didn't mean to say that he was all into composing classical music. I meant to say that when you consider his music, he was always more of a composer. If you look at songs like Liberty, Fire Garden Suite, Blue Powder, Freak Show Excess, it's hard to denie Vai the Composer. Offcourse there are insane guitarparts in all those songs, but those songs are more about composition than about shredding. If you listen to him talk about these songs, he's talking about chords, influences, harmonies and melodies. Not about where he puts his fingers.


Absolutely, his music always had that compositional side to it, there's no denying that. And it's not true that he only began talking about the orchestral stuff in the past 7 years as stated above....this is when he really started to realize the concept but I remember him talking about similar concepts during the Sex and Religion era, where he already talked about peforming with an orchestra the following year (that was 1994!).


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:25 am 
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Bryceybhoy wrote:
Don't agree with that Amazon review. It's very different to any of his other stuff. I'm not a huge fan of some songs, but I take my hat off to Steve for continuing to be different and, in a sense, a little weird. At least he's not trudging out the same shit every two years.


+1000

:peace


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:47 am 
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afaruler159 wrote:
I've listened to the album a few times, and overall, it hasn't made me super pleased. I've been a vai freak since '06. I stopped listening to a lot of him from 2010-now because nothing new was coming out and I had heard the other songs a million and a half times. Then, I relistened to it all continuously for the last couple weeks before this album came out.

Honestly, I'm disappointed with this one. I think the reason is because it feels disconnected. It's more of a feeling than anything. A lot of the songs sound the same and have the same produced feel to them, unlike RI where every song had its own definable character. Another thing is that few of the songs have a definable melody to them. Few times does it feel like songs with character to me because it is hard to feel out the real themes of the songs. The songs are melodic, but the melodies never end. They rarely come back to the originals and build off of them. The album, with the exception of a couple songs, feels like it lacks the heart of the others for me. As other people have mentioned, it seems as though Steve is disconnected from his music on the album. That could just be me though. I hypothesize that it's because he spent so much time away from writing guitar centered music or this type of music. He spent it writing tons of orchestrations. That could explain the album's layered nature. I don't know. I wish he would just go back to how he is really feeling. Take a small break after the tour and give it another try and dig a little deeper. That was probably the most non logical thought out thing I've ever written, but it makes sense to me. Maybe someone could pick up and see what I'm saying, maybe i'm just crazy haha



This is what I got from it ( the dissconnect ) I feel that since the record is dedicated to his mom, he was maybe feeling this way while he was recording. I also feel that there is a small element of embellishing on some old song's which in my mind gives it a new twist! Overall I love it! I love the fact he stepped out of the comfort zone, with doing a re-make of John the Revelator! AMAZING version that I feel he made it his own! Also dig the fact he picked Beverly Mcclellan to do the vocals on that song. When I saw her on " The Voice" I felt that if she didnt win I hoped someone like Steve would pick her to work with. She has an amazing voice!

8)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:52 pm 
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ocuj wrote:
Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
I don't know if this is partly due to Steve's loss of technique, which has been very obvious over the years, or part of the production.!


Loss of technique? I haven't noticed it over the last few years. If you compare to Passion and Warfare, than yes. But he was in his late twenties/early thirties back then. He's 52 now. I think that's normal. Ussain Bolt will not break records at that age (but still be faster than me in my prime). I read your opinions on the Petrucci boards, but I don't agree. Vai's approach to music was always different from other shredders. Vai never was the most technical guitarist out there. He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.
When it comes to his guitar playing, I believe is views on technique changed. Playing fast is not a priority anymore. He comes up with other stuff, like the bends on Gravity Storm or keeping a note in pitch with the whammy bar while sliding his left hand up and down the neck. That takes some practice.


I am comparing it to his 20s-30s. You're right that it is normal to a certain extent. However, there are those who either stay the same or get better with respect to technique-- i.e. John Petrucci. So we are on the same page in noticing that compared to his 20s-30s he has lost technique.

I never considered Vai to be a shredder. But Vai is, obviously, a virtuoso, and so technique is extremely important to that extent. I don't agree with you that he was ever more of a composer than a rock guitarist-- I'd rather say he was/is a rock musician. He's not ONLY a guitarist...he's a musician. The classics, P&W, ALS, are guitar albums without question. P&W is an exploration of the guitar.

The bends on Gravity Storm are cool and that kinda thing does take practice. But he always did cool things like that. I don't see that sorta thing as new for Vai. Technique isn't limited to playing fast by the way. Vibrato, articulation, tone, are all part of technique. It's extremely important to almost everything, not just playing fast. Loss of speed is probably the least of my concerns with respect to Vai's current playing.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Bryceybhoy wrote:
ocuj wrote:
Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.


Don't agree. I didn't read too many interviews during the ALS/Fire Garden/Sex & Religion days where he talked so much about his love of composing. The composer stuff has only been talked about in the last seven years or so.

Frankly, it's becoming a bit dull. But that's just me. I love the guitarist. I care very little for the 'compositional' pieces. Sounds Theories is still utterly dreadful music and I absolutely guarantee nobody listens to the second disc, except when they are doing the housework.

I have come to the conclusion, after two solid weeks of listening, that I'm not that bothered about The Story of Light. I don't hate it, but I find myself skipping tracks 3, 4, 5 and 7. The thing that gets me.....and think about it......is that Steve is an unbelievably talented guy. Crazy, chops, just an amazing gift with the guitar, every note he hits has so much power (see Astoria DVD for many examples), he has such control over the guitar....BUT.... considering all that.......he comes up with a song like Mullach a' tSí. That song is so undeniably mundane.

Anyway, I still have faith he'll return with a bang.

PS. I agree about the production. It doesn't sound great and I still think his tone is wishy washy. But producing it yourself is obviously cheaper.


I agree completely with pretty much everything you said.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:39 pm 
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its hard for me to agree with any of that. For one, I think Mullach is the turning point of the album. The seventh song always is. The first time I heard it, granted, it did seem weak. It wasn't the searingly spiny chilling epic song we were used to, like FTLOG or Lotus Feet. But after a few more listens it opened up. The guitar was literally speaking. Every seventh song is a reflection of the album itself. You could take all the seventh songs and put them together, and know what each album was like at the time. FTLOG- experim3nting on the guitar, epic, swirling ballad of spirit and knowledge. One word for it- entrancing. Fire garden- hand oon heart- a more carfree album, not as dark or deep, yet still retaining that feeling of immense emotion. Real illusions reflections- lotus feet. That soft, slow melody in the beginning, then getting more epic until the solo breaks out, and by that time you have goosebumps and your about ready to cry. So mullach a tsi. Steve was going to have te seventj song originally be Weeping China Doll. But a song filled with such intense anguish, pain and sorrow (even with that "redeeming quality") would make the story of light sound dark and all about dwelling on the evil past if you went about judjing the album by the seventh song, which you can do, as long as the song is right.. Mullach a tsi shows the attention Steve has to gentle detail, to every tiny tremolo move. The story of light is shown through that song not by its nonexistant epic searing lead, but by its gentle, soft, yet intense sound so I for one think mullach is the best song Steve could have made the seventh song.
Bryceybhoy wrote:
ocuj wrote:
Tis BOOLsheet wrote:
He was always more of a composer than a rock guitarist.


Don't agree. I didn't read too many interviews during the ALS/Fire Garden/Sex & Religion days where he talked so much about his love of composing. The composer stuff has only been talked about in the last seven years or so.

Frankly, it's becoming a bit dull. But that's just me. I love the guitarist. I care very little for the 'compositional' pieces. Sounds Theories is still utterly dreadful music and I absolutely guarantee nobody listens to the second disc, except when they are doing the housework.

I have come to the conclusion, after two solid weeks of listening, that I'm not that bothered about The Story of Light. I don't hate it, but I find myself skipping tracks 3, 4, 5 and 7. The thing that gets me.....and think about it......is that Steve is an unbelievably talented guy. Crazy, chops, just an amazing gift with the guitar, every note he hits has so much power (see Astoria DVD for many examples), he has such control over the guitar....BUT.... considering all that.......he comes up with a song like Mullach a' tSí. That song is so undeniably mundane.

Anyway, I still have faith he'll return with a bang.

PS. I agree about the production. It doesn't sound great and I still think his tone is wishy washy. But producing it yourself is obviously cheaper.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:46 pm 
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but you know, I haven't waited seven years for the album. I have just as muchSteve vai material acquired in two years as you long time fans have had for twenty. So dissapointment is not really on my radar until I actually wait a long time for another album to come out. Listen, I'm talking now, but Im sure if I have to wait seven years (half of my life) for a new album, with maybe a g3 or vaitune in between, I will be just as, or even more critical, than you guys.


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