REAL ILLUSIONS: REFLECTIONS 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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Mikey
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REAL ILLUSIONS: REFLECTIONS REVIEW THREAD

#1 Post by Mikey » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:09 am

Okay folks, some lucky people have started to receive their CD from Sony already. Please post your reviews of the album in this thread.

This album is an important one for Steve, and highly anticipated.

We'd love to hear your feedback.

Peace,

Mikey
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Last edited by Mikey on Sat Jun 30, 2007 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Post by Ivar » Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:13 am

Starts awesome! I like it already.

I will try to listen the whole album a couple of times and give some decent feedback, I just bought it at the local CD store and am now listening for the first time and it's starts very very cool!


Edit:
People, if you even had any doubts, don't worry! it is GOOD!

The CD is kinda different from other Albums but you definitaly regonize the Vai style. More vocals then usual. It's weird, heavy and soft, intense and most of all it's good.

And as a bonus, well for me it is, one song (Lotus Feet) recorded at a show I attended, The Aching Hunger. The booklet says it's recorded at the three different shows in Holland.
Last edited by Ivar on Fri Feb 18, 2005 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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amazing

#3 Post by JinJo » Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:49 am

Well, what can I say. This albums amazing. It has a huge mix of styles, Rock, soft and classic Vai stuff too. I don't have time just now to post a huge review (sorry) but I'll give you a quick lowdown.

I have listened to it all twice already and some songs more than a few times. I have listened to Lotus Feet about 8 so far, it's the most beautifull song I've ever heard, how on earth does the man come up with stuff like this?

Building the church is really good, different from what I expected (when I read the preview part of the site I heard totally different things in my head to fit the description, but hey this is Vai's imagination of the scene).

Glorious sounds like some of his stuff off of the Ultra Zone I think, it's quite good.

K'm-Pee-Du-Wee is pretty good, sounds familliar too, maybe Fire Garden styel.

Firewall is cool, some crazy lyrics at the start.

Freak Show has lots of cool guitar parts too, and the drums are great, I wonder if he composed the drums for this or if someone else just played them at the time.

Yai Yai is well different from anything. I am not sure what he's doing here, sounds like a talk box but it might be that Roland Synth on the guitar going into some sort of effect.

Midway Createures is a great guitar song, sure you have all seen the clip, crazy tapping etc.

I am not really into I'm your secrets or Dieing for your love (yet) not but you all might like them.

Under It All is like a metal song, reminds me of mind storm by Satch. I don't know but the part at the end of the song with all the voices, I think that's ment to be the reflections mentioned in the title.

And did I mention, Lotus feet, best song ever, get the album just for this.

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#4 Post by shader » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:51 am

This is a pretty good album, I don't really think the vocal songs are particularly noteworth though, Firewall is the best of them. The instrumental songs (especially building the church and lotus feet) are awesome, an di'm rocking out to the synth in "Midway Creatures" right now


edit: I would like to note that the vocal songs don't suck or anything, they're just not nearly as good as some of the instrumental stuff.

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#5 Post by TPR » Fri Feb 18, 2005 11:40 am

For some reason it's hard for me to review this album. I like the songs, but it's difficult to comment them. I'll give it a try anyway:


'Building The Church' - Great opener, great guitar melodies.

'Dying For Your Love' - Slow vocal track with heavy drums. Tricky vocals to sing, Steve manages to sound good.

'Glorious' - Nice different guitar tones and melodies.

'K'm-Pee-Du-Wee' - I imagine it's very hard to make a track like this flow, but it does. Well-played by the band.

'Firewall' - Great horn arrangements and percussion, reminds me of some Fire Garden songs. Again, nice work Billy and Jeremy (and of course Steve.)

'Freak Show Excess' - The title says it all. Play along, kids.

'Lotus Feet' is a brilliant, soul-moving track. It's a bit strange to hear a live orchestral track on a studio album, though, but the orchestra brings the song to another level. A classic.

'Yai Yai' - I think it's out of place on the album. It seems a bit modest after 'Lotus Feet'...

'Midway Creatures' - See 'Glorious'

'I'm Your Secrets' reminds me of parts of Flex-able, it's very intimate-souding with great acoustic guitars, percussion and production. Steve's singing is fantastic. One of my favourites.

'Under It All' - Excellent (and again) unconventional melodies/chords with a catchy chorus. Very energetic, which is of course a good thing. I don't like speaking/sound bytes on albums, but that's my problem.


Unlike the previous reviewers, I like the vocal tracks (there are only four of them...), especially the last two tracks. 'Freak Show Excess' and of course 'Lotus Feet' impress me most of the rest. Somehow I feel the song order isn't right and everything doesn't feel to be in the right place, but I guess that is in fact the case. Release the rest albums soon, Steve... :wink:

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#6 Post by V41 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:28 pm

Oh my God...

I just finished listening to Real Illusions on headphones... and when I was done I was weeping... it felt wonderful, and it hurt too... I can't explain it...

My eyes are still wet.

I'll review each song later, when I'm more composed. I need to go sleep. Listening to all of that truth was exhausting...

I need to thank Steve in person.

EDIT: Hearing that "The Blob" clip solo in the middle of an already mind-blowing "Midway Creatures" was like having an orgasm. Sorry if that offends anyone :roll: But I can't describe it any other way.

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#7 Post by Virulent » Fri Feb 18, 2005 1:46 pm

I just got done listening to it for the first time, and I'll post a more complete review later.. but I just have to say this:

I ADORE THIS ALBUM.

"Under It All" is such an incredible piece. I find the song to be so sad - the chords Steve uses really touch something inside me, and I find the whole piece to be very moving. It's probably Steve's best vocal delivery EVER.

As a matter of fact, all the vocals on this album are incredible and the lyrics are amazing. I've always liked Steve singing, but this album takes it to a whole new level. Those who only want to hear Steve play the guitar are, in my opinion, missing a whole other side of this extremely well-rounded artist.

I'll write more when the rest of the album has time to sink in. Hats off to you Steve - you've done it again, and then some.

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#8 Post by DrCode » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:46 pm

I forgot how good Steve's studio albums sound. As much as I love his live performances, I really enjoy the big, thick production of this album. How does he get the guitars so LOUD but you can still clearly hear everything else?...amazing.

I'm also reminded that his studio work can take a while to fully 'digest' - lots of stuff going on. Passion and Warfare was very similar in that regard, but that's part of the fun, discovering all those sonic nooks-and-crannies.

Two thumbs up for sure..well, gotta go listen to it again :)
-dc

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#9 Post by Kell » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:54 pm

Absolutely Lovin' this!

THANKS STEVE! :D See You In Phoenix!

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#10 Post by GuitarStrings » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:59 pm

I woke up early today, went out, went into the cd store, picked up the cd, put it in my portable cd player and listend to it ALL DAY LONG! :)
Words can't describe my emotions.

OH MIKEY can you tell me who's who on Under It All??? I really liked your voice on that track(if I am not wrong which one is yours)!!! :D
Last edited by GuitarStrings on Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#11 Post by Azul777 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:00 pm

Absolutely amazing!!! :!: Thats all I can say about this, im still in awe over it. You have done it yet again Steve! Cant wait to see this stuff live on March 1st!! :D

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#12 Post by fused9 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:02 pm

steve....its stickin' to my leg. Can I vote a best track? Thanks, I will. Midway Creatures.....awesome. Lotus Feet, the ballad, its great. Quite a bit different for Steve though. Theres horns and such in it. Same good ol solo's of course but the orchestration is much different and its a nice change for him. Im very impressed.

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#13 Post by Evo2k0 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:18 pm

Okay i just got the album few hours ago through the mail. Wow that was fast, i got the e-mail a few days ago that sony shipped it out and its in my hands today. Wow this album is different but has alot of the Vai feel we know.


Okay here goes


1. Building the Church- I love this track its a great way to start the album, i love the melody, its like heavy thick rythmn guitars in the background with the nice melody on top. This track sets the mood for the album I think.

2. Dying for your love. Steve takes a different approach to singing on this track, I think this song has some really good moments. its not a bad vocal song.

3. Glorious- The intro melody of this song is so awesome. It got me to laugh the first time I heard it. Its so awesome how he gets to use that cat "meow" effect off the frettless triple neck. This song has more of like a far eastern asian type of feel to it.

4. K'm-pee-du-wee - This song is all lydian, very cool song. It's like an intimate moment with Evo and Steve. This song is all evo.

5. Firewall- Great arrangment, i couldnt induldge myself on this song as much as the other tracks. But a good song nonetheless

6. Freak Show Excess- This song is like Ultra Zone on steroids. Great sitar playing, I love how steve incorporates indian and middle eastern type of melodies in this song, you hear it but you gotta pay attention. This song is off the wall!

7. Lotus feet- Can't describe this song at all. My heart was fluttering when listening to this song especially at the end of this song. He makes FLO cry. so unbelievable.

8. Yai Yai- to be honest this song had me laughing its different. thats all i have to say.

9. Midway Creatures. I love how the rythmn guitars move through this song, love how he purrs his JEM. I hear phasers in the background of this song and with the main melody of this song I think. The tapping section is crazy! I wonder if steve is gonna take the floral JEM on tour with him, hes gonna have a lot of work with his feet this tour I think if he takes it.

10. Im your Secrets- This song does remind me of somewhat flexable. he whispers the lyrics to you, his singing is great on this track.

11. 'Under it All'' This song reminds me of Lucky Charms during the middle of this track, great guitar, good singing.


Overall this album is well worth the wait. Not one track sounds similar to the other, thats the great thing about steve. hes original. This album is great. Im sorry im not being more in detail I want to get back and hear it all over again.

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#14 Post by R1FSR » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:33 pm

for now i only can say 1 word
OUTF@**INGSTANDING :wink: :D

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#15 Post by lydian7 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:35 pm

I've had enough time now to consume the album, so here is my honest impressions of the album (if you're easily offended by criticism, please don't read any further ;)).

Building the Church - Not quite as powerful an opening track as 'Blood & tears' was, though the structure is quite similar. The song, like many songs on the new album, seem to cut short a little too early and don't really get a chance to progress. One of the better heavy songs on the album, though not nearly as complex and rewarding as 'Under it all'. Nice synth pad sounds underneath the guitar melody though.

Dying for your love - This song is a very bold direction for Steve, and rather than writing a sugar-coated love song following a 'tuneful' diatonic progression, he goes all out to truly express the uglier side of love. Dark, sinister and experimental. The vocals on this track sound very much like Mike Keneally's style, and I no doubt feel that Steve has been heavily influenced by albums such as 'Dancing' & 'Wooden Smoke'. This is perhaps one of my favourite pieces on the album, though I would have liked Steve to have recorded real string parts rather than dodgy synthetic string sounds (which didn't do the track any favours at all).

Glorious - I didn't really like this song, and the main reason is that bloody aweful 'cat tone' that he uses for the main melody. The mood is set with the underlying rhythm section, then when the cat tone is introduced the whole image of the piece shatters for me. It would have been better without the strangled cat.

K'm pee du wee - This is a very relaxing lydian motif, which reminds me a lot of 'Frank' in the way in which it is sparsely arranged. A nice little track, though the melody doesn't seem to stay with me.

Firewall - By far the worst song on the album for me. I just feel this sound is unbelievably out-dated, and would be better suited to a David Letterman interlude than on the Real Illusions album. Ok so the arrangements are all very prim and proper, but the song has absolutely no edge to it. Jimi Hendrix without the 'oomph'.

Freak show excess - This song is pure Vai at his best. It reminds me of some futuristic flea-market containing star wars-esque musicians from all corners of the galaxy, all vying for the attention of their audience. The song is extremely intense with a relentlessly progressing emotive flow, occasionally stopping for a 'fire garden suite-esque' sitar break-down section (Also I don't know if anyone has noticed or not, but the first three notes of the sitar intro is exactly the same as Joe Satriani's 'Lords of Karma'!). One of my favourites on the album, complex rhythms, incredible performances, lots of substance, classic Vai. :D

Lotus Feet - An epic diatonic orchestral extravaganza with a slow lamenting guitar melody. Just think 'whispering a prayer' with orchestra. The orchestral parts are written quite well too, with some nice textures and tremelo strings during the solo section. I would have liked to have heard more layered melodic studio guitar lines added though, rather than the monody style single-note melody style.

Yai-yai - doesn't really fit onto the album. A small quirky piece consisting of processed clean guitar panned hard left, electronic percussive part panned hard right. A bit lazy, doesn't really sound fully developed.

Midway Creatures - Now this is a track that I'eve heard a lot about, and I have to say that it is one of my least favourite songs on the album. The rhythm progression is just so uninspired and simple, I just can't seem to get any enjoyment our of it. As Bob Rock famously said to hetfield during the Black Album sessions, 'there's too much 'E' all the time'. The middle section is quite nice though, sounding rather like the complex, denser texturings of 'Fever Dreams', though it is sadly short lived and we are introduced to the simple rhythm section once again. This song echoes a sentiment of mine that I felt the album suffered from, most of the songs are very short-lived, and have very simple structures (quite unlike Vai). I didn't feel this track at first, but I'll give it time, and I'm hoping it will grow on me.

I'm your secrets - Here we see a much more subtle, subdued Vai laying down a really nice, almost celtic-like acoustic vocal track. I really REALLY love the hypnotically gorgeous sound of the acoustic percussion, and the vocal and guitar harmony progressions are extremely complex and mature with some extremely honest and heartfelt lyrical content. One of my favourites on the album, Vai comes of age! :D

Under it all - My absolutely favourite on the album. This song is what I was waiting for from Vai. It has the same mystical quality to it that the Fire Garden material had, very complex, very spiritually intense and revealing. After the complex harmony progression is established with guitar the vocals are introduced and the harmony is played through again. The time-signatures are satisfyingly complex, the chord progressions are mystical and revealing, and the structure (including the ethnic breakdown section with layerings of swirling vocals, and Real Illusion character confessions) is pleasantly unorthodox yet coherant. This piece I really enjoyed, but I would have liked it to have lasted a little longer. :wink:

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