14 tracks of – well – let’s see.
Around about 6’20″ on track 14 – it all went down hill – for nearly a minute. I’ll get back to that soon.
I know – I’m a sucker. But the next album in the Levin * * series is out. (BTW – I have no inside track on this = but I am hoping / assuming / asking for Tony Levin to continue the theme of collaborating with great musicians he knows – oh – and he knows a LOT.)
A little over two years ago, I wrote this review on my first exposure to the ‘series’ – see I keep pushing in my own way … and well, suffice to say I loved it – then again – I am weird – and my taste is eclectic. That said even for me – LTW was hard to get into. Brilliant, true – but hard – and that was the theme of my review.
When I first heard the “ secret preview ” of LMR – it just blew me away. The complete sonic wizadry that was so apparent in LTW – was still in place – but now instantly accessible. Instantly !
You all know I am not a proper music reviewer – I can’t get into the blow by blow engineering of how it was produced – and though I play the guitar – I always go to great pains to insist that I am NOT a guitarist. So I am not even going to explore the musical side of the album – nowhere near, far too many other people more qualified than I to do that.
Let’s break down the elements of the band.
Tony Levin – well duh – you know I am a fan – and if you want to read a 7 post review of an interview I did with him – click through and enjoy.
Marco Minnermann – seriously – the guy that Steven Wilson chose as his drummer on his last solo venture – OVER Gavin Harrison – yup – he is THAT good.
Jordan Rudess – you will know him from Dream Theatre – and whilst I am a big fan of the Progressive genre – have to say ‘DT’ do not sit at the top of my list – BUT Jordan Rudess – well – I am old enough to remember Rick Wakeman in his ‘Strawbs’ and ‘Yes’ days – and I would personally place ‘Jordan’ as the ‘Rick’ of the modern world. And if you haven’t listened to his solo work – and / or Liguid Tension Experiment (DT with a different Bass Player – Tony actually) – then you need to.
That alone has to be enough for you want to invest your dollars / pounds / yen in surely ?
But, while I am here – if you want to understand how different these guys can get – take a listen to LTE and DT back to back. RADICALLY different – and yet LTE is essentially DT with a different bass player – who says the Bass can’t affect a band ?
To me LMR provides a truly solid gateway into all these guys work = in all their various forms. Kind of like a sampler album – remeber those back in the day ? Except this is new. different. awesome and still opens up doors.
Personally – always a shame that artists cant be just that – artists. Why do they get so overly concerned with the brand – or maybe that is a different story.
Phil Collins : Brand X / Genesis
Steve Wilson : NO Man / P Tree / Bass Communion / Blackfield / Solo ….
Andy Partridge : XTC / Dukes of Stratosphear
Neil Hannon : Divine Comedy / The Duckworth Lewis Method
(see what I mean ….)
Seriously though – this reflects another problem of we – the music fan. We like our predictability – and heaven forbid that you meddle with what we expect. The problem has been around forever – just think about the shinola that The Beatles took for their explorations in the late 60s – though now we all accept them.
Anyway – sorry about the digression – back to the track.
Well 14 of them to be precise.
All excellent. All of them. Always a surprise. And so far on my 6th listen this weekend – and wil be in the car going back and forth to ‘the day job’ this week.
Oh – and to cycle back to that opening comment.
When I break down the music I really like – it tends to be without vocals. Probably because I can listen to someone who is not a very good guitarist, keyboard player – and still appreciate it. Not true with vocals. Bad vocals I hate – so I avoid vocals wherever I can – which I guess partly explains my love of the Progressive Genre, that tends to focus on instrumentation.
So – having achieved 13.5 tracks of music sans vocals – it caught me by surprise (opening of Dancing Feet aside).
But actually – they didn’t stay there – and the more I have revisited – I see the voices more as part of the sonic texture than ‘vocals’ per se. Think Thijs Van Leer and Focus. the voices that keep returning through Floyd and Tree, that is how you have to think of them. Well – I do anyway.