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Liquid Tension Experiment 2

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(102 Reviews)

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Description

In 1997, neoprogressive rockers John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater joined with keyboardist Jordan Rudess and veteran bass master Tony Levin to create an adventurous and joyously unrestrained musical environment. On volume 2, surging technical brilliance is abundant–and as provocative as it is impressive. These tracks were largely the result of extemporaneous jamming; each piece comes across as a finely crafted and flawlessly executed composition. Also striking are the enjoyably drastic changes of style. ”When the Water Breaks” and ”Another Dimension” are eclectic journeys, happily unpredictable. Quieter, more atmospheric moments unfold in tracks such as ”Hourglass” and ”Chewbacca.” Petrucci, Portnoy, and Rudess effortlessly master intricately explosive rhythms and unleash astounding solos. Levin displays his wonderful eccentricities, particularly on the playfully wicked grooves of ”914” and ”Liquid Dreams.” –Mark McCleerey

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  • This band, composed of musicians in different bands, is back for their second effort. I like it more than I do the first cd. Of course, everyone who knows these guys from their other bands already knows how good they are. No need in wasting time with that.
    I just know that from the first song, I was hooked all over again! The first cut I heard from this cd was “Chewbacca” and I heard it on Aol Radio. I wrote down the band name (too cool!) and the song title and bought this cd along with the first one.
    I won’t make up praise for this band. I’m just very sorry they won’t be doing this again, or so they say. It has been awhile, so I guess they won’t. This cd is good! I’m 54 and I think it’s great. That should be good enough for you. Get it! Turn it up!

    Posted on December 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • LTE 1, written in about a week, was an interesting work, with several curious musical concepts and a couple of pieces that actually managed to come together as songs. LTE 2, however, is MUCH more deeply satisfying listen than LTE 1 for several reasons. (1) The richness of musical ideas is much deeper – with much more variation. (2) There is much more emphasis on jazz and prog rock themes. Call it King Crimson meets Al DiMeola. (3) If anything, it is more experimental and improvisational, and less song-oriented than LTE 1 and far moreso than anything Dream Theater has done. If you think Live at the Marquee is DT’s best work, you’ll love this CD. If you are looking for great, well structured five-minute songs, buy a DT album; if you are looking for one of the best improvisional and experimental jazz-prog fusion albums ever recorded, despite its occasional lapses into Heraclitean musical trances of self-awe, buy LTE 2.

    Posted on December 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Liquid Tension Experiment is the affirmative answer to anyone who says progressive music is _pretentious_. Err, on second thought, that word might be entirely impotent when it comes to this band. _Hyper-indulgence_ is the name of the game here; the band would probably embrace the word _pretentious_ and a wealth of other epithets associated with “prog.” Apparently people think bands should write music with the listener in mind rather than just doing as they please. Liquid Tension Experiment kicks that idea out the window and makes a great album precisely for that reason.This album, Liquid Tension Experiment’s second, brings together a bunch of _self-indulgent_ players: guitarist John Petrucci, keyboardist Jordan Rudess, bassist Tony Levin, and drummer Mike Portnoy. Given the hectic schedules of these four musicians, the LTE projects have called for instant chemistry and songwriting inspiration. Both of which the band has by the ream.Was there ever a more riveting and _bombastic_ instrumental than the slaughtering mix of catchy speed metal, undeniable grooves, insane shredding, and sheer electricity that is “Acid Rain”? When the band drops out of the initial metal charge into the wicked groove, watch our for Tony! On the opposite end of the intensity spectrum is the closer, the lovely “Hourglass”. It’s just acoustic guitar and piano — stately, gentle, pure. _Self-indulgent_ they may be, but you won’t see many other bands tackle such variety with equal songwriting craftiness. And that’s just two songs. “Biaxident” is a treasure as well, mixing up Latin influenced piano bits and chomping rock.The two longer tracks (that weren’t improvised) are great and good. “Another Dimension” is obliteratingly heavy at times, but playful at others — from the techno-like opening to the Parisian accordion fun. “When the Water Breaks” is the _excessive_ 16-minute epic that is little more than a musical amalgam of different rhythmic phases without unity. With more time and focus, the band probably could have made a stronger composition on the whole. It’s entertaining though, with some fabulous _epic_ riffs and persistently impressive interplay. “Chewbacca” is often the song people say they don’t like, but I think it’s quite good. I’m blown away that this, “Liquid Dreams”, and “914″ were all improvised (save some guitar overdubs on “Chewbacca”). “Chewbacca” is almost a therapeutic distraction, an hypnotizing cycle of ambiance and misty enchantment rendered in immaculate detail (whack guitar noises too). And remember…it was improvised! “Liquid Dreams” impresses even more — again, its excellence belies the fact that the band is playing off the top of its head. As impressive as Jordan Rudess is normally, when you consider that his beautiful piano playing is effortlessly pouring out of him, you’ll be even more amazed. Portnoy and Levin lay out some great grooves throughout, but I’d say the star of this one is the keyboard. “914″ is another improv jam with keys, bass, and drums. Tony Levin proves yet again that he is a true Paragon of the Groove Force, and the astoundingly versatile Portnoy proves he can fit into myriad styles easily. Where was Petrucci? His daughter was born during the LTE2 sessions, and he had to leave for a while. (This event gives “When the Water Breaks” its name.)Let’s hear it for self-indulgence. Unselfish songwriting is overrated.

    Posted on December 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Tony Levin, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci, and Jordan Rudess, put on an unmistakably awesome performance in this ‘experiment’. These guys should play together more often, well there is Dream Theater. There are many different styles demonstrated in this CD resulting in an ongoing abundance of exciting and technically challenging (to some people) unison lines, and improvisation:Track 1 – Acid Rain: Fast ‘acid’ rock with a guiar solo that is ‘out there’ and awesome. The keyboard also uses great sounds adding so much to the song.Track 2 – Biaxident: One can only guess that this title means something else, “By Accident”. In fact a great exploit of two extremes, mellow, and well you get the idea. The piano plays a major role in this track.Track 3 – 914: Starting off by featuring the bass player, 914 is an almost spooky song, but it is hard to describe. In fact it sounds like they had way too much fun performing this. I think there might be mmore bass drum in this song than anything else at times, excellent touch.Track 4 – Another Dimension: This song is definetely somewhere in another dimension, and if you like that sort of thing, then there is no question that you will like this song. Sounds almost like something that you would hear in a Mortal Kombat fight scene.Track 5 – When The Water Breaks: My personal favorite, I like to reffer to this song as, “The Lulluby Song”. I hope that is alright with the artists. This song starts with a baby crying and some nice lulluby music accompanied by strings, and then you are in for a rude awakening if you decide to fall asleep. The guitar lines in this track are by far my personal favorite.Track 6 – Chewbacca: If you don’t have the volume on your stereo turned up high enough on this song, you might not notice that the song has started. The beginning is rather faint. But if you stick it out, you will NOT be disappointed.Track 7 – Liquid Dreams: Most of this song is rather different from the majority of the rest of the CD, poviding a nice contrast. There is a lot of piano, and it is very soothing.Track 8 – Hourglass: My favorite headline, “Recorded live at 2:28 AM on Sunday, November 29th 1998″. This recording is very appropriate given when it was recorded. Also very soothing this song it just another outstanding addition to the album.Liquid Tension Experiment 2 is a ‘must have’ for any listener, as it is impossible to be disappointed with this selection.

    Posted on December 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I gotta admit, I was a bit leary of this album. 74 minutes of instrumental music is quite a gamble, even if it is the members of Dream Theater. But, being such a huge DT fan, I just had to buy it. And, I must say, this is a really great album. Ex-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin steps up for bass duties, and the fun begins. I guess I’ll just go through it song by song.1. Acid Rain- Very fast, intense opener. It stays pretty heavy throughout, but there are moments of beauty as well. One of the finest instrumentals ever.2. Biaxident- Much softer, with some very nice piano work from Jordan. The name comes from the drug Biaxin, which John was taking at the time because of migraine headaches.3. 914- An improv piece. Very laid-back, with a funky bass groove. Tony’s skills really stand out on this one.4. Another Dimension- Aptly titled. Very trippy song, with a crushingly heavy finish. At the end, one of the guys (it’s gotta be Mike) screams “Yeah, baby, yeah!”.5. When the Water Breaks- Very long song. During this, John had to leave, because his wife was giving birth, so he had to ga back and add his part to the rest. Very impressive he could do that. Not a lot of direction to this song, but it’s a thrilling ride.6. Chewbacca- Another improv. jam. Considered by many to be the weakest track, and I would have to agree. Starts off with a good riff, but it gets a bit boring in the middle. But, it picks up again by the end. All in all, pretty decent song.7. Liquid Dreams- Beautiful track. Very tranquil, with excellent piano work from Jordan. If you don’t think any living pianist can come close to Chopin and Mozart, this will change your mind. Mike was doped up on Nyquil during this song, so his playing is suprisingly restrained.8. Hourglass- Short little improv piece. Just piano and acoustic guitar. Very nice. It was kind of recorded as an afterthought at the very end of the session. Good move.As you can see, this is a great album. 74 minutes of musical bliss, and every instrument stands out. There’s also commentary in the liner notes from each member about each song. Cool idea. If you like Dream Theater, or just great musicianship in general, this is a good buy. They really need to make some videos for these songs, with some cool CG stuff. Something like Jan Hammer’s “Beyond the Mind’s Eye”. That would be too cool.Anyway, just buy this. You’ll love it.

    Posted on December 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now