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Liquid Tension Experiment

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  • This instrumental album is one of the greatest that I’ve ever heard. It’s just absolutely amazing. The album opens with a blast of music that shows just how fast those guitars, keyboards and drums can go. “Paradigm Shift” continues with a bunch of unison runs bewteen Petrucci and Rudess. The entire song features solo after solo between the keyboards and guitar. And the drum part just stays right in there with it all. “Osmosis” is based around the bass part and everyone else jamming on it. It’s a nice song that drastically contrasts the first piece. “Kindred Spirits” is a guitar-led piece that is pretty cool. The next piece, “The Stretch,” is the shortest on the album, but it’s cool. The song has Rudess soloing over a drum and bass groove. “Freedom of Speech” is the “power-ballad” of the album. It has a very Dream Theater-sound to it. Good stuff. The next song is my favorite. “Chirs and Kevin’s Excellent Adventure.” It really shows the band’s sense of humor, having a drum and bass riff with “vocal overdubs” that are just goofy. I really like it. “State of Grace” is a guitar-keyboard duet that is very good. “Universal Mind” is another speed-demon piece. Fast and furious, with such a cool ending. With having less than a week to write and record the whole album (Sept 20 through Sept 25, 1997), the epic of this project ends up being a 28:31-long jam session that was recorded and included in its entirety. This entire piece was improvised, starting off with the guys just messing around with stuff. Nothing really starts until the drum beat gets put down, then the keyboards get into it. The guitar comes in as the jam continues. Part 2 starts with a guitar lead that the rest build off of. The music dies down, but only until the drums start again with another groove. And I think that beat involves Portnoy playing 5’s with the bass while keeping a good snare beat on 2 and 4. Part 3 is another change, building into a cool guitar solo. It’s amazing how the guitars and keyboards are able to stay together despite all of these changes. Part 4 is cool, too. It starts with a keyboards solo over a cool groove, then it’s time for another great guitar solo. Part 5 starts out slower, with good keyboard part. Then the guitars and bass drum start trading rhythms. The question-answer part between the guitar and keyboard is just amazing. The jam session ends as it starts, in a note-filled nebula of sound. “I believe that will suffice for a record. Alright, send it to Varney. As is.”

    Posted on January 7, 2010