Fans of Liquid Tension Experiment will feel absolutely compelled to grab this CD. I would strongly advise against viewing it as LTE # 3, because it is not that. It isn’t even ‘LTE 2-Part 2.’ Instead we are treated to a whole NEW group… and that is a GREAT thing! The 13 songs on this release were recorded when Liquid Tension Experiment 2 was in pre-production by Tony Levin(b)/Mike Portnoy(d)/Jordan Rudess(k) while John Petrucci’s wife went into premature labor. So, one birth turned into two! Enter, LIQUID TRIO EXPERIMENT!
Portnoy has a brief liner note attached that claims that it is raw; no overdubs, editing or mixing since the original master tapes went missing. The CD was created from his personal live 2-track stereo DAT mixes. (IMHO, they sound absolutely terrific!) The final product is “just three guys, their instruments, and their spontaneous imaginations feeding off of each other!” While I believe this statement to be true, some outline ‘map work’ is present in the CD inlay.
Each improv is an absolute treat to listen to. This group relies more on atmosphere or groove as opposed to the shredding found on the original LTE CDs. Honestly, the closest band(s) that I can compare this release to would be the fractal ProjeKcts that Tony Levin’s band King Crimson released in the late 90s – right around the time that these songs were recorded in 1998. (ProjeKct One: Live at the Jazz Cafe ProjeKct Two: Space Groove ProjeKct Three: Projekct Three – Masque ProjeKct Four: West Coast Live)
If you dig The ProjeKcts, then ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ is a must have.