Liquid Tension Experiment - Liquid Tension Experiment 2

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9035-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 77:53:00

Yowza!! It's going to be a bumpy night. Step into the car, keep all arms and hands inside, because Liquid Tension Experiment are going to take you on one wild roller coaster ride: Swoops, dives, upside down, inside out, to the end of the universe and back. And that's just for the first track, "Acid Rain." This is one acid that'll fry your face off and leave you wanting more.

I'm not one given to too much hyperbole, except when I'm being deliberately hyperbolic. This time, it ain't no hyperbole folks. This is exciting, lively, energetic ... hell, exercise to this and you'll be a toothpick in a minute. This is music for the autobahn!

Track two, "Biaxident" is very lyrical keyboard led piece that wouldn't seem out of place on a Craig Chaquico disc, if Craig also played keys. Sure, there's the rock element in there, too, about midway through. John Petrucci's guitar playing here is stellar, smooth and sleek. And Rudess' playing? Excellent. He's more up front than on their first collaboration, and this makes me excited to hear the next Dream Theater disk (for those of you who don't know yet, Rudess has joined DT, last I heard). And to get other Rudess material in here pronto.

"Another Dimension" is another tour de force excursion through textures and some excellent examples of musicianship. On one stop along the way, we linger over an accordion passage segueing into a guitar passage, and then we're on the move again. In a way, you can describe each and every track as a tour de force - they don't sound the same, mind you, but ... but when your jaw has dropped to the floor in awe, you can't get too many words out, maybe a just a few grunts as you try to catch your breath. (Okay, now I'm picturing Jim Carrey as "The Mask," eyes out, tongue out ... well ... Yowwwwzaaa!)

"When The Water Breaks" and "Chewbacca" are the longest tracks here at 16:58 and 13:35, respectively, while the shortest is "914" at 4:01. What all that means is that you get more than enough LTE for your money. This almost blows their first disc away, and yet it doesn't because the two are so different that they are ... well, think of of them as a two disc set.

Now, for those who don't know who LTE are, they are Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Bozzio Levin and Stevens ... more) on Chapman Stick and three parts of Dream Theater, John Petrucci (guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums) and Jordan Rudess (keys).

There's a passage during "Chewbacca" where Levin's stick percolates and thrums darkly, ominously, leading to shimmering, subtle guitar. There are even moments Petrucci's guitar gets into a Zeppelin-esque groove.

"Liquid Dreams" is very ... well ... liquid sounding, the instruments bob and float about each other, at one moment the guitar and keys coming up for air, next the drums and bass, only to sink below again. All this helped by the buoyant rhythm of Portnoy's drums and Levin's bass (stick). Though, there is a passage near the beginning that is perhaps the least effective part, sounding a little crowded and convoluted as Rudess' keys play in one direction and Petrucci's guitar in another, all at mid-tempo. There are occasions when they're in sync, but since both instruments seem up front ... oh, then there's this strange ... liquid sound, for lack of a better term. And an xylophone-esque passage. Imagine some 3D digiscape, all neon colors and reflective metals and glass, floating atop a sea - Blade Runner meets Venice (Italy).

"Hourglass" is a very beautiful, sedate, and pleasantly haunting track, that reminded me of Dan Fogelberg's "Longer." This track is just (!) Rudess and Petrucci on piano and acoustic guitar respectively. You've come back from the end of the universe, the ride has ended, the sun is setting, sinking beneath the horizon, giving everything that early summer evening apricot glow, and you are reflecting on what a grand adventure you've just had.

Highly recommended.

Well? What are you waiting for?

Acid Rain (6:35) / Biaxident (7:40) / 914 (4:01) / Another Dimension (9:50) / When the Water Breaks (16:58) / Chewbacca (13:35) / Liquid Dreams (10:48) / Hourglass (4:26)

Tony Levin - Chapman Stick and bass guitar
John Petrucci - guitars
Mike Portnoy - drums and percussion
Jordan Rudess - keyboards

Liquid Tension Experiment (1998)
Liquid Tension Experiment 2 (1999)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 1120
Language: english


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