Release Date: Jun 26, 2007
Label: Epic/Red Ink
Genres: Instrumental Rock/Classical
Number Of Tracks: 17
Steve has taken his absolutely amazing writing skills for orchestra and not only transcribed old pieces but composed new ones as well.
Sound Theories: Vol. I & II
UG Team, on august 01, 2007 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: The first half of the album is Vai doing his older material, with the Metropole Orchestra playing all the other parts. This section of the album features classics by Vai such as The Attitude Song, Liberty, and the awe-inspiring For The Love Of God. Listening to the tracks with an orchestra really is a treat for Vai fans, and is an interesting break from the rock aspect of Vai's music. The second half of the album are all classical compositions written by Steve. His true musical genius shows, and I now have a whole new respect for him as a composer. There are many classical elements, ranging from modern classical on tracks like Shadows And... as well as jazzier tunes like Bledsoe Blvd. There is even a violin solo on the track Sparks. Overall, though, I am thoroughly impressed. It's true that I won't listen to this album millions of times, but the tracks are thoroughly enjoyable. Give it a shot if you like Vai or classical music. The tracks are great, and are very listenable. The work of a genius is clearly apparent. Either way, though, the album will not remain in constant play as often as other Vai CDs, with the exception of the hardcore fans. Worth a few listens, though, definitely. // 8
Lyrics: Well, for one thing, it's all instrumental, so there's not much to hear in this category. However, I am a fan of Vai's voice, and would have liked to hear it. Though, I guess, his vocals would not have been appropriate in a classical setting. // 8
Overall Impression: When I heard about Sound Theories for the first time, I just knew I had to have a copy. Being a guitarist, I am absolutely stunned by both his incredible technical skill and his songwriting skills. He has truly bridged a gap between two musical worlds that I love, classical and instrumental rock. Vai brings both his chops as a guitarist and his work as an accomplished musician to the table. Let us not forget that Vai has been composing since at least high school; he recounts in high school that he had a teacher that would have him compose one piece a day. He then furthered his studies at Berklee College, studying music theory and in the process meeting some of today's most technically accomplished musicians and eventually transcribing music for the late Frank Zappa. The inner genius/freak (in a good way) that is Steve Vai truly bears all in this musical masterpiece; he has taken the core aspects of his songs and not only portrayed them in a softer, classical light, but has also added his own touches here and there on guitar, sounds that are unmistakably Steve Vai. I will admit, I was taken aback at first, as it is not the traditional Vai-esque music I am used to. But, after a few listens, the tracks grew on me. Once again, it's not addictive to the point where you can't get the tracks out of your head, but it will definitely make at least occasional appearances in your playlists. // 8
Sound Theories: Vol. I & II
CaptainSBDA, on august 01, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Well, this is just more than a first for Steve Vai. This is a bold step for any musician to take. To team up with one of the world's greatest orchestras (Holland's Metropole Orkest) is an accomplishment for anyone, but especially for Mr. Vai. He does brilliantly here. The first disc are his classics done with an orchestra and him on guitar, and the second disc are compositions he wrote for an orchestra being performed (Without him on guitar.) The feel of and sound is epic. From the epic take on "Kill the Guy With the Ball" to the dark "The Murder" and to the brilliant, peaceful "Gentle Ways," this has got it all. And the second disc has got the nice orchestra feel that is big and bold. // 10
Lyrics: As I and many hardcore Vai fans have said, Steve doesn't need lyrics, the guitar paints the lyrics for itself. However, that doesn't go without saying that some of his vocal selections should have been chosen for this album. Could you imagine his brillaint songs like "All About Eve" or "Firewall" done with an orchestra? And better yet, his peaceful ballad "I'll Be Around" would have been a nice peaceful selection. But above all of this, the song that should have truly been on here is "Under it All." One of Vai's boldest, brashest epics done with an orchestra? Now that's real music right there! // 9
Overall Impression: For the first disc, I'll go track-by-track:
01. Kill The Guy With The Ball - this song is good, but disappointing. The actual "Kill the Guy With the Ball" part lasts only 1:38. The first two minutes or so are just a warmup. Plus, the song doesn't feel the same without the crazed vocals in the beginning. But, for the 1:38 of the song, it rocks.
02. The God Eaters - it's OK, it's a little too short.
03. The Murder Prolouge - unecessary, in my opinion. They should have just made "The Murder" ten minutes long instead of wasting a track for a short 1:18 intro.
04. The Murder - better than the original. The original was a little too much of a dark jam session, and this orchestrated version really adds to it.
05. Gentle Ways - this track has grown on me, and I have come to conclude that this is the best song on the first disc. It is brillaintly done, far better than the original. This should have been the seventh song, in my opinion. Strong track.
06. Answers - awesome! This is one of the major highlights. The original is a top ten Vai classic, and this orchestra version absolutely rules (The G3 with Eric Johnson contains the best version of this song).
07. I'm Becoming - this is the seventh song? This is just Steve noodling around on his guitar for two minutes. It's cool, but for the famed seventh slot it's a lot less than expected.
08. Salamanders In The Sun - great; better than the weird original track. This gets rid of the Zappa feeling that was prominent in the original. As many have said, this sounds like it was first made for an orchestra.
09. Liberty - this song is MADE for an orchestra; this version is great. It sort of loses the "New National Anthem" feel but it's still very good.
10. The Attitude Song - the orchestra adds a whole new great feel to this Vai classic. This isn't as good as the originial version, but it's still great.
11. For The Love Of God - good finish and the best version of this song. I wasn't a big fan of the original (I know saying that is like pure evil to all of you diehards like me, but hey, everyone has their different taste), so this is truly a great improvement.
Now, for the second disc, I will just sum up. Steve is a brilliant composer. This whole disc is amazing. This shows that he is truly the best musical genius in the world. These songs are so brilliantly performed but they are also brilliantly written. All of the songs are good, with the exception of "Sparks" (the song is basically just a violin playing the whole time). The highlights here are "Shadows And..." "Frangelica Pt. 2" and "Bledsoe Blvd." "Shadows And..." is probably the best song on both discs. If you notice, the song has a main melody, but it also goes off into some Vai classics. It's truly an amazing track. The only negatives are that the second disc, while amazing, slightly lacks without Vai's playing, and on the first disc the orchestra sometimes overpowered Vai. Overall, it's far from Vai's best, but as originality goes this is probably number one. The orchestra is brilliant as is Vai. I paid far too much for this CD off of the Seenon preorder, but after getting the meet and greet pass and listening to this disc in the end it all was worth it. I hope, however, the next disc by Vai is a studio album. // 10