Mr. Steven Siro Vai started his apprenticeship in the court of (the king) Frank Zappa, going on his first tour with Zappa in the autumn of 1980 after he did some guitar overdubs for Zappa’s album “You Are What You Is” and previously transcribe a number of Zappa’s guitar solos, including some on the “Joe’s Garage” album and the “Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar” series.
But Vai actually began playing guitar in 1973, at the age of 13, one year later he took guitar lessons from guitarist Joe Satriani, and attended the Berklee College of Music. Zappa referred to Vai as his “little Italian virtuoso” and listed him in the liner notes as performing “stunt guitar” “strat abuse” and “impossible guitar parts”. Vai featuring on over 20 Zappa’s records, but also on several David Lee Roth, Alcatrazz, G3 and contributed to one Whitesnake and one Public Image Ltd. album. I admit, I’m not an unconditional fan of his work, but have my preferences, I really love his Zappa fueled “Flex-Able” debut album and “Flex-Able Leftovers” EP, I was pretty excited about “Sex & Religion”, and, of course, the infamous “Album” by P.I.L. is one of my favorites. But, on the other hand, he pretty fucked up the 89’s Whitesnake “Slip of the Tongue” album where he definitively over-played the guitar and his virtuoso style really do not fit it in.
He’s eighth studio album, “The Story Of Light” which was released on August 14, 2012 on Favored Nations, somehow take us back to the “Flex-Able” feel and vibe, but incorporating smartly all the other Vai’s achievements collected along the way from 1984 till now and building a smooth musical bridge from “Flex-Able” to his 2005’s “Real Illusions: Reflections”.
Vai managed to merged the past experiences into his own future, delivering an ageless, colorful, intense, in some moments definitively contorted and complex, but still groovy and enjoyable Rock album. And against all my skepticism, there is some Magic in his music. “Mullach A’tSi” have some really gorgeous harp played by Deborah Henson-Conant and Vai proves lots of gentleness; the traditional Gospel/Blues “John The Revelator/Book of the Seven Seals” takes a totally different direction and got a different meaning here; “The Moon and I” have a more intimate feel with some extremely sparkling solos; “Creamsicle Sunset” have those typical talking guitar parts which are pure Magic; while “Gravity Storm” is an absolute classic Rock anthem.
This is a mature, compact Rock album by a complex, sometimes eccentric, sometimes egocentric, but very gifted guitarist. His fans will love it, but worth at least a listen for anybody who’s open-minded and interested in some not trend connected music.
01 – The Story of Light
02 – Velorum
03 – John the Revelator
04 – Book of the Seven Seals
05 – Creamsicle Sunset
06 – Gravity Storm
07 – Mullach A’tSi
08 – The Moon and I
09 – Weeping China Doll
10 – Racing the World
11 – No More Amsterdam
12 – Sunshine Electric Raindrops