Steve Vai – The Story Of Light (2012)

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”. Read more Steve Vai – The Story Of Light (2012)

Cosmonauts Day – Paths of The Restless (2011)

I closed my review about their debut live-demo EP saying that I’m looking forward to listen to their whole album and it seems this is one of the very few wishes that actually comes true.
Cosmonaut Day delivering a quite unique mixture of post-rock, stoner/sludge metal and space/progressive rock with some exotic aromas, original structures and harmonies and exciting rhythmic and grooves. “Name your price” means that you can download their album even for free from Bandcamp page, but I believe all these underground bands from all over the world who delivering quite exciting alternatives for the boring and predictable mainstream products deserves our full support and eventually every penny counts. Read more Cosmonauts Day – Paths of The Restless (2011)

Matt Stevens – Relic (2011)

I admit, I didn’t listen to Matt Stevens previous works and quite honestly, I’m kind of “scared” of instrumental rock music because generally speaking it’s quite predictable and boring. Obviously this is not a “politically (or ethically) correct” supposition, but still, don’t matter how sad it is, it’s still true. Well, Matt seems to be very determined to prove me otherwise and listen to “Relic”, his third and latest solo release, I had the surprise to discover that we think and feel in very similar ways about music even if we came from and we’re chosen to go down on different paths. And there’s another fact too: I hate guitar solos as well, because – again, generally speaking – they are nothing, but tasteless fill-ups and egocentric showing-ups. Last, but not at least, I defies genres. There’s nothing stupider than imprisoning yourself in some particular box. And Matt Stevens defies genres as well, his music is colorful, borderless and ageless, breathing and very alive, spacy and intense, subtle and powerful. The bottom line is that Matt delivering music and not only some “musical product” or some “background noise for a few moments of our life”. Matt plays straight from his heart to our soul. Matt’s play seems effortless and joyful, playful and still profound, very expressive. Much more, you can download even for free – “name your price” – “Relic” from Matt’s Bandcamp page, Read more Matt Stevens – Relic (2011)

Stellardrive – ERS-4 Speak, Memory (2010)

Built upon post-rock/post-hardcore structures, Stellardrive juggling between heavy and noisy elements and quieter, smoother, but pretty gloomy moments. If life is a labyrinth and we should have a musical background for it, well, this might be one of the proper options.
Stellardrive is an instrumental quintet from from Besançon, France created in 2005. The band initiated the ERS series in 2005, with two EPs “ERS-1” in 2005 and “ERS-2” in 2007 (digital releases), grouped on their first physical release “Omega Point” (Le Sonotone Rec., Impure Muzik, Inter-Over, Believe) in 2007. The third EP “ERS-3: ECOTONE”, both physical and digital released, was out in 2008. “ERS-4 Speak, Memory” was released in September 2010 and continue the exploration of the boundaries of the music delivering another beautiful piece of their music puzzle. Read more Stellardrive – ERS-4 Speak, Memory (2010)

Amnesis – The Pier (2011)

Terry Gilliam’s film, “12 Monkeys” (1995) was inspired by, and takes several concepts directly from the pretty obscure French film “La jetée” made in 1962 by Chris Marker and known in English as “The Jetty” or “The Pier.” The film, by the way: black and white, runs for 28 minutes and the plot is quite simple, the main character – appears as “The Man” – is a prisoner in the aftermath of the Third World War, in a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Paris where survivors live underground in the Palais de Chaillot galleries. Scientists research time travel, hoping to send test subjects to different time periods “to call past and future to the rescue of the present”. They have difficulty finding subjects who can mentally withstand the shock of time travel, but eventually settle upon the prisoner, whose key to the past is a vague but obsessive childhood memory of a woman (who features obviously as “The Woman”) during an incident where a man was killed on the boarding platform (the jetty) at Orly Airport. Read more Amnesis – The Pier (2011)

Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment Then I Was Gone (2011)

I’m not quite a big fan of instrumental rock music, perhaps because I get into rock music and I spent over a decade spiting into the microphone, but this “I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone”, the third album by Maybeshewill, band from Leicester, U.K. formed in 2005, it’s quite impressive. They play a sort of post-rock, pretty gloomy themes, but in a quite charming way, and they using programmed and sampled electronic elements alongside acoustic and electronic instruments. Maybeshewill has seen a number of musicians come and go, but core members Robin Southby on guitar, John Helps on guitar and James Collins on drums have been with the band since their first tour and album. On bass currently is Jamie Ward.
They might be compared by some with Mogwai, but Maybeshewill’s music is more intense, powerful, in a particular way more rock oriented, but also much more colorful, I would say deeper. Comparisons have also been made with Sigur Rós, but once again, Maybeshewill sounds much heavier I think, they have stronger rock roots and their music is not that spacy, soundscape and soundtrack/cinematic like. Read more Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment Then I Was Gone (2011)

Schedule Of No Plan – Oh, These Indistinct Years of You (2011)

This is the second EP made by Nick Steinborn from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and you can get both of them from his Bandcamp page. Just as he says, he “decided to write an album for the ..RPM Challenge”. Well, this is an interesting trip into the instrumental/experimental, math rock/post rock area of the music and Nick actually done a pretty good job, he wrote and recorded a couple of interesting themes and maybe the time is right to step forward and transform this solo project into a real band. As I said, these songs are a solid starting point to take off, the four new tracks sounds clean, congealed, gloomy ambiental layers and textures are overlapping some good guitar riffs, dark and heavy passages or subtle, smooth melodies. Dark, but sparking, this is a nice, refreshing trip. Read more Schedule Of No Plan – Oh, These Indistinct Years of You (2011)