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The Story of Light

4.2 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'The Story of Light', a new solo album of original material by virtuoso guitarist and visionary composer Steve Vai. The title comes out on Favored Nations Entertainment, the label Vai founded in 1999. Its sprawling and expressive 12-song set continues a conceptual and cosmic narrative arc begun on the artist's acclaimed 2005 album 'Real Illusions: Reflections'.

Throughout, three-time Grammy winner Vai's lead guitar is as lyrically resonant as it is technically masterful, his licks and solos bending sounds and in listeners' minds in equal measure. 'The Story of Light' follows the journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment, and redemption.

'I m always pursuing knowledge. I'm a seeker of spiritual equilibrium and music is a big part of that,' says Vai. 'I've been obsessed with these kinds of ideas for years.'
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 14, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Favored Nations
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • ASIN: B008ANFRGQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,647 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As usual, Steve covers a lot of ground here....everything from big gospel-choir Blues, Broadway showtunes, Irish traditional music as well as a huge dose of his own incomparable style.

I get the same 'return to form' feeling as I did with Satriani's 'Black Holes and Wormhole Wizards'. I hadn't been really wowed by Joe's previous few releases until Wizards took up all my listening time for a month or two. Similarly, I didn't find a great deal on Real Illusions that I kept returning to, but 'Story of Light' is fantastic.
I've listened to it about a half dozen times all the way through so far, so I'll add my early impressions. I'm giving this 5 stars no problem for the overall consistency and the many WOW moments. Overall, very melodic and creative but it'll take many more listens to hear all the rest of the stuff Steve has crammed into each track.

The Story of Light: Opens up big and euphoric, has a great melody and solo.

Velorum: Massive opening riff, but settles into a gorgeous melody. Lots of light and dark passages. Steve's blazing on this.

John the Revelator: First surprise of the disc, starts off with scratchy old vinyl blues track, enter huge riff...then Beverly McClennan (??) just kills on the vocal, awesome. Reminds me of the choir before the Cutting Heads duel from 'Crossroads'.

Book of the Seven Seals: I've read many interviews where Steve is raving about West Side Story and Leonard Bernstein, so I guess this is what comes out when he writes a Broadway tune. Perfectly sequenced after Revelator, and I'm surprised how much I like it, not being a fan of showtunes.

Creamsicle Sunset: Little bit of 'Call It Sleep' and a little bit of 'Tender Surrender', beautiful melody.
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Steve Vai is one of the most amazing guitar players and composers of all time and The Story Of Light is his new album that unleashes his intense skills for our musical enjoyment. Like most albums from Steve Vai, The Story Of Light is an artwork from a musician aiming to achieve the best he is capable of both in creativity and performance. Steve Vai surrounds himself with awesome musicians that bring life to his musical creations rather than trying to take the glory all himself. On this album he has got amazing drumming from Jeremy Colson who also nailed the previous Steve Vai album, groove master and technician Philip Bynoe on bass, and long time collaborator Dave Weiner also helping on guitar. The performances are stunning, the sound and production is huge, but most importantly the music is unique and although it hits you immediately there are lots of layers to discover with repeat listening. Picking highlights is pointless in an album of this quality so all I can say is listen to this album if you are a fan of guitar virtuosity that focuses on creating memorable music. Steve Vai you are going to be remembered for what you have achieved in this life...
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Vai is one of the most innovative and original guitarists of the past 20 years, no doubt, but with this release he sounds like he quietly slipping away into his retirement years. It is an aged & mature Vai that is presented here. He is no longer interested in impressing the masses as much as he is playing what sounds soothing to his aged ears. We should not expect to hear Vai to ever duplicate Passion or Alien Love Secrets or Fire Garden ever again; to do so would be unrealistic and foolish.

Some of the best tracks are "John the Revalator" (which is the best cover I have heard of the song), "Gravity Storm", "The Moon and I" and "Weeping China Doll" everything else sounds like filler material that could've been better placed on a b-side album. Instead of finding hot envelope pushing & innovative guitar playing, you will find serene sound-scapes with matured cerebral songwriting. Vai has his moments, of course, but his best days are behind him. If you are looking for modern envelope pushers check out Animals as Leaders, Behold....The Arctopus, Ron Jarzombek & Guthrie Govan. I would recommend this for die-hard Vai fans only. I am glad I didn't purchase it.
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When Vai gets self-indulgent, he doesn't play a 10-minute wanky guitar solo. Instead, he goes new age and starts writing bad show tunes. This is always the under-current of his worst material. Unfortunately, there is a bit too much of this self-indulgence on this record.

At his best, Vai can't be touched as a guitarist or a musician. The tones on this record are *REALLY* astoundingly beautiful. There are a couple of standout songs that have Vai at his best, but the voice-over on the opening track is infuriatingly distracting, the whole "John the Revelator" business is about 10 minutes too long, and the Creamsicle song draws a bit too heavily from Zappa.

It's a decent album - Vai would have to try pretty hard to COMPLETELY blow it. But it's definitely not his strongest.

Since I bought the deluxe edition, I'll add a few words about the DVD.

The documentary is bizarre and makes me squirm in my seat. The interviews are completely staged. It starts out okay, if a little cheesey, and then suddenly devolves into some SERIOUS over-sharing on Vai's part. I appreciate that he wanted to open up to his fans, but this is not the way to do it. It is totally self-absorbed, feels extremely disingenuous, and as I mentioned, makes the viewer very uncomfortable. I cannot imagine what sort of person would watch it more than once for anything other than anthropological purposes.
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