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Sound Theories Vol. I & II

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 26, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

After more than 20 years, Steve Vai continues to use unbridled guitar virtuosity and soulful artistry to explore the spectrum of human emotion. This nine-time Grammyr nominee and two-time winner creates a sound all his own by striking a balance between technical ability and poetic phrasing. Steve first stepped into the spotlight in 1980 as a guitarist in Frank Zappa's band. Since then he has played with other musicians including David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Ozzy Osborne, Public Image Limited, and Alice Cooper. These influences have had a profound effect on him and it shows in the music. Sound Theories Vol. 1 & 2 consists of orchestral music and other rich compositional pieces that Steve has written. Vai was commissioned to compose an hour of music for the Metropole Orkest in Holland but ended up putting together an exceptional two hours of quality work and on disc 1 of this 2-disc masterpiece, Steve Vai himself performs his own guitar parts with the orchestra. This new album is sure to impress the masses as it highlights some of Steve Vai's best work.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: June 26, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Epic/RED
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • ASIN: B000QFCCV4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,542 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Bromage on November 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Usually when you see a guitarist put out an album recorded with an orchestra, you can roll your eyes and laugh at the sheer arrogance of the whole thing. When you boil it all down, those albums are just overbearing wankery, used only to show off how cool the guy thinks he is.
Not this time. There is GENUINE MUSIC on these two CD's. This set really shows off Steve Vai as what he is - A COMPOSER. His music translates remarkably well to the orchestra. The pieces were very obviously lovingly, painstakingly arranged. If you've never heard Steve's music before and heard these versions, you'd think they were always meant to be played that way. "Salamanders In The Sun" is a perfect example. WOW.
I've seen some people whine about CD #2 not having Steve playing on it. They need a wake up call. Even though Steve is not on the stage, you can still hear him loud and clear. He is, after all, a composer.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
WIll not say much other than if one really likes the quality and overall energy inducing mode of Vai's other works, this one might be a bit disappointing...that is, if that's what one is looking for. I've listened to it a few times..but nothing about it is particularly catchy right off the bat or even after a few tries. Will keep listening though, since it's in the rotating multi-CD changer ...from time to time. So far, I rated a miss.
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Format: Audio CD
Many reviewers, not unlike one guitar magazine in particular, got it all backwards when they claimed that Steve simply "jumped on the band wagon" of rock musicians deciding to have their music orchestrated: Steve's music has ALWAYS been envisioned as orchestral, symphonic music.

He has stated in interviews dating back to the early/mid 1980's that his recordings were only limited by the amount of tracks (some pieces on Flex-Able, for example, were recorded on analog 8-track). One need only listen to the orchestration and lyrical writing of SALAMANDERS IN THE SUN from Vai's 1984's FLEX-ABLE to realize he was not simply writing "rock" compositions. How many 22 year olds do you know who could afford to hire an orchestra?

Having been listening to Steve since he played with Zappa, and been obsessed with his compositions since 1985 (when the original BLUE POWDER demo was released as a SoundPage in GUITAR PLAYER magazine) I was THRILLED to learn, in 2006, that Steve was finally going to realize his compositions the way they originally came to him from as far back as age 17.

(He recently told me he wrote ANSWERS in his bedroom at the age of 17.)

As stated above, SOUND THEORIES VOL 1, is not Steve jumping on any band wagon. The first, and most important distinction is that HE orchestrated and wrote the music himself, some pieces later tweaked by Tom Trapp and Chris Opperman. Anyone who knows anything about Steve knows that, as early as age 18, he was hired to transcribe music for Frank Zappa--music that Frank himself could not transcribe. And, as stated in Guitar Player in 1983, Steve modernized music notation by creating new symbols and marks in order to fit Zappa's polyphonic excursions onto the clefs.
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By jimmy Y. on January 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is AWFUL!! I love Vai's music, and as usual his guitar is the greatest. But where the idea came for this arranged marriage... Like, "oh yah, let's join screaming metal guitar with kettle drums and oboes and lots of brass, I don't why nobody thought of this yet" I'll tell you why: because it is awful. I listened to it every day for ten days and still the only enjoyable part was the guitar. Guess what? I already have the guitar music on the original CDs, although the recording of the crowd is great, as if I'm in a Roman Coliseum, lots of roaring. This album has a lot of five star reviews, but the fact that it costs new more than $20 before shipping fees, but second-hand goes for $8 (for a double album)may suggest that a lot of other people wonder about its value. If you liked Robert Plant singing "All of My Love" you'll like this.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting for music like this my whole life! I would have to say, it's way off the spectrum of what most people expected, but I heard a little bit of the tracks before it was released, so I had some idea of what was coming. Honestly, this is my favorite Steve Vai album. It is very different, and almost challenging to listen to in parts, but that's why I like it. It's music that isn't the same recycled chops, and ideas that you've gotten tired of. Think of most instrumental musicians, solo guitarists, and think how they so rarely reinvent themselves. I think this album was a big risk, but worth every cent you might spend on it!
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