Now and then, someone gets the luminous idea to put together a few people from existing bands, thus calling into being a group like Black Light Syndrome or, indeed, Liquid Tension Experiment. In the latter case we're talking of a band consisting of Mike "Dream Theater" Portnoy (drums), John "Dream Theater" Petrucci (guitar), Tony "King Crimson" Levin (bass; he was also in the Black Light Syndrome project) and Jordan "Rudess-Morgenstein Project" Rudess (keyboards).

What we have here is 70 minutes of instrumental and partly improvised music, committed to tape within the span of week. Mixed by Kevin Shirley (know from Aerosmith and Dream Theater's latest, "Falling into Infinity"), all the instruments sounds crisp and clear. And also when it comes to the actual compositions, there is no hint at the fact that recording and writing only took a week - if it weren't for Mike Portnoy's illuminatory story in the CD liner notes.

The songs - as may be expected - are generally long, really complex, and very interesting to listen to. I mean, these four guys are really talented and it shows. Nothing commercial about the songs, either, which is something of a relief after the rather polished "Falling into Infinity".

Liquid Tension Experiment improves every time you listen to it. Especially songs like "Paradigm Shift" and "Universal Mind" have incredible growing power. The final song, a 23-minute improvised musical extravaganza, apart from self-indulgence showcases incredible musicianship.

It's amazing that such projects are still possible. Mike Varney, who was the catalyst for this project, should get a monument somewhere.

Click here to check out or buy this CD



Written May 1998


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