Exposé Online banner

Liquid Tension Experiment — Liquid Tension Experiment
(Magna Carta MA-9023-2, 1998, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1998-07-01

Liquid Tension Experiment Cover art

Having lost interest in Dream Theater after their second album many years ago, this writer wasn’t certain what to expect from an instrumental collaboration between two guys from that band (guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy), bassist / Stickmeister Tony Levin (with a list of credits and collaborations probably second only to Bruford), and Jordan Rudess, keyboardist on recent Dregs tours and one half of the Rudess Morgenstein Project (reviewed elsewhere in this issue). A half minute into the opening cut “Paradigm Shift” my worst fears seemed to be confirmed — relentless double-bass drum thumping and hundred-note-per-second amelodic guitar runs, with bass and keyboards mixed well into the background. Fortunately, about four minutes into this tune things turn really nice and pretty much stay that way for the rest of this seventy-four minute disc — the keys and bass come in to share the spotlight and the guitar finds a more melodic sense of purpose — It’s sort of like these bad boys had to get the metal out of their system on the first track. The balance of the album works a variety of instrumental landscapes from stratospheric guitar rock (“Freedom of Speech”) and melodic instrumental ballads (“State of Grace”) to jazz tinged funk (“The Stretch”) and ethnic ensemble work (“Osmosis”), with outstanding writing and playing by all. While the melodic work is fairly straightforward, and nothing here is particularly complex, the melodies are nonetheless solid and memorable, and delivered with a passion that seems missing from much of the so-called progressive rock of today. All players here seem to know how and when to back off and give the others their space to perform, a level of professionalism that is refreshing. The album closes with the smokin’ half-hour improvisation “Three Minute Waning” (indexed into five parts), where everyone gets a chance to show their best stuff and self-indulge a bit. Overall, Liquid Tension Experiment is at least on par with last years’ Magna Carta supergroup Black Light Syndrome. Recommended.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 15, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Tony Levin, Liquid Tension Experiment, Jordan Rudess

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Incandescent Sky - Paths and Angles – Since their second release Glorious Stereo (reviewed in #28), Incandescent Sky has further carved out an identifiable niche for themselves in the guitar-driven jammy instrumental progressive style....  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues