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Tony Levin - Levin, Torn, White CD (album) cover


Tony Levin

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Jesus CHRIST! This is one of the best things I have heard in quite awhile. The chops are beyond reproach, and I can truly say that I have rarely ever heard Alan White play like this. Tony goes for broke, and Torn does that he does best, which is create canvases of guitar sound. The songs sound like they were improvisations, or based on small motifs that they them just riffed on. I have no fixed favorites yet, but to my mind they are all inter-related. Musically, it could be (sort of) described as Crimson-ish ECM noise jazz with John Lennon's drummer! (ha ha). White is the real deal here. As I said, I have not heard him play like this forever! And certainly not this kind of music! You guys (and Girls) are gonna LOVE it! 5 stars!
Report this review (#541064)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Review originally posted at

When musicians of this quality gather for a new project, one cannot help but listen to it, knowing that it would have something interesting to share. I know it is not good to have prejudices, but if you hear the names of Tony Levin, David Torn and Alan White, you cannot expect anything but a pleasant listening. And I was right, the album did not let me down at all. But be careful because this is an instrumental album that is not for everyone, so if you are a pure vocal lover, this might not be for you, otherwise you will have a great time.

The Levin-Torn-White album saw the light of day this year (2011) via Lazy Bones Recordings, and comprises fourteen songs that make a total time of 55 minutes, worth of every listen, as you can imagine. The songs are not really long, oscillating from 1:30 to 5:30 minutes. The references to King Crimson or Yes may be obvious due to the musicians in this project, and it does have some moments that will remind you of them, however, the sound is not really what you would think. Here the experimental side of Torn's guitars produces rich textures that give the music a different style and direction.

The album kicks off with "No Warning Lights" which is a two minute introductory track, with some explosive moments and chaotic tunes. "Ultra Mullet" has that wonderful stick that Levin always provides, this is one of those moments that reminds us to King Crimson, however, the song changes and that experimental and even noisy side of guitars adds its grain of sand, giving the track a new direction.

"White Noise" actually sounds like the title suggest, or at least I could relate the music to that metaphoric name, which could also be related to the drummer's playing style, which is always clean, constant and challenging. "The Hood Fell" is a quirky and accomplished track, with cool guitars and great musicianship that creates a high amount of textures and nuances.

With "Monkey Mind" you can close your eyes and transport yourself to another realm and create your own story. It has at first a soft and atmospheric sound, which later morphs into a tense and even chaotic tune. This is a track I like a lot. And what I like most is that the song that follows is"Cheese it, the Corpse", which happens to be another of my favorite moments, so this particular two-song combo is probably my best loved part of the album. This track perfectly sums up this Levin-Torn-White sound, with an eclectic and experimental side that should please fans of progressive rock.

"Convergence" is another wonderful track. More atmospheric, relaxing but at the same time tense. The music flows but not only on this track, but on the whole album, so even though you understand when a new song begins, all of them are part of a puzzle - so it is like a 55- minute track divided into 14 pieces. "Pillowful of Dark" as you can imagine has that obscure sound, like being in an unknown place and being worried about the road you will take because you are afraid of being wrong. Well, the music is a matter of subjectivity, so I imagine other people have quite different mind representations.

"The Eggman Cometh" is the sorter track that sounds like pure improvisations with cool drums, atmospheric guitars and nice bass notes. On the other hand, "Sleeping Horse" is the longest one, with a richness of elements, cool guitars, dreamy atmospheres and electronic devices. The whole track continues with the same structure, but the great thing here is that if you have good headphones, you will better appreciate the new elements that are being added through the minutes.

"Prom Night of the Centipedes" has once again that atmospheric scheme, but perfectly complemented by those rock and experimental tunes. "Crunch Time" has a pretty cool bass sound that is actually addictive. The diversity in the guitar sound along with the great drums makes it a very strong and excellent track from the first to the last second.

"Brain Tattoo" is an explosive theme whose diversity of colors and textures makes it really rich. Here I really like what Torn does with his guitars, implementing different styles and sounds during the whole track. And finally "Lights Out", which begins with a softer and mellower sound, however, it is gradually progressing until it reaches a climax. This is a great song that closes this great album.

Well, so having a Tony Levin, David Torn and Alan White project is something delicious that you should not miss. I've had a great time while listening to it, so I strongly recommend it. Four stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#541089)
Posted Monday, October 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
4 stars Levin Torn White in which White once again stalks Bruford.

Actually it's really great to hear White in a trio format. And like with Yes, Alan does sound a little like Bill. I've always found White's work with Yes was not to be too much of a standout and thought that was the main reason Bruford had to move on. In the trio White really gets the space to make more of a prescence. Thankfully Tony has elected not sing on this album. Not that he's a bad vocalist, it's just better when he sings through the bass. Torn brings in his rich cloud of guitar, atmospheric at times and earthy at others.

The trio lets loose and delivers fourteen instrumental tracks. Mostly on the heavy side. Vocals would get in the way of this sonic tapestry.

Be sure to wear your ultra mullett with the brain tatoo underneath when attending the prom night of the centipedes.

Report this review (#553872)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
2 stars In the Progressive Rock World pretty much everybody know Tony Levin and Alan White. The first one has been playing with thousands of different bands like King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Liquid Tension Experiment, and not just that, he has played over 500 album in his career as a session musician. The later have been playing with Yes since 1972. David Torn is the 'unknown' guy in the mix.

For those who read my reviews and know me will not come as a surprise that this album is hard for me to 'swallow'. It's always like that in the Jazz Fusion Prog Instrumental world for me. Bands and musicians that try too hard to show off their abilities in their instruments but forget the melodies are always in my black list.

Levin Torn White (2011) was released by Tony Levin label Lazy Bones Records in September 2011. The digital album was sent to me by their manager, and this was a good thing, I guess, I hate to listen to albums to review in MP3, but some albums? well, they would not be listened again anyway. So, MP3 it is. To be honest with you Levin Torn White (2011) isn't all bad, but it's one of that albums that you listen when it's released and then gets lost in the shadows of time? deservedly.

Report this review (#583560)
Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Coming from the left field we have this CD. I didn't expect the kind of music They are producing. Using just one word: superb.

Three different kind of musicians working as a whole. Levin, precise and funky as usual, Torn sometimes is Beck sometimes is Fripp and sometimes is just simply him, but the real surprise here is White. I think someone misspelled his name in the cover, It should say: Terry Bozzio because is exactly how powerful and quirky He sounds.

An excellent record who gives me hope of the way the music is going into the future. I just wish They keep working together.

Report this review (#751010)
Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | Review Permalink

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