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Liquid Tension Experiment

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Liquid Tension Experiment Liquid Trio Experiment: Spontaneous Combustion album cover
2.13 | 125 ratings | 15 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Chris & Kevin's Bogus Journey (7:53)
2. Hot Rod (6:21)
3. RPP (3:06)
4. Hawaiian Funk (4:38)
5. Cappucino (3:26)
6. Jazz Odyssey (8:49)
7. Fire Dance (8:22)
8. The Rubberband Man (6:51)
9. Holes (4:39)
10. Tony's Nightmare (2:48)
11. Boom Boom (6:34)
12. Return of the Rubberband Man (9:43)
13. Disneyland Symphony (4:46)

Total Time 77:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- Tony Levin / bass, Chapman stick, electric upright bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums

Releases information

Compilation of jams from "Liquid Tension Experiment 2" sessions, during John Petrucci's absence

Artwork: Paul Undersinger

CD Magna Carta ‎- MA-9060-2 (2007, US)

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LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Liquid Trio Experiment: Spontaneous Combustion ratings distribution

(125 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(10%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (34%)
Poor. Only for completionists (20%)

LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT Liquid Trio Experiment: Spontaneous Combustion reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Don't expect the juggernaut that was Portnoy, Levin, Rudess and Petrucci, this is a much different animal. Without serious direction - or a guitar to cut through and provide a rock dimension - it is what it purports to be; a jam session. If you can make it past the painful 'Chris and Kevin's Bogus Journey' (a follow-up to the equally painful 'Chris and Kevin's Excellent Adventure' from their debut), some of this is not bad and the skeletal structure of what was shaping up to be a very good third LTE record can be heard, waiting to be set free and transformed into a real album. 'Hot Rod' has potential and some neat passages from Rudess' keys and guitar samples, and at six minutes could have been a promising track. 'Rpp' is cinematic and features a misplaced drum break from Mike Portnoy but 'Hawaiian Funk' is disjointed and 'Cappuccino' only teases with piano from Rudess and more aimless wandering, and 'Jazz Odyssey' is pretty much just that... though Spinal Tap's version was just as good and much funnier. 'Firedance' is another fractured shard of possibly good music and the record continues in this vein, with disconnected moments and floating free radicals causing much distress to fans of this once great project. And it's mostly downhill from there. 'Tony's Nightmare' is nothing more than a three-note cello phrase repeated for three minutes and the rest of this CD just drifts into what eventually becomes not much more than a sound check. Little interest to fans here, as most will expect some level of focus and display of musicianship. Maybe a third Liquid Tension Experiment record will come out someday... but this ain't it.

Review by ProgBagel
1 stars Liquid Trio Experiment - Spontaneous Combustion 1 star

A collection of some very uninspiring jams.

While John Petrucci's wife was going to have their daughter, Mike Portnoy, Tony Levin and Jordan Rudess had to do something during their time in the studio. This was all recorded through Mike Portnoy's DAT recorder that he apparently likes to bring with him everywhere. All of these songs were improvised and some would later lead to actual songs.

I always thought John Petrucci was the driving force of Dream Theater and I had similar feelings about Liquid Tension too. This release seems to make the argument even stronger. Every song on this album is pretty bad and I can only remember two spots on this album that actually sounded decent. These 'spots' are also about 30 seconds tops. Rudess seemed to be able to improv the best, Tony Levin and Mike Portnoy were very boring during this nearly max 80 minute album.

I'm sorry, but what else can I really say about this album musically? It is improvisation, bad improvisation at that. I have no idea why they would release this garbage, but it will not benefit the listener in anyway, except maybe just feeling like you want to get together with some people and improv. Only for die hard fans that want to throw away their money. 1 star.

Review by LiquidEternity
1 stars Don't.

As far as a collection of unmixed, unplanned, improvisational, keyboard-led noodling tracks go, I guess this isn't bad. But as far as music goes, this is pretty sorry. I know, I know, these weren't really meant to be released like this, and I know that John Petrucci wasn't around for the writing and performing. What we have here are a number of tracks that didn't make the cut the first time around, which would be fine as bonus material or something. Instead, we get Magna Carta trying to get us to pay normal CD price for these raw little tidbits. And, to be honest, I fell for it. I figured that what with the high quality of the other Liquid Tension Experiment releases, Spontaneous Combustion would feature at least SOME interesting parts and songs.

Well, I was wrong.

This isn't Liquid Tension Experiment. And I'm not even referring to the name. I mean, the spirit of the band is not here at all. It sounds more like the band had some time to kill, so they turned on the tapes and goofed around for almost 80 minutes. There are no real melodies here, no interesting solos, just a couple seconds of neat drumming in Hawaiian Funk. That's it. Four listens through, and that's the only highlight I've come up with.

Do not buy this one unless you are absolutely certain you want to listen to the most aimless noodling you've ever come across. There's no energy and no purpose.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album attract my attention because of few serious reasons. First of all, there plays a great King Crimson bassist Tony Levin. Than, there play two most interesting Dream Theatre musicians - Mike Portnoy (dr.), and Jordan Rudess (keyb.). And after all, there are not participated two most boring persons from DT - LaBrie and Petrucci.

From all this looked that the album has a chance to be interesting. Not a endless boring DT regular release, but possibly different one. And this work is different! First of all there isn't guitar at all in this recording. For good and bad, but whenever most possible guitarist for participation was Petrucci, I prefer guitar-less music. Than, there are just some energetic level coming from metal world, nothing else. The music itself is experimental instrumental heavy fusion. And there are such components used as funky groove, neo-classic pieces, nu.jazz electronic ambient sounds,etc. All this mix is perfectly framed by great Levin bass line.

During the listening you can feel that music there are mostly improv, but three strong musicians are playing great jam there! I believe that main problem with this album is very different target group from usual DT fans. So, too often this album was in wrong hands, and not enough really experimental music lovers just noticed it.

By the way, I believe that this album should be placed under own project name ( "Liquid Trio Experiment") and for sure not in Prog Metal section. If changes will be done, you will see how much higher rating it will receive!

Really recommended for heavy fusion and experimental instrumental rock fans.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Jump into water instantly, without introduction, because that's how it's like to listen this album. So this review won't have intro. However, this can actually be considered as intro. D'oh.

Example of bad track would be ...Bogus Journey, heavy, but not giving anything except showcasing of easy jamming, using of instruments without higher purpose. Limited, hypnotic, but somehow bad. Good tracks are for example something like Hot Rod which provides something better, even I'm quite unsure what.

Sadly, most of songs are like case number 1, too overlong and simply empty. Void. It's not unpleasant to listen to them, it's simply uninteresting. Can be good as background music when you don't want to think about it, but not as real meant album. I suppose that boys have had a lot of fun while making this, because that's what this is about, album made by them, for them. This jamming isn't bad, but how can this be appealing, when this hasn't anything to offer. Not even for Jam lovers, because this is way too stripped of all rhythms and melodies, these songs aren't progressing or graduating, they just flows in the same pace, same course, same direction.

It's heartless album, but not dark. It's not cold beauty (like 2009 motW release), it's nothing. Not offensive, not offering.

2(+), I've heard worse albums, but the lack of soul in this strikes me a lot.

Review by Starhammer
1 stars Birth pains of aural projection...

This was recorded under the guise of Liquid Trio Experiment whilst John Petrucci attended to his wife during the latter stages of her pregnancy.

The Good: The semi-cool artwork is the only reason this remains in my collection.

The Bad: Wow. Where do I even start? Being a fan of previous LTE releases I was really looking forward to hearing this. What I expected was an extended version of the excellent Three Minute Warning jam session found on their debut. What I got was 78 minutes of self indulgent musical sludge. The lack of lead guitar brings a jazzier sound to the proceedings, but whilst I am a fan of both fusion and improvisation in general, this album is so contrived and directionless that I can only recommend it as an expensive coffee mat.

The Verdict: Preferable to going into labour, but only just.

Review by progrules
3 stars First of all I would like to subscribe snobb's suggestion to place this album under an individual bandname because after all it's called Liquid Trio Experiment and not Liquid Tension Exp. And I also agree with him that if also placed in the jazzrock/fusion subgenre this album would get much more appreciation (and of course higher rating average). Because this is downright fusion and has nothing to do with prog metal. So far the introduction for this special output.

For that's what this is: a unique album which has nothing to do with the two fantastic releases by the other LTE (Liquid Trio Exp.+ John Petrucci). And it's obvious this one isn't mainly a product by Mike and John but has much more writing influence of Mr. Levin. Most of the stuff on here sounds most of all like LTE 2's albumtrack Chewbacca. A track that is often referred to as a typical King Crimson (= Levin) kind of composition. Very experimental and so is the majority of the tracks on Spontaneous Combustion.

Leaves me with a bit of a problem about the rating. Similar to KC's debut also this gives me a headache for that matter. Because I could give all 5 ratings for all sorts of reasons. For originality and progressiveness I could give 5 and for 100% my own taste expecting something like the two Liquid Tension albums I could just as well give 1 star. I think I will go right in between because that seems fair to me and does the most justice to my actual feelings for this piece of art. So 3 stars it is.

Review by Neu!mann
1 stars This isn't the lost Liquid Tension Experiment album fans might have been expecting when it suddenly appeared, in 2007. With guitarist John Petrucci suddenly called away on premature paternity leave early into the 1998 recording sessions for the band's second album, the remaining trio of Tony Levin, Mike Portnoy and Jordan Rudess were left stranded in an already booked studio, with the money clock still ticking.

Their solution: "we decided to stay and JAM...and JAM we did!!" The resulting tapes, according to Portnoy (a better drummer than he is a salesperson) were "as live and raw as it overdubs, no editing, no mixing." And precious little inspiration either, he might have added. Left beating the air for quick ideas, the trio opted for "going wherever the music took us..." which wasn't very far, apparently.

Players of this caliber shouldn't have any problem finding their groove, as they proved more than once during the awesome, unscripted 30-minute "Three Minute Warning" encore to the band's self-titled debut: proof that spontaneous composition can often yield thrilling results. But sometimes the effort can lead even the best players into an empty cul-de-sac, and here's what it looks like when they hit the brick wall at the end of the street.

I applaud the wry self-deprecation of titling one of their meandering doodles after the aborted Spinal Tap "Jazz Odyssey" detour, from when the Tap itself was reduced to a hapless trio, opening for puppet shows in a second-rate, central California amusement park. But the music here rarely gels, except in fleeting moments: during "Cappuccino", "Boom Boom" (not "B'Boom B'Boom", sorry Crimheads), and the "Disneyland Symphony", in which Levin's gut-rumbling bass guitar is pushed center stage.

Don't accuse the truant Petrucci for leaving his bandmates adrift without a six-string rudder. Blame instead whoever scheduled a tight recording session so late in his wife's third trimester of pregnancy. It isn't the absence of an electric guitar that sinks the album; it's the lack of any assertive lead instrument. As the keyboardist in an accidental power trio, Jordan Rudess should have stepped forward to set the creative pace, as he did throughout the long "Three Minute Warning" jam.

But nobody took the initiative. All three musicians, aces in their respective fields, sound unaccountably inhibited, vibing along aimlessly as if in anticipation of overdubbed guitar solos which never materialized. In effect, the newly christened Liquid Trio is peddling the backing tracks of an uncompleted album, or (even worse) their studio warm-ups for the same. And what happened to make the relea$e of the$e tape$ so imperative after nearly ten years on the shelf?

Self-indulgence is not a bad habit when attempting to pull new music out of thin air. But selling the parboiled results certainly is.

Latest members reviews

1 stars Damn, is this a tough listening experience or what?! Now, I love Dream Theater, and of course I enjoyed their Liquid Tension Experiment side-project, so it'd make sense that when this album was released, marketed as "Liquid Trio Experiment" due to the absence of guitarist John Petrucci, it wa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1774775) | Posted by martindavey87 | Thursday, August 24, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Visionary - or just unemotional notes delivered in a professional manner? Don't get me wrong, I have due respect to the combined talents involved. It's the end result of their delivery that leaves me cold, unimpressed. This work is as unemotional in a Prog sense as if the musicians were engag ... (read more)

Report this review (#993607) | Posted by BORA | Monday, July 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Dream Theater is well-known not only for their instrumental prowess and musical pedigree but also for their astounding numbers of side-projects. The most notable one is Liquid Tension Experiment, an exhilarating instrumental prog/ jazz fusion group. LTE has released two albums, one self- title ... (read more)

Report this review (#276961) | Posted by Elioglossia | Thursday, April 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars If you thought Liquid Tension Experiment could be indulgent, tedious, and boring at times, gaze upon this work of shelf-clearing. No finished songs, no compositions, and the only good music happens to come wafting form Rudess's keys once in a while when there's an inexplicable break in Portnoy's ... (read more)

Report this review (#200927) | Posted by stonebeard | Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I liked it ! Yes, this album is different from other two, but it's not bad and it's definitely underrated. I would call it some kind of mix of funky Jazz/Fusion/Technical Drum&Bass. From the beginning there's a feeling that there's something missing. o yeah, a guitar (Petrucci), but later whe ... (read more)

Report this review (#173505) | Posted by Svjat | Tuesday, June 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars TO MUCH PORTNOY STYLE! I understand that leaving John Petrucci out of this project could possibly give new air to the whole thing, a break, a refreshement, otherwise this album would have been the same story as the previous two.But for real, the thing got much uglier, there are no beauty momen ... (read more)

Report this review (#141840) | Posted by wato | Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This was a totaly diferent thing than I expected... I really like LTE, because is agressive, is progressive, they have won their own seal, they have created a type of prog metal better than all the other (even Dream Theater), songs like "When The Water Breaks" or "Biaxident" were real masterpiec ... (read more)

Report this review (#141824) | Posted by larra | Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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