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Steve Vai - Real Illusions: Reflections CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.84 | 93 ratings

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4 stars Real Illusion: Reflection

This album is Steve Vai's 12th solo album, recorded and released in 2005. Also, believe it or not, this is his first album since his last new recorded materials in 1999, the album The Ultra Zone.

Another thing to notice, this is the first part of Vai's future concept album, the story is about a town visited by Pamposh and he constructed a church, which most of the story is included in the last song, Under It All. Also, there are many songs that has vocal sound, Steve Vai's vocal. I think he became more confident of his vocal after sang Jimi Hendrix songs so many times, Little Wing, since the G3 2003 : ).

Well I think this is quite important so you can figure out the album is about. The cast in this first part is Captain Drake Mason, Pamposh, Dirty Ed, Jarv, Un, PH, Wedge, Loaner, Cha Cha, Eve Peterson, The Midway Creatures, Lucas Mason (K'm-Pee-Du- Wee), Seraphim, Yai Yai, The Whirling Devilish, Joey Brider, Sister Ruby Theresa, Maria Hendrix, Guzzo Sockler, Michael Nemus, President Ausi Oak and Bin Lenny.

So let's take a look at each song. Now I don't have to mention Vai's tremendous amazing technical ability, because you'll get bored... : )

Building The Church - A very cool opening song, where Vai used his new guitar, Ibanez Breed or JEM77BRMR and also a sustainer. Notice that in some parts of the song, the sustain of the guitar is very long, don't try to copy that without a sustainer. The song begins with sick arpeggio tapping, for those of you who have seen G3 2005, you can see how Vai played that song. The story is about the Pamposh walked down to a town, where later he will make a church.

Dying For Your Love - This is the first song in the album where Vai actually really sings. Well his vocal style is not too bad, he can sing nicely. The story is about Pamposh who found that humans are mostly selfish and don't have love. So he tried to find the purest part of humans, Dying For Your (humans) Love. The song itself contains more vocal sound than the guitar sound, very unusual for Vai's songs.

Glorious - Cool intro, with heavy guitar and drum riffs. Again, Vai used strange sound effect, more like wah - wah pedah effects but its more, ahh, I don't know, if you know what he is playing, he is not Steve Vai. Its about all the citizen of the town has consider that Pamposh is in town and they are gathered (glorious).

K'm-Pee-Du-Wee - Notice that the title of the song is similar with one of the cast, K'm- Pee-Du-Wee. Calm deep guitar sound for the intro, very nice, real fat and nice tone. After that, followed by crazy arpeggio, really fast but beautiful. The song is actually a lullaby from one of the cast, K'm-Pee-Du-Wee's mother, Eve to her child. The song slows down at the second minute, and the sound effect of the guitar getting unique, combined with his great techniques.

Firewall - This is the most unique song, started with Vai's extremely unique vocal. "Boom Shika Boom Shika ba-ka-tu-ka", or something like that, more like traditional culture song : ). In this song, there are trumpets, saxes, trombones and other percussion played. In some way I feel it is like Santana's song. Overall, this song is great, especially when the part "Boom Shika Boom Shika ba-ka-tu-ka" sang once more, but this time with rhythm section, very cool!!!

Freak Show Excess - Quite unique intro, with sort of like a mandolin sound, with percussion. Then followed with very nice arpeggio, simply amazing. The story is about the appearance of The Whirling Devilish. At 4:42 minute, the mandolin-like sound played again, with nice rhythm section. The song is ended with Vai's crazy sweeping arpeggio, the notes increased in every section, truly a virtuoso.

Lotus Feet - I bet you will like this song, very beautiful!! In fact, I can say this is the most beautiful instrumental rock song I have ever listened to. Moreover, this song was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Instrumental Rock Performance." The song was recorded live in Holland in 2004 during Vai's "The Aching Hunger Tour." Another thing that makes this song really beautiful is this song was recorded full orchestra, it means the conductor, violin and things like that. The first half of the song is very peaceful and calm, then at the third minute, the energy increased, amazing how he can create such an amazing song, WHOA!! The best part of this song is the sweeping arpeggio at 4:30 minute, fast but still beautiful. After that, the song cools down and the notes are quite simple but still have deep feeling. Again, I think this is the best song in the album and the most beautiful instrumental rock song for me.

Yai-Yai - Very unique song. Somehow he can create such an amazing guitar effect, that the guitar sounded like "yai-yai", just like human. Steve Vai is truly a virtuoso. Unfortunately, the whole song is just the "yai-yai" sound, no solo or such thing like that. The title is also the name of one of the cast.

Midway Creatures - Heavy and metal intro with cool guitar effect. This song is not my favorite because Vai was likely to prioritize the sound effect, not the feeling of the song. But if you are looking for an extremely great technique, this is the song.

I'm Your Secrets - Once again, Steve Vai sang in this song. The song is quite slow and calm, with Vai's heavy and deep vocal style. The only background is the acoustic rhythm section with percussions. "Take my hand, look in to my eyes, tell me what you see, because the eyes never lie", very nice lyric.

Under It All - This song is more like the conclusion of the album, which explains everything about the story. Moreover, in the last part of the lyric, there are many conversation lines, or the dialogues from the casts. In this song, Vai sings with the same vocal style, low and deep vocal. Vai's wife, Pia, played harp in this song. One of the vocal for the dialogue lines was Fire Vai. The story of the song is about when Pamposh asked "the master", "But Master, if everything is an illusion, then why does anything matter?" Then The Master replied, "It may all be an illusion, but it's a very REAL ILLUSION.

So there you go, the first concept album from Steve Vai. Well, actually this is just the first part of the story. I give four stars for this album, but in the end, you decide.

Timur Imam Nugroho - Indonesia

imoeng | 4/5 |


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