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The Story of Light

Steve Vai

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Master guitarist Steve Vai continues to evolve as a player and as a conceptual artist. The Story of Light is the second part of a planned trilogy that began with 2005's Real Illusions. For part two, he's formed some unlikely alliances to further the spectrum of his work. Beverly McClellan, who appeared on the television program The Voice, adds vocals to two tracks, including Blind Willie Johnson's "John the Revelator" that goes as far as to sample Johnson's original recording. Aimee Mann wrote the lyrics and duets with Vai on "No More Amsterdam," a tune that's half introspective-folk, half-astral phrasings. Vai's fluid and electronically enhanced guitar leads continue to amaze his guitarist brethren. He floats from the Bill Frisell-like dreamscape of "Creamsicle Sunset" to the charging 80s-metal flood of "Gravity Storm" as if both were the same language. The acoustic "Mullach a'tSi" slings forth a loose and rubbery melody that suggests unfinished business and a nagging sense of loss. Vai can turn the amps up for catharsis, but he's forever finding new configurations to unlock his heart.

Customer Reviews

A Mature Artist Continues to Stretch His Musical Muscles

You can't be a Vai fan and not enjoy experimentation. You want plain old rock and roll, there's plenty of predictable guitar players out there who will be happy to provide. You want a "shredder," they're a dime a dozen. But you want something that will challenge and make you see and feel things you never imagined before, then Vai's your man. (Well, mine anyway.) Remember that he is first and foremost a composer -- before guitarist, before anything -- perhaps the most underrated of his generation. And it's funny to see people complain when he gets experimental, like they never listened to "Flex-Able" before? He's always been this weird, silly, brilliant, and wonderful.

I am loving the "Real Illusions" trilogy so far -- can't wait for the third installment. "Reflections" blew me away -- and this one does the same but in no way repeats itself. The melodies are simpler here, the overall feel more introspective, which makes sense according to the nonlinear story he's telling us. Light is everywhere here, too, so the name is fitting: starlight, city lights, moonlight, enlightenment, the light of reason… As always, his guitar speaks, his solos are conversations, his songs are paintings. And his voice is in fine form as well, it blends beautifully with Aimee Mann's.

Where "Reflections" was expansive and periodically chaotic, "Light" seems to me more intimate overall -- from its themes of personal revelation to the lyrical quality of the instrumental songs to the vocals that murmur like voices in your head. OK except for "John the Revelator," that is, and "Book of the Seven Seals," which are so completely out of left-field that even this fan of nearly 30 years was taken off guard. I really thought the latter was a little "off" till I saw an interview where he talked about doing the most unexpected thing he could think of -- and that wicked little smile appeared that invites you to become part of the in-joke. Now every time I hear it, that crazy chorus puts a grin on my face.

Which I can pretty much say about everything this guy has ever recorded. Sometimes the smile is amusement, sometimes sheer pleasure, but it is a powerful effect nonetheless. The tone of his guitar may well be the voice he hears in his head -- it is certainly unmistakably him, whether growling out "Gravity Storm" or carefully explaining "Velorum" or screaming "Racing the World" or soothing your soul in a lullaby. Overall, this collection of songs does come across as the rantings of a madman -- and that is the intention. This is one man who never does anything by accident.

Remember his words from "The Audience Is Listening" -- constant… accurate… intense… And that is all you need to know.

wow

only vai can combine gospel and heavy guitars.....AMAZING!!! people who hate on it are against Jesus i guess.

Steve Vai is back....or is he?

After listening to this album two or three times I have decided that I'm disappointed in the release.
I don't enjoy the album from beginning to end. Tracks 3 & 4 don't belong on this album.
Fans have been waiting for five years for this rock type of release from Vai.
There are some great songs and guitar and instrument tones are amazing!
3 stars because it's Steve Vai and I expected more.

Biography

Born: June 6, 1960 in Carle Place, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Six-string wizard Steve Vai, along with his one-time teacher Joe Satriani, set the standard for rock guitar virtuosity in the '80s. Born on June 6, 1960, and raised in Carle Place, New York, Vai became interested in the guitar via such legendary artists as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Alice Cooper as a teenager and, upon starting high school, took lessons with an older player from the school, Joe Satriani. Playing in several local bands, Vai quickly picked up on the instrument, and by the age...
Full Bio