Search - Bozzio Levin Stevens :: Black Light Syndrome

Black Light Syndrome
Bozzio Levin Stevens
Black Light Syndrome
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, New Age, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Bozzio Levin Stevens
Title: Black Light Syndrome
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: Magna Carta
Original Release Date: 7/15/1997
Release Date: 7/15/1997
Genres: Alternative Rock, World Music, New Age, Pop, Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 026245901926, 111105901922

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CD Reviews

Take this voyage through paradise
Archel | Sydney, Australia | 07/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you LIKE instrumental virtuosity of the highest order, but only LOVE it when it serves stellar compositions (in this case improvisations); comes straight from the soul; never asserts itself by compromising musicality; carries strong character; defies conventions; and is used to paint vivid pictures, create deep moods and stir emotions that no other group of musicians is likely to replicate, then Black Light Syndrome is your destiny (assuming you deserve it).In fact, each track here consists of a sublime voyage of beautiful images, thoughts and feelings that should have music lovers of various biases and degrees of obsession queuing up for another ride, again and again and .... If you read the sleeve you probably won't believe your eyes that the track length ranges from 7:25 to 14.37min (10 min on average). So compelling are the majesty and gradually revealing intricacies and treasures of this free-form masterpiece. Such is its lack of filler or senseless flash. Mind you, the above is achieved while meeting (though by far exceeding) the criteria of "musicians' music" with masterful technique and meter alterations, mad toning, and highly complex (yet delicious) melodies and rhythms. It is an understatement to say that the coherent interplay and interactive tension betray the fact that BLS was spontaneously composed/improvised (with "unconditional acceptance of all members' ideas") in four days before which the trio had never played together. You may call it chemistry, but magic is a better word.

Given that Bozzio and Levin are among THE most distinguished players of their respective instruments, and considering their countless projects and sessions, you may think you have an idea what to expect. Don't kid yourself.By Bozzio's own admission, BLS was his first real opportunity to release Bozzio the artist, as distinct from Bozzio the drummer. Indeed, he manages to convince that the former may well be even more significant than the latter. Bozzio's drumming here has been described elsewhere as a `polyrhythmic jungle,' but that is way too broad a reference. He goes far beyond supporting or accenting the complex compositions and demonstrating rhythmic complexities. He manages to simultaneously or in part lead and contrast the melodies, contrast his own rhythms, create and contrast the imagery and atmosphere of the music, and even mimic Stevens' fast fretboard runs on his many cymbals. Furthermore, you'd be hard pressed to find a drummer/percussionist that pushes the boundaries of tuning, toning and texture to serve the music as far as Bozzio does.Levin's bass/stick genius already had me converted by his work with the great King Crimson, but here he reveals a more human, `natural' side. He opens up his soul to his band-mates and listeners and lets us touch and share it all the way through groove/melody/tone heaven. As others have noted, the biggest surprise on this album is Stevens, the apparent `glam-rocker' of Billy Idol and Atomic Playboys fame. In the process of accenting the dangers of judging a book by its cover, he proves to be the ultimate antithesis of guitar heroes who can't grasp the concept of developing technique, speed and precision for the sole purpose of improving articulation of meanings and improving musicality, rather than simply saying "look what I can do." Stevens weaves in and out of fiery and mellow acoustic and electric guitar work with such conviction and finesse that he'll have you begging for more like few if any other guitarists could. His ability to bring a wide range of dynamics and senses in one song while keeping strong touch with a core foundation has caused even the most demanding of "guitar music" critics to ask: "Where does Stevens pull this up from? Fascinating." Bozzio's liner notes reveal a prophecy when he writes: "Stevens' ... profound sense of melody, harmony, virtuoso technique, stylistic sensibility and philosophical tendencies immediately revealed that this was going to be much more than a commercially-driven studio project."

Pull out your plastic or paper now and fight the heinous crime that is the overlooking of this humble masterpiece of progressive music. You can then do the same with its follow-up, Situation Dangerous."
Difficult to explain just how great it is...
R. Moses | New Hampshire | 10/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"... Having followed TB's career closely since the Zappa days, I think you'd have a hard time finding a better example of his brilliance, with the possible exception of his "Drawing the Circle" album. Bozzio is a monster on this album. And Tony Levin, while his contribution is less up-front due to his later entrance into the project, is absolutely wonderful. His every note is gorgeous and perfect.But my primary amazement comes from Stevens. Who knew?!? I picked up the album thinking, okay...Bozzio, genius. Levin, genius. But Steve Stevens? The big-hair guy from Billy Idol's band? Why, God, why?!? And then I played the album. Good heavens, this man's an amazing talent. Yes, he plays one real hair-farmer-like riff about 30 seconds into the album, just to get it out of the way, but from there on in he plays some of the most tasteful and articulate guitar I have ever heard, ranging from crunching rock to fluent flamenco. He is a wonder to behold, and he is nearly always appropriate to the music.My favorite musician in the world, to the point of unhealthy obsession, is Mike Keneally. His genius "Sluggo!" album came out the same year as "Black Light Syndrome." When asked what I thought was the best album released that year, I had to grit my teeth and admit's BLS, hands down. It's that good. Five stars doesn't begin to say it.Oh, it also sports the absolute worst cover in rock history. Don't let it scare you off."
The best of the best have assembled to create. . .the best!
damage88 | 01/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have owned this album for over a year and I can not stop listening to it (not that I want to). The greatest part is, every time, I pick up something new. Especially from the drummer, Terry Bozzio. It seems he has come a long way since playing with Zappa. His ostanatos and fills are mind blowing! Seriously! Steve Stevens tickles, strums, and absolutely mangles his guitar, while Levins plays extaordinarily well on his bass. An even crazier aspect of this album is the fact that, the whole thing is just jam session! Hah! That's right, all the magnifecent melodies and ripping rythyms were made up on the spot! What? How? I wish I could do the same. This album is so inspirational and I can't say enough good things about it. . . . do yourself a favor. . buy it and listen to it a few times before you judge it. Make sure you really listen to each instrument do his thing. Youl'll drop one right then and there. . . . was my spelling allright?"