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Bozzio, Levin, Stevens

Black Light Syndrome

Review by Gary Hill

This album by Terry Bozzio, Tony Levin and Steve Stevens is a very wonderful work. Combining elements of Red era King Crimson, jazz, and other sources,the musicianship is impeccable. Taking fairly basic song structures and using fluid instrumental patterns, to create movement, Black Light Syndrome is a constantly shifting soundscape. This is undoubtedly my favorite album of 1997. According to the liner notes, this album was spontaneously composed and recorded in four days. Just goes to show that a masterpiece does not take necessarily take an incredibly long period of time to create, if the talent and drive are both present in sufficient quantities.

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Track by Track Review
The Sun Road
The intro has a very Red era Crimson sound, with a little chording that sounds straight out of a song from David Gilmour`s first solo album. This song contains a bit of almost southern rock style guitar in places, and some very flashy effects usage. Towards the middle of the song there is a section which strikes me as rather Zeppelinesque, but with Levin`s bass work, and some guitar riffs that make one think that Robert Fripp is on this album. Then in a few short moments, one gets the feeling that Adrian Belew has made an appearance as well. The song intensity drops very far down, then in more Red stylings, begins gradually building (with some nice Spanish style guitar built in) to a very dramatic peak, just before dropping down to the end of the song.
Dark Corners
This song starts much like more Red sessions, and with the exception of two breaks (one a percussion section) is one basic chord progression, but using differing instrumental techniques, it is turned into an ever changing soundscape.
This begins with some more Spanish guitar, interspersed with drum sections and some rather jazzy bass sections. Once all the instruments come into the song, it remains rather influenced by the Spanish guitar stylings.
Black Light Syndrome
A slow, jazzy intro with some rather Zeppelinesque guitar chordings make up this song. This one is also a bit reminiscent of Robin Trower, very bluesy, alternating with jazz stylings.
Falling In Circles
My favorite song on this album, portions of this one are very much in the style of modern Crimson. This is another song which takes a fairly stagnant chord progression and turns it into an ever shifting atmosphere. The middle of this song contains some very Zeppelin-rocker type stuff with some blistering guitar work. I love the way this one kind of wanders all around, covering lots of ground, before sort of making a triumphant homecoming back to it`s beginnings at the end.
Book of Hours
A very nice modern jazz-like intro leads into a rather pretty guitar progression. This one features some very nice percussion work and some almost Dimeolaish sections.
A very noisy and chaotic opening drops into a very nice groove (definite rock n roller in places). This is almost Hendrixish in places.
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