Joining Lisa LaRue are Jo De Boeck, vocalist for the Belgian band "Beyond the Labyrinth," John Payne, vocals for ASIA featuring John Payne, Steve Adams of ARZ, and Svetlan Raket of the Par Lindh Project and Timecode Alpha.
Lisa LaRue - keyboards
Jo De Boeck - vocals
John Payne - vocals
Steve Adams - guitars
David Mark Pearce - guitars
Svetlan Raket - drums
Each artist has a substantial catalog of releases behind them.
Lisa LaRue - Transformation 2012
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LISA LARUE - TRANSFORMATION 2012 I tend to have a set style when asked to review an incomi...
LISA LARUE - TRANSFORMATION 2012
I tend to have a set style when asked to review an incoming CD. I'm not apt to visit an artists website to "get to know them" a bit more before I "understand the music". Because, in my opinion, the proper order of things is the polar opposite of that. Your music speaks to me first, and then (if in fact it speaks to me) I'd like to know more. I share this with you not because I'm important or my style of reviewing is unique, but because Lisa LaRue's music IS. Very few artists are "in tune" with themselves and the surroundings that have molded them to be what they are presently. Lisa, whether subconsciously or in full cognitive grips, has channeled her influences, both in music and in mind. It wasn't until after I sought after the extra information that I saw that in completeness.
The CD starts off as if you just tuned in to a mainstream hit radio station with sound bites and booming announcer voices. It's a little chaotic and interesting. A chanting "American Indian" type voice rises above the audible clutter - drawing you in. Although it sounds nothing like it, it reminds me of Louis Armstrong's style of playing his horn as if to transcend the bustling noise below his sweet melody. It's a unique tool to use musically, and no doubt Lisa has some jazz influence equipping her to execute it.
A baritone voice over dominates with an ominous tale to tell. It's Jeff Straub - you may have heard his voice, he's all over TV and radio. There's even a flute floating in the mix performed by Kerri Lake. The mixing of these layers is astonishingly well done.
The second track continues on the quality production level but is quickly recessed to the back of your mind as you find yourself taken in by the sheer pleasure of the music. Immediately a "not so run of the mill" bass performance emerges from one Marc Nelson. In a cosmic marriage of melody, Tommy Zvoncheck (Blue Oyster Cult, Jon Anderson) walks along side Lisa in a mind blowing musical journey. It's quickly becoming evident that Ms. LaRue knows exactly what she's doing on this CD.
The next song, The Purist, appears to be ALL Lisa, and this being such a brilliant composition, it should remain so. As if only she herself could make sense of what she hoped to achieve in this piece, none other has been permitted to commune, save the riveting narration by a male voice only credited as "Peter". Then, as if in a continuation of The Purist, comes a "Warning". It's an uplifting track that is also strangely eerie. Although it is all keys, I think it would be unfair to dub her a Rick Wakeman> do-over. She is much more at home in her own skin than to be a follower - and her music doesn't just express that, it emits it.
A strong highlight on this CD is one of the most intriguing drum solos I have ever heard. Yes you read that right, a drum solo performed in house and recorded for this CD. It's performed by a relative unknown named Andy Livesay. This isn't the standard "look what I can do" show off performance. This solo is rich with meaning, and it wasn't until AFTER I heard the CD and wrote the skeleton review that I discovered why. You'll recall my explanation of not seeking "extra information" on artists until after I've reviewed the CD... As this disc wrapped up, I found myself saying "of course" and "no wonder" - Of course those voices reminded me of an Indian Pow Wow (Lisa belongs to the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma). No wonder I got a spiritual kick from Andy's drums (OK Native American with 30 years of experience).
John Payne's (Asia) vocal contribution cannot be ignored and it goes without saying... but I'll say it anyway, what a fantastic voice. Why we're not hearing this particular track on car stereos everywhere is beyond me. I don't say that as if to diminish the progressive nature of this album, but the song writing on this piece, coupled with John's performance is exquisite - very moving indeed.
My favorite track on this album has to be "Beautiful World" which comes off as a collaboration with electric violinist James Sudakow (watch for this guy!).
I will be on pins and needles for the next Lisa LaRue project. I wish we had a 4.75 star review to give Lisa, because she deserves a slightly higher rating than 4.5. It is a incredible disc and one that I will be returning to again.
From the co-writer of "For Eternity"
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"If you ever wondered how Beyond The Labyrinth's music would sound like if someone else played and r..."If you ever wondered how Beyond The Labyrinth's music would sound like if someone else played and re-arranged a Beyond The Labyrinth song ...here is the answer ...
On the "Castles in the Sand" album, the keyboard parts for this song were played by me, but the end result of these new recordings are really stunning - what a gifted, visionary keyboard player, with help from some truely brilliant world class musicians can come up is beyond my wildest dreams. Jo and me wrote "For Eternity" together back in 2004, it was featured on the demo 2004-2005, on the "Castles in the Sand" album (the acoustic version) and (in the electric version) as a B-side to the "Pure Sabotage" single ... but when I heard this, my jaw dropped : what a fantastic version ! Hats off to Lisa and Team-2K9 !!!"
- Geert Fieuw, Beyond The Labyrinth