I still remember buying two Masi-albums on vinyl in the late eighties followed by the solo album Attack Of The Neon Shark that definitely put Alex Masi on the map as a gifted guitar player. Since that time I’ve been checking on Masi’s albums every time a new one was released. Alex Masi has released quite a number of albums on which he played in many different musical styles: classical, like the three semi-classical albums In The Name Of (Bach-Mozart-Beethoven) or fusion influenced by MCM’s 1990 and Late Nights At Desert’s Rimrock.
This time Alex Masi wanted to record a more rock-oriented guitar driven album with metal influences, but also funky in Queen Of Headfuck. Check the funky slapping bass! On the other hand, the title track is a very modern sounding guitar song with an aggressive solo towards the end, while Ladies Of The House has a more middle-eastern kind of vibe. Other songs have neo-classical influences and Breakfast At Owsley’s has a Tony MacAlpine-touch, but it still remains a Masi-song. Soul Virus Hack is heavy and aggressive in some parts, combined with computer rhythms and sounds. As Alex Masi already stated: the only new ‘band member’ is the new technology used to make this album. Indeed, he used a lot of new software, samples and loops. These new toys surely add some fine rhythm patterns and give the album a pleasant and modern feel, but if you use them too much you’re heading in the wrong direction and the album would sound a bit ‘overdone’. I’m glad Masi used those new gadgets just to add something special to his compositions unlike writing songs that only serve the things he got out of that new technology.
Theory Of Everything is an impressive collection of new songs with a lot of variety both compositionally and in musical styles. Alex Masi has produced an outstanding successor to his previous albums. The only critical remark I can think about is the use of programmed drums, which are nicely embedded in the total sound in most cases, but sometimes there’s a kind of an itch while listening to it and than I feel a bit uncomfortable. I don’t want to give any advice to this old hero of mine, but I may suggest that he could have given a young, enthusiastic drummer a chance to play the parts he now programmed. It would have given the album just that organic feel that I now sometimes missed.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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