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The String Tribute to Tool:
Third Eye Open

Category: Classical, Rock, Instrumental
Label: Vitamin Records
Orig Year: 2001
Street Date: September 11, 2001
Taken (slightly adapted): http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?PID=2121933&frm=sh_google

Out for over a year, though it is easy to understand why it didn't get much publicity and is relatively unknown, the album is a masterpiece. It contains ten of Tool's most known tracks played on classical instruments: four violins, two violas, two cellos, and a contra-bass. Track lengths average five minutes. The album smacks of depth and is a musical high.

There are no lyrics on this album, although there are a few sound affects that sound vocal at the beginning of one or two songs, but the sonority of Maynard's voice is not lost. What I would assume to be the first chair violin plays the lyrics. Imagine a violin singing. Its as if the eight other instruments create a landscape of hills and rocks and trees and a channel, and the first violin completes the scene like a river flowing through it all.

Driving the other night, through spitting snow, listening to the seventh track, Schism, I noticed myself dancing with my car. I was speeding, the little snowflakes coming at me like stars in the original Starwars trilogy, and when the music changed in the song, I lost fifteen miles per hour--just following the music. At the end of this song, all nine instruments melt. I'm not sure if this was an edition, or if the musicians actually made their instruments do this, or even what the proper term for it is, but the sound of it... Imagine music melting into nothing, being sucked into a sonic well, a tiny infinity. For a dangerous two seconds, I had melted with the music and didn't exist in my car, in my clothes, in my head.

I disagree with the album's liner notes. "The greatest road to advancement is through pain." There is no greatest road. Pain is never a thing to seek, only a thing to be dealt with at length. "The String Tribute to Tool: Third Eye Open delivers the band's solemn and sinister message through string instruments that can be warm and welcoming at one moment, cold and distant at another." I don't see Tool's message as sinister, unless they're playing a stupid semantic game implying left-handedness and, according to Crowley and certain other mystics, right-brained enlightenment. The message is solem, however, and sincere. Perhaps this sort of honesty is what makes it sinister: Honesty is violence. And, I have never heard music come from any of the classic string group be cold or distant.

Track Listing:
1. Sober
2. Intolerance
3. The Grudge
4. The Patient
5. Opiate
6. Hush
7. Schism
8. Ticks and Leaches
9. Aenema
10. Pushit


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