This is excellent instrumental guitar rock in the style of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai, but I also occasionally hear a little Al DiMeola as well. It’s modern, upbeat and quite metal at times. The guitar work by band leader Aaron Roten goes a mile-a-minute, yet stays melodic and memorable.
The opening track, “A Philosopher’s Suspicious Tale” has a rockin’ melody that recalls middle-eastern music. Next follows the title track, “Principles of Transformation.” The guitar here plays with an angular, almost King Crimson attack. I also enjoy the trading solos by Aaron and keyboard player James Pitts in this song. Pitts plays on track #5, “Sometimes Goodbye Takes Forever” as well. This piece has laid-back guitar picking with Roten soloing over it throughout most of the song until the end where the keyboards come in with a soft flute-like sound. I believe Roten may have played a might too busy on this song for the easy feel it presents. I might have preferred a soaring, more bluesy style like Jeff Beck or David Gilmour for this song.
“The Colored Pencil Heist” reminds me of Brubeck’s “Take Five,” with its smooth ride and swing vibe. Roten plays acoustic guitar here with great aplomb. “Endless Manicotti Bar” gallops along until it breaks in the middle with a great easy melody. These song titles, along with “Scary Dad” and “The Great Dictator” bring a smile to my face.
Mention also must be made of “Seduccion del Prototipo,” which brings Roten closest to his Al Dimeola influences with acoustic flamenco-style guitar. The CD closes with a spoken intro to the aforementioned “The Great Dictator.” This brings Super-String-Theory full circle, as it once again strongly brings to mind the Satriani/Vai solo guitar gods. Aaron Roten should definitely be included in their club.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on October 6th, 2006