JORDAN RUDESS - Rhythm Of Time

Jordan Rudess - Rhythm Of Time

8 songs
59:16 minutes
***** ****
Magna Carta


Rudess is best known as keyboarder for Dream Theater, but actually he's much more than. Apart from playing also with the Dixie Dregs and Liquid Tension Experiment, he is also a well sought after session musician (who already played with the likes of Enrique Iglesias) and most importantly a musical genius who was admitted to the Juillard School of Music already at the age of 9.

So what about Rhythm Of Time? 6 of the 8 songs are purely instrumental, with a lot of focus evidently on the keyboards, although the guitar solos are provided by some big shots: Joe Satriani (whom Rudess met while he toured with Dream Theater), Vinnie Moore (with whom he already worked together in the late 80s), Greg Howe and Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Dixie Dregs). To add another Dregs men, Rod Morgenstein played the drums, while Kip Winger, a relatively famous hair metal star in the 80s, does vocals on two tracks.

While the guitar solos may be interesting for those who are into the string wizardry, the most exceptional thing about this album is the interaction of keyboards and drums, considering that these two guys did already a lot of things together, it shouldn't be a big surprise. Rudess is inspired by a lot of different styles, taking everything from classical music over prog rock to even experimental techno like Aphex Twin and Autechre. This makes for a very lively instrumental music, and instead of always just showing off his technical prowess (and yes, he does that a lot too), there are tons of different keyboards sounds that seem to vary from song to song. Especially the nearly 10-minutes long Insectsamongus is totally crazy, delivering weird jazz rhythm, adding a progressive crimsonesque texture and even playing with B-movie horror scores. While not every song is as daring, most of the album is very interesting. Things only become boring when Winger takes over the vocals. While he isn't the hardrock singer I was afraid he was, it's still a bit bland what he does, sounding a bit like the aging John Wetton. But hey, with only two vocal tracks, this leaves enough space for insane keyboard music.

Rhythm Of Time is one of the few (nearly) instrumental albums not only interesting for those interesting in the theories of music, but also for fans of progressive rock and generally well played music. I was positively surprised by the huge amounts of original ideas, and despite the weak vocals, I can still hand out 9 points.

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