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Jordan Rudess - Rhythm of Time CD (album) cover


Jordan Rudess


Crossover Prog

3.55 | 81 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The talented, eccentric Jordan Rudess may have a fetish for goofy sythesizer sounds, but at least he has the chops to make them work, especially when they are appropriately chosen and applied by a whole group of virtuosic writers (Dream Theater). However, when Rudess locks himself in a studio for two straight weeks between engagements with the boiz of DT to write and record an entire album, you know that the man is going to go overboard. Of course, some people still find those sounds to be cool, and Rudess hired them to help out: people like Joe Satriani, Steve Morse and apparently Kip Winger. So, the two weeks ends and we now have Rhythm of Time. While the rhythm of time according to my watch is simply 60 BPM all the time, Rudess intended for the title to reflect the process undergone to produce the record. For two weeks, the man produced a lot of material, and most of it is solid. Even at the general pace of the record (fast), the eight tracks clock in at just under an hour. Not so surprisingly, the album is a blizzard of notes, but most of them melodic or purposeful in some way. There are great solos and intricate arrangements galore as one would expect from such talent. It makes for great driving music, too. Stylistically, the album is more or less a jazz-fusion record somewhere between Niacin, Liquid Tension Experiment and Planet X, but its just not as good as the best work of those bands. Those bands could make corny synths or riffs work, but too often this sounds downright silly. The goofy interjections in Dream Theater make for hilarious comic relief in a good way, but half of this album is that kind of comic relief. Most of it is just Rudess being his quirky self, but I think his quirks are more effective when they are applied in Dream Theater music.

Two points in this album feature reverse goofy interjection. I had name-dropped earlier that Kip Winger was involved in this project, and if that isn't funny enough, he sings two ballads on this record. We're not unfamiliar to Rudess' softer side - his evening with John Petrucci gave us a lot of excellent music in a more acoustic/light listening vein - but we are unfamilar to hearing lyrics that Rudess penned. Apparently Rudess had some feelings he needed to express with words, and Kip Winger was the vocalist who understood him the most and was therefore the most capable of projecting his feelings. These songs, "Beyond Tomorrow" and "Tear Before the Rain" are most inappropriate for this release. The rockin' second half of the former could have been its own piece, and while I can understand why a piece like the latter would be a good way to close an album (or better than a quirk-blizzard at least), it feels like it doesn't belong and the album could have ended with the track before it or something like it. After all, the people who buy this album will be buying it for the fast-paced, quirky, technical, etc. music and not expect to be driven to tears by Rudess' soul-crushing thoughts.

In short, it's clear that Rudess was working quickly, but I don't think too many musicians could pull something like this off in a mere two weeks. It's got a lot of great moments, but as a whole this disc is forgettable.

Recommended to those who often find themselves driving over 120 MPH or for that rare fan of both NASCAR and prog music.

Moatilliatta | 3/5 |


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