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JAMES SUDAKOW

Eclectic Prog • United States


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James Sudakow biography
JAMES SUDAKOW is a classically trained electric violinist from Los Angeles (he plays viola too). He's mixing prog, alternative & psychedelic rock, improvisation, ambient & electronica styles.

Not the first nor the last rock violinist blending styles in musical history. However, Sudakow's style deserves attention: he's not citing violinists as his influences, but guitarists -- innovative rock guitarists, ranging from JIMI HENDRIX to Vernon Reid of LIVING COLOUR fame. It's not surprising that the sounds that are coming out of his Marshall JCM2000 amplifier are nothing short of heavy distortion - and he's using it as a highly expressive tool.

In 2007, his debut, 'Green', came out and instantly received much acclaim both from the critics and the audience. His violin is supported with Matt Bissonette on bass, David Gaziel on drums and Eric Zimmermann on electronica (which includes production & programming).

Sudakow is a fresh artist in a prog rock world (although his ideas and approach are witnessing his musical maturity), and hopefully we will hear more of his works in the near future.




Moris Mateljan, 2008. (some info compiled from the artist's myspace, as well as cdbaby.com

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2.33 | 3 ratings
Green
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
There Is No Sound in Space
2009

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JAMES SUDAKOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Green by SUDAKOW, JAMES album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.33 | 3 ratings

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Green
James Sudakow Eclectic Prog

Review by clarke2001
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars I have to admit this is not my cup of tea. I have to admit this is not my cup of coffee. I have to admit this is not my cup of anything. I have to admit this is not my cup!

It seems I hit overtook the 'rating without review' mark. Now please do compare my final rating with my other ratings, and you'll get some info about my taste, so you can judge for yourself is James Sudakow's music and his album 'Green' is for you or not.

See? The easiest review ever!

(...)

Okay, I will say a thing or two but it might be nasty.

The good things about this album are the timbres of artist's electric violin - it's often overdriven - or to be more precise, distorted with hard clipping. That's fine. A combination with reverb effect is also fine, it's making some fine dissonances usually find only in field of guitar solos. Sometimes there's a combination of digital delay, sweeping phaser, flangers and whatnot. He overdid it a bit. First of all, it's all too much, bordering hilariousness, and second, it will sound obsolete in a few years, that's for sure, in a same way the reverberated snare and chorused guitars of the 80's are appearing today. Another thing, some of those effects are generic - they remind me of some of the most typical VST presets with little or no twiddling at all.

I spent a whole paragraph about digital effects. I guess that's because I don't have much to say about the actual music, and much less so about the melodies.

James is a good technician. However, the songs here are seriously laking in the department of melody, department of 'something is actually going on', department of GOOD IDEAS.

Save for the very intros, the songs contain no dynamics at all. One, two, three, four, a certain amount of dB that is sustained until the last bar. No quiet passages (at least no quite passages worth mentioning), no change in pace.

Electronic is dull. There's some deep texture of murmuring beneath, and there's a nice momentum of vintage staccato electronic sequence - and that's about it. Artificial rhythm is not the best possible chosen, real-time interventions (or pre-programmed automations) are anything but sublime: no smooth tweaking, just cranking up to eleven, then back to zero and so on.

More or less the same problem is present in the drums department. Chack poom chack poom chack poom. And that's it. I don't mind if someone is not an outstanding technician, but for heavens sake, do change a thing or two if your bandmates are doing the same!! There are a few nice timpani-like, dramatic moments, unfortunately too long and incidental.

In a three words: no, no, no.

I hope, I do hope, in the future, the musicians of this project will slow down a bit, Sudakow will perhaps stop soloing all the time, the songs will get some structure, the band will became more convinced about the areas they want to explore, and people will start to COMMUNICATE and listen to each other while performing as well as breathing.

I will certainly recommend 'Green' to everyone. The 'Green' by the band who took the name after the rapid eye movement.

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 Green by SUDAKOW, JAMES album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.33 | 3 ratings

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Green
James Sudakow Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions

3 stars This looks like James Sudakow's first venture as a solo artist. So he rather can be treated as a newcomer on the prog stage - a new face entering the realm of violin players who are successful at jumping into the progressive rock cosmos. Provided with a classical background and training his main inspirations are coming from guitarists though as he claims - above all Jimi Hendrix, Vernon Reid and John McLaughlin. He is escorted by Matt Bissonette, known to me for several collaborations with rock and prog metal artists resp. bands. The other band mates are Eric Zimmermann, responsible for the electronica, and Los Angeles based drummer David Gaziel.

Sudakow probably takes the easy way out for the track names. All the six songs have a coloured title. But you won't have time to wonder what he bears in mind because his music is immediately wrapping you up - and forces you to concentrate. First - a violin as the main solo instrument is not that usual and then he uses a lot of variations - sometimes his instrument sounds like a guitar for example. And last but not least the compositions are gripping - all in all he presents music with an uncommon style which is really worthwile to explore. The rhythm elements as the background for his solo excursions are either generated with electronics or usual instruments - so to say the other band members aren't accessoires at all having an important role for rounding up this album though.

The songs Black and Orange could be described as representing a fusion orientation supported by a heavy bass and drum work plus a special technique to work out something like violin riffs. And this is even grooving a lot. Purple instead of that is much more electronica dominated with a spacey touch reminding me of the italian band Akt - a fantastic track coupled with a Mahavishnu reference at the end. On every song Sudakow's violin sounds in a different way to me. He is witnessing his virtuoso playing featuring many textures - sometimes raw, drastically altered/distorted but also native clear as well. Green is appearing more in a classical way - first coupled with a special echo method - later gliding into a fusion part with similiarities to Jean-Luc Ponty.

Red alternatively is based on an (irish) folk song I'm quite sure but provided with a prog metal attitude. The middle part is hardly modified to a heavy space rocking jamming thing nearly - oh man! And then Blue is another groover dedicated to Sudakow's band mates which have another big chance here to show their skills. A very interesting intense album! As for the total time not longer than a vinyl production but without unnecessary lengths on the other hand. 'Green' may appeal also to prog metal fans because of the powerful sound and the violin is played through a Marshall amp generating a raw distorted output - 3.5 stars.

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 Green by SUDAKOW, JAMES album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.33 | 3 ratings

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Green
James Sudakow Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Intriguing debut release by this US artist.

The violin is the main instrument on this production, and Sudakow is utilize this instrument in a skilled and intelligent manner. Lush, melodic and even careful and fragile violin passages pop up now and then; but just as often wild, frenzied and highly distorted sounds are forced out of the electric violin. Often it's hard to tell that it's a violin playing; and you'd swear it's an electric guitar there instead.

The styles explored are of a varied nature; opening with the space and industrial tinged composition Black and then leaving this landscape behind for explorations closer to the realms of fusion and psychedelic rock. Final track Blue approach the style and sound explored in the opening tune, taking this creation full circle so to speak.

Personally I found the songs as such to be somewhat of a mixed bag; and slightly too long overall; but there's lots of talent and energy displayed here and fans of electric violin utilized in instrumental progressive rock would want to check this out; especially if psychedelic tinged music is of interest.

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Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition.

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