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Jordan Rudess - Rhythm of Time CD (album) cover


Jordan Rudess


Crossover Prog

3.55 | 81 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars The wizard strikes again.

Jordan Rudess is a well known keyboardist. Playing keys for two very well known Prog Metal acts, Dream Theater and Liquid Tension Experiment, and also for the famed proggers Dixie Dregs way back when, he has had ample opportunity to show off his incredible talent and affinity for electronic synthesizer sounds. Well, on Rhythm of Time, the wizard has done it again. Full of eclectic sounds, feels, genres, and some great trippy keyboard sounds, the album is a Rudess treat. Incredible musicianship is really the main factor in making the sounds mesh together and sound like a cohesive piece of music, and he pulls it off fantastically. And it's not only him. He gets together a great bunch of guys to record this album, including Joe Satriani, Rod Morgenstein, and Steve Morse. The album sets you down the path of the mind of Rudess and his crazy keyboard wizardry.

Time Crunch hits you square in the face early on with some trippy old synth effects and some smashing back tracks and polyrhythmic fun, a la Rod Morgenstein. Rudess really weaves in and out quite fluidly with different sounds and voices with this one, with some great dynamic and part changes working to his great advantage. A strong electronica feel is all throughout the song, with some slower trippier breakdowns and great part changes. The solo section is a great treat, switching between keyboard madness and more mellow guitar soloing effortlessly. Overall, this track is as strong an intro as ever, opening the Rhythm of Time with a screaming head (nice transition, eh?).

Screaming Head is a great rocking track with some mixing of all of Rudess other projects into one great song. Some jazzy instrumentation and some cool keys solos within. The dynamic and part changes are cool and creative, switching from quick and bopping to slow and mischievous with great ease. Some of the keyboard voices seem a little cheesy but almost sound right with Rudess' crazy playing. Again he makes the switches between keys and guitar solos seem like nobody's business and makes the whole song flow fantastically.

Insects Among Us is, simply stated, weird. An interesting little keyboard riffing piece is heard as an intro to the 9 minute track that breaks into some very jazzy instrumentation. I'm not saying the song is bad, because it for certain isn't and is actually quite a gem of the album. It is definitely the jazziest song on the album, with even some straight jazz solos by Rudess, switching up the pace of the album and a lot and adding a great many facets of musical diversity to the album. Overall another strong effort by Rudess on so far a very strong album.

Beyond Tomorrow vastly changes the pace of the album to a more sincere ballad like pace. It is the first vocal track on the album, using some compassionate vocal melodies and carefully crafted harmonies with the piano and backing rhythms. The whole song is very chill and relaxed, displaying yet another facet of Rudess' great musical diversity. The song uses some great instrumentation and soloing in the instrumental section with some really cool sounds and voices to boot. Overall, the song slows the album down a lot and shows Rudess more compassionate side, ending with some really cool instrumentation and experimentation.

Bar Hopping with Mr. Picky is just like the title makes it seem, a really fun jazzy solo song between bass, keyboards, and guitar. The song uses some fantastic polyrhythmic feels and exploration. The guitar solos and keyboard solos are right out of this world, with some really amazing experimentation and psychedelic instrumentation.

What Four is a cool eclectic song with the use of a huge variety of voices and feels. Again Morgenstein brings us some really amazing polyrhythmic feels and some great jazzy rhythms to back Rudess bombastic and insane playing style. You can really see the chemistry these two insanely talented musicians have together. The whole ride of the instruments gives you a great feeling, just like all the other insanely strong tracks on the album.

Ra is a really cool ethnic jam. It uses even more keyboard voices than before, implementing a lot more ethnic and predictably "Egyptian" sounding voicing. Some really cool soloing and instrumentation is all about the track, showing Rudess' ethnic side and yet again another facet of his highly diverse musical influence.

Tear Before the Rain is the second vocal track and the second soft and compassionate ballad. The song is purely beautiful song, implementing delicate melodies and careful piano playing traditional to Jordan's style. The lyrics are actually quite moving, despite the whole album being an instrumental effort. Rudess' delicate composition is truly a gem on the album, with some of the most sincere playing on the album, rather than truly cheesy synthesizer voices and sounds. Bravo, Mr. Rudess, bravo.

ALBUM OVERALL: Rhythm of Time is an almost difficult album to rate. The album has such a wide variety of styles and feels, from metal to jazz to ballad to classical, you almost can't give it a concise, accurate rating with all of Rudess' crazy playing and great musical diversity. He uses so many different voices and sounds that the music at times a just a mesh of psychedelic sounds and at others an absolutely beautiful display of Rudess's skill. Overall, the album is an extremely strong effort and one of Rudess' best solo works. 4+ stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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