Rule, Cyndee-Lee - UFOsmosis

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Systems Theory Music Publishing
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:15:00

Although she was classically trained, violinist Cyndee-Lee Rule spurns the classics on her debut album in favor of space rock. Now we all know intuitively what space rock is, but for the record - Cyndee's rules for the genre are relatively unstructured music characterized by meandering, melodic sounds, which you can imagine as the backdrop to a spacey sci-fi movie. And in another connotation, you can imagine "spacing out" to it - zoning out to the melodic wash, the tones, the moods, and the atmospheres. And Rule's own interpretation of the genre is a high-energy flow that never seems to let up. Think Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles - or maybe Gong. In fact the cover art for UFOsmosis was done by Daevid Allen of Gong.

Space rock isn't new to Cyndee-Lee - she has performed with artists who are well known to that specialized style of music including Nik Turner, Harvey Bainbridge, Spaceseed, and Thee Maximalists among others - and she has done session work for a variety of artists. And to flesh out her credentials, she is a currently a classical violin instructor, she has been a first violinist with the Southern New Jersey Philharmonic, and she often appears with her photographer / guitarist husband Jeff Nutkowitz in Scattered Planets - another space-rock outfit.

Rule's axe of choice is the "Viper," a 5-stringed electric violin from Mark Wood who is well known as the maven of those instruments. Consequently, many sections sound like no violin you ever heard. Those sounds may be a bit overused in places and it comes across as strident in "Scarborough Fair" and "The Inner Light." Yet the guitar-like tones in the middle of "Seven Cities Of Gold" are quite fun, and the wah-effects in the middle eastern influenced opening track "Putting The Rip In Strip" set the tone for the record. "Congress Reel" is a fun little jig that is somewhat out of character with the rest of the album, but with the with the modern-meets-traditional arrangement and the viper now set up to play like a fiddle, and it stands out as one of the record's highlights. Think of this as Rule's tribute to the Viper rather than to the violin.

Since they don't have frets, violins are particularly tough to play. Consequently, as with vocals, it's easy to be imprecise - and occasional notes will inevitably stray a little off pitch. And if you also have the curse of an ear for perfect pitch, you may be worried by some of the imperfections in pitch control. Listen to "What On Earth" to see what I mean.

In addition to the Viper there are acoustic guitars, small Mellotron (or 'tron-like?) contributions, and there is an abundance of electronica. The rhythm section is programmed - often in a middle eastern style, or in an insistent synth-pop beat that might have limited appeal to fans of more conventional progressive rock.

In early 2005 Rule collaborated with Systems Theory, who play music that is conceptually similar - and for UFOsmosis she enlisted that band's Steven Davies-Morris and Greg Amov for help with technical aspects as well as some of the songwriting, and Davies-Morris mixed the CD as well. UFOsmosis is 11 tracks spread over an hour. Two are covers - George Harrison's "The Inner Light" and Hawkwind's "Assassins Of Allah" - and "Scarborough Fair" and "Congress Reel" are traditional songs arranged arranged by Rule.

For me, the appeal of the songs improved as the CD played on - and it ends on a high note with the "Something I Should Have Said", a light, airy piece with a heavy undertone that rather neatly sums up the album. UFOsmosis is a challenging listen, but I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys space music, who is a student of the violin, or who simply enjoys kicking back and immersing themselves into an eclectic, atmospheric body of work performed by one of the genre's leading new personalities.

Putting The Rip In Strip (7:17) / Congress Reel (2:47) / As Go The Moments (6:24) / The Inner Light (2:34) / Scarborough Fair (2:48) / Seven Circles Of Gold (9:06) / Assassins Of Allah (4:21) / Weekend Affair (6:16) / What On Earth? (6:29) / Telekinetigram (4:50) / Something I Should Have Said (6:03)

Cyndee-Lee Rule
Steven Davies-Morris
Greg Amov

UFOsmosis (2005)

Genre: Psychedelic/Space Rock

Origin US

Added: March 18th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Hits: 813
Language: english


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