Rudess, Jordan - Feeding The Wheel

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA-9055-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:26:00

With the notion that no further Liquid Tension Experiment music will ever be made, the possibilities explored on this Jordan Rudess solo album became endless, as he could fuse as many influences into one, whatever way he liked it to sound. One of the main characteristics of Jordan is his ear for interesting sounds and colours, fine tuning his instruments until he finds that particular interesting sound that fits a certain composition best. One wonders however whether Feeding The Wheel would be a collection of technical wizardry or a nice balance between skill and composition.

Backed by the incredible talents of Terry Bozzio -- the man who has more cymbals around his kit than I ever had teeth in my mouth -- the most important seat next to Jordan's very own "stool" is taken by one of the most important drummers of our day, introducing the almost obligatory Zappa spark. Add to that the inclusion of "friends" such as Steve Morse, John Petrucci and Billy Sheehan and you know you can't go anywhere wrong with this release. But hey, don't take my word for it, listen for yourself, or do you think David Bowie just pulled this guy's name out of a hat? (Jordan has been asked by David to perform on his new album)

Dramatic instrumental rock, sometimes with a dash of Jan Hammer in the funky parts, some heavy Dream Theater guitars when necessary, dreamy piano to fully illustrate his immense talent, and with his Kurzweil by his side like a guard dog, this is Rudess at his very best. "Quantum Soup" is a hybrid of several different styles, something Jordan has been doing since the tender age of twelve. "Shifting Sands" holds a lot of Japanese influences whilst flirting with new age, yet without sounding cheap at all. Originally intended for his wife's 40th birthday, the song eventually ends up here because Jordan knew how many intense and fierce moments there would be on the album and was in need for something more relaxed. In the funky "Dreaming In Titanium" you don't really know how much is Rudess and how much is Bozzio, as Terry is also known to be someone who is fanatic about exploring new sounds and techniques. Combining these two "magicians of the soundboard" certainly is one of the focal points on this album. When Jordan leaves behind the many orchestrations and concentrates solely on the piano, this is a classical maestro at work. But then he's Patrick Moraz for five seconds before getting steaming jazz trumpets out of his set-up. Originally commissioned as a Kurzweil tune for a Namm show, this tune was written in surround sound but later transferred to stereo for this album.

With the intention to make "Ucan Icon" as heavy as original Nine Inch Nails material, it's one of the many examples of Jordan's technical wizardry, exploring at times both grungy timbres and techno timbres. He then processes these through various filters and effects in order to create his very own new sounds. So at times it might well be you think you're hearing guitars whilst it's Jordan's keyboards! When I interviewed Steve Morse last year he told me what a pity it was that he never got around recording a Dregs album when Jordan was in the band. Now he gets a chance in "Crack The Meter," where he trades off his solos with Jordan. Rudess refers to this track as being his "radio song" because it includes bits and pieces that can be associated with the likes of the Dregs or UK. With Billy Sheehan on hand and several Morse solos, this is probably the most rock oriented tune of the bunch, and wot a smokin' little gem it is, taking in a lot of meter changes from Bozzio as well! And there's plenty of meter changes in "Revolving Door" as well, probably the most progressive of all the tracks and with its atonal character, one of Bozzio's favourites. There's an Irish atmosphere tucked away under layers of keyboards and drum patterns, and when John Petrucci steps in to lend his distorted guitar of course nothing can go wrong anymore. By introducing the likes of Eugene Friesen and Mark Wood on cello and violin respectively you do get a strong orchestration, delivering almost pure classical excellence. Talking of classical material, how about the piano piece "Interstices" which sounds dramatic and subtle at the same time, even incorporating an Oscar Peterson feel.

Bin Laden might have taken the towers down but he certainly couldn't hit the small studio in the forest in the suburb of New York. The power of the music which is created there will not only stand the test of time but will be stronger than any weapon past, present or future. The vibes will protect us for a peaceful tomorrow and will keep "feeding the wheel"!

The Voice (Intro) (0:19) / Quantum Soup (11:02) / Shifting Sands (6:00) / Dreaming in Titanium (4:08) / Ucan Icon (5:41) / Center of the Sphere (1:37) / Crack the Meter (6:13) / Headspace (3:58) / Revolving Door (8:33) / Interstices (4:03) / Feed the Wheel (10:12)

Jordan Rudess - keyboards; guitar (3)
John Petrucci - guitar (2, 5, 9, 11)
Terry Bozzio - drums, percussion
Steve Morse - guitar solos (2, 7)
Eugene Friesen - cello and voice (2, 4, 8, 9)
Billy Sheehan - bass (7)
Mark Wood - electric 7 string Viper violin (2, 5, 9, 11)
Barry Carl - The Voice
Peter Ernst - nylon string guitar (3)
Bert Baldwin - keyboard strings (5)

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Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events (2011)
Dream Theater - Dream Theater (2013)
Dream Theater - Live At Luna Park (2013)
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Dream Theater - Breaking The Fourth Wall - Live From The Boston Opera House (2014)
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Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 25th 2001
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 644
Language: english


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