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His Masterpiece - 100%

jnarin, September 9th, 2006

Hail, the wizard!

Jordan Rudess is God of Keyboards, there’s no doubting that.

Rhythm of Time was released a good 2 years back, sometime in 2004. I was somehow never able to get hold of the album. Recently, a friend picked up the album from the US, and got it over last week. I’ve been unable to stop listening to the album since.

Before I get to the details of the song, a little bit of information that I read about the making of the album. Apparently, Rudess wanted to get this album written and over with before Dream Theater started on their 2004 World Tour. Now, anyone who knows Rudess has to know that even on a live performance, he uses only one keyboard, which means, enormous amount of programming has to go into the Kurzweil K2600 (Well, that was what he was using in 2004). The booklet along with the album says that he needed over to pracise over 8 hours of music, and it took him over 100 hours (!) to program the Synth for the tours.

To get the music for the album ready, he locked himself in the studio for 14 days, and wrote the songs. The booklet gives all details of the equipment that he added to his arsenal, and all the thinking that he went through before he started with the album.

He discusses in detail about the contributing artists, how he met them, the technology he uses, and the reason for the Album Title.

The CD also has a “Behind the Scenes” video where he discusses the making of the album, shows-off his studio gear (the trusty Kurzweil K2600, Roland V-Synth, Novation Supernova & Korg Karma). You can hear a section of the solo that Jordan did on “Dream Theater - Live at the Budokan” when he walks over to the Korg Karma.

Well, let’s get to the songs now.

Time Crunch - Fantastic opening song. The pace of the song is amazing, and the title is very apt. It did make me feel the Crunch. Vinnie Moore does a lovely solo on this one.

Screaming Head - Another mind blowing number. The Behind the Scenes Video features this audio track in the background. I never even had to go through the booklet to figure out that Joe Satriani did the guitar solo on this one. Just listen to his guitar scream, and you’ll know instantly it could be no one else. :-) Stunning bass lines. Who played the bass? Dave LaRue. It comes quite a surprise that both Time Crunch and Screaming Head are actually more of guitar songs than keyboard songs. :-)

Insect Among Us - The first time I heard this track, I felt violated! No, I’m not kidding. The intro was blaring, downright rude, and sounded mean and arrogant. Despite that, the tune stayed on my mind. I heard this a couple of times more, and I realized that this track practically showed-off the speed of Rudess. He goes on to prove that he’s Mr. Fast Fingers. :-) Aah, almost forgot, another solo from Joe Satriani.

Beyond Tomorrow - Surprise of the album! A volcal track! :-) For some strange reason, I started to go “Friday Evening, with blood still on my hands.. To think that she would leave me for, that ungreatful man..” (Lyrics from Finally Free, Dream Theater’s Scenes from a Memory). :-) Kip Winger does the vocal on this one, and there’s a solo from Greg Howe. John Guth, who also did the recording and mixing, plays the Acoustic Guitar. Dave LaRue’s back on the bass again.

Bar Hopping With Mr. Tippy - A slower number than most of the songs. Some sensational keyboard and bass work (Dave again). Steve Morse does a solo on this one.

What Four - That amazing solo at the end of the song! That’s what comes to my mind when I think of this one. Apparently, there was a mis-communication on this one, and the beat ended up totally different from what Jordan perceived it. But since it rocked, they decided to keep it. Greg Howe does the first solo, and Steve Morse does the second.

Ra - This is my favourite of the album. Awesome number. Vinnie Moore does the guitar solo on this one, and there’s some Tabla action as well, done by Bill Ruyle.

Tear Before the Rain - Surprise Surprise! Another vocal number. :-) I love this song. Listen once and the next time, I automatically went “Tears falling, I’m calling out into the air.. My sun is rising where I stand” the next time I heard it. I have no clues as to how the lyrics went into my memory.

Apart from a star studded guest appearance list, these are the people who made it possible:
Rod Morgstein on Drums
Introducing Daniel J on Guitar

Rod and Jordan have been together since his time with the Dregs. Daniel J is a new talent who was introduced to Jordan by Rod. Listening to the album, I feel that the guy is incredibly talented, and could have as well played all the solos himself. Good going Daniel! And Jordan acknowledges his talent as well! Imagine jamming with Jordan for the start of his career!

All said, one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to. Applause!