Exposé Online banner

Levin Minnemann Rudess — Levin Minnemann Rudess
(Lazy Bones Recordings 7 39523 37924 8, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-01-22

Levin Minnemann Rudess Cover artYou throw Tony Levin and Jordan Rudess together in a studio, and people are going start thinking it's a Liquid Tension/Trio Experiment session and Mike Portnoy hasn't showed up yet. Then in walks Marco Minnemann, and you wonder what's going on. The end result is a lot like LTE without much guitar (though Minnemann plays a bit of guitar, it's not dominant in the arrangements), which in theory might resemble other keyboard trio line-ups. Theory mostly fails in this case, partly due to the wide variety of different sounds Rudess gets from his keyboards, some of which sound very guitaristic. Maybe it's my background as a keyboard player, and maybe it's because I (like many) have a nostalgic view of classic analog keyboard instruments, but I often have trouble with digital instruments, especially when they're used to immitate and warp the sounds of other instruments. My attitude is: "If you want a guitar sound, get a friggin' guitar!" And when you do something like cross the waveforms of two instruments and then apply pitch-bend to the notes in a way that neither original could, it's just a sound that annoys me. I guess I'm old-fashioned that way. But on this release, Rudess doesn't delve into too much of that kind of stuff. You'll hear some tones reminiscent of classic instruments, and a lot of things you can't really identify, but for the most part it all comes off well, even if a purist more hard-nosed than I might still object. The tunes, as one might expect, are complex and full of technical fire, but none of these guys is a mere show-off out to prove how many notes they can squeeze into a bar. Music like this walks a fine line between quality and excess, and seems to polarize a lot of listeners. This listener finds it leaning to the quality side, relatively cliché-free and a lot of fun.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Marco Minnemann, Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess

Latest news

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amygdala - Complex Combat – It’s been a few years since Amygdala’s eponymous debut, a complex, powerful and high-energy opening statement if there ever was one; and as strong as it was, its main weakness was the fact that...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues