Jordan Rudess - Feeding the wheel - 2002
Well! The long awaited latest solo album of Dream Theater's fantastic keyboard player Jordan Rudess is here. Since he did his not very well known but magnificent album with the drummer Rod Morgestein called "Rudess & Morgestein Project" we hadn't been able to listen to Rudess' new solo material. Under the name of "Feeding the Wheel" Jordan offers us eleven instrumental songs that we'll proceed to analyze further on.
For this he has surrounded himself with fantastic musicians. The quality of his collaborators is unquestionable so in this section we'll be more than satisfied: Terry Bozzio on the drums, Eugene Friesen (cello and vocals), Mark Wood on the electric violin, Peter Ernst (nylon guitar), Bert Baldwin (keyboards) and brief appearances of musicians like Dream Theater's guitarist John Petrucci, Steve Morse and Billy Sheehan. Really good set of collaborations that straight away make us think that it probably will be a good album.
Well, let's start, as usual, to analyze the CD song by song: "The voice" opens the CD and without expecting it we enter the second track called "Quantum Soup" that reminds me of his album with Rod Morgestein. At first sight you notice Jordan Rudess' characteristic and genuine style. Predominance of keyboards over the rest of instruments but without eclipsing them. Extravagance of symphonic rock that introduces us in strange atmospheres ranging from pure rock to jazz and progressive rock. A great starting for this album.
The third song is called "Shifting Sands". Introduced by that great instrument that the piano is, we find a slow song full of melody in which the keyboard solos, with a lot of feeling, introduce us completely in the CD. If you suppose that it is a relaxed CD you are wrong because "Dreaming in Titanium" tenses us up again with its complicated and weird parts. Rudess has mixed very well parts that nobody would even think of including in the same song, achieving this way a weird but attractive mixture. Particularly this song reminded me quite a lot of Liquid Tension Experiment. Carrying on with the listening of the CD we come across a song with a psychedelic starting. "Ucan Icon" has very aggressive riffs that together with the heavy chords make us see that hardness and melody are not incompatible. "Centre of the Sphere" is a bridge towards the best track of the whole CD, "Crack the Meter". Virtuosity and feeling in abundance where we find several of his collaborators doing their part. Bozzio, Morse and Sheehan show off playing the best they can. A song that has all you can ask for and much more where guitar and keyboard solos predominate. After this lively track we come across "Headspace", a relaxed and soft song with a beautiful piano melody where Rudess' fast solos blend together with soft chords full of feeling. Without time to relax too much we come across the ninth track "Revolving Door", it starts with a series of original orchestrations that give way to a long section full of solos in which this time is John Petrucci's time to measure himself with Rudess. Many composed compasses and again sudden changes in the melody, style and tempus. "Interstices" announces that there is not much left until the end of the CD. Time for an awaited song in which Rudess delights us with only his main instrument: the piano. A complicated piece in which he shows us his broad record of styles where particularly contemporary music stands out. His more than proved virtuosity is appreciable at first sight. Last track: "Feed the Wheel" reaffirms Rudess in his own style. A wide range of solos on different chords.
To sum up, "Feeding the Wheel" is an album that should be on the shelves of all the keyboard players, from progressive rock to any other style. A great record in which the originality, maturity and god taste stand out. An album that will be liked by anyone, from Dream Theater fans to people who don't stand them.