Levin Minnemann Rudess – Levin Minnemann Rudess (2013)

Share this:

There are certain parameters expected from any new supergroup, certain expectations based on what you know coming in. Levin Minnemann Rudress depth charges those early and often.

First, these furiously inventive tracks were borne not out of jam sessions — something you might have reliably assumed considering the musical lineage associated with Tony Levin, Marco Minnemann and Jordan Rudess — but from a period of focused songwriting. Levin and Minnemann worked out each track’s contours, and then Rudess added finishing touches for what would become this self-titled debut, due on September 5, 2013 from Scott Schorr’s Lazy Bones.

The results on Levin Minnemann Rudess are focused when you might have been prepared for something simply inventive. The album eventually comes to take in elements of their celebrated tenures with King Crimson (Levin), Steven Wilson (Minnemann) and Dream Theater (Rudess), but only enough to provide a road map to fresh discovery. There are times (and they come often) when this couldn’t sound less like those well-known antecedents, starting when Minnemann picks up his guitar — another thrilling feint. Levin Minnemann Rudess actually opens with a thunderous, Deep Purple-ish groove on “Marcopolis,” signaling that this isn’t going to be another typical prog-inflected excursion. In fact, there are a number of intriguing, wholly astonishing textures here, things that previously existed far off this trio’s individual beaten paths.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Calling this new Lazy Bones collaboration an ‘exciting challenge,’ Tony Levin goes inside the fizzy interplay found on ‘Levin Minnemann Rudess.’]

So we get these brutal (and I mean that in the best possible way) moments like “Frumious Banderfunk” and “Afa Vulu.” But also “Mew,” which has a ruminative, almost (dare I say this?) smooth-jazz quality at times. “The Descent,” though powered by a patently elastic performance by Levin, roams through these transfixing, very cinematic landscapes — only to give way to “Scrod,” which explores a galloping, mind-bending rock calculus. “Lakeshore” and “Service Engine,” in their own unique fashion, combine both aesthetics — before soaring to these anthemic conclusions.

Rudress, throughout, is simply a wonder — the very personification of this madcap disregard for expectations surrounding Levin Minnemann Rudess. As he tries out a blur of sounds and samples, painting in an often-stunning new tapestry of colors, the album shakes off any comparisons to the Liquid Tension albums, which also featured Rudess and Levin but could felt very much like a Dream Theater side project. Then there’s Minnemann, reasserting something that’s been largely forgotten during his time as a back-stage rhythmnist: He is more than capable of creating his own songcraft, and of unleashing riffs that could bring down buildings.

Working in tandem with the endlessly dexterous Levin, they’ve created a layered, dizzyingly inventive project — bruising when it needs to be, and stirringly translucent at others. That Levin, whose journey has been defined by switching gears, is standing in the middle of this maelstrom of musical delights might just be the only thing that isn’t a pleasant surprise about Levin Minnemann Rudess.

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B0000067YK” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005H492PI” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00EWV68SG” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B00ABL6YAI” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B0006ZSILC” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this:
Close