Some time ago, in the early 1990s, amidst this reviewer's fervor for
a certain German band that had long since hit its creative peak, and
another British band that had yet to, two CDs were dropped in my lap
with an encouraging "You might like these." The CDs in question were
the first two albums by Fonya — the pseudonym of multi-
instrumentalist Chris Fournier. Wanderers Of The Neverending Night
and Soul Travels were indeed "pretty cool," both flopping down on the
then much-less-cluttered desert plain between the grand sequencer
designs of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze and the rockier textures
of Ozric Tentacles and Roger Powell.
Nearly two decades later, Fournier's compositional prowess has
matured significantly. The music is more intricate, more nuanced, and
oftimes just plain jammin.' Project Moonbeam is an extraction of
works recorded over a period of three years as Fournier's new studio
was coming together. Of the fourteen exquisite comps and jams, four
are solo offerings, ten are collaborations. Fournier cites electric
violinist and chief collaborator Cyndee Lee Rule for general advocacy
and positive vibes in the post facto assembly of the recorded tracks.
Fournier's solo pieces — "Depth," "Hydroid," Theme One," "Theme Two" —
are of the brooding, atmospheric (though not ambient) variety not
dissimilar to '70s Tangerine Dream and Seventh Wave. Choice Moog,
ARP, and Mellotron samples are the timbral meat in these matters,
with bankable drum programming and a sophisticated guitar solo or
two. The "band" pieces are simultaneously retro and contempo in feel;
two are actual songs with lead vocals by Anthony Fournier ("Man I
Was") and Nick Kerzner ("Speculation") that would sit comfortably on
a couple mid-'80s Russ Ballard or Saga records, and that's not a bad
thing. The instrumentals are the real draw, however, especially the
evocative "Dionoga," which (to Fournier's credit) is "pieced together
from various jam sessions." Hence perfectly seamless, "Dionoga" is
well-tempered by Rule's and guitarist Steve Bosse's contributions.
Drummers Tobe London and Jim Kelsey (and Fournier himself
on "Unrestriction") lend a welcome organic air to the proceedings
on "Glide," "Air," and "Quark," which, while stylistically worlds
apart, mesh as well as Erik Norlander's "Metamorphosis" (with Virgil
Donati) and drummer Brian Bennett's synth-dominated 1978 album Voyage
(minus the disco influence). For the uninitiated, the composition and
album in comparison are essentially synths-and-drums excursions.
Project Moonbeam will hopefully carry on, as Fonya "ended" in 2000.
Fournier and Rule are respectively involved with numerous projects
(Centric Jones and Scattered Planets being, respectively, their main
preoccupations), but enabled by modern technology they make a great
1. One More Trip 3:55
2. The Dream's Illusion 2:51
3. Speculation 6:36
4. Reality Is 4:23
5. Depths Unknown 3:16
6. Dionoga 2:28
7. Hydroid 3:58
8. Air 3:14
9. Theme One 4:48
10. Glide 3:01
11. Theme Two 3:36
12. Man I Was 4:04
13. Quarkz 5:06
14. Unrestriction 3:57
Total time — 55:32
Added: December 1st 2008
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Cyndee Lee Rule: Press
Project Moonbeam--Project Moonbeam
Patience is a virtue. That is the motto Chris Fournier took to heart when, under the moniker Project Moonbeam, he spent 2005, 2006, and 2007 creating, producing, and mastering the tracks that make up the eponymously titled Project Moonbeam CD.
The music on this CD is largely electronica-based and the idea for the CD came together as Fournier, who has previously put out several solo recordings in the 90’s under the moniker Fonya, composed the tracks while working to get his professional recording studio operational. Helping Fournier out on various tracks on Project Moonbeam is violinist Cyndee Lee Rule (also credited in the CD booklet with “additional melodies”), drummers Tobe London and Jim Kelsey, guest vocalists and lyric/vocal melody contributors Nick Kerzner and Anthony Fournier (one track each) and guitarist Steve Bosse (one track). Chris credits these talented helpers with much gratitude in the CD booklet acknowledgements. He especially thanks Rule, to quote from the booklet:
“Many thanks go out to Cyndee Lee Rule for helping me realize this material was ready to be put together and released. Without her efforts in this area, Project Moonbeam likely would have remained in the studio archives.”
Rule offers her violin styling to six of the CD’s fourteen tracks. It is quite prominent on One More Trip, which like many of the tracks, evokes analog era Tangerine Dream, and Reality Is, which features a programmed bass synth line that could have come from Arjen Lucassen of concept-opera project Ayreon.
Chris is a talented instrumentalist and his Hammond and mellotron sounding keyboards recall the prog of old like ELP and King Crimson. He is also a groovy bass player, laying down some sonic viscosity on The Dream’s Illusion and on the acid jazz of Glide and Theme Two. The electronica-flavoured contemporary pieces give Project Moonbeam some mainstream appeal, albeit, perhaps, unintended. Only five of the fourteen tracks feature live drummers.
Kerzner contributes an acceptable vocal to the Billy Sherwood-tinged Speculation. An even better vocal is provided by Anthony Fournier on the acoustic-laden Man I Was. Some atmospheric Floydian synths get in on the action on Theme One, which harkens back to Flowermouth-era No~Man.
The CD booklet was designed by David Frain and shows an alien-looking desert landscape.
A great effort from Chris Fournier and his capable cohorts. I would love to see Project Moonbeam become a full-fledged band with a studio release!
Conclusion: 8 out of 10
10 Questions With...Cyndee Lee Rule
There aren’t enough good space rock violinists in the world.
Thankfully, we have players like Cyndee Lee Rule trying to redress the balance.
Cyndee’s got a pretty impressive C.V., including work with icons of space rock such as Nik Turner, Tim Blake, Harvey Bainbridge, and many others I’m just not totally remembering at this moment. She’s worked with Systems Theory (Systems Theory member Steven Davies-Morris assisted on her debut solo disc, UFOsmosis). She's played with electronic band Radio Massacre International, both in the studio and live. In fact, her contributions to their live set at NEARfest 2008 were some of the highlights for me.
UFOsmosis, her first solo album, was released in 2006. A mix of originals and some inspired choices for covers, the release has served as a bit of a launching pad, exposing her name and impressive instrumental skills to a wider audience. With additional projects in the can, now seemed a good opportunity to catch up with Cyndee to see what’s coming up on the radar…
1) What's the quick and dirty Cyndee Lee Rule CV?
CLR: Classical violinist gone ssssspaceeeeeee!
2) How did you get started playing violin?
CLR: I started in school, in the 3rd grade. We had a demonstration of all the instruments available for lessons. When I saw the violin, I knew that was THE instrument for me!
3) What does the Viper bring to your playing?
CLR: The Viper allows me to plug in and use my Boss GT-6 pedal. I really enjoy using effects with the violin. The combination of the pedal with a bow is really exciting to me!
4) Are you ever worried that your Viper will gain sentience and strike out on its own?
CLR: Oh yeah! In fact, I feel as though the Viper is really playing itself. I am just the one standing next to it!
5) What would you say has been your biggest live playing highlight?
CLR: It would have to be when I shared the stage with Tim Blake in Exeter, UK! It was incredible to get to join Tim on "Selene.” Gong is one of my very favorite bands, up there with the Beatles. I had no idea that I would ever get the opportunity to join one of the members of Gong on a Gong tune in the UK! It was an unbelievable experience!
6) How did you get Daevid Allen to do the artwork for your album UFOsmosis?
CLR: Daevid does commissioned fantasy album cover art pieces. I thought it would be a great idea to get a commissioned cover to use on an actual album. Daevid asked me for some elements to include in the piece. That's my cat Ares on the left corner, with his little "A" medallion and mini-Viper!
7) If you could put together a dream band to back you on album and tour, who would be in the group?
CLR: Definitely Phish! The whole band, as is!
8) How do you select songs to cover?
CLR: I chose songs that are not already violin-heavy. Though I really do like the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby", it is not something I would chose to Viperize. Instead, I chose the more obscure Harrison song "The Inner Light" to add some spacey Indian flavor to the album.
I also chose Hawkwind's "Assassins of Allah" for similar reasons. I really enjoy the very Arabic feel to the song, and wanted to play that up even more. My engineer, Steven Davies-Morris, added some fantastic Arabic percussion to the tune.
9) What's next for you?
CLR: Another solo album is in the works! There are also quite a few collab albums coming out, including several by Mooch and several by Spirits Burning, among others.
10) Any final words for our readers?
CLR: I'd love to thank everyone for such great support! Those who would like to keep in touch with my upcoming projects can join my email list at: www.cyndeeleerule.com, or add me on myspace: www.myspace.com/cyndeeleerule
Space Mirrors - "Majestic - 12: A Hidden Presence" (Sleaszy Rider Records 2008)
Space Mirrors has always had healthy doses of Metal in its Space Rock, but on their third album - Majestic - 12: A Hidden Presence - the Metal comes very heavily to the forefront, without completely forsaking the Space, and adding varied other influences into the mix. The album opens with "Tunguska", a fiery glom of Metal, Progressive and Space Rock stylings, with dual vocals by Alisa and Amber, and Nik Turner on sax. LOTS happening here and I'm not sure how Alisa makes the multiple elements work, but she does. Heavy guitars, full blown symphonic keyboards, colored nicely by alien electronics. And while we're deep into Metal territory, the lyrics and album theme are fully Space Rock, telling of a fireball appearing across the sky - Comet? Alien Ship? Wrath of the Gods?
Pondering that question we see from the title of the next track, "Roswell 47", where this story is going. And with Martyr Lucifer's (Hortus Animae) demonic growling vocals and Michael Blackman's crunchy guitar the music is getting even heavier. But the music refuses to be pigeonholed to any simple genre characterization. The keyboards start with a Gothic flavor and then back to Prog, and finally a sequenced spacey feel. On "Dreamland I: Timewarp", we're treated to a wild brand of Space-Metal. The electronic percussion is like a machine gun, with Michael Blackman and Alisa cranking out a variety of guitar and keyboard sounds, and Lucifer is positively manic in his vocal delivery. "Dreamland II: Area 51" is still rocking but one of the more peaceful songs, with flowing keys, soaring leads by Cyndee Lee Rule's Viper violin, flute by Nik, and vocals by Amber. Definitely has a Hawkwind feel.
Other standout tracks include "MJ-12", with its funky rhythms, freaky Forbidden Planet electronics, Nik's sax in jazz jam mode, nightmarish vocals by Lucifer…. my head is spinning! "Liars" features an interesting mixture of Death Metal, Funk, Prog and Space Rock bits. I love the combination of searing Metal guitar and Cyndee Lee Rule's violin on "Belgian Wave" and "Neuschwabenland (Flying Discs in Antarctica)". Michael Blackman rips off some nice guitar leads on the former, followed by a bit of sax jamming from Nik, plus a huge glom of spaced out freakiness. Cyndee really shines on "Cydonia: Face on Mars", sharing center stage with Blackman's guitar. "Krill Report" consists of Nik reading text from the Krill Report (see www.ufocasebook.com), plus funky dancey electro rhythms, bubbling mind massage electronics and wailing sax. "New World Order" is the closing track and one of the most different on the album. It's got Metal guitar chords played at a punky rock 'n roll pace, a whimsical New Wavey keyboard melody, and Martyr Lucifer in full satanic growl.
In summary, this is, in my opinion, THE best Space Mirrors album yet. It's difficult to classify. It's stylistically all over the place, yet I'm blown away by how skillfully it's all put together. Martyr Lucifer's vocal delivery is incredible and I like the description in the credits of him on "lead clean, screaming and growling vocals". It can be unnerving to hear several tracks with him and then all of a sudden a track with Amber on vocals. I love the contrast. But yes, the conglomeration of styles, and the way it all just seems to work well together is really astounding. You've got all this Metal/Space/Progressive stuff happening all at once, and then Nik will come in with a jazz jam. It's all over the place... but it really works... it gels nicely. This album will appeal to a widely varied audience. Wanting to dig deeper I conducted the following email interview with Alisa Coral.
Aural Innovations (AI): The variety of Metal, Space Rock and Progressive styles on this album took me by surprise. You did an incredible job of bringing it all together in ways that make this quite different to my ears, not just for Space Mirrors but in general. Was this intentional?
Alisa: Yes and no. When I just began to work on this concept in 2005 I thought that this album would be more electronic than other Space Mirrors records. But when I started to compose the music, and it was in 2006, it went very much into a Metal direction. I decided that these elements suit the concept and my vision of the album much more. For me it's almost always: a concept first, then music and then lyrics. So after I explored the concept enough I begin to think about the music, to compose the first bass riffs and harmony lines and at this stage I decide which elements will be in the music. And it was quite obvious for me from the very beginning that I wanted to have a mix of very extreme metal, space rock and art rock sounds. I actually lined-up all the musicians whom I'd like to hear on the record very early and I'm very happy that it worked out really well. It was a challenge to bring all the elements together in a way to sound different from other albums, not just ours but also from other bands.
The great inspiration for this album was, of course, as usual, Ayreon, but also the bands Sigh and Arcturus, which use lots of synth and spacey elements in their music based on black metal roots. It's a natural development for Space Mirrors to incorporate all these styles in our music. We always had metal songs on our previous albums, so it's not new for our fans. And actually I began to listen to Metal music at the same time as I started listening to Space Rock. So for me it never was a very new idea to combine it all together, just an evolution.
AI: You've got contributions from participants in the US, UK, Australia, Italy, you're in Russia. How do you organize it all???
Alisa: First of all you have to be very patient. To work in such a way you need to have all the patience in the world. You should prepare yourself for a very long journey with your musicians from other countries. Sometimes you will have to wait for many months to get it done. And you should have a very clear picture of what you want and a very good basic recording with instructions for musicians. Of course it became possible mostly in the internet era when you can just send an e-mail to contact a musician and then converse over the web about what to do or even to send and receive demo-files to control the work. When I began all this with Space Mirrors back in 2002 it was still something very new and I think I was one of the first to try such kind of work over the internet and regular mail. I was certainly the first one in Russia. Now its become a rather usual way of recording for many bands. It's not easy when you can't hear your singer or other musician recording in the studio, when you can only rely on the professionalism and understanding of your music and your instructions. But in my case it never fails! I always choose very carefully with whom to work and they never disappoint. Some of them may be not very famous but they are all true professionals in what they do and they put all the passion in the recording. Yes, passion is the key I think. They can't be just some session guest musicians; they really should get into your music. Maybe it's also some sort of telepathy? I hope that maybe this line-up will stay for another couple of Space Mirrors albums! By the way, not all the musicians record on our albums distantly. For example I record Amber's vocals here in my studio.
AI: Michael Blackman has been the one continuous participant on all the albums. It's great hearing his guitar work on the Space Mirrors albums because as a fan of his Alien Dream albums I get to hear a different side of him as a musician.
Alisa: Michael is a permanent member of the band. He is the main and right now the only guitarist in Space Mirrors. He also records some bass guitar. Without him it would be very difficult to record these Space Mirrors albums. He is really a great guitar player. He can do all the very different things and is very creative. Usually I have very thorough instructions and comments on what to play. There are bass and melodic lines already but he always has his own very cool ideas, he can always add something interesting to the music and sound. And he wrote two excellent songs for this album. And I think "Dreamland II: Area 51" is one of his best songs ever! It took me some time to write lyrics for it but at the end it's great. I really like this track, very powerful! I think Michael is one the best guitar players on the scene and he can really feel what guitar I need in the music. With him we work very close on the songs, exchanging lots of files over the internet, almost in real time. It's actually almost like having a jam together in the same room. So the distance is not a problem when you work with someone like Michael Blackman.
AI: I really like Martyr Lucifer's vocals. I normally don't like the growling death metal vocal style, but he's got a very distinct voice and style of delivery.
Alisa: I needed a male singer for this album and from the very beginning I decided that I need different kinds of vocals, including growling. So I was looking for two or maybe even three singers. But then I heard the Hortus Animae album "The Blow of Furious Winds…" and thought "yes, that's the singer I want!" He was doing all kinds of vocals: clean, growling and screaming. Luckily this band was signed to the same record label as we and I had no problem with contacting Martyr Lucifer. So he agreed to take part and it began from there. It was a real pleasure to work with Martyr. It took some time but when the vocals were recorded I was very happy with the result. He was the perfect choice so I didn't need other male singers for the album! He did everything! He has his own distinctive style and manner. He is a technical singer but he is very emotional in his singing. There are lots of very known technical singers who can do many things with their voices out there but most of them have no style, no emotions at all. And Martyr can really get into the song. He really made all the right accents where they should be. It was a top job! He is also a part of a band Opposite Sides, from Italy too, they are really good extreme metal with some industrial influences.
AI: Nik Turner makes some great sax and flute contributions. And he was a perfect choice for the narration on "Krill Report".
Alisa: Nik was the first musician whom I asked to participate in this album. And it was a great inspiration for me when he agreed! He is very important for the album because there are some parts which I specially wrote for the saxophone and flute. And Nik didn't disappoint! He is a true professional. When I contacted him he said that I'd have to wait for several months. I said "ok, no problem". And after some waiting he recorded all the tracks. They were done very professionally and he recorded several versions for each track so it was a lot to choose from! He really took this very seriously and I really like the result! I think that maybe this is one of the best Nik's performances ever on the records. And of course the narration, yes, I even didn't think that someone else could do that. It was for Nik from the very beginning, he's got a great narrating style, you know… and what a voice! Nik is a legend and I really hope to work with him some time in the future. He is surely a true spirit of the Free Festivals Space Rock. He is a great talent, a wonderful and creative musician. It is an honour to have him on this record! By the way I really liked his Space Ritual album "Otherworld".
AI: Cyndee Lee Rule has been adding her Viper violin to a lot of people's music lately. It really adds a beautiful coloring to the sound.
Alisa: Yes, her violin was essential for the sound of some songs. Again I decided about having a violin on the album from the very beginning. And we were conversing with Cyndee through myspace. She liked my music and I liked her playing so I invited her to record. She can do all the styles from aggressive distorted violin to very melodic and she does them all on the album! Cyndee is one of those musicians with whom it's really easy to work. She is very fast with recording and of course she really feels the music. It was very cool that she liked our music and agreed to play. And I actually think that this is a bit different from the music she usually records on. I certainly want her wonderful violin sound to remain on the future Space Mirrors albums! She is a very good friend and I like to talk with her. It was very cool to meet finally at the Gong Unconvention in 2006 and there we talked a lot about music, life, politics and we have found very much in common.
AI: Despite the dominance of the Metal influences, the UFO theme of the album is pure Space Rock. Tell me more about the theme of the album.
Alisa: Well, I think it's just a cliché. There are many metal bands which use the UFO theme in their albums, for example Hypocrisy, Pain, Running Wild… I thought that mix of metal and space rock will perfectly fit the concept. The album is basically about the twelve events and landmarks of the UFO history. From Tunguska with all the mystery around it to Roswell, Area-51, the MJ-12 conspiracy, Nazi UFO bases in Antarctica and New World Order. The album is called "Majectic-12" and it has different meanings. One of them is a group of people who in general were behind the whole UFO conspiracy since Roswell 47. Kevin Sommers did an excellent cover art for the album and it reflects the ideas very well! He also created a great booklet design with pics which open the meaning of every song. Kevin is a great and a very creative artist!
AI: You draw heavily from the www.ufocasebook.com web site and the researcher/webmaster wrote a forward in the album liner notes. I spent some time looking it over and this is an incredible site. LOTS of information. What do you think about all these reports of UFO sightings? Abductions? Government conspiracy?
Alisa: Yes, that site was very helpful when I was digging for different facts for the concept of the album. There is a lot of crap and fakes around the internet and in the press, and without such a site like www.ufocasebook.com you can really get lost. Why I like this site is because they just represent the facts to you and then it's your own decision to believe it or not. I've read lots of articles and stories, saw lots of photos. And I think some of them are really genuine! You know, UFO does not actually mean "alien ship". It can mean anything "unidentified", and I think there are really unidentified objects out there. We have the right to know what are they, we should explore and investigate the phenomenon. But for some reason the governments are against it and they create conspiracies, the false research projects to hide something. They try to fake the evidence. The Roswell case is one the most well documented and earliest. If they have nothing to hide then why to do that? What is it they don't want us to know? These are the questions we ask. I never draw any conclusions without facts. But the fact is that they don't want anyone to really investigate the cases. Maybe these are some secret military tests? That could be the reason. There are some very weird abduction cases. In some of them all sounds very logical and you can't find weak points in what people tell. You can believe it or not but something strange is happening, that's for sure. Anyway, if there is nothing to hide the governments wouldn't worry about the researchers.
AI: This is the second album you've done with the Sleaszy Rider label so I assume that's worked out well? Has distribution been good? I've received questions from people here in the US asking where it will be available.
Alisa: Yes, it was much better than before. And we have a contract for this album too so there was no search for another record label. And other labels really couldn't offer anything better so far! Some people were a bit surprised to see us on a metal record label. Well, now they know why we are here (laughs). Honestly I think that from all indie labels the metal ones have the best distribution. And Tolis Palantzas, the owner of Sleaszy Rider Records, is working really hard to get the best. He's already got very good distribution in Europe. You can buy our albums in such big online shop chains as Amazon. And he works on US distribution. So far we have only some mailorders there but I'm sure there will be more. And by the way, if the fans write to the shops (online or not) where they buy cds about Space Mirrors album maybe the shops will order it from Sleaszy Rider! It's not an easy situation in the music industry now and indie music stays alive really only because of such music enthusiasts like Tolis and fans who buy the cds. His support was very vital during the "Memories…" days.
AI: I was very impressed with the Vespero and Kalutaliksuak albums that came out on the RAIG label last year. What was your involvement in those albums? Are those bands local to you?
Alisa: I know Igor Gorely who is the RAIG owner and he is a very good friend. He asked me to make the mastering for these two albums and so I did. With Kalutaliksuak it was a lot of remastering work. I really like the music on these albums. Vespero recorded a very interesting album in the direction of instrumental Gong and Steve Hillage but still with their own style. Vespero is not local to me, they are from another town, far from me. And Kalutaliksuak are from Moscow, so yes, local.
AI: Have there been any other musical activities you've been involved in recently other than Space Mirrors?
Alisa: I did mastering for the Jet Jaguar and Guild Navigators split which should be released later this year, recorded vocals and synths for the new Jet Jaguar song and also did mixing/mastering for Rushus Project (a Russian band).
AI: I get quite a lot of music submissions from Russian bands and individuals. Do you network locally with many artists?
Alisa: Not much really. It happens so that I have much more common ground with musicians from other countries; actually I know personally much more of them than Russian ones. It doesn't mean that I'm not open to co-operation with Russian artists; it just wasn't satisfactory so far. Most of the Russian indie musicians I know are through RAIG record label or some metal ones. Sometimes I get contacted by Russian musicians. Space Mirrors is rather known here in certain music circles despite almost zero press coverage in Russia. But Russian music journalists are another topic.
AI: Any live performances in your area of space/psych/progressive/electronic music?
Alisa: Not sure about progressive, I don't listen to it much. From what I know Disen Gage play some really cool concerts. There is actually no Space Rock scene at all. There are some bands like Vespero or Kalutaliksuak which are close to what we can call Space Rock but I don't know any other. There are some free psychedelia bands as far as I know but I never heard about any band in a Hawkwind-like Space Rock style. And that's what I'm more into. It would be cool if the Russian indie scene and market developed more but it doesn't look good at the moment and I don't see how (HW-ish) Space Rock can find a niche here. It seems like there is some demand for the so-called Post Rock bands which is a good sign but I don't know many of them.
AI: Any other news or upcoming events we should know about?
Alisa: I have plans for two albums right now. They will be quite different from each other. But I think it will be very interesting to record them. With some interesting guests. Also there are plans still to make a live band someday. If "Majestic-12" does well maybe we will be able to get some financial backing for a small tour and support from a record label. Actually, for example, I know musicians with whom we could make concerts in the USA. So musicians are not a problem. Money is a problem, as usual. But I hope it will be solved at some stage. And then see ya on the road!
For more information you can visit the Space Mirrors web site at: http://www.spacemirrors.com.
Hear music at the Space Mirrors Myspace site: http://www.myspace.com/spacemirrors.
Mooch - "1967 ½" (Ambientlive Records 2008, ALR3033, CD & CD/DVD editions)
If Dr. Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band was a departure for Mooch (see AI #37), 1967 ½ represents a whole new era. The first in a planned "sixties" series, the spirit of the summer of love is alive and well both musically and lyrically, but is by no means a mere retro experience. Rather, the album is a continuation of the Dr Silbury story where the good Dr has hooked up the external force oscillator of his quantum jukebox to its calendar in order to travel to the year 1967½, where he experienced an alternate Summer Of Love.
Like Dr. Silbury, 1967 ½ features several guests, including Don Falcone, Karen Anderson, Pete Wyer (from the early Mooch days), Cyndee Lee Rule, and Chris Gill handles all the vocals. Among the highlights is "The Ice Cream Song", a psychedelic tune with a Canterbury-ish flavor. I've read some other reviews of the album and I'm the only one that's mentioned this, so it could be my sense of perception. Maybe it's Chris Gill's vocals, which are similar to Richard Sinclair. In any event, it's an excellent song. "English Wisdom" is another song that struck me as having this Canterbury feel, and also includes tasty licks from Cyndee Lee Rule's always welcome Viper violin.
Syd-era Pink Floyd, The Beatles, various San Francisco bands from the day, and The Dukes of Stratosphere (an earlier revisit to the 60s done up wonderfully by XTC) are all in evidence throughout the album. "Truth Fairy" has some tasty instrumental interludes with freaky efx reminiscent of Pink Floyd and the Dukes, and what sounds like psychedelic harmonica. "Sylvester the Protester" combines a Syd Barrett feel with The Beatles at their most psychedelic. Dig that freaky organ/guitar combo at the end. "Wouldn't It Be Good" features trippy sitar and looped bits and mellotronic backdrops. "In Time" is the heaviest rocking song of the set, with liquid guitar supplementing a driving organ. "Diamond Cutter" is a bouncy rocker with classic 60s organ. And "Early Morning" is a bit different, utilizing ethnic stylings á la Steve's Blue Lilly Commission project as the foundation for a psychedelic song. Tablas, horns, sitar drones… very very cool.
There are 11 songs on the CD only version. If you get the CD+DVD combo (which I've not seen) you get an additional song, videos for some of the songs, original versions of Paul Rowley's songs, a filmed interview with Paul, a video about Haight Street, and various slideshows. One reviewer commented that not since the Dukes of Stratosphere has this period of the 60s been resurrected so well, and I'm inclined to agree. Outstanding songs, execution and production. I'll be looking forward to the next in the series.
http://www.stephenpalmer.co.uk (Main Steve Palmer web site and portal to various projects)
http://www.ambientlive.com (Ambient live site where you can get details on and purchase Mooch CDs)
http://www.pondlifestudios.com (Pond Life site where you can get details on and download Blue Lily Commission albums)
Going back a few months before Radio Massacre International released their new album, Steve Dinsdale joined the Faust List without any fanfare or mention that he played with RMI...a few of us recognized who he was and as we got into discussion about "Rain Falls in Grey" he did have a concern that fans of the group won't appreciate the direction the group was heading, namely a more "rock" approach than their many previous albums and, on top of that, a concern whether they would do one of their musical heroes, Syd Barrett, justice as much of the music on the album directly quotes his compositions and is dedicated to the late, great artist. Knowing Cyndee Lee Rule was guesting her violin talents on the album, I sort of 'nudged' her into giving me an advanced preview of the album...something which she obliged to, gladly...simply put, I was pretty astonished of what I heard and, in fact, thought it the best nod to Syd I've ever heard. So, in short, RMI's "Rain Falls in Grey" gets my nod as one of the Top 5 releases of 2007!!!
Thus Sayeth Jerry Lucky:
"It's said that every generation has its heroes, and certainly when one thinks of the psychedelic era one of the heroes that comes to mind is Syd Barrett, a founding member of the Pink Floyd. While debate can rage on about his particular influences, there is no ignoring his impact on the music and the scene. An impact that can be traced to the music of Radio Massacre International or RMI for short. So much so that while working on new material they heard about Syd's death and decided to focus on the specific musical elements Barrett introduced, incorporating them into their compositions and create music that would be dedicated to Syd. The band chose a title for their efforts Rain Falls in Grey a line from Syd's song "Baby Lemonade."
RMI is primarily Gary Houghton (guitars, glissando guitar, synthesizer, looper, vocals), Steve Dinsdale (keyboards, drums, percussion, glockenspiel, looper, vocals) and Duncan Goddard (keyboards, bass, Mellotron, P3 Sequencer). All three have been player together for some 15 years and for this disc they've added some special guests: Martin Archer (sax, clarinet, recorder) and Cyndee Lee Rule (violin).
The music created by RMI this time around is noticeably different from previous discs. There is still the spacey vibe with synthesized sonic landscapes but on Rain Falls in Grey, there's more of a rock edge. In a way it's more aggressive, more in your face just like those early Pink Floyd pieces were. And that after all is exactly what RMI was trying to do. This is abundantly evident on the track "emissary" (8:44) where guitars and reed instruments are used full on. Houghton has perfected the Barrett style guitar glissando down to a tee. While the others craft that eerie, unsettling background set against a pulsating rhythm foundation. There are moments where it's down-right spooky how they've copped the sound-style so close. There are seven compositions on the disc, four of them on the long side. The title track "Rain Falls in Grey" (17:11) get's things off in fine fashion moving into "Bettr'r Day-s" (11:45), a track which even reflects Barrett's pension for playing with the alphabet in song titles. All of these songs have a distinct sixties psychedelic feel in the musicianship and song structure. RMI has nicely adapted their own spacey vibe to convey the moods created by their hero.
My guess is that Rain Falls in Grey is going to be a hot item for Syd Barrett fans, in part because it's so stylistically true to Barrett's musical vision but also because it allows the listener to hear just a little more of what never was. The disc even comes with a suitably psychedelic cover design from Gong's Daevid Allen. Radio Massacre International have provided a loving and even moving tribute to one of the space-rock genre's pioneers and in so doing have crafted a wonderful disc that "takes you back" and "moves you forward" at the same time. And isn't that what Syd would have liked?"
Mooch: Dr. Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band
Ambientlive Records (ALR3020)
Piloted by an Englishman called Stephen Palmer, Mooch has now released their best album that I have heard yet. Before this the music of Mooch has mainly been electronic, instrumental ambient, although guitar and ethnic instruments have been in use. On this new double album Palmer has collaborated with many different musicians, and the whole seems more like a real band album. Sure there still are some spacey synthesizer atmospheres that were typical for the last couple of Mooch albums.
The firs album begins with the instrumental ”Eight Spokes” where Stephen plays all the instruments apart from the drums. This is a good, rather electronic sounding track. I do prefer the next, hypnotic and psychedelic piece ”Cwmyoy Dub” that also has some narration by John Toon. This one has dub bass, real drums, space sounds, spacey lead guitar and excellent keyboard stuff and works very well! One of the best tracks on the album. The longest track on the album is “Jupiter” that begins in a peaceful way and is excellent, Air-styled suff with great vocals, but at some point they go faster towards the Steve Hillage spheres. In the middle there is a tranquil ambient part that uses Jupiter’s electromagnetic field(?!). There are some superb guitar and synthesizer solos in there. “Saz Interval” is a weird, spacey ambient piece. “Anderson Council” is at first rather energetic psych rock with guitar, bass, keyboards, wordless vocals and proper drums. There’s also some Mellotron later on. Before three minutes the track disintegrates into hazy psych terrain, but in the end it returns to the early theme. The peaceful, soft and synthesizer-driven “The Falcon” also includes pleasant female voice (Karen Anderson). There’s also guitar towards the end. One of the best moments on the album is “Silver Violet Flame” that starts with sequencers. Ex-Hawkwind Bridget Wishart still has an exquisite, soft voice that fits into the track perfectly. In fact Bridget sounds exactly the same she did almost 20 years ago. She also plays clarinet on this song. This amazing, hypnotic and rather melancholic track has a great atmosphere and it makes you float in some strange, spiritual space. There’s also some airy guitar and small-scale rhythm in there. Excellent!
The second disc starts off with the trip hop rhythms of ”Sandman” that features several quests. Bridget is again singing and also plays the saxophone. The chorus is very nice and declamatory. Bridget also sings in “Cycad” that has dark synthesizer and an exciting rhythm. The chorus is relaxed and has some Mellotron, as well. A pretty good number that has a bit jazzy feel and a psychedelic guitar solo. Maybe the most psychedelic freak-out on the album is the almost 13-minute-long “Damien’s Drums” where Palmer might have tried to create a bit similar charge that was captured on Voyage 34 by Porcupine Tree. The track has some ambient sections that are coloured by really trippy narration and then instrumental, mid-tempo jamming with lots of solos. At some point the going gets a bit heavier, and we hear some excellent electric violin soloing (Cyndee Lee Rule). At one point the track goes into very mystical places. Amazing stuff! “Outback Event” is a very good sequencer number with didgeridoo by Paul Dunmore. “Piano Interval” is, as the title suggests, a shortish piano piece followed by “Houri” that starts as weird ambient. Then Bridget recites a short poem after which the ethnic rhythm begins. The enjoyable and lenghty ”The Gulhane Gardens” (situated in Istanbul) is an electronic and slow, bubbling track that has some Oriental feel. The album is finished with “Alien Trilogy”. The first part “Alien Song” is a cheery and upbeat psych pop number with Vocoder vocals and real drums. This works really well! The slower and mechanical sounding “Eat, Eat, Eat” also includes Vocoder vocals and brings to mind Air a bit. The last part “The Sound of Emptiness” is spacious ambient: cold and distant.
At its best, Dr. Silbury’s Liquid Brainstem Band is totally awesome modern psychedelia, and there are many really good tracks on the album. With his quests Stephen has managed to create a very varied album that has a rich palette of sounds, but the whole is still well together and logical. One of the best albums this year!
02.08.07 by Dj Astro
: : UFOsmosis : :
Cyndee Lee Turner is a US-based violinist, and UFOsmosis is her debut album.
I got hold of this release by chance; as a discussion in a progressive music forum quite unexpectedly lead to me getting in touch with the artist personally; and she was nice enough to send me a CD for reviewing purposes.
Musically her album is unlike anything I've ever heard before. Most of the songs here are created by having a backdrop of drum machines and synth sounds, and with violin sounds and solos placed on top of that musical backdrop. But there's few examples of traditional violin sounds and playing here; if you want your classic haunting violin playing please look elsewhere. This is more experimental fare, and more of interest to anyone into space rock and psychedelic music.
This is an instrumental album, made to showcase the instrument of the artist in question. And the main instrument here isn't the traditional wooden violin, but a v-shaped 5-string electric "animal" known as the Viper. I use the term animal here on purpose, as on several tracks it sounds more like Cyndee is trying to tame a wild beast rather than just playing an instrument.
The sounds emanating from the Viper can be smooth, but often there's a wild frenzied tinge to the sounds, the sound of an untamed digital beast trying to escape from it's electronic cage.
As for album and the songs as such, I find this to be a release of uneven quality. Several tracks doesn't get to me at all, often due to a plethora of sounds fighting in the soundscape, making the listening experience way too psychedelic for my personal taste. Heavy use of disharmonies in some tracks isn't quite my cup of tea either.
But other tracks create extremely intriguing moods, luring me in to enjoy musical landscapes I've never encountered before.
Tracks to check out: "Assassins of Allah" - quite an interesting version of a classic Hawkwind track, "What On Earth" - a song not too un-similar to Tangerine Dream's more mellow outings, "Telekinetigram" - a song with a cold alien feel to it as well as some excellent eastern tinges, "Something I Should Have Said" - a mood-heavy dreamy affair with ominous dark sounds in the back of the soundscape.
Rating: 7 (out of 10)
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen
Cyndee Lee Rule
A review by Paul Angelosanto
For those not in the know, Cyndee Lee Rule is a classically trained viper violin player. The viper violin is a specially constructed electronic violin that enables the performer to let fly with old and new school style music.
Some CDs are good for relaxation, background music at parties or dinner, yoga, hitting on your favorite bong, bumping and bopping in your bedroom, and just plain old rocking out. It’s rare that one CD can hit all that turf and more. Cyndee Lee Rule’s UFOsmosis scores on all those fronts. If you want exotica, prog, ambient sounds, and good old fashioned space rock in one package this is the disc to dig. You’re going to be giving this all instrumental CD some serious play. It’s damn hard to believe this is her first solo effort.
We start off with Putting the Rip in Strip, a seven minute plus tune that builds from an ambient/noise exploration into a down tempo techno style song. It has a snaky rhythm that pulses under a sonic violin attack. It kind of seems an odd choice to open the CD until you hear more later and realize that Cyndee’s opening gives a sampling of the sound banquet that awaits your hungry ears. This number opens the doorway.
Congress Reel is the second track and it is an electronic kick start rework of a traditional arrangement. There is slamming speed and skillful dynamics that’ll push you up and out of your bean bag chair. Molten violin screeches that fire at transcendental speed.
My woman is a Beatles chick. I could already smell the incense burning when she told me that there was a cover of the George Harrison tune, The Inner Light, on UFOsmosis, I, being a philistine, hadn’t known. Sure it’s a raga tripped out hippie smoke shop song, but Cyndee’s version surpasses that and it is a fab re-tooling of the sitar feel with vipor flair.
Scarborough Fair is another nice restructured classic. I should also point out that the other players on this disc; Greg Amov and Steven Davies Morris create some impressive landscapes of sound for Cyndee’s violins to fly over. Rule also hits the keys and programming herself.
Not only is Seven Cities of Gold filled with progtastical moments of grandeur and changing complexity it’s also infused with dandy Spanish guitar. Try drinking margaritas to it, or play it whilst wooing your senorita. Either way its like golden tequila, it’ll burn you smoothly. This showcase piece clocks in at just a bit over nine minutes which keeps this prognaut very pleased.
Cyndee also favors us with an ultra slab of space rock. Cyndee gives an amped up, warp drive, solar flaring, version of the Hawkwind tune, Assassins of Allah. I will declare it here and now, her version is better than the original. I’ve gotten tired of this song showing up on every Hawkwind live release lately and was getting sick of the song in general, but thanks to Rule I am back on board. Her instrumental speed dive violin workout leaves me forced to peal myself off the ceiling in the morning. I also dig the fact that it has a brilliant false ending which makes me give praise when the viper swings back in for one more super sonic assault.
Weekend Affair is for the lovers and the lounge lizards. It has hipster cool exotic bachelor pad charms, filled with dames with bedroom eyes. Don’t think I’m getting down on this songs vibe. I dig it all the way. Martin Denny or Les Baxter would chew their orchestras up with jealousy if they heard this retro cool number.
Something I Should Have Said closes up the shop. It’s deep into the creepy cool of trip hop. Haunting melodies, siren like, with strings dripping something ethereal and other worldly that you can’t quite see, and beats from the deep fade out and down with us. This song would be perfect on the soundtrack to a hipster ghost flick. It’s a spooky send off from a mansion of beautiful songs.
Cyndee Lee Rule - "UFOsmosis"
(Independent Records 2005, IR37029, CD)
From Aural Innovations #32 (November 2005)
Drawing from a diverse palette of global influences - including Hawkwind, Gong, Afro-Celt Sound System and Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Cyndee Lee Rule's debut CD UFOsmosis deftly, and sometimes arbitrarily, fuses elements of space rock, new age, neo-progressive rock, world music and ambient dance into an occasionally bewildering and often breath-taking panorama of first realizations. Fiercely eclectic, UFOsmosis is intent on dissolving sonic boundaries while at the same time resolving the inherent contradictions that seemingly distinguish musical genres. Rule's axe du jour is electric violin, but on many of the eleven songs on UFOsmosis she wisely sheds the instrument's association with art music and instead shreds like some demented banshee on psilocybin. Strangely guitar-like, often shrieking and soaring, but with a brutal elegance rarely associated with the instrument, Rule's 5-string Viper rips through the electronically processed soundscapes of pieces like "Seven Cities of Gold" "What on Earth?" with a vengeance that reminds one of Didier Lockwood's demolition of the instrument with the early incarnation of Magma or Jean-Luc Ponty's similar chain saw pyrotechnics with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Congress Reel," for instance, features plenty of hot licks that ascend and spiral like floating cobras in a dervish dream of serpentine Persian scales, while "The Inner Light," a curious cover of a late Beatles curio, roils with the neo-futurist groove of Massive Attack crossbred with the wailing spiritual surrender of a Shankar raga. On the other hand, Rule's dynamic cover of Hawkwind's "Assassins of Allah" strips away the song's original heavy rock bias and imparts to it a sleeker, more frenetic edge, as if a troupe of traveling Bedouins had fired up the hookah, the drum machines and the synthesizers, plugged the violin into a Marshall stack and rocked the djinn down in a Tangier garage. "Telekinetigram" continues the calculated merger of 1st world technology with 3rd world sensibilities. Here Rule allows her violin to take wings and dive bomb through the starry ether, while buoyed to earth by a super-gooey LFO-modulated synth arpeggio. Both manic and mannered, with a fiery finesse that embraces a studied classicism without sacrificing emotional intensity, UFOsmosis is a cathartic hour under the headphones.
Artist/ Band: Cyndee Lee Rule
Label: Self release
Year of Release: 2005
Artist/ Band Link (click for details/ ordering)
UFOsmosis is Cyndee Lee Rule's instrumental debut release, where she showcases her 5-string electric Viper violin. She explores many musical territories using her trusty “axe” and creates various sounds ranging from Celtic, Middle Eastern, Indian and Latin influences, with a heavy emphasis on spacerock. Some of the highlights of UFOsmosis are Cyndee’s take on the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Scarborough Fair” and George Harrison’s “The Inner Light”. Both of which are uniquely reworked to suit the violin.
It’s being said that Cyndee’s playing style is comparable to Hawkwind's Simon House. Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Simon’s playing to properly comment. I will however compare her to another string instrumentalist that I know named Mike Alvarez a.k.a. O.D.O. Even though Mike plays the cello their approach and playing style are quite similar whereas they play “outside the box” of what their instruments were originally meant. Cyndee goes for the more spacey jam style progressive rock, while Mike’s is more structured and leans towards the mainstream side of progressive rock. Now get these two on an album together and you’ll have a force to be reckoned with!
If you’re into spacerock and/or violin playing then please do yourself a favor and check out UFOsmosis at Cyndee’s various sites, one of which is available through the link in the above artist information space.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on Novemebr 1st, 2005
1. Putting The Rip In Strip
2. Congress Reel
3. As Go The Moments
4. The Inner Light
5. Scarsborough Fair
6. Seven Cities of Gold
7. Assassins of Allah
8. Weekend Affair
9. What On Earth?
11. Something I Should Have Said
Tracklist: Putting The Rip In Strip (7:17), Congress Reel (2:47), As Go The Moments (6:24), The Inner Light (2:34), Scarborough Fair (2:48), Seven Cities Of Gold (9:06), Assassins Of Allah (4:21), Weekend Affair (6:16), What On Earth? (6:29), Telekinetigram (4:50), Something I Should Have Said (6:03)
A recent Hawkwind biography revealed (to me anyway) that Simon House, their in/out/in again violinist has taken to wearing dresses. Perhaps he is feeling the heat of competition, as Cyndee Lee Rule is a very fetching young lady and she sure plays a mean violin. She also has a Hawkwind connection, having played with Nik Turner and Spaceseed, as well as Thee Maximalists, Stellarscope, her current band Scattered Planets and she also took part in the Systems Theory Project. Greg Amov and Steven Devies-Morris, both from that project, supply the musical backing on this, the debut solo release from Miss Rule.
Both the title and the crazy cover art (by Daevid Allen of Gong) place this disc firmly in the Space Rock genre, and whilst this is borne out from the psychedelic opener Putting The Rip In Strip onwards, it is also readily apparent from the outset that this is a genre-busting cross-cultural pot-pourri of a disc. Dance beats and Electronica, courtesy of the Systems Theory pair, rub shoulders with Eastern motifs, Ozrics style rambling riffarama, Folk Jigs, Symphonic sweeps, Jazz sensibilities and Hard Rock nous – you name it, there’s probably a hint of it here.
Mainly co-composed by Cyndee, with one or other of Morris or Amov, they find room for two traditional tunes Scarborough Fair and Congress Reel, and a cover each from George Harrison – The Inner Light – and Hawkwind – Assassins Of Allah (Perhaps it’s this that has got Mr House worried! Actually, he shouldn’t be – this version lacks the punch of the original, though it doesn’t try to reproduce the sound, going instead for a tribal/electro feel).
The original material is pretty strong throughout, but steadily improves as the disc progresses, with What On Earth? and Something I Should Have Said both being standout cuts.
For my money, I’d leave out the folk tunes, they do add variety, but they are not as strong as the original material, and Congress Reel in particular, sounds like the cast of Riverdance on speed, quite an unsettling thought! I’d also like to hear Cyndee play with a more conventional band line-up, as the programmed drums sometimes grate on me – this is a personal preference though and your mileage may vary.
So, for the most part, a thoroughly enjoyable first outing for a talented violinist, and it should find favour with Hawkwind/Ozrics/Gong fans and also possibly have a high cross-over potential to fans of other genres like techno, world beat and fusion to name but three.
Conclusion: 7 out of 10
Rule, Cyndee Lee: UFOsmosis
Violin-biased albums still in short supply, Scattered Planets “Viperess” Cyndee Lee Rule breaks away to indulge her innermost electric desires with a robust debut that boasts enough variety for your average Sunday post-church picnic. And that’s not all: UFOsmosis is quietly a trio album, with two-thirds of Systems Theory — Steven Davies-Morris and Greg Amov — onboard to lend their technical and compositional expertise. Of the eleven compositions, two are traditional pieces arranged by Rule and two are covers of well-known vintage rock gems; the remaining seven see Davies-Morris or Amov (on one track, both) share the writing credit. All three contributed alternately in the areas of melodic and textural treatments; Davies-Morris took on the venerable task of mixing. The outcome is a variably alloyed gumbo of styles in a single volley — under a Daevid Allen illustration — that’s almost too exhaustive for its own good.
“Putting The Rip In Strip” was an early preview track that you could liken to a store brand vitamin: considering the dosage, the bulk of its potency is likely excreted before it is metabolized. In a nutshell, the track proclaims Cyndee Lee’s proficiency on electric violin, shrill tones aplenty firing off from her 5-string Viper like showers of sparks. The Viper tends to overwhelm very quickly; rhythm tracks — all synthetic, on this outing — are at its mercy. In the end “Strip” resembles more of a post-produced jam than a preconceived work. “Congress Reel,” a traditional, is instantly enjoyable: a cleaner tone is employed and the hi-speed lead is melodic and jubilant; the uptempo drumtrack is buttressed by outrageously fast fills; a harsher tone is dialed for the solo. Lots of fun. “As Go The Moments” reminds me of Joe Jackson, for some reason; it’s a more laidback piece that explores the fringe sectors left by a chillout-space rock overlap. The second half is the more interesting, but the various sonic “hues” don’t enjoy the separation they’re due. Otherwise, well done. “The Inner Light” and “Scarborough Fair” are covers, the former by a renowned Harrison (not Ford), the latter an antique. While trying not to sound overly critical, with regard to “Fair” the Viper’s aggression is overemphasized and the mix too grainy, too hazy — with a noticeably truncated ending — for it to be done justice. It’s no secret that the parties involved reside on opposite coasts, though, and the Net helped to make UFOsmosis a reality.
Yes, the disc has a mini-epic, the full collaboration titled “Seven Cities Of Gold.” Nine minutes in length, this is a nicely atmospheric, lush portrait that is mildly romantic, adequately exotic, and sonorously topped off (not to mention well-mixed). Electric violin is complemented by multi-tracked acoustic guitar (wonderful) and synthetic treatments that coalesce in said vibe (the second violin solo is splendid). “Assassins Of Allah” is a rendition of the Hawkwind staple, modeled on violinist Simon House’s motif — another solid execution but it’s quickly forgotten by what comes after it. For this reviewer, the album’s last twenty-odd minutes are the most interesting, beginning with (arguably) the two best cuts, back-to-back. “Weekend Affair” is the sort of smooth, slick exercise guys like Jan Hammer, Harold Faltermeyer or even Richard Burmer tackled in the ‘80s, when an ever-shifting synthesizer scene was on the cusp of handing the reins over to the new digital models of the day by Roland, Korg and Yamaha. Analog pads would yield thick pads and surreal timbres, and a new icy cool digital tone lacking in harmonics would slice through the soundscape like a laser; often enough these tonal hybrids sounded rich. That’s not exactly what’s happening here, but the character of the track, from the opening Rhodes-like samples to the surging string sound to the “dance floor” drum pattern, recalls what was going on back then. The manic violin lead has a suspiciously “jigsaw” ring to it, but this is a clever trick. On cue, “What On Earth?” merges Greg Amov’s Berlin School affectations — that almost sounds like Chris Franke circa 1982 — to the Viper’s curiously murky attack, while “Telekinetigram” tackles trance. “Something I Should Have Said” is a sweet six-minute resolution, and my remarks concerning “Weekend Affair” carry over. The last third of UFOsmosis is easily the strongest.
In addition to violin instruction and semi-regular gigging with husband-guitarist Jeff Nutkowitz in Scattered Planets, and the odd live tour along the order of Nik Turner or Thee Maximalists, Cyndee Lee Rule’s skills will quickly resurface on the forthcoming Systems Theory endeavor, Codetalkers. For now, kick your shoes off, sit back and enjoy a weekend affair with knee-high leather boots.
1. Putting The Rip In Strip (7:17)
2. Congress Reel (2:47)
3. As Go The Moments (6:24)
4. The Inner Light (2:34)
5. Scarborough Fair (2:48)
6. Seven Circles Of Gold (9:06)
7. Assassins Of Allah (4:21)
8. Weekend Affair (6:16)
9. What On Earth? (6:29)
10. Telekinetigram (4:50)
11. Something I Should Have Said (6:03)
Total time – 59:20
Added: November 28th 2005
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Cyndee Lee Rule’s Soundclick Homepage
At a recent Orion Sound Studios show, I saw Rule join Thee Maximalists for a set of entirely improvised music. Afterwards, she came back and played a set on her own, playing violin over a series of pre-recorded backing tracks. That performance gave me a pretty good idea what to expect from this CD. The backing tracks on the disc are provided by members of Systems Theory, with Rule creating the melodies and soloing on violin over top. The instrument is sometimes played "clean" and recognizable as a violin, but just as often it's heavily distorted or fed through processing and can sometimes sound like a guitar or some sort of growling, otherworldly beast.
The background music ranges from originals to traditional ("Congress Reel") to covers (The Beatles' "Inner Light"), with one track that fits both the traditional and cover categories ("Scarborough Fair"). The album is entirely instrumental. The use of programmed drums gives the music a somewhat artificial or "techno" feel, but it doesn't detract much overall. The music is generally upbeat, although the heavy use of synthesizers and loops creates a somewhat spacey sound, in line with the album title and front cover. In case you were wondering about the cover art, it was created by Daevid Allen of Gong fame.
Rule's violin playing is top notch, and does a nice job of walking the line between being melodic enough for enjoyment, but abrasive enough not to sound like elevator music. I enjoyed her brief set at Orion, and have found this CD to make for great headphone listening at work. I'm generally a fan of prog music with violin (Kansas, Boud Deun, Ozone Quartet, etc), and this album gives it a new twist. Worth picking up if you're similarly fond of violin and don't mind programmed drum tracks and synthesizers.
review by Bob Eichler — 3-31-06