For most prog fans, bassist Tony Levin, drummer Marco Minnemann, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess likely require little in the way of introductions. Tony Levin's name is synonymous with King Crimson as well as Peter Gabriel; Marco Minnemann is most famous for his work with The Aristocrats and a long list of other names for which he played with such as Steven Wilson; and of course everybody knows that Jordan Rudess is with Dream Theater. All are not only legends in their own rights, but also insanely prolific instrumentalists. This you could already hear on the album they recorded together in 2013. I guess many of you who own Levin Minnemann Rudess (see review) were wishing for a follow up album. Despite the fact all of them are very busy in the music scene they strangely enough did managed to come up with an successor. They named it From The Law Offices Of Levin Minnemann Rudess. Coming up with such a title is probably not so strange at all. I guess anybody outside the progressive rock scene who reads the name Levin Minnemann Rudess thinks it is the name of a law firm. They would not think this might be a musical project of three highly skilled musicians who have fun together by playing strong instrumentals.
However when you look at the pictures on the cover and the back of this CD you indeed have the idea you are dealing with a law firm. Also the text inside the booklet does not give the impression this has something to do with progressive rock. The trio acts as if they own a progressive law firm with offices in Monaco, Andorra, Colombia and many other places throughout the world. Only the three concert photographs and the album credits reveal the truth. Putting on the seventeen tracks on this disc reveals even more that they only take one thing seriously. Making very high quality music which has a lot of room for improvisation and jamming, even more than you can find on their strong debut. But the main dish is of course coming up with well structured compositions in which there is room most of all for strong solos performed on the synthesizers and electric guitars. The synths are of course handled by Rudess, but he also shines on the less well known instruments GeoShred and seaboard. Minnemann is known for his strong drumming but is an excellent guitar player as well. Which he proves on the release once again. However Levin has the chance to display his guitar talents on one track as well, next to his already well known bass, Chapman stick and cello talents.
Actually summing up the individual tracks on this album would take too much time. But believe me every track is worth listening to and there is a fine balance between up tempo tunes and more mellow compositions. Sure you have to be in the mood for listening to almost seventy minutes of instrumental music. Music which not only has elements taken from progressive rock but also moves sometimes into the direction of metal, fusion, jazz rock and rock music. This way enough variety can be heard throughout the entire album.
Rhythmic complexity and instrumental versatility are presented in a way that I have yet to discover anywhere else. When first listening to the album, it may seem a little bit tiring and inaccessible, but once you have listened through it once or twice you will experience the complete opposite.
LMR, as they are now often referred to, have once again combined forces to create a strong follow-up to their first, already excellent, self-titled album - and let me assure you, it delivers an absolute splendid listening experience.
This album is pure bliss from the opening bars - to have one brilliant musician play intricately and effortlessly through an entire album is always a treat, but to have three of the finest doing it at the same time and still sounding effortless- that's genius in triplicate. If you are looking for something complex that will keep you busy for quite some time, something unique, something away from the mainstream... then this may be the choice to go for. In other words From The Law Offices Of Levin Minnemann Rudess is just a mind blowing CD.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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