The debut release Space by Ruder and The Shockwaves was truly a labor of love. Apparently, the studio Ruder was recording at got completely booked so the band would have to do their sessions at nighttime. I’m not talking starting at eight and ending at eleven. They would go into the studio at midnight and not leave till five in the morning. I sure hope that studio was soundproof.
The music is an all-instrumental fusion of rock and jazz. They combine tenor sax, guitar, bass, piano and drums into all the jam sessions that have more swinging kinetic energy than most vocal based bands. It doesn't hurt that the production is professional sounding and you can hear the details of the instruments. It’s a solid mix that often feels like a cocktail of elements that feed off each other and become stronger and stronger.
The first track “Leaving The Planet” is a song that builds upon layers and intensity. At first an electric guitar and piano pull off a musical conversation by making each other’s presence known by playing when the other is silent. The rhythm section of bass and drums isn't too far behind. About a minute in there is a surge of change, which brings up the energy levels a couple of notches. From here on out the song is in constant flux as it is not content staying on one riff for too long.
Their second track “Beyond The Ether” is only a little over a minute long but is no filler. It’s a fleshed out tracks with a killer sax. “Cobalt Blue” might be the best track on the EP. It not only delivers the momentum and energy you want but also delivers some of the catchiest melody on the EP. The horns blare with confidence and the guitar shreds but the pure jazz breakdown with the piano taking the lead is indeed awesome as well.
Space is a finely produced affair with musicians who all know how to let loose and play. Instrumental albums can sometimes lose their appeal after a spin or two but this had me hankering for more.
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