TIME AND DISTANCE (B.O.Y.Records,
This is Rudra (Ralph) at his most commercial, with the help of Graham Clark on violin and Mario Scogniamiglio on guitars, together with some good live cuts at the end of the main tunes. It also, understandably, has a very eighties feel about because it dates from the end of that era.
I’ll pick out what I think are the highlights. But the musical pairing with Graham Clark was really interesting and fruitful. So it’s a good effort. If you want to go to a Rudra freak-out, head for the live “Mother of All” recorded back in 1989.
Uncanny intro that starts off with a classic bit of Euro-electronica only to then segue into the sweetest violin passage from Gong-ite Graham Clark, and thus on to the song itself “Time and Distance”, a bit of an OMD kind of vibe, and builds into an affecting climax. We get a live version which gets stuck into it right from the start, though it sounds a bit muddier than the studio- again the moment when the violin appears is pure magic and the track ends with some great synth interplay.
The album moves quickly on to a real highlight, “Ship of Fools” – always a good subject for a song (check out the Grateful Dead’s excellent song on the subject). Rudra begins with a little figure from the electric piano, and this develops into a snakey, enchanting riff. He sings of city life “immersed in mindless fiction” with a pain “raging without cease” and excellent guitar work from Mario Scogniamiglio. The track reaches another really good passage with the violin.. the sound works well. “Maybe Titanic.. maybe a ship of fools”. There are lots of dynamic twists and turns.
The live version is a bit busier but has a really great lengthy intro and I think Rudra actually sings this better live. Great violin solo as well. All in all the band sound like they are about 10 strong, which is a tribute to Rudra’s programming.
“Ego” is almost a Shiva Jones-esque satire on meditation, spiritual endeavour which is worth a listen. “Solaris” has aged a bit which is a pity, because the feel of the track is great. “Waste” brings us to industrial synth washes and the threat of a radiation leak, a topic later fleshed out in live performances captured on STAGES.
Talking of live tracks, “Mother of All” is a great number .. legato city with some great synth drones and glissando guitar by Graham. As I like jams and experimental music, this is my favourite track on the album, because it is spacey, atmospheric, deep space kind of music which gradually picks up rhythmn and direction. The echo is turned full on. Ah me, if only Rudra had played this track with Quintessence.. it calls for a band to get behind it and drive it to unknown places. Considering this was recorded in 1989, it’s a space/raga rock classic that ends all too soon.
Reviewed by Professor Cornelius