Concerts in the USA
Like many instrumental keyboardists travelling has provided New Zealander Rudy Adrian with a rich source of inspiration. While the pieces here were played during his 2002 US tour (with help from various local musicians) this is not the straightforward live document the title might lead you to expect as the versions you hear on the album were actually re-recorded back in NZ under conditions as close to the gigs themselves as he could get, including the fact that each piece was 95% improvised. It might sound an odd way of doing things but hardly matters in the end as the inspirations and feelings behind the music still come through loud and clear. Adrian's music has always had that sequential base that is inspired by the German artists of the 70s but he has used this as a springboard to his own unique musical visions. In this case, this has been mixed with skillful use of varying sound sources that manage to bring the American wilderness to life. This is demonstrated by 'Donner Pass' which is quite appropriate given that it was originally played in the Sierra Nevada or the excellent 'Rock and Junipers' where Native American samples back the totally modern synthetics to perfectly evoke the environment where the original concert took place (Arches National Park in Utah, in this case). Likewise the opening 'Japanese Garden' ably evokes it's title, although it's relative brevity, at just under 5 minutes means it acts more an introduction to the main body of the album. Each track fades into the next which gives the album the feel of a complete musical 'suite' and provides some memorable atmospheric moments, not least when the haunting choir samples that grace the melodic 'Island Of The Pirates' (where, I must confess, I can see no link between the melodic music and the title!!) carry over into the sequential 'Final Sequence', giving the piece a nice evocative feel. Like those used on 'Rail Corridor' the sequences are phrased just right to give the pieces the impetus they need, no hint of plodding here which is, of course, another point in Adrian's favour. Music like this is often said to be an imaginary soundtrack and indeed the music does form pictures in your mind, making for quite an evocative mental travelogue. Adrian proves himself to be a quality musician once again on this release, forging his own musical identity all the while. Rating: 8 Carl Jenkinson Rudy Adrian keeps on surprising the listener with his excellent blend of retro-electronic music and ambient soundscapes. In the USA, people now also had the opportunity of seeing this special musician live because he toured there in 2002. The result, 'Concerts in the USA', contains perhaps the best music the New Zealander has produced until this moment. The CD opens with 'Japanese Garden' with beautiful atmospheres, which accompany Rudys dark voice and a big, Vangelis-like, solo. Then the sequences enter the music in 'The Donner Pass Rail Corridor'. They become heavier and heavier as the piece further progresses and Adrian gets the chance to put in even more solos. After more atmosphere and Nick Prossers baroque flute in 'Rocks and Junipers', the sequencers return in 'Alpine Meadow', an intriguing track with again, great soloing. 'Island Of Pirates' opens with loops after which another beautiful quiet composition emerges. 'Evening's Last Sequence', a recording from 'The Gathering' festival in Philadelphia, does it's title justice because it has a wonderful solo. 'Turquoise Drift', a very warm and intense number, is the only piece which is not performed in the USA but in New Zealand. With 'Concerts in the USA' Rudy Adrian has definitely placed himself in the top of electronic music. Paul Rijkens This is Rudys version of what Steve Roach did a few years back with his On This Planet CD. Roach had just finished touring, but rather than just take raw live recordings, he went back to the studio and made music that captured the feeling he had while on the road. That is exactly what Rudy Adrian has done with Concerts In The USA. It is his studio interpretation of his impressions of America and it's natural beauty. For example, the opening track 'Japanese Garden (Portland, Oregon)' evokes images of that serene place in my hometown, but the music isn't exactly what I recall hearing in Paul Ellis living room in September 2002 when Rudy played there, although it is similar. I recall him using his voice as an instrument as he does here. In fact, I remember being surprised how often he uses vocals, processing them in such a way that the resulting smooth tones could easily be mistaken for synthesizers. This album is similar to Adrians Sequencer Sketches CDs, perhaps a touch mellower. If you've enjoyed those, then you'll have to get this one, too. Though there is a strong familiarity of this CD to those gone before, there is also a sure handedness to it that comes from all that prior experience. He is fully in his element, the playing is confident and assured. He does not have to do over-the-top synth histrionics, he just relaxes and really let's the music flow. This CD has some great sequencing as usual, but it carries along at a luxurious pace that is serene and soothing. You need go no further than 'Donner Pass (Sierra Nevada, California)' to hear what I mean. Yes, there are hypnotic sequencers, but the music is so cool, calm, and utterly peaceful. Though the Berlin school style is evident on several tracks, about nearly half of them rely fully on atmosphere, with no real rhythm or sequencing at all, just blissed-out space music. What can I say, another brilliant album from Rudy Adrian. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space This album gives us the wonderful opportunity to listen to the live music by Rudy Adrian. A series of performances that this composer gave in various cities of the United States during a mini-tour in the year 2002, are the basis for this CD, which gathers some of the best moments of a live event. In these concerts, where the artist played solo or with other musicians, we perceive all the basic traits of his style, although with an instrumental approach much simpler than in his studio recordings, which is due to the needs of live performances and to the premise that Rudy Adrian has of not resorting to pre-recorded or pre-programmed material when he plays live, as well as avoiding great ensembles of performers. The result of the experience reveals some little known aspects of the style of Rudy Adrian, and allows us to appreciate better his performing skills as well as the freshest, most vital aspects of his music. Jorge Munnshe.