Fly By Time
Review by Kent Manthie
This is about as cool as you can get! A brand new album (albeit, only a 3-song EP) of modernized prog-rock/fusion/jazz. This duo from Sweden, Bjorn Egelius, bass player and self-described “groove inventor” and Swedish drum legend, Leif Fredriksson, who’s been at it for 30 years! They are the principals of therhythmisodd, but they do have a bevy of masterly session guys who play alongside. Both are multi-instrumentalists, journeying into some far-out places. It’s a damn shame there are only 3 tunes on this awesome CD – hell, there’s even a Hammond B-3!!! When done the right way, a Hammond Organ kicks mighty ass!
For some weird, totally unknown reason, when I started this up I got this little flashback of a sort of rare CD that I happened to get from a fellow-music freak – it was part of his own personal collection and had been burned onto a CD-R, so I don’t even know the name of the album, but I remember it was a trio of guitarists doing this same kind of music – Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth and Steve Stevens (can you believe it?? That’s Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band). Who’d have thought Steve Stevens, whose known for his whipping, frenzied chops on Billy Idol’s tunes, back in the 80s, as well as that jet black, down-stroke haircut, could cut it w/these two guitar giants? But he did! And that was an amazing album. One of those many little surprises you find now and then-it comes from either looking really hard or just getting lucky. In my case it’s actually been the latter in both cases (that guitar trio CD as well as this EP I’m reviewing now-Fly By Time by therhythmisodd. I believe the prefer the lowercase spelling, so I’ll go with that.
The EP starts out with “Promises”, a groovy opener, which shows that they’re pacing themselves. While “Promises” is full of fabulous synthesizer grooves, the Hammond B-3 in there, a real treat to hear; something that just isn’t heard on that much new music. It actually reminds me a bit of some of the more serious jams that Frank Zappa has so masterfully done. There’s the orchestral feel to it – i.e. someone is leading the whole band in a particular direction and keeping it tight. That’s the way Zappa worked a lot-he’d surround himself with amazingly great musicians and let them do their thing-to a point: always letting them know that in the end, it was his music they were playing! Anyway, this Zappa-esque opener is a beautiful and dreamy song. The next to come is “Silver Body Angels” and, wow! It really goes full-force, pulling out all the stops. That Hammond is even more on top on “Silver Body Angels”, as I keep on reminding one, that Hammond B-3 organ really lights up a song. It has a certain panache that can never be mistaken for something else. It’s also got some terrific guitar work on it. Also, I must say here, that Bjorn really can play that bass! He doesn’t just use the bass as an anchor, but as a tool to keep the music going, from the ground up. Finally, the EP closes with the title track (“Fly By Time”) which is a continuance of bliss. A music lover’s dream. You can’t go wrong with these guys. It’s obvious just from listening to one of the 3 songs on here that they are seasoned musicians who really know what they’re doing and they do it well; very well, indeed. It’s played well, arranged well and produced well. On their bio page on the reverbnation.com website, they list bands like King Crimson, Zappa as well as Mahavishnu Orchestra (John McLaughlin’s post-Miles endeavor) -which are all apt comparisons as well as great influences to have – I mean, you can’t do much worse than listening to such heavyweights as John McLaughlin, Robert Fripp and Frank Zappa!
I would really love to see them play live at a gig in a small-ish, intimate club setting. I’m sure they’d really bring the house down, with, extemporaneous improvisations, frenetic soloing that just goes on and on and octopus like tentacles of sound, reaching out from all directions as they’re up on stage, jamming with serious faces and light-hearted joy inside. Please – someone let me know if they come around San Diego and I’ll be there! Anyway, don’t be discouraged by the shortness of Fly By Time. This is not their debut by any means. As I wrote earlier, drummer Leif Fredriksson has been playing drums for 30 years, albeit for other people, but he and Bjorn got together a few years back and have done some DIY work and put out Raw Material, Subway as well as an album under the name Trio, entitled From Nowhere to Eternity. So they have their chops whetted and they’re not newcomers in the least. If you’d like to find out more about them, listen to some of their other music,etc, go to www.reverbnation.com or bandcamp.com or maybe even Amazon.com – I can’t vouch for the latter, but knowing the shockingly huge catalog of music available through Amazon.com, I wouldn’t be surprised!
P.S. – you can also purchase their music on the aforementioned websites as well as listen to various tracks. So – I’d recommend doing it! Listen well…-KM.