By ROB DUGUAY Progressive rock is an open-ended style of music due to how much can be incorporated into it. There can be elements that range from classical and jazz to funk and blues in an extravagant display of structure that's purposely all over the
Progressive rock is an open-ended style of music due to how much can be incorporated into it.
There can be elements that range from classical and jazz to funk and blues in an extravagant display of structure that’s purposely all over the place. The tones that are present can be flexible as well, with it being electrifying at times while during other instances it can be lo-fi and down-tempo.
This expansive listening experience is what Cranston native Jeff Tundis brings with his debut solo album, “The Empire Never Ended,” which came out Nov. 6. The former bassist and keyboardist for the Providence acid-rock act Jazz Bastards extends his craft into a cavalcade of rhythm and syncopation.
The album was originally supposed to be part of the Jazz Bastards catalogue before the band broke up in 2016. With that happening, Tundis decided to continue with the project anyway along with a fellow former member of the band.
“Most of the tracks on ‘The Empire Never Ended’ were originally intended for the fourth Jazz Bastards album, but they were never finished,” he says on the making of the album. “Only drums and rough bass tracks were recorded with drummer John Campion, who also used to be part of Jazz Bastards, at the now defunct Parlour Studio in Pawtucket. I had wanted to do a solo album for quite a while, envisioning it as an excuse to collaborate with several area musicians. That never happened, but the COVID-19 pandemic did. Inspired by musicians like the late, great Prince, who would record every instrument, I decided to give it a try and recorded most of the new material during April, May and June while under lockdown.”
He continues: “I added two new songs, ‘The Turning Pool’ and ‘4D’, and played drums for those. Mixing and mastering also was greatly aided by being given access to a producer’s suite of software from iZotope, which is fantastic stuff. Inspirations and subject matter for the songs vary from life and relationships, crime, politics and stream of consciousness fantasy. Lyrically, it was inspired by my experience as part of the Protect Black Lives protest on June 5, my girlfriend’s work in psychology, studying love of humanity in leadership and ‘The Second Coming’ by W.B. Yeats, with the album title being taken from the book ‘Valis’ by Philip K. Dick.”
There’s a sweet guitar solo that starts off “At The Sun,” with the drums setting a steady pace. Psychedelic and sci-fi vibes are evident within the track and Tundis’s vocals have a peculiar echo.
“The Turning Pool” is very hypnotic, the bass lines make their presence felt and the breakdown toward the end switches up everything. A Frank Zappa-like groove takes over “Spire” with a whole lot of weirdness coming into play. The placement of the chorus in the song is definitely reminiscent of the experimental rock legend.
For people who like guitar riffs and songs with a mystifying aura, Tundis’s debut is definitely an ideal album to check out. It’s definitely a nod to ’70s acts like Rush, King Crimson, Yes and Jethro Tull.
To give it a stream and make a purchase, log on to Tundis’s Bandcamp page at www. jefftundis.bandcamp.com