Cyndee Lee Rule
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Cyndee Lee Rule

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"Review by Charles Van de Kree"

Drawing from a diverse palette of global influences - including Hawkwind, Gong, Afro-Celt Sound System and Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Cyndee Lee Rule's debut CD UFOsmosis deftly, and sometimes arbitrarily, fuses elements of space rock, new age, neo-progressive rock, world music and ambient dance into an occasionally bewildering and often breath-taking panorama of first realizations. Fiercely eclectic, UFOsmosis is intent on dissolving sonic boundaries while at the same time resolving the inherent contradictions that seemingly distinguish musical genres. Rule's axe du jour is electric violin, but on many of the eleven songs on UFOsmosis she wisely sheds the instrument's association with art music and instead shreds like some demented banshee on psilocybin. Strangely guitar-like, often shrieking and soaring, but with a brutal elegance rarely associated with the instrument, Rule's 5-string Viper rips through the electronically processed soundscapes of pieces like "Seven Cities of Gold" "What on Earth?" with a vengeance that reminds one of Didier Lockwood's demolition of the instrument with the early incarnation of Magma or Jean-Luc Ponty's similar chain saw pyrotechnics with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. "Congress Reel," for instance, features plenty of hot licks that ascend and spiral like floating cobras in a dervish dream of serpentine Persian scales, while "The Inner Light," a curious cover of a late Beatles curio, roils with the neo-futurist groove of Massive Attack crossbred with the wailing spiritual surrender of a Shankar raga. On the other hand, Rule's dynamic cover of Hawkwind's "Assassins of Allah" strips away the song's original heavy rock bias and imparts to it a sleeker, more frenetic edge, as if a troupe of traveling Bedouins had fired up the hookah, the drum machines and the synthesizers, plugged the violin into a Marshall stack and rocked the djinn down in a Tangier garage. "Telekinetigram" continues the calculated merger of 1st world technology with 3rd world sensibilities. Here Rule allows her violin to take wings and dive bomb through the starry ether, while buoyed to earth by a super-gooey LFO-modulated synth arpeggio. Both manic and mannered, with a fiery finesse that embraces a studied classicism without sacrificing emotional intensity, UFOsmosis is a cathartic hour under the headphones.
- Aural Innovations #32, Nov 2005

"Gig Review by Bob Eichler"

At a recent Orion Sound Studios show, I saw Rule join Thee Maximalists for a set of entirely improvised music. Afterwards, she came back and played a set on her own, playing violin over a series of pre-recorded backing tracks. That performance gave me a pretty good idea what to expect from this CD. The backing tracks on the disc are provided by members of Systems Theory, with Rule creating the melodies and soloing on violin over top. The instrument is sometimes played "clean" and recognizable as a violin, but just as often it's heavily distorted or fed through processing and can sometimes sound like a guitar or some sort of growling, otherworldly beast.
The background music ranges from originals to traditional ("Congress Reel") to covers (The Beatles' "Inner Light"), with one track that fits both the traditional and cover categories ("Scarborough Fair"). The album is entirely instrumental. The use of programmed drums gives the music a somewhat artificial or "techno" feel, but it doesn't detract much overall. The music is generally upbeat, although the heavy use of synthesizers and loops creates a somewhat spacey sound, in line with the album title and front cover. In case you were wondering about the cover art, it was created by Daevid Allen of Gong fame.

Rule's violin playing is top notch, and does a nice job of walking the line between being melodic enough for enjoyment, but abrasive enough not to sound like elevator music. I enjoyed her brief set at Orion, and have found this CD to make for great headphone listening at work. I'm generally a fan of prog music with violin (Kansas, Boud Deun, Ozone Quartet, etc), and this album gives it a new twist. Worth picking up if you're similarly fond of violin and don't mind programmed drum tracks and synthesizers.
- Ground and Sky, May 31, 2006

"Review by Elias Granillo"

Violin-biased albums still in short supply, Scattered Planets “Viperess” Cyndee Lee Rule breaks away to indulge her innermost electric desires with a robust debut that boasts enough variety for your average Sunday post-church picnic. And that’s not all: UFOsmosis is quietly a trio album, with two-thirds of Systems Theory — Steven Davies-Morris and Greg Amov — onboard to lend their technical and compositional expertise. Of the eleven compositions, two are traditional pieces arranged by Rule and two are covers of well-known vintage rock gems; the remaining seven see Davies-Morris or Amov (on one track, both) share the writing credit. All three contributed alternately in the areas of melodic and textural treatments; Davies-Morris took on the venerable task of mixing. The outcome is a variably alloyed gumbo of styles in a single volley — under a Daevid Allen illustration — that’s almost too exhaustive for its own good.

“Putting The Rip In Strip” was an early preview track that you could liken to a store brand vitamin: considering the dosage, the bulk of its potency is likely excreted before it is metabolized. In a nutshell, the track proclaims Cyndee Lee’s proficiency on electric violin, shrill tones aplenty firing off from her 5-string Viper like showers of sparks. The Viper tends to overwhelm very quickly; rhythm tracks — all synthetic, on this outing — are at its mercy. In the end “Strip” resembles more of a post-produced jam than a preconceived work. “Congress Reel,” a traditional, is instantly enjoyable: a cleaner tone is employed and the hi-speed lead is melodic and jubilant; the uptempo drumtrack is buttressed by outrageously fast fills; a harsher tone is dialed for the solo. Lots of fun. “As Go The Moments” reminds me of Joe Jackson, for some reason; it’s a more laidback piece that explores the fringe sectors left by a chillout-space rock overlap. The second half is the more interesting, but the various sonic “hues” don’t enjoy the separation they’re due. Otherwise, well done. “The Inner Light” and “Scarborough Fair” are covers, the former by a renowned Harrison (not Ford), the latter an antique. While trying not to sound overly critical, with regard to “Fair” the Viper’s aggression is overemphasized and the mix too grainy, too hazy — with a noticeably truncated ending — for it to be done justice. It’s no secret that the parties involved reside on opposite coasts, though, and the Net helped to make UFOsmosis a reality.

Yes, the disc has a mini-epic, the full collaboration titled “Seven Cities Of Gold.” Nine minutes in length, this is a nicely atmospheric, lush portrait that is mildly romantic, adequately exotic, and sonorously topped off (not to mention well-mixed). Electric violin is complemented by multi-tracked acoustic guitar (wonderful) and synthetic treatments that coalesce in said vibe (the second violin solo is splendid). “Assassins Of Allah” is a rendition of the Hawkwind staple, modeled on violinist Simon House’s motif — another solid execution but it’s quickly forgotten by what comes after it. For this reviewer, the album’s last twenty-odd minutes are the most interesting, beginning with (arguably) the two best cuts, back-to-back. “Weekend Affair” is the sort of smooth, slick exercise guys like Jan Hammer, Harold Faltermeyer or even Richard Burmer tackled in the ‘80s, when an ever-shifting synthesizer scene was on the cusp of handing the reins over to the new digital models of the day by Roland, Korg and Yamaha. Analog pads would yield thick pads and surreal timbres, and a new icy cool digital tone lacking in harmonics would slice through the soundscape like a laser; often enough these tonal hybrids sounded rich. That’s not exactly what’s happening here, but the character of the track, from the opening Rhodes-like samples to the surging string sound to the “dance floor” drum pattern, recalls what was going on back then. The manic violin lead has a suspiciously “jigsaw” ring to it, but this is a clever trick. On cue, “What On Earth?” merges Greg Amov’s Berlin School affectations — that almost sounds like Chris Franke circa 1982 — to the Viper’s curiously murky attack, while “Telekinetigram” tackles trance. “Something I Should Have Said” is a sweet six-minute resolution, and my remarks concerning “Weekend Affair” carry over. The last third of UFOsmosis is easily the strongest.

In addition to violin instruction and semi-regular gigging with husband-guitarist Jeff Nutkowitz in Scattered Planets, and the odd live tour along the order of Nik Turner or Thee Maximalists, Cyndee Lee Rule’s skills will quickly resurface on the forthcoming Systems Theory endeavor, Codetalkers. For now, kick your shoes off, sit back and enjoy a weekend affair with knee-high leather boots.


1. Putting The Rip In Strip (7:17)
2. Congress Reel (2:47)
3. As Go The Moments (6:24)
4. The Inner Light (2:34)
5. Scarborough Fair (2:48)
6. Seven Circles Of Gold (9:06)
7. Assassins Of Allah - Sea of Tranquility, Nov 2005


Systems Theory--Soundtracks for Imaginary Movies, 2004
UFOsmosis--solo CD (with Steven Davies-Morris and Greg Amov), 2005
Spaceseed--Empire of Night, 2006
Assassins of Silence--Elements that Gather Here, 2007
Scattered Planets--Deep Space Psychosis, 2007
Mooch--Dr. Silbury's Liquid Brainstem Band, 2007
Radio Massacre International--Rain Falls in Grey, 2007



Cyndee's influences range from spacerock guitarist Steve Hillage, to Neil Young, to Mark Wood (electric violinist of Trans-Siberian Orchestra) . Celtic, Middle Eastern, Indian and Latin influences flavor her material. She is also frequently compared to Jean Juc-Ponty and Hawkwind's Simon House. Cyndee expects to have her 2nd solo electric violin CD released sometime in 2008.

Cyndee has shared the stage with:
Nik Turner (Hawkwind)
Harvey Bainbridge (Hawkwind)
Scattered Planets
Tim Blake (Hawkwind, Gong)
Jean-Philippe Rykiel
Assassins of Silence
Dream Machine (with members of Ozric Tentacles)
Robin Renee
Dicey Riley
Paul Sears (the Muffins)
Dave Newhouse (the Muffins)
Keith Macksoud (Present)
Jim Rezek (Illuvatar)
Yanni Papadapolous (Stinking Lizaveta)
Graham Clark
Fabio Golfetti (Invisible Opera Company of Brazil)
Tim Hall (Mother Gong)
Rich Orlando (Alien Planetscapes)
Premik Tubbs (Ravi Shankar, Herbie Hancock, others)
Radio Massacre International