Image © 2000
Speed Limit 35
Judilynn Niedercorn (vocals)
(25 January 2001) The first album from Speed Limit 35 is
entitled The Speed of Sound. Available from mp3.com exclusively
as a Digital Audio Music (DAM) CD, the album contains ten tracks that
vary between guitar-laced instrumental onlys and light progressive
numbers with Judilynn Niedercorn's stunning vocal work. Steve Rabeler is
responsible for guitars, bass and drum programming while Mitch Gorman
provides keyboards, guitars, bass, drum programming, synth programming,
The Speed Of Sound is a lovely album of average to
short length tracks that collectively form a progressive rock-oriented
project. Several of the themes could easily be drawn together into a
cohesive epic. We were naturally drawn to the vocal tracks however
the two-person instrumentals present the lushness of a "full band."
Several numbers are extremely reminscent of Renaissance in their
construction especially when amplified by the sweet texture of Judilynn's
voice; excellent examples are "Siren Song" and "Memoria" which like many
of the tracks from the album can be downloaded for free from the band's
website. Instrumentals span from the light acoustic sound of "Binky"
to the driving guitar rock sound of "Throb" and "Phuzz" and experimental
nature of "GuiTarPits." The album concludes with a tremendous progressive
instrumental entitled "HTML."
Hailing from Mt. Laurel, NJ, Speed Limit 35 was formed during
the summer of 1997. Mitch and Steve met at work, and discovered they both
owned and loved Saab automobiles. Steve had not been jamming with anyone
for some time, and out of boredom frequently found himself sitting
in front of his TV, accompanying the music of programs and commercials.
Mitch had decided he needed a new hobby to occupy his time besides Star
Wars computer games. Discussions of cars turned to discussions of
guitars, Steve bought a new four-track mini-disc recorder, Mitch
picked up a new acoustic guitar and a synthesizer, singer-songwriter
Judilynn joined up, and they've been making music history ever since!
Judilynn told us, "I sent a copy of the Persephone's Dream
CD Evening Mirage to Mitch, who I had worked with back in the
early 1990s. Mitch shared it with Steve and we agreed to work together
on some music that Steve had in his pocket and some music that they
had been developing together." She continued, "Steve sent me a tape,
and I began to work crafting lyrics and vocal melodies. I was initially
insecure in my lyric work, having never had free reign to do what
I wanted before. Most bands I worked with in the past were far more
controlling than Steve and Mitch are. I was somewhat hesitant with
my work for the Speed of Sound."
"Our musical influences are very diverse and far
ranging," says Judilynn. "Mitch and Steve both have lots of talent and
excellent musicianship. Our creativity plays off each other well, so
much so that we get so inspired to keep going that its sometimes hard to
finalize a piece. We have begun work on the second CD and I am very
excited by the direction it is taking. It is difficult for us to
work together being in three different states, but we are working on
making the creative process more efficient." We're certainly quite
keen to hear their next album.
Judilynn's voice is truly stunning and her professional
training is evident in the gently soaring textures she produces against
the instrumental backdrop. We were especially impressed with the care
taken in mixing and production to ensure her work is properly featured.
The album opens introducing the full lineup with the "August," a light
rock ballad where Judilynn's vocals have been multi-tracked. Her
soaring vocals shine above the lightest arrangements in "Siren Song"
and the symphonic theme of "Memoria," one of the album's standout tracks.
The rocking 'Americana' textures in "Lean A Little Closer" are completely
different and demonstrate the trio's virtuosity.
The Speed of Sound is a tremendous debut album
from Speed Limit 35. While we would have preferred to have more
tracks with Judilynn's vocal work, it's clear, based on the origins
of the tracks included, why this album did not. Fortunately a followup
is in the works and it's just a matter of time before further tracks
with her contributions will be heard. As illustrated in the richly
produced "HTML," the band are equally impressive instrumentally.
Those visitors interested in Judilynn's vocal work should seek out
the now-deleted Evening Mirage by the Pittsburgh-based
progressive band Persephone's Dream. Speed Limit 35's work can be
sampled at their mp3.com
website. The Speed Of Sound is certainly worth a journey and
is a must listen!