Project RnL. Remember that name in 2014. Originally formed in 2010, it didn’t take long for this prog-pop juggernaut to rev its engines loudly enough to be heard by Dream Theater – the band still sitting prettily at the very top of the prog scene’s naturally complex hierarchy – and begin collaborating with DT keyboardist Jordan Rudess. That’s an impressive achievement, by anyone’s standards.
Since making their name with enough videosongs to fill an album, Project RnL’s core members – Eyal Amir and Ray Livnat – have proven prolific solo musicians in their own rights, taking on all manner of external projects. This extracurricular activity has pushed Project RnL into the background – until now. With a live lineup finally confirmed, Project RnL are finally becoming a stagebound presence – and they’re looking to perform anywhere and everywhere they possibly can.
Of course, no band can achieve their goals without support. And with that in mind, here is Part One of The Musical Melting Pot’s Guide To Project RnL.
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Slim Shady – The Musical [Original Artist: Eminem]
I’m probably responsible for about half of the views this video has attracted on YouTube. But still, the other 120,000 viewers can’t be wrong. Rearranging a rap classic with a trademark odd-time twist, the band are in scintillating form even in one of their earliest videos. This is a track that pushed the benchmark for videosongs (in which what you see is what you hear) into the stratosphere, and continues to inspire today.
Song 2 [Original Artist: Blur]
Only Project RnL could turn a Britpop classic into a slick and sexy fusion tune, and do it with both idiosyncratic style and heartwarmingly humorous flair. Try to stop your head from bobbing during this video. You’ll either cramp your neck up, or be forced to realise that you don’t have a soul.
MMMBop [Original Artist: Hanson]
Project RnL’s very first videosong looks a little rough around the edges, but audio-wise, it can barely be faulted. All the signature elements are there: the groove, the virtuosity, the arrangement chops, and – of course – the humour. A brilliant start with shades of Bohemian Rhapsody to up the nostalgia factor.
Cant del Barça [FC Barcelona anthem]
Although Barcelona’s 2011 Champions League Final victory over Manchester United caused some of my closest friends to cry into their pint glasses, the legendary Spanish side did inspire this acapella tribute. Every cloud has a silver lining…
While Slim Shady – The Musical first tempted me into the world of Project RnL, All Stuck-Ups hooked me in – and I’ve been addicted ever since. The lyrical work reminds me of Incubus’ Brandon Boyd, but music-wise this song – Project RnL’s first original videosong – is nothing less than a prog-pop masterpiece. If All Stuck-Ups were a class-A drug, I’d be in serious trouble.
Enter: Jordan Rudess. Never interested in playing it safe, Project RnL collaborated with Dream Theater’s resident keyboard wizard to produce an original track primarily performed using iPad apps. Naturally, this track sounds more clinical than Project RnL’s previous offerings, but it’s nonetheless a fascinating and entertaining demonstration of just how far music technology is advancing these days.
Pure music-nerd heaven, The Avenger is set to become a live favourite. Devastatingly complex and stick-in-the-head hooky, and featuring Jordan Rudess waxing virtuosic on still more iPad apps, this is pure Project RnL. Labyrinthine rhythmic structures and pure harmonic pleasure. Just awesome.
For A While
Any video that features cameos by Bert and Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) gets my vote. Tangential hooks, lyrics that speak directly to anyone who has ever suffered through the unwanted attentions of local urban denizens, and more laid-back grooves.
A one-man virtuoso acapella showcase, Wake demonstrates the seemingly limitless capabilities of vocalist Ray Livnat. Thickly orchestrated genius.
As mentioned above, Project RnL have finally confirmed their live lineup. For Project RnL’s future gigs, Ray Livnat and Eyal Amir are to be joined by Alon Tamir (Guitar), Dekel Dvir (Drums) and Or Lubianiker (Bass). Check out this live rendition of Another One, contact your local venue / gig promoter, and turn them on to the prog world’s heroes-in-waiting.
Finally, geek out on the individual talents of Project RnL’s live members:
For additional music education videos alongside the above videosongs, subscribe to Project RnL’s YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ProjectRnL
Project RnL on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectRnL
Eyal Amir on Twitter: @EyalAmirMusic
Jordan Rudess on Twitter: @Jcrudess