Rebel Tramp is the music project of Bob Prince, an imaginative songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Petaluma, California, a bucolic city north of San Francisco. Playing guitar, bass and keyboards, he creates his own unique sound by weaving together elements of blues, hard rock, psychedelic rock and electronic music. In a great interview last August with Marc Schuster for his Abominations blog, Rebel Tramp commented on the vast array of artists who influence his sound: “I’ve played in lots of blues bands and have a huge blues influence. BB king, Albert King, Mike Bloomfield on and on. Also, Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, John Coltrane, Any Jazz Fusion from the 70’s, Metallica, and Sound Garden are probably my biggest influences.”
In addition to Rebel Tramp, Prince has also collaborated with several other artists, as well as being involved in another music project Amplitude & Frequency, which includes British musician SD Charlton on vocals and Taylor Allum on drums. Together, they put out an EP Urban Frequencies last June.
On February 3rd, Rebel Tramp released his latest EP Intra Dimensional Frequencies, and let me just say that’s it’s a psychedelic trip on steroids! He wrote the EP last year for the Lights And Lines Album Writing Club, a community event in which more than 50 artists signed up for the challenge of writing and recording an album or EP in a month. The brain child of Brighton, UK-based Mike Five, a guitarist, podcaster, and curator of the Off The Record Independent Music Festival, Lights And Lines is a music collective and independent record label whose mission is “to share new and exciting music from the underground with music lovers everywhere.”
Rebel Tramp decided to take part in the competition to – in his own words – “be my weirdest self“, and Intra Dimensional Frequencies was the result. The EP depicts a phantasmagorical songwriting journey, overflowing with wild experimentation and reflecting a strong desire to expand his creative boundaries to their fullest. Well, he achieved that and quite a bit more. Intra Dimensional Frequencies went on to win ‘Best EP’ in the competition, and was later released through the Lights And Lines label.
Most of the tracks are instrumental-only, with sci-fi themed titles like “Deep Space Blues”, “Intergalactic Spies”, “Robotic Fantasy” and “Funky Jupiter”. The lone track with vocals is “Deep Space Blues“, where Rebel Tramp reminds me a bit of Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys and The Arcs), as he sings “There’s a place in deep space, where the roses are red./ I’m gonna sing my blues away.” Musically, the track is a languid bluesy number highlighted by a dramatic mix of tortured psychedelic riffs, gnarly blues guitar runs, sharp percussion and feedback-infused synths.
“Intergalactic Spies” sounds like it was recorded at a jam session in heaven between Albert King, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix. Rebel Tramp’s double-barreled fusillade of wobbly blues and screaming psychedelic guitars are truly a thing of wonder, layered over a bed of crushing bass and accompanied by smashing drumbeats. “Robotic Fantasy” lives up to its title, with droning industrial synths, discordant guitars, electronically-generated and otherworldly robot-like vocal sounds, and an abundance of snappy drums and crashing cymbals.
On “Funky Jupiter“, Rebel Tramp uses a colorful mix of skittering keyboards, wobbly guitar notes, funky bass, assertive percussion and lots of fuzzy reverb to create a somewhat chaotic soundscape, though he ends things on a gentle, atmospheric note in the outro. “Same Channel” is perhaps the most melodic of all the tracks, with a wonderful soulful groove, highlighted by glittery spacy synths and dual funky and bluesy guitars layered over an assertive drumbeat.
The final track “Wavetashia“, which was the first single released in advance of the EP, is described by Rebel Tramp as “a psychedelic, blues rock electronic rollercoaster we ‘must be this tall to ride‘”. The powerful combination of crunchy synths, wailing psychedelic guitars, deep throbbing bass, snappy drums and otherworldly female vocals create a euphoric and trippy soundscape. The video he created for the track, using royalty-free video clips from Cottonbros, Koolshooters and Pavel Danilyuk, shows an array of glamorous people getting lost in the music being spun by a DJ.
Intra Dimensional Frequencies is a superb EP, and a testament to the impressive creativity, imagination and skillful musicianship of Bob Prince – aka Rebel Tramp. I’m confident we’ll be hearing more great, innovative musical creations from him in the future.
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Find his music on Bandcamp / Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube