Chord - Progression
Chord - Progression - (Important Records, 5. november 2010)
Review by Phil Freeman:
Chord's name, and the titles of their tracks -- "EbMaj9 (descent)," "Gm11 (delagic)," "d6 (codal)" -- give away their modus operandi. Each of their pieces is based around a single chord, with each of the group's five members tackling a single note and droning away at it so that collectively the chord is completed. It's probably very interesting for the players to think about this stuff, in a higher-mathematics sort of way, but what effect does the music have on the listener? Well, much of it is quite beautiful; "EbMaj9 (descent)," which opens the disc, is nearly nine minutes of piano and what sounds like bass clarinet but could well be a guitar, droning and humming and generally inducing lucid dreams in the listener. The second track, "Gm11 (pelagic)," is the CD's centerpiece, a 40-minute soundscape that sounds to the untrained ear like something by Main, or "Pure II," the 22-minute track that closed Godflesh's best album, 1992's Pure. It builds slowly, with elements waxing and waning and noises looping and reaching something like a crescendo before receding in favor of a slightly different sound. In its final five minutes, it becomes a huge, almost industrial roar. This sets the stage perfectly for "D6 (codal)," a five-minute piece for acoustic guitar and drones that ends the CD on a meditative, calming note (or chord). [Note: the LP and CD versions contain different tracks. According to the artist and label, they're meant to be played concurrently, so that the music can cycle through a total of six chords, all of which add up to a single epic work.
Chord, the powerambient troupe formed by Kyle Benjamin, Jason Hoffman, Trevor Shelley de Brauw (of Pelican), Phil Dole (of X-Bax), and Sean McCarthy with the shared vision of exploiting and exploring the sonic depth of a single chord, are preparing to release their sophomore epic Progression through Important Records this Fall. Whereas 2009's Flora was comprised of pieces with an improvisational slant (each piece was one chord, and each member of the group played only one assigned note of the chord) the new record encompasses a much greater degree of composition and structure. For the new album three single-chord compositions were charted out, one freeform and tone driven, one long-form piece with charts dictating the players' intensity of performance, and one grid-like chart where each players' note continually shifts, though the combination of voices continue to maintain the chord. Meticulously layered, dense and sprawling tones create an atmosphere that is ominous without losing its refined edge of beauty. Six chords were chosen and arranged in a progression that encompasses two separate performances of each of the three compositions. Though the CD and LP share a similar internal structure and can be listened on their own, they are intended to be played concurrently, forming the full six chord arc of the total piece... Questions answered by Phil Dole, monotuned guitar.