Gordian Knot - Emergent

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Sensory
Catalog Number: SR3016
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Gordian Knot's second outing, Emergent, is a dark fusiony mix of metal and progressive rock. This time, multi-instrumentalist Sean Malone, with Sean Reinert (drums), has brought in a different mix of artists to help him realize his creation - Jason Göbel on guitars and such guests as Steve Hackett (guitar), Bill Bruford (drums), Jim Matheos (guitars), and Paul Masvidal (guitars). You can easily see how this all instrumental album (will 99 percent instrumental album) gets its character.

You may not be entirely sure what you're going to get at the outset. The debut album had some atmospheric textures, and "Arsis," which opens the album gives you a bit more of the same - a very moody, subtle bass expression from Malone, conveying hopefulness tinged with sadness, all with a great deal of warmth. This is followed by the chunky, heavy "Muttersprache." It crunches like the heaviest metal track, which is contrasted by vaguely middle eastern phrases and jazzy guitar textures - solos come from Göbel, Hackett and Malone, and the liner notes helpfully guide you by indicating who's soloing when (at least for those who can't pick out different guitarist by ear). "A Shaman's Whisper" is anything but a quiet piece, perhaps even heavier than what precedes it. Göbel plays a screaming lead, Masvidal following this up with a very lyrical one, in a very breezy, easy going manner. "Fischer's Gambit" is gloomy, its overall tone color at some point between black and red, smooth as silk, and accented with gold - some beautiful steel-string guitar work from Matheos here. As I write this, I notice the dark red-black colors of the sleeve right at the center? this is that color? it's the color in the center of album sleeve itself (kudos to Travis Smith for capturing well the music found within).

Throughout Emergence is a fascinating listen, one that has you both sitting back and just listening and leaning forward, listening to technique, to each note. And it works at both levels. Few albums can stand up to intense scrutiny, but Emergence can, and does. It's an album that makes you want to speak about it in well-deserved hyperbolic terms, but also with a cool and casual seriousness. Even as they are playing with each other, they are playing against and over each other, an intertwining of textures that seems natural and yet not expected - nothing is predictable about this release. Impassioned guitars scream in the closing track "Singing Deep Mountain?" (a song that also features vocalizations from Malone and guest Sonia Lynn).

Passion. That's what radiates from every single note. A passion for expression, for musicianship, a passion for creating something several cuts above the ordinary. But then given the artists involved? would we expect something hackneyed? I dare say no. The emotions locked into each measure, beat, phrase, are deeply felt? This is an album that you put on "Repeat all" and let is suffuse into you? so that you feel each any every note from Malone's Stick on the graceful and elegant "Grace," for example. It's just Malone, on Stick and Echoplex creating a wonderful and embracing atmosphere.

This leads into the Crimson-esque "Some Brighter Thing," which reminds mostly of the Thrak period, with its chunky rhythm. Here words like angular and throaty come into play, too, when we think of the bass and drum work, though the trio of guitarists play much lighter and more fluidly.

One of the must buys of 2003, if not the the must buy of 2003. Highly recommended.

Arsis / Mutterspace / A Shaman's Whisper / Fischer's Gambit / Grace (live) / Some Brighter Thing / The Brook The Ocean / Singing Deep Mountain

Sean Malone -guitar, bass, keys, ebow, stick, loops
Jason Gobel - guitar
Bill Bruford - drums
Steve Hackett - guitar
Sean Reinhart - drums
Paul Masdival - guitar
Jim Matheos - nylon & steel string guitars

Gordian Knot (1999)
Emergent (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 9th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.seanmalone.net
Hits: 1348
Language: english


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