Gordian Knot - Gordian Knot

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Sensory
Catalog Number: SR3005
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:07:00

I was expecting something quite different from Gordian Knot, the "supergroup" of sorts made up of Sean Malone, Trey Gunn, John Myung, Sean Reinert, Ron Jarzombek and Glenn Snelwar. I'll admit I've not heard either Cynic or Watchtower, two of the "source bands," but from what I have read about them, about all I was expecting was instrumental rock. And if this is the only review you've read, perhaps you are, too.

Am I disappointed? Far from. This is a mixture of instrumental rock, spacey textures, ambient moods and more. So, to the mix that would be inherent from the bands these guys normally play with, add a dash of Djam Karet, Tangerine Dream, and synthesist/ambient artist Steve Roach. Not suggesting influence, but if you like any one of those artists ? leaning more towards Djam Karet than anything ? you'll like this brew.

"Code/Anticode" is a guitar feast with both lyrical playing with a light touch and runs that'll make you wonder whether the guitarist has multiple hands. All the while managing to be a beautiful piece of music. On this track its Malone on stick and keys, Reinert on drums, Gunn on touch guitar, and Jarzombek on guitar. Did I say guitar feast? Should have been guitar fest.

"Reflections" is another beautifully played, evolving track that reminded me at times of Craig Chaquico - that openness that makes you think of the open road. This is Malone, Reinert and Jarzombek, with Jarzombek getting the guitar solo spot. "Megrez" is moody and dark?atmospheric as hell, with a cinematic feel. I immediately thought of a dreary, overcast day?something is brewing in that storm. Bass churns while a guitar cries out in tentative, but lengthy notes. "Singularity" is growly, grungy?as in dirt, not as in Seattle?metallic and cold. Guitars grind, drums pound, ? while a guitar rides overhead playing notes that could have been out of the "Theme From S.W.A.T"? (I think that belong to the one I'm thinking of).

"Redemption's Way" has ethnic-like percussion that made me think of Steve Roach, add in stick, guitar, and touch guitar (Malone and Myung, and Snelwar and Gunn) and you get also a touch of latter day Tangerine Dream. I know TD are getting their lumps for the style they are pursuing, but I mean this as a compliment.

After a brief interlude of Malone alone on stick on a Bach score called "Komm Susser Tod, Komm Sel'ge" we get "Rivers Dancing," which is a mix of both scorching rock and pastoral sections along with some more terrific and beautiful solos.

"Srikara Tal" is the closest to world music on the album. Warm and steady percussion provides a bed for layered stick notes that dart in and out. Keyboard-like sounds (no keys here) undulate here and there ? heard out of context, I'd swear this was Steve Roach or Robert Rich, but it's just (ha!) Malone and Myung on stick, Reinert on percussion, and Gunn on touch guitar? I am almost tempted to say "groovy, man," but that implies something other than what is heard here.

"Grace," as its name implies, is an understated, beautiful piece. A gentle guitar ruminates on many things, perhaps thankful. No credits on this one, and I'm unfortunately not that familiar with the guitarists here to pick out their style? but, as was Malone's project, I would venture to say it is he. Sound washes undulate?more so than in "Srikara" and yet less so? longer waves is what I mean.

Galois (2:03) / Code/Anticode (6:47) / Reflections (6:49) / Megrez (3:57) / Singularity (4:45) / Redemption's Way (6:59) / Komm S?sser TRod, Komm Sel'ge (2:21) / Rivers Dancing (7:36) / Srikara Tal (9:25) / Grace (7:25)

Sean Malone - bass, stick, and keys
Sean Reinert - drums
Trey Gunn - touch guitar
Ron Jarzombek - guitar
Glenn Snelwar - guitar
John Myung - stick

Aghora - Aghora
Cynic Focus (1983)
Gordian Knot - Gordian Knot (1999)
Sean Malone - Cortlandt
Gordian Knot - Emergent (2003)

Genre: Various Genres

Origin US

Added: July 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.seanmalone.net
Hits: 1374
Language: english


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