Sound: "Emergent" was released in 2003 and contains a plethora of guest musicians including Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinart of Cynic, Bill Bruford of King Crimson and of course the mighty Sean Malone at the helm, also ex-Cynic. Gordian Knot have a very appealing progressive rock sound. They are totally instrumental and make use of polyrhythms and odd time signatures. This is also a great album to relax too. The drumming on the album is fantastic. It is generally chilled out while still being very interesting with many very memorable beats and as mentioned, polyrhythms and 7/8s. I believe Bill Bruford plays on two of the tracks on the album, one of them being "The Brook The Ocean" which is a really cool song with drum and bass solo's with a wee bit of jazz piano.
The guitar work on the album is good. That's as far as I would go however. There was nothing that really blew me away here like on the first album but there are certainly nice melodies to be found. For example the climactic ending to "Some Brighter Thing" is beautiful. There are some dissonant, experimental little sections on some of the songs with weird guitar sounds however I found them a tad pointless. They just seem to be thrown in there. I'd also postulate that "Emergent" is a tad lacking when it comes to decent solos.
Arguably the main attraction on this album for many is the bass for which Sean Malone is responsible. Sean Malone and his fretless ways. This is the sad part however :( The production on "Emergent" is pretty bad. The bass often sounds fat, muddy and overdriven. It can be hard to make out what's going on sometimes which is a shame. The guitar also suffers and sounds like crap sometimes. I found the production on the first album to be far superior.
It is however tolerable and Malone certainly has some shining moments. There is a bass riff on "Some Brighter Thing" that is absolutely stunning. The opening track "Arsis" is a nice taster of the albums bass content. Fans of the chapman stick will also be delighted with the inclusion of the song "Grace". A live version of the same song from the debut album. This song is truly a shining moment and is in a word, beautiful. This is the kind of stuff that makes Sean Malone such a respected bassist/stickman. He touches his stick like no other. // 7
Lyrics: No lyrics. // 10
Overall Impression: "Emergent" certainly has a different vibe from Gordian Knot's first album however still has their signature sound. It's hard to say which one is better. They both have their merits. Emergent is definitely an album I'd recommend though. It's just a shame that the production is so amateur sounding. The best songs on the album imo are "Grace", "Singing Deep Mountain" and "Muttersprache". Thanks you for reading and good day. // 8