Chord – Flora (Neurot) 2009


One of the  strange things about having this blog is that from time to time people send me stuff to listen to. Some of the records I get are OK, some mind bendingly awful and some absolutely rock my world. I don’t post on the ones I think suck or are OK because this blog is mainly about records I like and I’m sure people don’t send me crap so I can slag off their hard work. If I’m not a fan of a record that’s been sent to me I usually  send a note to the person telling them it just wasn’t my thing. 99% of the records I post on here I’ve paid for. I don’t believe in downloading because quite frankly I think artists and musicians deserve to be paid for their efforts. 

So anyway a couple of weeks ago a bloke called Phil emailed me and said that he’d like to send me a copy of his new record and hey, I’m keen to hear different things so gladly accepted his offer. From past experience I’m never particularly hopeful I’m going to like what’s being sent but fuck me if this record hasn’t floored me. Flora is absolute fucking godhead. Chord are a quartet of musicians floating around the Chicago scene. Probably the best know of them is Trevor de Brauw of doom metal/postrock powerhouses Pelican. To explain what Chord does I lifted this from the Neurot website:

CHORD performances consist of each player being assigned one note from a pre-selected chord. They are then expected to consider all ranges of flexibility concerning octave, rhythm, playing style and effect treatments. The overall effect CHORD generates is that of a single note being rendered into an unsolvable riddle – a harmonic Gordian knot that creates an almost pastoral feel of being blinded by the sun. The rejection of melody and structure in favor of sweeping and epic tones inspires a sense of rousing apprehension. Shrouded in the individual tunings of each player the pieces never become diluted, instead finding resolution in collective dissonance and consonance. To be in the presence of chord achieved is transcendent.  

So there you go. I might add that Chord is every drone nerd’s wet dream. Not simply because of that transcendent buzz we all get off on, but because Chord seem to have developed a graceful tension between Doom metal, drone and a more ambient space without ever descending into the cheese that defines most current post-rock. Every time I listen to this I’m kind of sad that it has to end.  Beautiful, sad, blissful and at times, menacing. If you’ve enjoyed Emeralds,  Daniel Menche  or the more ambient ends of doom, Chord may well be your new favourite band. 

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