Minimal Progression: Strike A Chord

Until 2009’s What We All Come to Need, Decibel has had a long honeymoon with Chicago instru-metallists Pelican. Hell, we even put Pelican on the cover of Decibel #33 (July 2007), which is still available if you missed it. Turns out Pelican guitarist Trevor de Brauw is also involved in power-ambient collective, Chord. Most of our astute readers already know this. For which we applaud them. Also featuring members of Sacred Cities and X-Bax, Chord’s music, or audio installations, is based on the repetition of single-chord themes. Although Tangerine Dream didn’t explore single-chord themes, Chord’s music is similar to, at least in expression, to the German outfit’s Zeit effort. Expect drones and more drones.

Chord’s new full-length, Progression, is a three track affair. Each track is based on a single chord shape. Chord then explores the chord shape. Some discoveries are expansive and quiet. Others are shorter and more intense. In short, if patience isn’t one of your virtues (i.e., you and the fruit fly share a lot in common), then Chord isn’t what you seek. Progression’s kicker is that the two formats—LP and CD—are meant to be played consecutively, however. The LP and CD feature different tracks. If you’re thinking, “Hey, didn’t Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot expect the same listening requirements for Times of Grace and Grace?” Well, no. Neurosis and Tribes of Neurot wanted Times of Grace and Grace to be played concurrently not consecutively. Truth be told, listening to Chord’s Progression on CD or LP independently of one another is perfectly fine, but to get the full, uh, ‘chord(s) progression’, play the CD then the LP or the LP and then the CD. Hey, it’s work, but when has work not paid off? OK, maybe when operating the broiler at Burger King or sticking tanks at the local gas station in the middle of winter. Chord is ‘art work’.

Because de Brauw is such a swell guy and he’s angling for Progression to top Billboard’s Experimental Sonic Textures chart*, he’s given us an exclusive Chord track to stream. “Am7”, recorded live at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, explores the chord shape of, well, Am7. That’d be the notes A-C-E-G.

Sit back. Close the shades. Turn off the phone. And crank it up.

“Am7” (live at the Empty Bottle 1-28-09)

To purchase Progression, click here.

* No such Billboard chart exists. We made it up.