Video Premiere: Gematria – “The Elusive One”

The latest video from New Jersey instrumental prog duo Gematria is for a “dual-threat” track, “The Elusive One,” that can be enjoyed on a couple of different levels. The video itself is fairly simple—guitarist Ray Suhy (Six Feet Under) and drummer Steve Honoshowsky (No Use For Humans) are seen performing via the monitor of an ancient home computer. On the surface, “The Elusive One” has the feel of an Adrian Belew-era King Crimson tune, with a tribal, tom-heavy rhythm; some bleep-bloop electronics providing a metronome; and Suhy’s sustain-heavy, Belew-like phrasing and runs. It’s an intriguing and interesting two-and-a-half-minute jam.

As it turns out, though, the creation of said tune, taken from the duo’s recently issued debut, Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity (Nefarious Industries), was actually something of a “game,” with the “rules” laid out by Honoshowsky. In each section of the track, Suhy was given a challenge for how he should approach it (see Honoshowsky’s notes below the video). Though this sounds like the set-up to a soulless, rigid piece of music, the results are obviously remarkably coherent and listener friendly, no doubt due to the incredible proficiency of the pair. You can order the vinyl version of Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity here.

Here are some more details about the track from Honoshowsky:

“The devil is in the details, and the details are in the decimals . . . of the bpm. The catalyst for this ‘game piece’ was the interaction between the rhythms of the Casio PT 1  and the Realistic Concertmate 200 toy keyboards. The arrangement was constructed on the fretless bass before the rules of the game piece were delivered to Ray.”

The rules:

Intro: 6 bars (D) (1 guitar)

-One to two notes max

-Play a steady rhythmic pattern. Keep it in 8th notes. Hemiolas are great.

-Pattern should be locked in, but “go against” bass and clave to exhibit interplay.

Part A: 6 bars (D) 

-Singular melody with no accompaniment.

-Chorus or phase with distortion is encouraged but not necessary (think Bill Nelson or Andy Summers


Part B: 8 bars (C- E) (1 guitar)

-Solo (your choice): When in doubt, this would be the one to go “wild,” “weird” or “out” on like [Adrian] Belew meets Fred Frith, but whatever is cool.

Part A: 8 bars (D) 

-previous melody

Double Part B: (C- E) 

-Solo (your choice): When in doubt, this would be the one to go “melodic” or “[Allan] Holdsworth-y” on, but

whatever is cool.

Part A: 8 bars (D) Ending 

-2 bars (play first half of melody)

-2 bar drum break- stay out

-2 bars second half of melody

-2 bars drum ending- Stay out, but a little

sustain from melodies is ok.