Exposé Online banner

GEPH — GEPH
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-06-04

GEPH Cover art

It’s probably inevitable that a band including two tapping instruments (in this case both Chapman Sticks) and a drummer is going to elicit comparisons with Stick Men, and by extension, King Crimson. Especially if odd meters are in the mix, which they are with GEPH. And while the comparison is valid to a certain extent, it would be unfair to characterize them as clones or copycats. In some ways their music is more conventional harmonically, with less reliance on dissonance and altered scales, with some similarities to math-rock bands like Tortoise. There is widespread use of effects to alter the Stick tones, but not to the extent you find in Stick Men with all the guitar-synth keyboard sounds. The technique of playing a stringed instrument by tapping the strings seems to lend itself to interlocking patterns, and that is definitely a factor in GEPH’s music, but it is far from the only one. There are also sections where a melody or solo is backed by chords, almost as if an electric piano was part of the mix. One thing that works particularly well with the trio’s music is that while it is somewhat complex, the performance never sinks into sterile precision. They are technical enough to make the tunes work, but not so meticulous that the life is drained out of them. Drummer Josh Merhar also deserves credit for bringing a slightly jazzy tinge to the proceedings rather than going the muscle-bound power-drummer route. Given that they play the same instrument, Josh Goldberg and John Tyler Kent are individually indistinguishable on the recording, so it will have to suffice to say they both know what they’re doing — there are no weak links in the trio. As a Stick player myself, I’m always looking for interesting examples of the instrument being used in creative music, and GEPH is a worthy addition to the club. But it doesn’t take being a Stickist to enjoy the music!


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): GEPH

More info
http://geph.bandcamp.com

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Arena - Songs from the Lion's Cage – Mick Pointer, ex-Marillion drummer leading a comeback effort after 12 years away from the music scene? No way. Well, it's true — sort of anyway. After leaving Marillion following Script for...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues