Quodia — The Arrow
(7d Media 837101333931, 2007, CD+DVD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01Several years in the making, Quodia is the brain child of Warr guitar masters Trey Gunn and Joe Mendelson. Somewhat similar to many of Laurie Anderson's multi-media productions, the Crimson alumnus has jointly created a multi-faceted work unique, but not easily assimilated. Two guest narrators (Regina Spektor and Nadia Valencia Mazuela) as well as Gunn's plaintive spoken word are the focal element of the project creating imagistic novelettes. Best of breed include "Water Woman," where an overly thirsty nag is undone by mischievous birds; and "I Saw Two Hands," where a muted trumpet introduces a steel drum backed passage. Perhaps the creepiest vignette is "A Boy Comes By," where the duo set up an funky alternating rhythm and drive it home as the main character links both the hand and the arrow elements into his possession. Percussion tracks from both Matt Chamberlain and Pat Mastelloto help build tension and rhythmic structure at crucial moments in the storytelling. At times moods are imposed similar to Peter Gabriel's acclaimed soundtrack, Passion, where a wordless traditional vocal leads into a serpentine lead line. With the visual element of the project available on the dual disc, the project is fully realized in capturing the full attention needed for these insightful allegories. Gunn's active participation with Pat Mastelloto in KTU and Eddie Jobson's UKZ project may back-burner this ongoing effort in the near term, but I suspect Gunn and Mendelson have only started the Quodia journey.
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