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.
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more