Nick Didkovsky and Tom Marsan are CHORD. To quote the Bandcamp page, it’s two guitars plus, “amp distortion, feedback, tone shaping, and musical artifacts to craft a viscous universe of ecstatic, immersive textures that reward careful, detail-rich listening,” – sounds about right. Focusing on the three albums (simply titled, CHORD, CHORD II, and CHORD III) this is not so much a review as a track-by-track free association in response to almost two hours of unfettered, headphoned (DI to the brain!), exquisitely shaped guitar noise: a sustained assault, a brutal caress, and increasingly altered state with (important to note in light of what follows) caffeine as the only pharmaceutical addition…
CHORD is huge, immersive, confusing, overlapping, alive, possibly sentient – this is how our alien overlords arrive; not as Klaatu but as amplified armageddon.
CHORD is an exhortation to the abyss, a series of prayers to the god sound, a beast… and the number of the beast is 11, 11, 11.
CHORD is cement mixers, stars imploding, a radio you can never quite tune.
CHORD is a non-breath, non-thought experience – as musically close as you’ll get to drowning (or auto-erotic asphyxiation).
CHORD is pure, genre-less guitar excess for the lover of electrically amplified vibrations. It’s pure noise, but also form, movement, (d)evolution, and warmth… no sterile technical indulgence this; CHORD is excess done with love.
To the sound…
Pounding, a jagged, hazed horizon, constantly approaching, getting no closer… distant storms, throbbing clouds shed intermittent thunder, alternate states of separation, homogeneity, separation,… rumble, crackle, split, crumble…
Messages come in rapid, submerged flurries, like veins in marble, moving yet frozen in time – lines of feedback sear the auditory cortex (is there such a thing?); scar tissue afterimage hangs in the air.
Prelude to an asteroid. Notes slowly accumulate, single CHORD-footsteps reverberating in the direction of the nearest precipice – beyond the manufacturer’s recommended directions – echoes come throbbing up out of the reptilian brain, reflecting, re-reflecting; membranes oscillating in uncomprehending sympathy.
Acres of space, compressed to the size of a skull in off-sync/on-sync twisted harmony. The sound-death of the universe beckons, the entropic breakdown of amplitude and frequency – the sonic particles of Dave Bowman’s unfathomable fate.
Mahogany, rosewood and steel exaggerated past recognition until an endless bell tolls inside a huge, underground cathedral. The thurible cannot be swung without protective coverings for ears and kidneys.
Alien piano tones emanate from Mount CHORD, attaining a dense, gong-like sonority with distance of travel; driving out all though in favour of peace and overwhelming, ever more intricately detailed enlightenment. OM.
Angels, banshees, slyly singing entities trapped in a too-confined space, room to move but without volition – a vast stasis induced by sound… the whole merely a narrowly perceived slice of the spectrum, implications of endless further frequencies – up or down, it’s all beyond.
The sound of outside, infiltrating the cave, suggesting, enticing, insinuating, revealing… the vocabulary of Gibson and Fender expressing the Enochian, doomed by our inability to hear but a worthy attempt to communicate wonders that await, orbiting our limited sphere.
A gentle tide, inexorable, wears a shoreline of vermilion powdered glass – the mechanism grinds invisibly and deceptively fine.
Primitive intellectual patterns fall away, of diminishing necessity. The immortal becomes the rock, the bird the giblets, no chains needed: roles and scripts, myth and cliché, fold in on themselves, a stately synchronicity, a danse macabre to the sound of inevitable oblivion.
The voices of continents colliding – elongated cries, textured with mica and feldspar, remembering the dawn forming and the unending slow pain of imperceptible motion. Atlantis was lucky, this is no way to live.
By this point, reality is slipping, familiar auditory signposts are gone. Nothing but guitars singing the world into being, or unsinging it into non-being; neither the direction nor the distinction is clear. Faculties fade, senses subsumed – the sound elemental walks among us, unseen, colours a synaesthetic seizure, blotting out the old, preparing the…
Revolution comes in waves, cyclical, non-repeating, suite-like, ascending, open, filled with an obscured silence that refuses to hatch. Those terrible lizards live still, evolved into familiar forms, known only by the impact of their passing… perception breaks through layered, orthogonal time, windows excised from the parchment, we view cut-outs of past and future, and they see us: all excess is here, the book can be heard, all pages at once; simply listen at 90˚ to the sound.
A void sound, yin, open arms, the warm dark, falling without
vertigo through the doors of reception… be comfortable, take a seat, wait, no
hurry – half of everything is here already, and the rest will arrive in due
Roshi walks behind and however expected, the blow brings shocking, necessary illumination.
A candle in a roomful of mirrors is the birth of a sun, igniting the interstices.
When they come, it will not be like this.
When this happens, it will not be them.
We are the only ones here and they will find our fossilised shells on the beaches, reconstructing our shapes and histories by means of an appropriately faulty imagination, ill-equipped to understand us because what we do is incomprehensible. But what we hear…?