Gordian Knot - Emergent - 2003


After the acclaimed debut of Sean Malone´s instrumental project, now arrives the second delivering “Emergent”. I have to admit that I haven´t listened to the first, I guess because of my weariness concerning to all those instrumental projects that reunite stellar casts, usually musicians related to progressive metal, with a very narrow perspective.

After the saturation of Liquid Tensions, Planet X and, basically, solo projects from the ubiquitous Dream Theater members, Gordian Knot means another chapter in the long list of instrumental works where self indulgence is over team work.


In the case of “Emergent” what really attracted me were Bill Bruford and Steve Hackett, whose presence could give a special personality to the project, far from the typical and tiring metallic players.

The result is, in my opinion, partially satisfactory. On the hits, we have to remark a more elaborated compositional work than what´s usual in this kind of project, as it is the purpose of balancing the whole, without accumulating solo interventions one after another in a sterile way, resulting from it emotionless amorphous pieces. Pity is that, for instance, Bruford and Hackett are wasted, minimized to occasional interventions; on the strictly personal chapter, there´s Jim Matheos´ unnecessary presence; a guitarist that I don´t like from a band (Fates Warning) I don´t like, and recently member of a project, the disappointing O.S.I., that I also don´t like.

So, in spite of all, the record is quite pleasing, with good tracks like “Some brighter thing” and “Singing deep mountain” where, not by chance, Bruford and Hackett´s presence is notorious. There´s also an interesting, but too long, stick solo, titled “Grace” and recorded alive.

Other compositions fall between the most beaten progressive metal, some jazz fusion touches and some more concrete influences, as it is “Muttersprache” and its King Crimson sound, though the percussionist Sean Reinert wastes the possibilities of the V-Drums, used with much more creativity by the Crimsonian Pat Mastelotto. A good example of what, I think, a project like this has not to be is the piece “The brook the ocean”, as easy as stick a bass and a drum solo together. This resource, very usual in the projects from Sherinian, Rudess and so on, is really very easy and a good bait for impressionable listener, but it´s a deceiving artistic attitude.


Malone´s will of eluding routine in this work is very praiseworthy, and we have to thank that the record only lasts 49 minutes (78 minutes would be really rough), but I still perceive some dependence to typical genre cliches, that diminishes appeal to a project that, in the future, can be very interesting.

author - date - rating - label

Héctor Gómez - February 2003 -   - Sensory