"The Arrow" (7d Media; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Trey Gunn made a name for himself as a member of King Crimson, one of the early adopters of the Chapman Stick, and now expert of the Warr guitar. Joined by Rise Robots Rise keyboardist Joe Mendelson, Trey Gunn has created Quodia – an experimental musical group with interests in multimedia, theatrical productions.

With seven parts, Quodia’s “The Arrow” creates a story – a story that is best told through theater. The vocals are almost exclusively spoken word in the form of narration as though someone were reading from a book or perhaps even a movie screenplay. The spoken word is good from a storytelling perspective, but it doesn't lend itself to being a great musical statement.

The music, as you might expect, is rhythmically challenging and diverse, yet mostly subdued. Trey Gunn’s involvement definitely allows a King Crimson influence to be heard throughout. The end of “The Arrow” is more dramatic and loud – like the third act of a play when everything comes crashing to its inevitable confusion.

It was hard for me to listen to “The Arrow” all the way through the first time. I think this has to do with the fact that with kids around my house I’m constantly subjected to things that are designed for short attention spans. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view and level of free time), multiple listens reveal one stellar musical motif after another.

“The Arrow” comes as a joint CD/DVD set – the CD is audio-only while the DVD features the CD audio in surround-sound mix along with visual images that go along with the story. Certainly innovative an innovative package. At 70 minutes “The Arrow” has the feel of a movie or a movie soundtrack. It took quite a few listens, but over time a listener can develop an appreciation for all of the nuances that “The Arrow” provides.

“The Arrow” should widely be considered a valiant step forward for the merging of music, theater, visual arts, and storytelling.

“The Arrow” was produced by 7Directions.

Quodia is Trey Gunn and Joe Mendelson. Contributors include Azam Ali on vocals, Regina Spektor on vocals, Matt Chamberlain on drums and percussion, Pat Mastelotto on drums and percussion, Gino Yevjedevich on vocals, Bear Spektor on vocals, Michelle Kinney on cello, and Dave Revelli on percussion.

For more information visit http://www.quodia.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Sep 2018 12:15:06 -0400 .