Gnosis is the 9th album from Chronotope Project, the recording alias of Oregonian ambient/electronic music composer and cellist, Jeffery Ericson Allen, as well as his 5th release on the Spotted Peccary Music label. Inspired by his love for Greek philosophy and passion for storytelling, Gnosis (meaning “knowledge” in Greek) came as a wonderful surprise to me given my own interest in ancient Greek culture and philosophy.
Spotted Peccary’s resident graphic designer Daniel Pipitone impressively illustrates the sonic essence of the album; his surreal artwork design beautifully adding tangibility to Chronotope Project’s otherworldly musical landscape.
Comprised of 6 compositions spanning approximately 53 minutes, Gnosis seemingly traverses interlaced boundaries of cosmic realms and watery underworlds, wherein the listener’s mind is drawn to philosophical musings about the nature of space and time while simultaneously becoming more deeply immersed in the sensuous, tangible world around.
Guiding our way along this metamorphic musical journey is Chronotope Project’s signature use of the Haken Continuum Fingerboard synthesizer, which the artist uses to create hauntingly emotive melodies that bend and wind with voice-like inflection.
The opening piece, "Higgs Field, Cauldron of Being", unfolds in a gradual succession of repeating sequences, echoing timbres and train-like rhythmic undercurrent, as if spiraling outward from a cosmic cauldron illuminating the heavens.
Drawing inspiration from a Greek mythical river in the underworld of Hades, “Lethe, The River of Forgetfulness” paints a watery abode pierced by starlight with its fusion of fingerboard synthesizer, vintage space elements and pulsing melodic bassline.
Conveying both earthy and cosmic imagery, “Eidos, Realm of the Forms” incorporates crystalline and hollow-like timbres that drift upon a continuous hypnotic propulsion, as the fingerboard synthesizer melody seems to chart its course along the backdrop of a giant interstellar wavelength.
Turning to more heavenly aspirations, “The Still Small Voice” is a poignantly comforting piece that draws upon softly cinematic and minimalist classical influences, conveying a celestial warmth and peaceful melancholy.
I’m particularly drawn to “Entelechy, Emergent Order”, which seemingly transports us to the furthest reaches of space. Slowly emerging from a distance, the piece’s rhythmic figures, droning undercurrent and liquid-like bell tones are encompassed by voice-like shadows that create a hauntingly magnificent soundscape.
Inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, “Myth of the Cave” brilliantly closes the album with a foreboding sojourn into darkly cinematic minimalism, as if guiding us through a cavernous underworld. Subtle Eastern mystical touches evoke images of the mythical inner earth paradise of Shamballa, as the composition seemingly culminates with an ultimate unveiling of timeless mysteries.
Expanding further upon the impeccable brilliance of Lotus Rising (2018) and Ovum (2017), Jeffrey Ericson Allen’s Chronotope Project has delivered another masterwork with Gnosis that places him in top league among the greatest ambient/electronic music acts of all time!
~Candice Michelle for Journeyscapes Radio