Oregon-based composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen’s fifth album release for Spotted Peccary Music, and his ninth as Chronotope Project, is titled GNOSIS (γνῶσις) and it intimately explores the bond between the composer’s two life passions: music and philosophy.
Press release by Beth Ann Hilton – The B Company
For inspiration, Allen reconnected with the ancient Greek philosophers who he was first enraptured with in his twenties. He found music in Plato’s inquiries; he saw in philosophical paradoxes the push-and-pull of musical counterpoint, the tension and release of dissonance and resolution. On GNOSIS (γνῶσις), Chronotope Project uses his signature jazz and classical-inflected progressive ambient sound to portray the greatest philosophical inquiry of all: a quest for knowledge.
Reflections on Plato permeate the work. The artist expands upon this vision, “I’m intrigued with his rich imagery and have found much music in it. The dialectical style of the dialogues has often reminded me of the conversational elements of music.” He continues, “It is not necessarily Plato’s philosophical answers, but his framing of the questions, and the passion with which they are posed that most inspire me. The antinomies present in Plato’s philosophical inquiry are akin both to the procedure of musical counterpoint and to the tension and release of harmonic dissonance and resolution which animate music and provide a sense of forward motion.”
This quest is painted with a wide array of styles: deep drones and ambient textures, classical counterpoint and driving polyrhythms, atonal sound painting and unabashed romanticism. The diverse sounds here are anchored by the flute-like timbre of the Haken Continuum Fingerboard synthesizer, which appears throughout as the knowledge-seeking protagonist. These richly layered soundscapes evoke the majesty of myth, from the cosmic arpeggios of “Higgs Field, Cauldron of Being” to the intimate pastoral of “The Still Small Voice.”
Allen’s skill as a sonic storyteller is on full display in every aspect of Gnosis. “Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness,” finds the seeker drifting down one of the five rivers of Hades. Souls drink from Lethe to let go of their mortal memories before continuing their journey. A cello bassline embodies Lethe’s current, pulling the seeker further and further; a subtle Rhodes piano entwines with the Haken Continuum as the seeker’s memories drift away into the water. Then, on “Eidos, Realm of the Forms,” the seeker arrives at the Eternal Forms, which possess the structure needed to understand the world’s true nature. The seeker’s questions spiral through the hypnotic rhythm of the Forms, built from warm textures and hand percussion. In the album closer, the eerie and harrowing “Myth of the Cave,” the seeker vanishes, overwhelmed by the truth of the absolute—before, knowledge achieved, a twirling harp ushers in an ascendant finale.
“Gnosis” is one of many Greek words for knowledge, referring to knowledge gained through experience. The breadth of this album reflects this: GNOSIS (γνῶσις) traverses the ominous and serene, the harmonic and the dissonant to render the accords and contradictions of philosophy in Chronotope Project’s signature cinematic sound.
Jeffrey Ericson Allen is credited with all compositions, performances, recording and mixing; the album was mastered by Howard Givens, and midwifed by Deborah Martin. GNOSIS (γνῶσις) is available for physical purchase in CD format and in 24-BIT AUDIOPHILE, CD QUALITY LOSSLESS, MP3 and streaming formats. The CD version of GNOSIS (γνῶσις) arrives in a gift-worthy factory sealed 6-panel gatefold package that includes vibrant artwork, liner notes, a 6-page booklet, and artful package design by Daniel Pipitone.
For more information and music samples, visit spottedpeccary.com/shop/gnosis/