*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Pennsylvania!
So, with this week, our State of the Art: Pennsylvania series is comes to a close. So much good music to choose from and from a scene that is bursting at the seams with new ideas, creative concepts not heard anywhere else and a diversity that is nothing short of stunning. Finding interesting and engaging bands was never a problem but choosing among such a large swath of sounds did become a rather daunting task; and this week was no exception. I was down to three or four bands that fit my bill this week until I came upon Chronostasis. This is exactly what I was looking for. Once I got my chin out of my lap, bought their debut CD and got over my initial shock and awe, I got to work.
Wiki: Chronostasis (from Greek χρόνος, chrónos, “time” and στάσις, stásis, “standing”) is a type of temporal illusion in which the first impression following the introduction of a new event or task demand to the brain appears to be extended in time.
From the band’s online material: “Chronostasis is the illusion in which the first impression following a saccade appears to be extended in time.“
Chronostasis was born of a synergistic musing between drummer Josh Soltroff and bassist Jeffery Blaies in the Winter of 2013 after carefully considering the collective writings of Stephen Hawking, Neil Degrasse Tyson and Albert Einstein in regards to space, time and the cosmos. Both gentlemen being rigorously in the pursuit of higher musical learning and understanding decided to set this demon free and “try and emulate the phenomena of time, nature and the cosmos through the artistic medium of music.” Once the idea was presented to guitarist Pat Harris in September of 2013, Chronostasis was ready for this heady undertaking. Later, guitarist Eric Matelyan was added as musical direction was developed and matured to the point that a second axe was needed. With a wide variety of influences including Meshuggah, Blotted Science, Rush, Special Defects, Spastic Ink, Led Zeppelin, Pantera, Arnold Schoenberg, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, David Brubeck, Charlie Parker, ELP and Between the Buried and Me it should come as no surprise that attempting to put Chronostasis in a categorical box would not only be damned near impossible but also entirely unfair to their unique sound and desire to project a physical concept into music. While this is certainly not new, Chronostasis has managed to shed all convention and past attempts by others (as few as they may be) and go off into uncharted territory where musical virtuosity orbits just outside of the event horizon of chaos. Interestingly, the creative intermingling of seemingly incompatible musical genres is not what sets Chronostasis apart either; not ironically, I suppose, time does. Each instrument provides a level of atmosphere and drive that plays in multiple, unaligned time signatures that use each other and repeating lines and scales to produce an entirely cohesive sound. Kind of like trying to syncopate two paddle games with three balls; the untethered center ball forced to bounce between paddles based on two, unrelated positions in space. Sound impossible? Chronostasis has proven otherwise with their 2015 debut release of Cosmagida which contains: “Static Limit”, “Nefelibata”, “Kappa Effect”, “Attention Redirection”, “Frame Rate”, “Cosmagida”. Think Classical composers György Ligeti and John Adams with a sense of tangible feel and structural resolution. Also uncharacteristic is that Chronostasis, while undeniably “mathy” never sound djenty, emotionally sterile, showy or familiar. There is simply too much going on and too much to get one’s head wrapped around to even considering the source. Yes, there are definite influences from Fusion, Acid and Post Bop Jazz, Metal and even a little New Age atmosphere throughout this incredible release, but all become a moot consideration when taken all at once. This band just bleeds virtuosity and making the impossible, possible. Chronostasis is ridiculously good, no matter from the perspective of playing, performing or songwriting.
As of right now, Chronostasis is on on temporary hold as members finish their studies but continue to work on new material, recently posting part of a composition based on the M.C. Escher painting entitled Relativity, based on the Penrose (impossible) staircase stating: “What’s interesting about this painting is that It depicts a world in which the normal laws of gravity do not apply. The architectural structure seems to be the centre of an idyllic community. In the world of Relativity, there are three sources of gravity, each being orthogonal to the two others. Each inhabitant lives in one of the gravity wells, where normal physical laws apply. There are sixteen characters, spread between each gravity source, six in one and five each in the other two. The apparent confusion of the lithograph print comes from the fact that the three gravity sources are depicted in the same space.” An all too fitting teaser for what Chronostasis has in store for us in the future. Damn, this band is impossibly good!