Students Of Decay
The trajectory of Alex Cobb’s music over the course of the last decade could be viewed as a distillation of tone and atmosphere to arrive at Chantepleure, his most optimistic and sanguine musical statement to date. The album, however, was created at a time of heartache, isolation and emotional upheaval and acts as a balm of tender tones where abstract guitar lines circle and suspend in a kind of refined elegance. Noise, once a hallmark of Cobb’s music, has not been entirely removed, but manifests here in a different form. A delicate dissonance shades the edges of the these four tracks, providing textural color and gorgeously offsetting the lush nature of the music. Even in short spans, this approach yields substantial results. At three and a half minutes, “Disporting with a Shadow” pulls back the curtain just enough to let flecks of natural guitar notes and traces of alluring melody seep into the mix. The album closes with the side-long “Path of Appearance,” a cathartic composition that is best described as a poem of overtones which, like the rest of the album, is sourced from electric guitar and minimal effects but feels more akin to the sun stretching to fill all corners of a darkened room. A testament to sonic refinement, a way of coping, an exciting step forward for an established artist—the minimalist Chantepleure is all of these things.