From the band Seeker and Servant, Kody Gautier has taken years of harmonic musings, poems and melodic wonderings to form his own LP, The Prevailing. Formed as a means of expression rather than a tool to please the public, The Prevailing is composed of mostly instrumental tracks that showcase what’s going on inside of Gautier’s mind. Born with Grapheme-color Synesthesia (where an individual associates numerals and letters with colors) and Chromosthesia (where an individual associates sounds with colors), Gautier describes his experience with music as intense and passionate, a veritable sensory experience. But unlike most people with this special gift, he has invited the listener into his experience.
Of the 57 minutes of listening time, about 30 minutes are purely instrumental tracks. We as listeners are ushered into the soundscapes of the artist’s mind, which seems to favor epic swells and layers of strings. It’s clear in this album Gautier is flexing his compositional muscles, he’s seeing what he can do instrumentally. For most tracks, it starts like minimalist music, high on the repetitive and low on variety. But that’s the way he wants it. Throughout each instrumental track Gautier likes to unfold his experience methodically: it might start with an ever-moving piano melody, be joined with slow moving strings and finally supplemented by lower bass piano lines. His instrumental layering is like a road trip in a car- you look out the side window and see a mountain, slowly moving by. You look at the telephone lines swiftly gliding by and the grass moving so fast you can’t see each individual blade. But you’re moving at a constant speed so it all makes sense.
Instrumental compositions are not all we get. In tracks like Tower God and Swing Low Gautier exposes his Post-Rock and Metal influences with aggressive vocals, heavy guitars and minor cadences. His voice hits the target every time; there’s something so fantastic about it. It’s convicting and stabilizing, It pulls you in but makes you feel so incredibly free. Though his singing time on the album is very limited, it is extremely memorable.
Swing Low might be the track to listen to. A minimal and repetitive piano is the foundation of the song, ominous and foreboding. It is soon joined by a driving cymbal and otherworldly guitar feedback paired with Gautier’s stirring voice and pleading lyrics. Before You is sure to please as well; it centers around the singularity of God and the desperation of man to unite with him. The lyrics are simple, asking “What good can find us but the One/What good?”. It’s in this track we see the marriage of Gautier’s Post-Rock habits and his generous filmic traits, which could quite possibly be the niche that makes him stand out.
Overall, The Prevailing is not an album to score high on the charts. It’s not a measure of success for Kody Gautier. It’s more concept than crowd-pleasing. It’s more personal than trendy. It’s simply an artist beckoning those who pass by to come and see music from his point of view.
Album will be available on 7/22. Get it on iTunes this Friday at http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1126053828?ls=1&app=itunes, or on Bandcamp at www.kgautier.bandcamp.com.
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