You like Chapman stick, right? Who doesn’t? This simple apparatus akin to a wooden plank fitted with too many metal transverses and strings made primarily for tapping gives a nice, airy tone, and is perfect for self-accompaniment, thanks for its huge tessitura. Many artists have put this device to good use, but I recall none using two of them at once!
Enters Boston’s Geph—the pronunciation of which is an extension of the /dʒɪf/-/ɡɪf/ debate—, which is made up of two stickists and a drummer. The instrumental trio plays a modern brand of progressive rock highly influenced by jazz fusion’s rhythmics and progressions. The songs on Apophenia bring a lot of attention to the atmospheric aspect of their genre, with compositions that don’t sound too jagged or aggressive, but that evoke images and meanings out of, literally, thin air. The use of two self-accompanying instruments, just like using two piani, is, at first, questionable. Since the instrument itself can be its own accompaniment—i.e. it can be the bass, the chords, and the melody at once—, one has to wonder why a pair of them is here required! Geph answers our musing with two independent and creative self-accompaniments, giving us, at times, four different voices to behold and account for. This elevates the complexity and depth of the music considerably, but it’s used sparingly, only in the most climactic moments.
Geph’s Apophenia is a great progressive record that makes good use of a relatively uncommon instrument. It’s a nice addition to your prog fusion playlist!