Exposé Online banner

GEPH — Apophenia
((Not on label) no#, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-08-04

Apophenia Cover art

Emmett Chapman invented his Stick back in the mid-70s, and for the majority of the time since then, it’s been somewhat of a rarity in music outside a small community of enthusiasts. But the idea of a many-stringed tapping instrument seems to have really been catching on in the last few years, with more notable players releasing music every year. Much of that, of course, has been in the broad category of progressive rock, spilling over into metal and other flavors of rock. GEPH retains the same personnel and instrumentation from their 2016 debut album (Josh Goldberg and John Tyler Kent on Sticks and Josh Merhar on drums), and musically, Apophenia is a direct development from there, taking all the features that made it work and notching them up. It is to their credit that they don’t sound like another tapping trio, even though they incorporate some of the same elements in their music. They’ve got some heavy moments like “Macroaggressions” and “Whole Body Headbang” (though the latter also features quieter sections), but they can also dial it way down to produce beautiful pieces like “Little Guy,” which features some lovely volume-pedal action and shimmering echoes. Several tracks feature tones that, through a combination of playing technique and effects, vividly evoke keyboards, sometimes electric piano and sometimes overdriven organ. The middle section of “Get Your Insignificance On” features a lead line that really reminds me of a Dave Stewart distorted organ part (like on “The Yes No Interlude” from The Rotters’ Club). Another thing they do very well is vary the way the two Stick parts interact. Chords behind melody, repeating motifs behind melody or long notes, two melodies working off of each other, bass part and chords against ambient washes — all these and more go into making up the album. Unlike many bands in the instrumental rock sphere who are all intense all the time, GEPH knows how to provide contrast and balance their tension with some release. Apophenia is recommended for fans of Herd of Instinct, Stick Men, Spoke of Shadows, and the like.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): GEPH

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bill Nelson - Whimsy – Keeping up with Bill Nelson is a difficult task. The man is so prolific that new releases seem to be a mere by-product of his breathing. Luckily he’s supremely talented, and apparently has hit upon...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues