Taking their name from the geometric definition of the four-dimensional analogue of the cube, TesseracT have always been associated with being multi-dimensional, and Sonder is most definitely the next stage as this new album, their fourth, has truly seen them progress. Sonder is not a neologism but a noun coined by writer John Koenig to use a hitherto non-existent word to describe the emotions and complexity of life. Heavy and complex – just like this band. All is at one with itself and at just under 37 minutes the point is concisely made.
Produced, yet again, by guitarist Acle Kahney, the sound is instantly recognisable, but it’s as if the quality and maturity have been notched higher for this sonorous sound document. Daniel Tompkins’ vocals are of particular note as his range and scope have increased by dimensions. The playing, whilst technically accurate, has an accessibility and the many twists and turns never dull the aural senses, well, maybe in a head banging way, but the musical interest is a constant throughout.
This album can be listened to or LISTENED to. There is a philosophical thesis running through the tracks and the human condition, in this modern life, is explored with panache, as in the influential opening track, Luminary:
That prison in your head?
You walk through the crowd
Lost in the sound
Invisible to every passing eye.”
There are no solos, the two guitar, bass, and drums line-up presenting a compressed wall of differing time signatures to provide a palette for the singer to explore his ideology. Where this rhythm has musical rests, they are instantly filled with the return of various effects used on the instrumentation and eddy vortexes of ambience.
One of cinema’s most famous Tesseracts was used when protagonist “Coop” was allowed to be outside of time itself in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and Hans Zimmer’s score comes to mind, that’s if all the chugging were removed, and this is especially true with album highlights King, a song that suggests “An awareness that history is recurring. The domination by patriarchal societies, which lead to disempowerment, corruption and war”, and Orbital (“Silence and clarity, obvious destiny – one heart, one mind”), a slow atmospheric swirl of a track that floats you in timeless space content in your own bubble of peace.
Beneath My Skin and Mirror Image are surprisingly easy listening, but with a depth in the frequencies that could launch a rocket. The happily titled Smile is very heavy with battle cry growls with mile long reverb times, but the album closes with Arrow, which ends with reversed samples from other worlds and the gentlest of guitar picking. There is a binaural / headphone version of this oeuvre and it will blow your head apart.
TesseracT are a band that could have only come out of British new town Milton Keynes, a place where precise planning was the remit and yet the town centre’s main street’s latitude was altered a few degrees so that they framed the rising sun on Midsummer’s Day. There is timing you could set your watch to but there’s a Pagan undercurrent of ritual that makes this album studious but accessible in equal measure. The melodious vocal pitted against the metal slab further add to its appeal. If this kind of music has never entered your radar before, just increase the scan and home in a little wider. A pleasant surprise might be waiting.
01. Luminary (3:12)
02. King (6:56)
03. Orbital (2:19)
04. Juno (5:12)
05. Beneath My Skin / Mirror Image (11:21)
06. Smile (4:47)
07. The Arrow (2:37)
Total Time – 36:24
Acle Kahney – Guitar
James Monteith – Guitar
Jay Postones – Drums
Daniel Tompkins – Vocals
Amos Williams – Bass
Record Label: Kscope
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 20th April 2018