Gordian's press release, or rather Cosmin Nicolae's own introduction to the record, is about as illuminating as a matchstick without a strike surface. It dangles clues, but none seem to link up or even allude to anything conclusive. It simultaneously hints at the past and future, of myth and the modern world, while also claiming to be chiefly concerned with a fairly arbitrary list of issues. It all reads like a matrix of wrong turns, but why? Either we're being intentionally turned off the scent of Gordian's true premise, or there wasn't really one to begin with.
Whichever the case, referring to Gordian as "the beginning of a conversation" is a hard comment to shake—the producer's music has been talking pretty loudly since the start. But perhaps this is precisely the point. Nicolae has been making statements for the majority of his career, inaugurating no less than six labels (including Hessle Audio and the just as tasteful [NakedLunch]) as TRG, and stirring debate from Tower Block / Béton Brut onwards as the ever 4/4-facing Cosmin TRG. Even Simulat was making bold exclamations well into the Romanian's new stride.
Gordian, then, is a slightly quieter and more protracted creature. Take the opener, "New Structures For Loving." All the Cosmin TRG tropes are present—the warm synths, the melodic overtones and just a touch of the rumbling warehouse kick that defined Simulat—but the equilibrium has changed. Gordian on the whole feels more settled, seamless and a little less volatile than its predecessor. No longer are the tracks especially "fidgety" either, or hemmed with a kind of nervous energy that rings previous records—this is Cosmin TRG at his calmest and most calculated.
And while it seems like much of Nicolae's heritage has been ironed out entirely, a ghoulish resonance still haunts certain tracks—in the choppy hats of "Defeated Hearts Club," for example, or the wonky, loping gate of "To Touch Is To Divert." If you're looking for those slightly off-kilter moments that made his journey up to now such a joy to follow, you may be left wanting: this is perhaps a little too clean, too well-rehearsed compared to what we've heard before. Saying that, Gordian is a delightful listen, packed with plenty of rewarding oddities if you care to sit down and really take your time with it.