The artist's first LP points to a playful if imperfect vision of experimental club music's next steps.
Jordan Cohen's work as Chants broadly encapsulates these changes. The electronic artist's first EP on Astral Plane Recordings mixed corrosive textures and staccato drums in tune with the likes of the Berlin-based collective Janus; Amethyst Dust refined that sound. Carious Motion signalled a change in direction, where the Wisconsin-based producer incorporated a series of self-recorded drum loops into lighter, more exuberant compositions. On his first album, Seven Spheres, Cohen's approach to rhythm evolves yet again, multiplying the intricate, percussive details alongside a vibrant melodic sensibility.
"Burned All The Way Down" is the star of Cohen's newfound method, an infectious dancehall-esque shuffler embellished with hook-laden marimba and bağlama (a Turkish stringed instrument). Despite feeling meticulously gridded, the track's contrapuntal melodies seem to springboard off one another amid twirling kicks and clicks. The similarly moreish "Kitka Rhythm" is elevated by sparkling percussive decorations—drums tighten, uncoil and shimmer as other metallic sounds ring out, guided by Cohen's unwavering eye for the dance floor.
Cohen once played the drums in a New Orleans brass band. "You have one person playing the snare and another playing the bass drum," he said, recalling his passion for second line music. "I mentally relate a lot of club music drum patterns back to this music. Not to mention the sheer energy." "Muzzoline" is the closest Cohen gets to parade music, folding its martial percussion into a taut, powerful Jersey rhythm. On "Humanity (Duet)," essentially a cosmic jazz track situated at the album's heart, improvised drums join a gently undulating marimba. The looser rhythm suggests the dynamism of live performance.
Not everything lands. The opener, "Seven Spheres," lacks groove in comparison to the album's other snaking beats. Though each track shares the same DNA of fluttering drums, Cohen flip-flops between styles with variable success. "Assiah Dance" is a lightning-quick, pogoing workout, imbued with just a shade of "Pulse X"; the house-inflected groove of "Filament" is vanilla in comparison. But the album finishes strongly on the melancholic dembow of "Gulfoss," where pointillist percussive trills duck and dive like a flock of starlings. Its jubilant drums will rattle in your brain long after the music has stopped.