Zach Cooper The Sentence
Published Mar 16, 2016Zach Cooper's full-length debut, The Sentence, is an experiment in orchestral ambiance, a space offered up for reflection by the artist. Cooper takes old personal recordings ― high school demos, solo compositions, recordings from his time with the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble ― and weaves the old with the new to find the common thread throughout his musical career.
As if taking its cue from the works of Italo Calvino, The Sentence's tracklist itself reads like a cohesive passage, each of the 12 titles one part of a whole: "This," "Is," "For," "Us," "To," "Incite," "Stillness," "In," "Our," "Hearts," "And" and "Minds." The resulting message in the album's tracklist is, as Cooper puts it, "not about meditation, but the result of it." It's all very insightful, if you buy into that.
While the album does possess and produce a calm but also a curiosity with its gamut of instrumental choices ― from chamber recordings to orchestral movements to low-pulsing synths ― musically, the tracks are often interestingly disconnected from their titles. The juxtaposition in a song like "Stillness," where brass meets discordance meets subtle finger picking, or "Incite," where a whispered amalgamation of ride cymbal, spiralling synths and the occasional plunk of a key or xylophonic flitter, are interesting, but ultimately lull more than they provoke. The result is an album that takes an ethereal, if sometimes dull and meandering course. (Styles Upon Styles)