Music

Chris Korda’s album ‘More Than Four’ created in odd time and complex polymeter is flagrant rhythmic heresy

Chris Korda’s upcoming release “More Than Four” is flagrant rhythmic heresy: electronic dance music that’s not only in odd time, but also in complex polymeter. Each of the album’s tracks uses at least four time signatures at once, typically including 3, 4, 5, and 7. The title is a pun on the 1966 Miles Davis album “Four & More.” The gatefold double LP has eleven tracks and features Korda’s artwork, and the digital version adds three bonus tracks.

Progressive rock bands commonly switched time signatures, but Korda takes it to the next level, by using multiple time signatures concurrently. For example in the title track, the synth part is in 7/4, whereas the piano part is in 6/4, hence the piano “slips” out of synchronization with the synth, and then converges with it again. This deliberate slippage is characteristic of phase music, historically associated with minimal composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

Korda sees the hegemony of the generic 4/4 disco beat as a “pleasure prison” and is determined to escape from it by any means necessary. To that end she developed an open-source music composition software–aptly named Polymeter–over many years, and uses it exclusively. According to Korda, “homogenization of culture is the epitome of industrialism, motivated by the need to standardize consumption.” Korda tirelessly agitates for all types of diversity, including cultural, biological, and gender diversity.

“More Than Four” features relatively few lyrics, but they’re true to form. The title track pokes fun at the monotony of disco, while “Moonchego” satirizes conspiracy theorists and their alternative facts. “Pleasant Mistake” captures the selfishness and myopia that propel us towards an unlivable future, while “Planet Broke” is a furious anti-natalist anthem for the future generations we’re betraying. The album expresses realism, existentialism, and scientific pragmatism, and leads us to a surprising conclusion: The planet will be fine; it’s we who are in danger.

Chris Korda is an internationally renowned multimedia artist, whose work spans nearly thirty years and includes electronic music, digital and video art, performance and conceptual art, and culture jamming. She’s been slipping subversion into DJ mixes since the mid-1990s, when she was one of the founders of electroclash and pioneered the use of complex polymeter in techno.

This summer has seen the first large scale retrospective of Chris’ work ‘The (Wo)Man of the Future’ at Confort Moderne in Poitiers. The exhibition which encorporates Chris’ music, as well as visual art, technology, activism, and her work as a leading voice on humanities ecoside through her ongoing project The Church of Euthanasia. She has done various performances during the run of the exhibition, including of her seminal album ‘Apologize to the Future’. The exhibition was chosen as a highlight of the summer by Les Inrocks, reviewed by Frieze ‘Can Chris Korda save the world?’ and featured in Art Flash, as well as indepth features with TISSUE reflecting on the heartbreaking tragedy of our collective failure and Clot looked at her role as ecological provocatrice.

Placed in context for 2022, with the hottest summer on record across the Northern Hemisphere, heatwaves at both poles, the dismantling of legal protections for bodily autonomy in the US – as well as separation of Church and State, rise of right wing and religiously extreme movements, global political orders more concentrated on waging war than fixing the problems of humanity, mainstream media and tech companies who continue to ignore their part in our destruction – her work over the last 30 years has gone from fringe provocation to essential and vitally aligned with the global youth movements fighting for a future on this planet.

Artist: Chris Korda
Title: More Than Four
Label: Chapelle XIV
Format: Vinyl, Digital
Date: 19th September 2022

Tracklist

1. Virtue Signal
2. Ticking
3. More Than Four
4. Moonchego
5. Shelter in Bass
6. Pleasant Mistake
7. LCM
8. Charlie’s Big Break
9. Lodidi
10. Kahelo
11. Heard a Moon
12. Interago
13. Kasita Mondo
14. Planet Broke