by Brendan Reid
VANCOUVER – For curious reasons, there is a lot of derision towards the subgenre of djent. The word is onomatopoeic, and describes the distorted, palm muted thudding sound that players make against the lower guitar strings when employing the style. Djent was first popularized by Meshuggah, and then evolved by artists such as Animals as Leaders, Periphery, and UK-based prog royalty TesseracT, who return this year with a message to share in their new record, Sonder, released April 20.
“Sonder is a word taken from a web series called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows [by John Koenig]. It’s a made up word, but it’s kind of a cool concept,” says rhythm guitarist James Monteith, clearly enthusiastic about the idea. “It means ‘the appreciation that everyone around you has a life as interesting and complex as your own.’ It’s a reflection on how nuanced the world is, as well as the universe and beyond. It’s a message of non-self-centeredness.”
Sonder is both an understanding of the intricacies within every life, and a celebration of the individual. Though people may operate on similar playing fields, every experience is unique, and TesseracT embraces this idea, even using it in their songwriting process in a way that is beautiful and inclusive.
“Our front-of-house engineer is really into field recordings, which is turning ambient sounds into music,” explains Monteith. “So we did a call out to fans to send in their field recordings, and we got about 90 submissions. Of those 90, we managed to incorporate 40 into the album as subtle textures. A lot of the ambient effects you hear throughout the album started off as sounds that people sent in. It adds a different layer to a few of the tracks.”
Music is one of the most malleable forms of expression. Every person has a different concept of what sounds good, and there are countless tools and styles one can employ to achieve their sonic ideals. TesseracT, though a powerful creative force in their own right, realized their fans could offer them a whole new angle, and reached out. Fearlessly, they embraced the concept of Sonder, and incorporated it into their own work. Such commitment to an idea is the sign of truly focused visionaries, and only bodes well for all projects that TesseracT and their affiliates conjure up.
You can experience TesseracT live at the Rickshaw Theatre, alongside supporting acts Plini and Astronoid, on May 9.