You Go Now
Fight Evil Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/26/2001
It's much more common that I like CDs immediately, rather than have them 'grow' on me. Sure, music can grow on you, but so can fungus, and we don't let -that- happen usually, do we? Nevertheless, I didn't feel much about Chroma Key's You Go Now on first listen, but over a month or so, it grew to make my top ten of 2000 list.
This begs the question; why? First off, it's hard to describe what Chroma Key even really is; if you know that Kevin Moore was the keyboard player for Dream Theater and you go to this CD expecting progressive metal, you'll be sadly disappointed. Comparisons can be made to Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, or Robert Fripp, but they don't tell the whole story. Kevin Moore's ethereal vocals remind me of Eric Woolfson from the mid-eighties Alan Parsons Project, but there are discordant elements to the mix that cause the comparison to Parsons' clean, clinical sound to break down. It's less angry than Floyd, less distant than Gabriel, less soundtrackish than Eno - in short, Chroma Key is unique, a rarity in any musical age. It's this uniqueness that may throw you on first listen; it's like learning a new language, or seeing a new color that your mind can't successfully cubbyhole. Stick with it. It's worth it.
Moore weaves in acoustic and electronic keyboards, disparate samples (ranging from NASA communication records with astronauts to Buddhist chanting), and the elegant, understated guitar work of Dave Iscove into a sonic landscape, a spare musical picture that serves as a medium for emotions and ideas. It's no mistake that Chroma Key's name comes from a term in video production; You Go Now is an album so visual it borders on the synaesthetic.
All the descriptive elements aside, You Go Now is heartbreakingly beautiful, rich, complex, and a truly brilliant work. This is not music for your fifteen-year-old sister who likes Britney Spears; this is music meant to be listened to on headphones, in the dark, diving into the music like the deep end of the world's coolest pool. Normally at this point in a review I try to mention tracks that I like, but that's almost impossible on this CD, where tracks flow seamlessly into each other like threads on a loom. Suffice it to say they're all good, and be done with it. In this case, the devil is not in the details.
The term 'rock music artist' is rarely accurate, and often is a downright oxymoron. Not so for Kevin Moore, who is rapidly ascending into the ranks of those who have taken this musical form to new depths, new heights, new visions. Don't miss out on this.