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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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""An atmospheric ride through Tokyo’s cityscape.""

What do we do with dance pop? Are we actually expected to try to dance at their shows � so much of today�s dance music is overtaken by a sense of ambience, or a concentration on intellectualizing the lyrical content; trying to get down to M83�s �Graveyard Girl,� while considering Anthony Gonzalez�s use of 80s movie tropes, or grinding to LCD Soundsystem�s �All My Friends,� while dwelling on the concept of friendship seems relatively impossible.

I have spent a lot of my time on JM.com analyzing this decade in music from the point of view that indie kids spent the 2000s learning how to have fun again in the wake of hardcore and grunge. But, in retrospect, half of the reason I enjoy dance music is the contrast between the party and the higher-end thought. When a song loses content and is just about the bump �n grind, it loses the drama. The best dance pop bands from the 2000s expect you to dance despite the intellectualization, a song pushing you to have a good time directly in the face of the desperation in everyday life; not because of it. That�s why MGMT gets criticism from the intellectual elite while Passion Pit and M83 gain clout. So, in a way, the entire concept of modern dance pop is facetious. You�re not necessarily supposed to dance, it can simply be about recognizing that this music is of the sort that people usually dance to.

Which brings us to Kordan, and their debut EP, Fantasy Nation. Is this dance music? Sure: as opener �Fantasy Nation� kicks in, that�s immediately clear. The guitar lick is blisteringly hot, working itself over compressed bass tones, a clap track, and plenty of shakers. Simply, it�s urban-techno. But, as with all great dance pop, there�s a lot more. For Kordan, it�s the ability to be instantly familiar � pop music you�ve heard a thousand times before, but never quite want to turn off. As the chorus of Fantasy Nation tears itself open with, �And we are/ A nation made of fantasy,� there�s pure joy in the cityscape, the lights of Tokyo (much of the EP is centered around Tokyo), pleasure in technology, in the party, and in movement. �Fantasy Nation� on it�s own is a near-perfect dance track.

Through the rest of Fantasy, Kordan operates under a thick electric haze, drawing clear inspiration from My Bloody Valentine and The Wake. The EP�s third track, �Tokyo Tears� swells up with another blistering guitar line. Swooning vocals rush in and out, creating an even sharper sense of techno-urban sprawl. Lyrics come off in a mumbled, shoegazey mess, and are nearly impossible to pull out. It�s absorbed in atmosphere and not much else, but that atmosphere is incredibly satisfying. All four and a half minutes feel like they are edge. When you close your eyes, you are almost forced into imagining�well, something along the lines of Nintento�s F-Zero franchise. Which, for those of you who have played, is pretty fucking cool. According to the band, there is a strong narrative running through Fantasy Nation � but considering the vocal levels, it isn�t yours to parse out. So I�m sure there�s some kind of love story here, but the futuristic dystopia overrides.

I could go on and describe the other tracks on Fantasy Nation, but really, it�s more of the same. �Hologram� pounds away with a sense of longing, and a soaring, filtered chorus. This transitions into Fantasy�s conclusion, �Re-L� which manages to have a real sense of finality, a feat on such a short release. After 15 minutes of images, longing, and technology, we are returned to that initial sense of joy that immediately gripped in �Fantasy Nation.� In five songs, Kordan is able to pull a full circle.

Throughout this entire EP of dance music, I never once got up to dance. I didn�t want to barrel through my apartment spinning around, or hear it blasted over club monitors. In fact, the atmosphere is really best represented through a pair of good headphones in a dark room, not in a sweaty club. Kordan immediately sounds like dance music, but ends up being something more like it�s naval-gazing brethren Isn�t Anything. They have created a cerebral gesture, an atmospheric ride through Tokyo�s cityscape. The only criticism is one throwaway track (�Slouchy Girl�), which really is more of a bonus track for those who buy the EP. Fantasy Nation is one of the most pleasurable releases from a Brooklyn act this year, on or off the dance floor.

by Max Sebela - JezebelMusic.com

""shimmering work of memorable pop music""

It is hard enough to stand out in the music industry, both in regard to the attention one receives and how long they are able to endure standing there without recognition. It is both literal and interpretive here, as a feeling of prominence undoubtedly effects one�s willingness to remain in an industry. In regard to the industry of music, it is difficult to name many other occupations that possess more unpredictability than that one. And on that note, forget about how the country or even the region recognizes them. Getting noticed by your locality cannot simply be an assumption. It is a triumph for some bands to be written about on the back page of their local paper, while others find insufficiency in an above-average review from Rolling Stone. Most newcomers, though, will find excitement in any sort of exposure. For that, I feel some sympathy for artists residing from Brooklyn. Sure, Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio may be the area�s most popular contemporary acts, but that statement�s arguable nature simply shows how ample Brooklyn is with great acts; it is the rare instance of a local scene being both agreeably quantitative and qualitative. But it begs the questions, could a local scene ever be overpopulated by too many worthwhile acts? After all, we do need to go to work and get the recommended seven hours of sleep.

The obstacles for artists in artistically overcrowded localities are abundant, even if the issues often are prevailed by the privilege of living in an artistic community where inspiration is vastly accessible. In an area like Brooklyn though, I could only imagine the artists being more frustrated with the press� selection process than the sheer concept of competition. To expose the already-exposed seems to be the norm, with superfluous addition of information (their favorite food, more influences, etc.) apparently compensating for the feeling of something fresh and exciting. For a stable artist intent on just creating music, this can be quite discouraging in the face of innovation. But for an artist like Kordan, who fuses a fresh and polished style of electro-rock with an urban-like rush, these deprived circumstances can be manipulated to his favor. When you have material as great as Kordan does in a place as thriving as Brooklyn, the experienced understand that patience is all one needs to eventually obtain success. Why I think Kordan�s success is imminent certainly has something to do with his music, but perhaps more so in how he reacts to the prospect of fame even if it has not arrived yet. It must be a city thing.

Kordan could modestly note that he�s opened for the likes of Cut Copy before selling any song or release, but the low-key Brooklynite does not approach success that way. He writes on his own blog about the art of others, not how his own project is on the verge of widespread recognition. Usually treading toward the avant-garde, featured artists on the blog like Pedro Vilas-Boas and Tatsuyuki Tanaka embody both the unknown and groundbreaking in the non-musical side of art. On the more audible end, Kordan is practically their equivalent. While working on a contemporary canvas that utilizes high-end electronic production to create shimmering works of memorable pop music, the embodiment of Kordan�s work is too distinctive and layered to be singularly grouped in the vein of electronic-pop. Like the avant-garde artists he adores and features, Kordan interprets and relays music differently than others within a similar realm. These include acts along the lines of Cut Copy and Chromatics, all very respectable electronic acts that infuse similar formulas of instrumentation and production but proceed to make their work individualistic through other, more discreet means.

While some electronic-rock acts utilize samples, stylistic fusions, and other forms of thematic quiltwork to establish cohesiveness, Kordan simplifies this dramatic struggle with precision. His debut EP, Fantasy Nation, contains a mere five tracks but each one possesses a different approach that summarizes Kordan�s intent beautifully. The EP�s self-titled cut is a translucent gem that takes the swift guitar work of Cut Copy and plasters it on the �80s new-wave-inspired vocal techniques of groups like Cut Copy, who often worked their grandiose choruses using rhythmic prominence and abruptly increased vocal reverb. �Fantasy Nation�, along with several others on the EP, seems to incorporate guitar work that is not there for intricacy or dramatics, but rather as a supplementation of sorts. The rhythm section, powerful vocals, and subtle components of the great production is what truly establishes Kordan as something special. With �Fantasy Nation� serving as an up-beat replica of this decade�s trend in electronic-rock, the following �Tokyo Tears� is eventually more resounding as a somber look back at �80s post-punk. The brooding bass line seems to pummel through the thick wave of reverb, making Kordan�s vocals nearly inaudible above being a moody whimper. When associated with the chilling guitar work though, it plays off extraordinary as one of the most ardently effective efforts on the EP.

�Slouchy Girl�, Fantasy Nation�s closing number, is also noteworthy for being completely different than everything else on the release. With its strings, soft acoustics, and background coo�s, it almost sounds like Voxtrot acquired a stronger vocalist and started writing better songs. It is fun and catchy to be sure, and more than assurance that Kordan is vaster than a one-trick-pony. This phenomenal EP could have told you that by itself though. Fantasy Nation is one of the most memorable debut releases of the year, and listening to it shows why Cut Copy demanded Kordan to be their opening act last year after hearing the songs on this EP. Although Brooklyn�s bustle has prevented instantaneous exposure, the imminence of Kordan�s success can be easily heard through tracks like �Fantasy Nation� and �Tokyo Tears�. With artists like these, there is no such thing as an overpopulation of quality artists. As listeners, it should be our duty to sift through them in knowing that their locale provides more inspiration than most. - ObscureSounds.com

""shoegaze Britpop""

Sweet swirling shoe-gaze with lots of synths and stuff. Sometimes that's just what you want. And during those times, you should give Kordan and go. Who? Yeah, I'd never heard of them either until recently.

You see, this blissful Brooklyn band just played a show with The Drums (both bands have EPs out on Twentyseven Records too) and I thought The Drums' pure pop magic might apply to their stage partners as well. Well, I am here to tell you that Kordan's got that magic pop thing going on too (I'm also here to finally take back that wheelbarrow you borrowed from me all those months ago, but we'll settle that in a bit).

Where's this band been all my life? I always need another group to help round out my dream-pop collection ("Loveless" gets so lonely sometimes). And I always appreciate a band that employs pretty falsettos and climbing crescendos. Gosh, I just love falsettos and climbing crescendos. Does that make me creepy?

Anyway, if you like any of that old shoe-gaze Britpop stuff, then Kordan has a stronger than fighting chance to become a part of your listening life. It's hip to be synth. - OhMyRockness.com

""a strange, rich realm of multi-sensory experiences""

Kordan, I�m still befuddled. When I finally sat down for a proper listen of Longing, my immediate thoughts were �where did I go?� and �how long am I staying for?� As I�m sure I mentioned in previous reviews, the power of Kordan lies in their ability to transport listeners to a strange, rich realm of multi-sensory experiences. Perhaps that�s an exaggeration; but for most of us, whose lives are defined by shopping malls, mid-size vehicles, Starbucks lattes, and the occasional wild night of domestic brews and bar darts, Longing feels like a vacation from the mundane. We will never be this hip, but for roughly half an hour we can pretend.

The Longing is essentially an elaboration of Fantasy Nation, Kordan�s first EP released July of last year. Same bag of tricks, that is. Dizzy, spacious sound layers over a steady beat�at the core, dance grooves with an experimentalist complex. Where Fantasy Nation tapped the club vein, Longing searches for the abstract quality of pop music. Listening to the album is like listening as a musician attempts to define city or love or life simply in audio. Of course, this reads pretentious, as does any creative adventure that involves conceptual thought. The reason I�m not harder on Kordan is simple: despite the possible pretense, I can�t imagine the band playing any other style of music than this ultra stylized pretty. There�s truth in purposeful cool, even if it�s easy to spot the GWBs (Girls With Bangs) and BWGs (Boys With Glasses) somewhere in the crowd.

Thanks to production magic or magic hands, �Fantasy Nation� and �Tokyo Tears� softened a bit from their EP debut: flavors steeped, mechanics fine tuned, less thrust more lust. Actually, compared to Longing, Fantasy Nation sounds decidedly reduced, as though Eisele and co. were practicing for grander occasions. Such is the occasion. Besides �Fantasy� and �Tokyo,� tracks like �Mirror� and the haunting �Shinjuku� stand out while in sum, the album remains fairly amorphous. Eisele�s distant vocals amidst the instrumental mixed bag keep Longing interesting, but I wonder what�s next for Kordan. Logically, the progression favors total ethereal bliss (as it is, the lyrics seem secondary), but I accept all bets. - WeHeartMusic


Kordan released their debut full-length album 'The Longing' in October 2010 on Last Bummer Records.



Kordan is a music collective led by Arthur Eisele. Current members also include Gabo Rodriguez (bass), Liz Reboyras (synth, vocals), and Jake Chudnow (drums). They live in Brooklyn, New York City.

"Sifting through traces of quantum universes, Kordan find the lush textures, pulsating beats, and somber melodies that they use to project dreams of bleak, dismal cities in a holographic future. But just below this mournful atmosphere there is also flicker of energy, like one of those cities is slowly flickering back on after a blackout. Lumines- cent synths build on scratchy guitars and the electricity of the city finally rushes back on.

Arthur, Liz, and Gabo emerged from the vibrant rave and indie rock scenes in Puerto Rico during the early 2000s. After different stints found them in different parts of the US, the trio converged in Brooklyn. Together again, they began to fuse an electro glint and a shoegaze murk, and thus forged Kordan.

In the fall of 2008, Cut Copy heard the band's songs and chose Kordan as an opening act on their North American tour, taking them through Minneapolis, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, and back to New York City. In the summer of 2009 Kordan released their demo recordings as the Fantasy Nation EP, garner- ing critical acclaim from Filter, Jezebel, and Oh My Rockness, among others. The debut release heralded Kordan's aural world, tinged by futuristic visions and Japanese street culture. The following autumn months saw Kordan playing a CMJ showcase and shows in New York City, including opening for The Drums and The Mary Onettes. They have also brought their sonic influences to other bands, having done remixes for ZAZA and The Delta Mirror."