Matt Pond & Chris Hansen: An Orchestrated Impulse

Lennon and McCartney. Jagger and Richards. Famous collaborators generally create songs that stay above the ether, connecting with people on a mass scale. However, when you mix musical exploration and in-depth musically understanding, you get something, dare I say, magical.

With a career that spans 13 albums and EP’s, Matt Pond and Chris Hansen have left a considerable mark on the indie-pop world. As members of Matt Pond PA, Pond and Hansen have emerged from their dreamy summer indie shell to create An Orchestrated Impulse. The album is more of a collaboration than a band project. Hints of their instrumental sound have been around for a while, most notably on Matt Pond PA’s album Still Summer and their score for the film Lebanon, PA. But it still doesn’t prepare you for this album.

The album is a result of intense mutual musical understanding. Collaboration takes communication, consideration, and, most of the time, the same taste in music. But this album is so far removed from what we have heard from them individually. Listening to their own music gives you an idea of what An Orchestrated Impulse might sound like. Instead of sounding, what I thought was going to be a beautifully composed indie soundtrack, this album is something much more profound.

An Orchestrated Impulse is more of a project than an album. It is an installation that is currently being held at the O+ Festival in Kingston, NY. Pond and Hansen provide the music to accompany the visual art of Eva Magill-Oliver, which consists of twelve paintings and twelve compositions over twelve keys. Even though there are twelve individual tracks on the album, it’s difficult to analyze them on their own. Each track brings with it a weirdly interstellar mood. As if the music is like the universe, ever-expanding and immense. And while this may sound dramatic and over the top to some, throw on some headphones and listen. The dull electronic hums create space and open up the listening experience, making it more than just listening to sounds. It engages you, changes the way you think, brings you in a space of self-reflection.

For some, the idea of an instrumental album may sound a little artsy. Experimental albums tend to sound like they are trying to prove a point and live outside of the usual musical sphere. But they only transport their listeners onto a plain of boredom. An Orchestrated Impulse isn’t like that. The music is intuitive, free-flowing, and includes elements of Matt Pond PA’s indie sound almost organically, allowing Pond and Hansen to engage their listeners in a subtle but deeply moving way.

Isolated from the overall project, An Orchestrated Impulse is a cognitive palette cleanser. It’s sweeping notes clean out the cobwebs and create a sense of peace that, to be honest, is addictive. And while some indie elements sneak in (here’s looking at you “Stillness”), the album is more of a creative outlet and one of the best things that I have heard all year.

Rating: 9.4/10