CORDIS returns to Eastern

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

The Dvorak Concert Hall hosted the second-ever performance of “Condition Blue” by the Boston-based quintet CORDIS Tuesday evening.

Jeremy Harman from CORDIS performs on electric cello for Condition Blue. (Jessica Nantes | The Daily Eastern News)

Synth stabs, played by Jeremiah Costa, coalesced with cymbals and gongs being played underwater in a bowl, and in “Permission to Leave,” composer and CORDIS artistic director Richard Grimes’s cimbalom was joined by the near-rhythmic pouring of water into the same bowl.

While the instruments being performed might have been recognizable to the audience, the way in which they were played was not.

Andrew Beall’s percussion and Costa’s piano provided the canvas for Hayes Cummings to play his guitar in a violin-like fashion on “Matewan” and in other pieces, where Jeremy Harman’s electric cello playing was often distorted in such a way that it could almost act as a second guitar.

Jeremiah Costa plays piano and water harmonium in the CORDIS:Condition Blue concert inside the Dvorak Concert Hall. (Jessica Nantes | The Daily Eastern News)

CORDIS is on their first tour since before the pandemic.

Grimes said that the group is still working back into their onstage chemistry and that he couldn’t help but be thinking ahead to a more challenging piece.

“When I write the music, I never think about easy or hard or whatever, I just kind of think about saying what I want to say, but sometimes when you’re on stage it can be a little harder to say it than you thought when you were writing it on the computer,” Grimes said. “So in that way…you’ll be playing a piece, but you’re thinking about the next piece you’re about to play because you’re like, ‘Don’t forget, you have to start that and you don’t want to go too fast.’ Again, it’s just kind of getting back in the flow of everything.”

Hayes Cummins, guitarist, plays in the CORDIS: Condition Blue concert inside Dvorak Concert Hall. (Jessica Nantes | The Daily Eastern News)

Harman said he enjoyed playing a song he had written called “Preface to God,” which was also featured in the Sept. 28performance of “le Cirque Esprit” at Doudna, which CORDIS provided the music for.

“I like that one because it has a really big build and by the end it’s pretty epic and pretty heavy, and so I enjoy that, it’s like kind of a little visceral moment,” Harman said.

Harman also said he liked the challenge that “Angelstyle,” the song that closed the first half, presents for his cello playing.

“It’s a really difficult cello part, so that’s always one where it’s always a challenge even though I’ve been playing that song for years, so like whenever you nail it or play it well, it’s always a really satisfying feeling,” Harman said.

Harman said that Dvorak proved to be a good venue for CORDIS’s music.

Andrew Beall, percussionist, makes music with a water bowl to mesh with the sounds that CORDIS: Condition Blue created that were inspired by water inside the Dvorak Concert Hall of Doudna Fine Arts Center. (Jessica Nantes | The Daily Eastern News)

“This is such an awesome space,” Harman said. “Just to be in here and play on a stage like this… super fun and really satisfying. It’s beautiful.”

The last piece, “Seems,” ended with a drum solo from Beall that was abruptly cut off by the natural sound of Grimes, illuminated on stage left, pouring water into a bowl as his bandmates’ instruments faded out.

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]