Cathode

Memories for those whom we may have rocked in the past
Cathode - Middle East Cafe, Cambridge MA
Artwork by Bob Maloney


I have seen the future of post-rock, and it is a heap of burning flesh, asphalt, and cow dung on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Boston-based instrumental trio Cathode, on the other hand, are the twinkle in my bloodshot eye -- minimalist melody-smiths on the bell-toned noir-guitar fringes, taking long languid drives through the translucent glow of florescent-lit tunnels, gently caressing the sweet spot where Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game," Angelo Badalamenti's "Laura's Theme," and Low's entire career meet and make moments of melancholy. It's midnight music - no, later: it's half-past four in the morning and you've had a few drinks but couldn't get drunk and the streets are empty and you've got seven dollars, eighty-six cents and a half-tank of gas and you just know, you've always known, that you're never gonna get off of this fucking filthy, beautiful, God-awful-lonely highway. And then there's this whisper, sounds like a drum brush, sounds like a heartbeat, sounds like windchimes, and it's Cathode gently telling you to go home...

-- Carly Carioli, Boston Phoenix

The term post-rock has recently been bandied around more often then the adjective 'good' in a third-grade classroom. Paul Newman is new post-rock, June of '44 is becoming post rock (witness the puzzling Anahata). Gastr Del Sol, Tortoise and Trans Am have always been post-rock. Sonically, those aforementioned bands differ greatly. What they do have in common, however, is a desire to push their sound, and not write the same song repeatedly. That's where Cathode comes in. Their post-rock brethren considered, Cathode could also draw comparisons to Scenic or Low... Cathode's 'sleeping' is a masterpiece of emotion and passion. Oft-times the quiet parts are the most powerful and the louder bits the most soothing. 'sleeping' is what you want playing when you wake up from a nightmare, and realize the most frightening thing is, you can't recall what scared the hell out of you. Listening to Cathode you will find yourself visualizing the story that the all-instrumental music paints. You're allowed to sketch in the smaller details that the music canvasses. You decide where the scene is set. Guitarist Dan Cederholm lays down the context while bassist Brian Copperman fills in the empty spaces at the back of the song. Bruce MacFarlane creates the frame and keeps time brilliantly, like a watch that loses two minutes every hour. You'll also feel something, which strikes at the heart of this band's appeal. You won't necessarily know what or why, but you will feel. In its own subtle way Cathode's 'Sleeping & Breathing' is a three minute and thirty-nine second mood stabilizer: It's there when you need it and doesn't have any nasty side effects.

-- Boston.com



A blast of overwrought emotion that begins with a woeful guitar toughened by reverb, lazily slapped drums and a crushing low-end rhythm.
-- Kelso Jacks, CMJ New Music Review



I love living in Boston but the music scene needs to pick up. The bands are getting old and tired and seem to be spinning their wheels. Along comes Cathode. While the style of music can be heard from Lousiville to Chicago, from London to Glasgow, Boston's rather late in the game to get into the instrumental rock scene. Cathode's music is spacious and driving, pleasant but never wimpy. The melodies flow naturally and smooth, without any falter. Steve Fisk co-produced most of this, their debut full-length release: 7 songs - 40 minutes of a wonderful play of guitars, bass and drums. Without making comparisons, anybody who's into the melodic guitar and slow driving pace of Aerial M, the loud/soft jumps from Mogwai's Young Team or the grand spaces from the Boxhead Ensemble or Angelo Badalamenti scores should enjoy this disc. Get into them now before all their 7" singles become auctioned off for $50.

-- Jon Whitney



Cathode played an entrancing set of instrumental spy-rock. The audience was drawn to the floor, as if by a lover’s whisper, to watch Dan Cederholm (guitar), Brian Copperman (bass), and Bruce McFarlane (drums) do what they do so well. I had hoped to hear their mysterious version of Hall & Oates’ "Maneater," from "Chupacabra." But the sensuously spacey originals that Cathode played instead, including "Sweet Baja" from their CvB 7" and "Sleeping & Breathing," were impressive enough to make up for its omission!

-- Joe Browns, The Noise

Cathode - Bruce, Brian, Dan (l-r)

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