PENDANT Shapes an Emotionally-Charged Perception of Sorrow with ‘Harp’
Producer and songwriter Chris Adams, whose music is known under the moniker PENDANT, is a Los Angeles-based artist known for his genre-blending music that defies a direct classification. With PENDANT’s recent sophomore release, Harp, he evokes a concoction of ‘90s house and rave music with pop, hip-hop, and an overwhelming plethora of obscured vocals, reverb, distortion, effects and feedback — aptly garnering him a position in the shoegaze genre as well. Though PENDANT’S first effort Through a Coil was not well received (perhaps due to the fact that, according to several rumors, PENDANT’s followers were not fans of the record label that it was released on), Harp picks up the pieces in unrelenting fashion.
The LP is comprised of an ethereal collective of 13 mind-bending tracks worthily resemblant to something created in the bowels of Victor Frankenstein’s lab. When coupled with Through a Coil, PENDANT’s latter effort seems to be an entirely different band. So, what’s the reasoning behind this exorbitant change? Well, the catalyst just so happened to be the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns throughout the world. With no access to his usual instruments and recording spaces, which is apparent on the outfit’s guitar-driven debut, Adams took an entirely different approach with Harp, utilizing a synth-steeped and beat-heavy sound accompanied by his affinity for electronic and dance music.
“I didn’t have any of the equipment that I normally use to make music, only my laptop,” Adam recalls. “I didn’t have to think about the easiest or most successful way for me to make a song — which is ordinarily by playing a guitar. It was an exercise in like, following my intuition.”
The result is a unique compilation inspired by deeply rooted human emotions and nearly mirrors bands with the likes of Daft Punk and Girls Against Boys. On the track “Thorn,” Adams cranks out a Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys vibe, while tracks like “Static Dream” bear a striking resemblance to The Chain Gang of 1974 and “LED Head Rush” and “Blue Mare” sound eerily reminiscent to the English artist Blood Orange.
Harp is then,a beautifully tense assortment of tracks filled with aggression and despair, and, as we hear in “Secrets in the Dusk,” vulnerability and dejection glamorously coincide with joy and life. Adams’ soft vocals complement the grueling blast-beats and blistering synths through 38 minutes and takes the listener on a roller coaster of emotions.
“To me, I get the most out of music when it feels as though an artist is welcoming me into their little universe,” Adams says. “I wanted to make this record about pain, how ugly it can be, and how grateful I am to it for connecting me with myself and the people around me.”
To say that Harp is PENDANT’s creative little universe would be a gross understatement. The album deals with the grief Adams had suffered and ultimately bottled up for years following his father’s death in 2010. Throughout his childhood, his father struggled with alcoholism, ultimately succumbing to an untimely death when Adams was only 18.
“My dad’s death was messy and confusing, and it’s always been hard to talk about,” says Adams. “I grew up in a kind of dysfunctional house, and from a young age, I’d experienced these really extreme situations and experiences and feelings, just as a part of my surroundings. My way of coping was to learn how to regulate those things and remove myself.”
Adams’ ability to “cope” with some of the unfortunate circumstances of his past gleams through on Harp and provides us with a beautiful insight into the complexity of human emotion, of the importance of death and mourning, of ecstasy and satisfaction. None is more important than the other, and that overcoming loss through grief can be both beautiful and heartbreaking.
“A guiding ideology for Harp was that nothing was off limits, and whatever felt sonically and emotionally real was important,” Adams says.
Adams reminds us through vividly brash lyrics that the truth about humanity is painted from pain and love, from the correlation of life, memories, dreams and death. And throughout the length of the record, he examines the depth of trauma and observes his lifelong bouts of anger and distress. Harp is a beautifully constructed reminder that grandeur is always attainable.
Please stay tuned for upcoming news about PENDANT and many other phenomenal artists!