Beautifully written, flawlessly executed, Sean Malone’s second Gordian Knot project “Emergent” is a stunning achievement. Once again, he has assembled a top-notch lineup (including notables Bill Bruford, Jim Matheos, and Steve Hackett, along with various Cynic alumni), and the excellence of the results simply cannot be understated. Malone has a talent for constructing compositions that are, first and foremost, beautiful, and the virtuosity of the respective musicians is at all times carefully directed towards the greater good of the composition. This is most clearly reflected in the solos, which are never about anything more than advancing the composition itself.For those who are familiar with the first Gordian Knot project, this one is a bit heavier, largely a result of replacing Trey Gunn’s Warr guitar with a greater emphasis on the guitars of Hackett, Matheos, Jason Gobel, and Paul Masvidal on one track. But in many ways this is a strength of this album, which has a more organic feel than the first. If this album is to be compared to anything, it perhaps fits best with some of the finest offerings of the classical genre.But even these comparisons fail. This album is an absolute masterpiece, a stunning work that demands attention. I recommend Emergent in the strongest possible terms; among the hundreds of albums in my collection, I can think of none that I would recommend above it. You do yourself a service, and support an emerging musician of the highest caliber, by ordering it immediately.