Haolin Munk – Planestasia Suite

The Music

The Words

Jazz and hip hop are two proximate worlds, but it’s a rare treat to see them interconnect. Fortunately, Ontario, Canada’s Haolin Munk quartet is here to settle the score. In what sounds like a softer version of Montréal’s New Apple Taste, without the noise and the rock, their science-fiction concept album – who else gets hints of Clipping.? – is an astonishing jazz fusion release filled with tasty grooves, decadent solo sections, and an overall spotless arrangement work.

Since the Haolin Munk quartet is an instrumental entity, each vocal track exists thanks to the help of … Read more

Théo Ceccaldi’s Freaks – Amanda Dakota

The Music

The Words

Théo Ceccaldi is now a renowned jazz violinist, and he is now at the heads of Freaks, an experimental jazz sextet that bridges jazz-rock with avant-garde pop and Rock in Opposition. Indeed, it sometimes sound like a jazz version of French band PoiL, which is a major plus!

What can you expect from their debut, Amanda Dakota? First of all, a lot of odd themes and harmonies are sown all around the album, and the rhythm section tries to clumsily follow in odd times and bizarre subdivisions. This is something that I like a … Read more

P.O.N. – P.O.N. (1995)

The Words

P.O.N. was a Japanese jazz fusion band active in the ’90s, and whose only release is this obscure self-titled album. I wanted to talk about it, however, because it is still relevant in today’s world due to its high production value and contemporary sound. P.O.N. features forty-five minutes of blazing saxophone, guitar, and vibraphone on top of a Zappaesque backing band.

How so? Well, if the regular rhythmic modulations — frequently shifting from straight eighths to many different n-tuplets — didn’t tip you off, you might as well be deaf. However, it is, in my opinion, much more … Read more

Tin Men and the Telephone – World Domination, Part One: FURIE (Federal Union for Restoring Intergalactic Equilibrium)

The Music

The Words

Aliens have been watching us. They have been for a long time, and they now feel like they have to intervene in order to counter the global rise of populism and demagogy in politics. This extraterrestrial commando is called FURIE (Federal Union for Restoring Intergalactic Equilibrium), and their modus operandi is to come and abduct world leaders that fall into this category. You can command the operation yourself by going to this interactive website!

This is the story behind the newest album from Amsterdam’s modern jazz band Tin Men and the Telephone. The … Read more

Kami Octet – Spring Party

The Music

The Words

We truly are well treated in this early 2018. So much great music has been knocking on my eardrums that it’s difficult to keep track. Although a late 2017 release, France’s Kami Octet, an avant-garde jazz eight-member ensemble, and their album Spring Party, was only just now heard by yours truly. The release is an adventurous and thorough experiment on contemporary jazz, sharing similarities with Fire! Orchestra and other such modern artists like Jaimie Branch. I’ve noticed the former mainly due to the vocal eccentricities of Christine Bertocchi, who at times recall moments of … Read more

Death Drag – Shifted

The Sounds

The Words

Iluso has a great track record for providing us with some of the wildest, most adventurous jazz albums out there. I think I’ve become acquainted with the label through dMu’s Synaptic Self, which was a true revelation to me! Today, they’re back with Death Drag‘s debut album, Shifted.

Shifted is like a free jazz album built with the tools of noise metal. The trio consists of drummer and composer Mike Caratti, aided by Santiago Horro on heavily distorted bass guitar, Roberto Sassi on guitar, and Luke Barlow, who plays keyboards and Rhodes. Each … Read more

We Pyrrhic Conquerors – The End Is Nigh

The Music

The Thoughts

The general free-flowing complexity of zeuhl music and the band name We Pyrrhic Conquerors suggest a sizable ensemble of musicians, performing with some level of loose improvisation. Yet Bandcamp informs us that the richly composed The End Is Nigh is the product of one Joey M. Bishop. That’s about all the information I can glean about the artist; there’s no Facebook page to refer to, no specific location given (Bandcamp tags the project as United States, but the drums were recorded at a studio in Indonesia?), and even Google currently returns zero results for the band … Read more