Garrett Wingfield’s Octopod – Monoliths and Sepulchres

The Music

The Thoughts

For full disclosure, yes, I’ve backed this project on indiegogo. Nonetheless, I think this album is a really awesome one! Monoliths and Sepulchres is the debut full-length from Denton, Texas-based experimental jazz unit The Octopod. The aptly-named Octopod features eight musicians, including three horn-blowers (correction: five). As such, their music is heavily textured and rich. The album moves from free jazz during the prelude, postlude, and interludes to composed scores in the main tracks. Consequently, the result is a highly aberrant album that’s nonetheless a more than recommended listen. Its theme is to grow progressively … Read more

Merkabah – Million Miles

Moloch was a defining album for me. As one of the first, and, above all, best, albums truly bridging the gap between jazz and metal into a strange form of palatable yet challenging avant-garde jazz record. The Polish quintet is now back with their third release: Million Miles. Their newest takes up where Moloch left off – kicking and screaming –, and offers us an experience that’s almost as searing as its predecessor. However, instead of pure abrasive power, Million Miles is more delicate, tasteful, and mature than its older sibling. They obviously still share the same genes, but … Read more

Gershlauer, Fiuczynski, DeJohnette, Garrison, and Mikadze – Mikrojazz! Neue expressionistische Musik



They’ve done it! Again, perhaps, but Mikrojazz!, with the subtitle Neue expressionistische Musik (New Expressionist Music), is the latest, and arguably one of the first, completely microtonal jazz records to come out. With the combined talents of Philipp Gerschlauer on saxophone, David Fiuczynski on fretless guitar, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Matt Garrison on fretless bass, and Giorgi Mikadze on keyboards, Mikrojazz! has all the fuel it needs to develop xenharmonic compositions for jazz. Does it deliver? Yes, it does, but not without a few criticisms of mine. The players take up the challenge of writing and playing jazz in … Read more

Kurws – Alarm

Kurws are a peculiar entity. Alarm is their most recent release, and is almost embarrassingly good. “Nagonka” readily baffles you with its odd polyrhythmic bouncing groove accompanied by saxophone and recording artefacts left in. It’s composition aimed at emulating free improvisation, or is it? It doesn’t matter, the result is the same: Alarm is disconcerting and wild! The Polish quartet certainly continues to experiment with music and push themselves on the brink of cohesion. Thanks to analog tape recording, the texture of the sound is at times very grainy, giving even more consistency to the aural soup we’re served, which, … Read more

Valtozash – Wizard-Bird

The Australian jazz metal fusion orchestra Valtozash is quite a newcomer, when it comes to their young age as a group, but they’ve already made their marks with their 2016 debut album, Iron Maiden Voyage. Barely more than a year later, they’re back with a sophomore release in Wizard-Bird. For those unaware, the ensemble is quite extensive: five saxophone players, three for trumpets, four trombones, and a vibraphonist all play alongside the traditional guitars-bass-drums trio. On top of that, the track from which the album title is taken features the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra! Through musical humour and a … Read more

Art the Band – Snacks

I’ve written a line or two about Toronto’s Art the Band, last year, when I found out about their full-length, Boost Unavailable. I was impressed and awed by it, so it’s with great anticipation and matching expectations that I’ve approached their most recent release, the Snacks EP. I wasn’t aware that it was coming, so I was surprised, and, upon listening to it, was once again surprised. I have to say that I didn’t exactly recall what Art the Band was about, but Snacks quickly corrected this. The first and “Big Track” is a pretty standard jazz … Read more

Logan Strosahl Team – Book I of Arthur

Classical music and jazz are opposite and unreconcilable ends of the musical spectrum. Clearly, Logan Strosahl and his Team have never heard such words of warning, or, if they have, they foolishly ignored them and ventured forth. To the wise man’s surprise, however, they have returned victorious! Holding in his hands three tomes and chanting in a mighty parade, Logan handed one of the books to the old man and he looked at it with much confusion, assaulted by the unorthodox fanfare. Unfortunately, as is most common in the sixteenth century, the man was illiterate. There is no moral to … Read more