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

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra – Vula

The massive eighteen-piece big band, or small ensemble, from Germany Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra released, in early July, their latest album in Vula. The hourlong release, which features seven tracks, is very eclectic and dense. Their music has a sometimes retro quality to it, which takes you back to the music of the thirties or forties, but retain an undeniably modern aspect. The vast array of musicians play demanding compositions, like the fast-paced and hectic ‘In Light of Turmoil’, blaring almost relentlessly for more than thirteen minutes. I can only imagine how the drummer’s right arm feels after this… … Read more

Quantum Trio – Duality: Particles & Waves

With members from Poland and Chile meeting in the Netherlands to play modern, progressive jazz together, Quantum Trio just released a massive hour-and-a-half-long double album, Duality: Particles & Waves. Besides being of massive scale and tremendous musicianship, Duality is a concept album on the wave-particle duality, an important concept in quantum physics. The first disc, Particles, is focused on the tangible, while the other one, Waves, embodies the ethereal facet of matter and energy. Concretely, the shift is very noticeable on the music itself. As per their own description, Particles contain polyrhythmic tunes and ballads, both undeniably … Read more

Sproingg – Sproingg

Sproingg is a fitting name for such a bouncy and lighthearted avant-prog trio! The band, which takes its roots in Germany, have just released their debut, self-titled album via bandcamp, and it’s one of those that you can’t afford to miss. First of all, one of its springy legs is Johannes, violin and Chapman stick player. The former instrument is uncommon but not rare, but it’s one of unfortunately too few opportunities to catch a band boasting a stick! That, on its own, is a good reason to check out this band, but you’ll stay for their bizarre, oddly rhythmic … Read more

EXCLUSIVE SONG PREMIERE: Nakata – Now It Can Be Told

Nakata is an avant-garde jazz improvisation duo from Los Angeles, California, including Patrick Shiroishi (from Upsilon Acrux, Corima, and other bands) on saxophone, and Francisco Casanova on piano. The project has already many releases on bandcamp, and ‘Now It Can Be Told’ is taken from their upcoming album, Bokanovsky’s Process, which will come out on April third. If you’re somewhat into experimental jazz, musicians pushing boundaries, or just expressive, abrasive, and challenging music overall, then be sure to listen to this track!

‘Now It Can Be Told’ is a six-minute sonic journey, from the intriguing and mysterious start … Read more