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

Verneri Pohjola & Mika Kallio – Animal Image

The Music

The Words

Animal Image – or, by its Finnish name, Eläimen kuva – is, first and foremost, an animal documentary made by Perttu Saksa and Mouka Films. The picture is not what we’re here for today, however. Instead, we’ll be talking about trumpeter Ververi Pohjola and percussionist Mika Kallio‘s joint effort as the movie’s soundtrack. Given their role as audio support to a primarily visual documentary, Verneri and Mika had to be in a very special mindset. This unique frame of mind is one of the appealing aspects of Animal Image. The forty-minute album is all … Read more

Panu-Pekka Rauhala – 60 Songs in 60 Minutes

The Music

The Words

Please don’t skip this because of the cover art shown above. I know it’s probably the worst album cover you’ve seen recently – or, ever! –, but the music it forbids is worth your time, I swear! Honestly, I debated whether or not I should include the “artwork” in this review… But out of respect for Panu-Pekka Rauhala‘s artistic choices, I decided to keep it, at the cost of this very warning. Ugh, it’s such an ugly cover for such a good album… It could win many art anti-awards, of that I’m sure! Well… enough … 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

Vincent Touchard – Classe moyenne



Vincent Touchard is a French jazz drummer and composer, and brings his quintet formula to make chamber jazz on Classe moyenne. Here, the usual piano, double bass, saxophone, and drums are joined by a cello, while two core members also play clarinet and Wurlitzer piano, and an oboe, clarinet, and bassoon trio is added to the band on three tracks to create a real woodwinds quartet vibe. Classe moyenne is a very relaxed and beautiful jazz album. It’s rather impressive how touching the compositions and playing on the album can be, while staying relatively minimalistic in nature. Throughout more … Read more

Mammal Hands – Shadow Work

It has barely been a year and a half since Mammal Hands‘ album Floa was released – hint, we liked it –, yet, the British modern jazz trio is back with Shadow Work. Nearing fifty minutes in length, the album is, once again, a marvel of jazz music. Melodic and carefully crafted, their third release is a joy to behear. The piano and drums and saxophone trio is master at crafting memorable melodies on poignant progressions, with a firm grasp on the elusive art of tension and release, and a broad curiosity that leads to them incorporating sounds … Read more

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Patrick Shiroishi – “The Screams of a Father’s Tears”

Japanese-American saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi, whom we’ve come to spect and respect for his involvement with some of the best and craziest music acts out there – like Upsilon Acrux, Corima, Sewing Circle, and Nakata, to name a few –, is going to release new music under a his solo moniker with the album Tulean Dispatch. The project deals with the Tule Lake internment camp, where his Japanese grandparents were placed during World War II. The album not only reflects on these past events but draws parallels to what is happening today in the world and the USA. It’s a … Read more