Blumen/With a Smile – Banana Split EP

a3764493273_10As the collaborative work of two great one-man projects on their own, namely Blumen and With a Smile, this Banana Split EP should be very nearing perfection! Blumen’s “Press 1 for Music” was released in 2015 and presented something fresh in the modern prog scenery. As for With a Smile, I didn’t have the chance to be acquainted with it prior to this collaboration, but I quickly realized my misfortune when I played their “Never Listen” EP, which is a welcome addition to my regular playlist.

The Banana Split is three songs long, the first of which is a … Read more

The Pitts Minnemann Project crowdfunds their upcoming album, “The Psychic Planetarium”

Their last album, 2 L 8 2 B Normal was one hell of an album, perfect for fans crazy music and wicked musicianship! The Psychic Planetarium, which is due March 11th, will encompass many genres and styles with the usual over-the-top technicality of the members involved: Jimmy Pitts, Marco Minnemann, Tom Geldschläger, and Jerry Twyford, along with an array of guest musicians!

Click here if you want to support the project on indiegogo!… Read more

Axon-Neuron premieres “Eyes”, from their upcoming album, Metamorphosis

Announced some time last year, with a little bit of a line-up change, as a follow-up to their sophomore album, “Dreamstate”, Metamorphosis will come out January 28th! As a reminder, here’s the songs “Euclid”, “Shattered” and “Suspicion” that were also debuted, but in a live setting instead of a studio one!

Euclid

Shattered

Suspicion

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Bambino dell’Oro – Los Belvos

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Oxford, UK’s progressive fusion duo Bambino dell’Oro‘s latest album Los Belvos is a set of sumptuously textured modern jazz pieces underlaid by complex grooves. The core of the band is made up by two multi-instrumentalists specializing on drums and piano/keyboard respectively, but they also have a bassist with them most of the time and occasionally a soprano sax player as well on this release.

The album’s overall feel is energetic, effortlessly flowing between odd time signatures that are given time to breathe without overstaying their welcome. They make strategic use of a wide texural palette including instruments such as … Read more

Amogh Symphony release Aai, from their upcoming album IV

A song about mothers of this world, and of Onamika, which you’ll remember from previous Amogh songs. On IV, they’re ditching the whole “concept album” things, and rather go for an “album of concepts”. Each song is like a soundtrack to a short movie, and we can appreciate that with Aai. The song draws strong connections with world music, as well as jazz, and with a touch of metal too. I think it’s wildly successful at what it wants to be, and I honestly can’t wait to hear more from Amogh IV.… Read more

Sales de Baño – Horror Vacui

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The second release from Argentinian avant-garde jazz sextet Sales de Baño is Horror Vacui, an intriguing live performance. The ensemble is led by bassist and composer Carlos Quebrada, and also features flute, trumpet, keyboard, guitar, and drums. They definitely play “outside” a lot, but what I appreciate here is that it’s often difficult to tell what is composed and what is improvised. Quebrada has done an excellent job, at times approaching a sophisticated chamber music sound and at others harsh avant-noise.

At first, it may seem that the playing here is somewhat aimless in the way that avant-garde music … Read more

Mombu / Mosca Violenta – Hunting Demons

a0742052546_16The presence of jazz in metal music seems to be an increasingly popular trend. Most noticeably, it’s the addition of the saxophone that’s often just enough to make us think that the band has successfully merged the two genres into one, but most of the times it’s just a clin d’œil to it, and the music itself doesn’t bear any of the subjacent characteristics of jazz.

The first ones to incorporate jazz, in a form or another, into metal were Atheist, Meshuggah, and Cynic, back in the early ’90’s. Since then, it gained in popularity and it’s … Read more

Sha’s Feckel – Feckel for Lovers

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Reed player Sha has made a name for himself over the years among fans of the Swiss “zen funk groove” school of jazz pioneered by Nik Bärtsch and Don Li among others. The full-length debut from his project Sha’s Feckel, Feckel for Lovers, is a diverse and dynamic set of heavy jazz fusion tunes. Featuring Sha on sax together with a guitar, bass, and drums trio, this group weaves huge riffs with odd grooves within engaging and thoroughly fearless compositions.

The album starts out with “A,” a 13 minute piece that gradually crescendos from somber, pensive fusion to … Read more

Panzerballett – Breaking Brain

Munich, Germany’s Panzerballett has been one of my favorite bands for some time now. Merging the intricate brutality of progressive metal with the grace and elegance of modern jazz together with a dash of German humor and a healthy awareness of how bizarre this combination is, they are in my opinion one of the most original and virtuosic bands active at this time. Their fifth full length album, Breaking Brain, sufficiently expands on the formula that they’ve developed over the years and manages to meet my high expectations yet again.

Featuring a sax player in what would otherwise be … Read more

Instrumental (adj.) – A Series of Disagreements

a1446988580_16Plini, Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, The Helix Nebula, SEIMS, and Violence In Action have a baby together. The name of the child with such a terrifying genealogy is Instrumental (adj.). In fact, it’s not even an actual name. But as we shouldn’t mock anyone’s name, let’s tackle this one with no preconceived ideas.

Instrumental (adj.) is an instrumental (…) band from crazed Australia. If the portfolio of its progenitors is any indicator of how the offspring will turn out, then it’s going to be quite a listen! And oh boy how it is! A Series of Read more