Brandon Seabrook – Needle Driver

Needle Driver is the latest experiment of Brooklyn musician Brandon Seabrook. The hard-to-describe EP seamlessly bridges contemporary classical music, experimental jazz, and mathcore into a nasty instrumental tapestry. The trio even includes some microtonal intervals, spotted in the song “Venwhorerisin'”. The five compositions are too quickly gone, but they provide an endless amount of entertainment while they last: uncommon time signatures, odd harmonies, complex and exhausting melodies, as well as a knack for deranged structures that somehow hold themselves together. Needle Driver goes left and right, up and down, forwards and backwards, and I’m sure it also goes wild … Read more

Jute Gyte – Oviri

Jute Gyte‘s sole member, Adam Kalmbach, is said to take some sort of break, or hiatus, after Oviri, the closing chapter of what I’ll call ‘The Colours Trilogy’. The only things that are in the works are a rumoured split release and an electronic music album for 2018. The end of an era is always something to grief, but also a moment to look forward to new beginnings. In the meantime, however, let’s discuss this latest progeny. Adam talked about striving to unite the two major aspects of his creative mind: the electronic and the black metal. Nowhere … Read more

Sevish – Harmony Hacker

You know that I’m a sucker for microtonal music. I still am quite critical of it, but I always applaud the effort put into it. So, it’s no surprise that I’m enjoying the new Sevish very much! The artist has proven themself time and time again with various successful releases, including my personal favourite, Rhythm & Xen. With Harmony Hacker, Sevish takes back where their 2015 full-length left, and offers us some high-quality electronic dance music, with drum and bass and IDM undertones, that’s surprisingly easy to approach considering its microtonal nature. Speaking of which, the songs vary … Read more

The Mercury Tree – Permutations

The Mercury Tree is one of the rare bands that has managed to constantly grow and improve with every record they put out. On their fifth record, Permutations, they are barely recognizable as the same band that created their radio-friendly alt-rock debut nearly a decade earlier. Permutations is an extremely dense and challenging listen that demands and rewards multiple listens; it is one of the rare records which combines technicality and innovation with a strong emotional core.

Bandleader Ben Spees has been the only constant throughout the band’s discography, and he manages to be the lead vocalist, guitarist and … Read more

Forced Fusion

Mute the Saint is the latest example of what I will call forced fusion, but they are certainly not the only one, and definitely not the first or last one we’ll have to endure. Forced fusion is the merger of two musical genres, or the addition of a gimmick to an already existing genre, in a rushed or shallow manner.

The first other band I can think of is M.A.N, later known as Massive Audio Nerve. They claim to be the first microtonal metal band, and I am very highly doubtful on that, with their first album released … Read more

Ilevens have released a video for their single Drowns

Microtonal rock band Ilevens, led by the mind of Brendan Byrnes, is one of the only examples I know of of a microtonal band ready for live performances. They use 22 notes per octave instruments and have released a bunch of demos that were sung in a made-up language that I’ll refer to as ilevian from now on, but they seem to have gone back to good ol’ English for this song.

The 2-track Live in Studio mini-album is available on their bandcamp page for “name your price”!
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Review: Sevish – Rhythm And Xen

Sevish has been known in the microtonal music circles for some time now, mostly due to his 2010 effort “Golden Hour”. 2015 marks the return of the man, with Rhythm And Xen, a xenharmonic effort leaning heavily on drum & bass and electronic music, as well as breakbeat and ambient music. For the uninitiated, xenharmonic is “music that does not sound like 12-tone equal temperament”, according to Ivor Darreg, who coined the term.

Therefore, the music in there might be quite hard to grasp for somebody who’s only heard 12-tone equal temperament (12-TET) all their life, taking up practically … Read more

Review: ZIA – Drum’N’Space

[Click here to stream the album]

ZIA is, for the most part, a one-woman microtonal pop band, with Elaine Walker behind the wheel. Releasing albums since 1998 under the monicker ZIA, and experimenting since the very beginning with xenharmonic tunings, Drum’N’Space is the first all-microtonal album. On top of it all, this album is said to be only part of an epic space rock opera that is in the works! If that doesn’t scratch your weird music itch…

Drum’N’Space is written in multiple tunings. The first song is in 17 notes per octave (or EDO, for equal divisions of the … Read more

Cryptic Ruse – Chains Of Smoke


Microtonal music artist Jason Yerger’s project Cryptic Ruse (formerly City of the Asleep) – now with actual microtonal guitars! – returns to show us his new and masterfully crafted work: Chains of Smoke.

Using three different exotic tuning systems – 13 EDO, 15 EDO, and 23 EDO (EDO stands for Equal Divisions of the Octave) – and a wide palette of musical genres, Jason makes us travel to never-before heard sonic landscapes. By using “oriental” and “middle-oriental”-sounding tunings with a more standard (for us, westerners!) metal band quatuor instrumentation, with due distortion, riffs, … Read more

Jute Gyte – Ressentiment

Missouri’s marginal quarter-tone experimental black metal one-man-band Jute Gyte returns with a new album that is like the previous ones: worth your time.

Black metal can be a tough thing to approach if you’re not into the genre already: the purposefully bad production, the vocal style, the often fast and relentless drumming, and the tremolo picking all support this. On top of that, Adam Kalmbach, the mind behind the music, adds microtonality, in the form of a 24-EDO (24 equal divisions of the octave) musical setting. Compare this to your usual 12 notes per octave guitar, … Read more