Just in time to close 2017 with a microtonal bang!, composer Taylor Brook released Virtutes occultae: an exploratory double album for piano. Somewhere between procedural, improvised, and strictly composed, the eighteen parts of this magnum opus take you into the world of overtonality. In a nutshell, this album is played by six virtual pianos, each tuned to a different 11-limit just intonation tuning. The details on how Brook’s approach extends Partch’s are scarce and blurry, but, in any case, the result is utterly mesmerizing. The fact that the music is played only by pianos, virtual ones at that, … Read more
Ilevens is the latest brainchild of microtonal musician Brendan Byrnes, of whom we’ve already praised the projects here on this website, and Transmitter is their debut EP. The concept of Ilevens, formerly known as 11ins, was to form a full microtonal pop/rock band, and the chosen system was 22 equal divisions of the octave. After many demos, under both the 11ins and Ilevens monikers, Transmitter is ready, with two brand new compositions – “Solavai” and “Transmitter” – and re-worked versions of their earlier songs. While the uncommon pitches will surprise more than one person, the psychedelic, progressive, pop-rock style in … Read more
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
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 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
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
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