Abacaxi – Mainstream Desire (Collectif Coax)
Their previous album was quite something already, and the experimental, noisy, electro-jazz trio Abacaxi is back with a sorter but no less challenging and outstanding release in Mainstream Desire. The band’s creative output is marked by unorthodox rhythms and irregular harmonic and melodic ideas, and the two long-form songs on display have room enough to showcase their weird and original composition skills. So be sure to give this one a go!
秋葉龍 – Swans Dance, Roses Bloom like Mad
Japanese guitarist 秋葉龍 just released his debut album, the seventies-inspired progressive rock masterpiece—yes! masterpiece!—Swans Dance, Roses Bloom like Mad. The album is a suite of six songs originally written around 2015, with an additional prelude for the album. The album hits all the right spots of retro prog: polyphonic melodies, changing time signatures, flute (shout out to Jethro Tull!), a wide range of acoustic instruments, and reliance on keyboards. The only box it doesn’t tick is, unfortunately, the drums, which rely on VST. Fortunately, the album doesn’t have a lot of drum parts, but they do break the illusion of retro prog when they come in. Nevertheless, that’s an album that’s worth looking into and that’s enjoyable on many levels.
John Zorn – Bagatelles, Set One (צ)
The Bagatelles is a new series of John Zorn compositions spanning 300 pieces. On this first four-disc set, four different groups and artists play various compositions in a very eclectic array of genres. The four discs here feature respectively the Mary Halvorson avant-garde jazz quartet, the Erik Friedlander & Michael Nicola cello duo, the jazzcore band Trigger, and the electronic musician 森郁恵. I have to say that my favourites are discs one and three, with two and four being very good and impressive in their own rights, but not resonating on the same level with me personally. It’s a reasonably priced box set if you think you’ll enjoy all four discs, but if you want only a particular one, maybe you should wait; it’s quite likely each disc will see its own independent release, just as it did with The Book Ber’iah.
Voronoi – The Last Three Seconds (Art as Catharsis)
Voronoi—previously known as Zeitgeist—is a British progressive electro-jazz trio that revels in heavy odd grooves. Their debut EP, Vacuums, received very little attention (beside mine), but a few years and a name change later and they’re featured on the trusty Art as Catharsis label for their debut full-length. And what a full-length it is! The trio doubled down on the aforementioned heavy odd grooves, and added layers of complexity and finishing touches to their music with, for example, truly impressive keyboard sounds that fill the space and feel like a huge wall of sound. The album is solid on every aspect, and it deserves every second of your time.