Álvaro Domene & Henry Kaiser – El tren fantasma (Iluso)
Guitarists Álvaro Domene and Henry Kaiser join forces to create a new, improvised soundtrack to El tren fantasma, a Mexican black and white silent film from 1927. Needless to say, the newly substantiated soundtrack is far more contemporary than the movie itself, and consists of two electric guitar duets and one massive acoustic guitar duet, which makes up the biggest portion of the recording. Despite its minimalist conception and impressive length, there is no shortage of ideas flowing through El tren fantasma, from start to finish. The two guitarists are spearheading the current music boundaries and are at the top of their art. It’s majestic to hear their collaborative guided improvisation here.
Anastásios Savvópoulos’s Ouxpo – Deterritorialization (Inexhaustible Editions)
Ouxpo is guitarist Anastásios Savvópoulos’s freely improvising quintet, consisting of members from all around Europe and America: trumpeter Brad Henkel, saxophonist Philipp Gropper, bassist Felix Henkelhausen, and drummer Dré Hočevar. Deterritorialization, in two parts, has been recorded live in Ljubljana and put on record unedited. The hour-long performance is a true journey: diversified, exploratory, restless, and always surprising. Really, this is a grotesque album, all the more reason to enjoy it thoroughly.
Cloud Rat – Pollinator (Artoffact)
Michigan melodic grindcore outfit Cloud Rat is to release Pollinator this week, along with a seemingly darkwavesque bonus EP. I can only write for the former, however. Pollinator sees Cloud Rat’s members at the top of their chops, with aggressive, razor-sharp riffs and beats with a distinct penchant for melodic progressions and motives. I wouldn’t put it close to the ilk of Beaten to Death but there’s some likeness indeed. Overall an amazing and brilliant album!
The Big Yes! – The Big Yes! (Nakama)
The Big Yes! is a free jazz quartet that involves known bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen as well as Anna Högberg on saxophone, Maria Bertel on trombone, and Ole Mofjell on drums, all of whom prove to be outstanding musicians and improvisers. The sole track of the record is the thirty-minute “Kalmar Union”, which is a live session from 2018. It’s a delightful one at that.
The Richmond Avant-Improv Collective – Chance Operations (Blight)
The RAIC is really something else. The Richmond, Virginia-based collective has been releasing some mind-altering releases—Evidence 1, Evidence 2—and Chance Operations is only the latest of them, perhaps even the most surprising. The 2-CD album offers over two hours and a half of odd, challenging, awe-inspiring material from twenty musicians and inspired by John Cage. Well, I feel I could write anything and not quite accurately describe what emanates from this album. So just go and have a listen, if you dare!
Steve Lehman Trio & Craig Taborn – The People I Love (Pi)
Saxophonist Steve Lehman just released The People I Love, for trio with the addition of pianist Craig Taborn. The compositions are complex and contemporary, taking fruits from the trees of Tigran Hamasyan, Philipp Gerschlauer, and many more music explorers. Case in point, the “Prelude” offers us some interesting microtonal intervals, while “Ih Calam and Ynnus” whiplashes the listener with frequent rhythmic modulations. Those are two of my favourite things ever, so it’s no wonder I like this album so much, and so will you, most likely!