Best of Nu Prog 2021


Let’s move on to nu prog, a genre that is somewhat obsessed with solo musicians and their guitars. Here are the album that I enjoyed the most out of 2021!


Number Five: Dzũng – Dzanca


On Dzanca, Vietnamese guitarist Dzung brings us eleven songs inspired by traditional Vietnamese folk songs. This gives the album a very distinctive feeling and sound, and I’m glad to hear these traditional songs, however transformed!


Number Four: Bodhi – Koans


Bodhi has been at it for some time now, and Koans is there to remind us why: melodies that stick in your mind, guitar licks that strike the imagination, and progressions that are sensible and challenging. One of the best albums of the year!


Number Three: Syncatto – A Place to Breathe


Syncatto is largely known for including flamenco-style guitar techniques to his music, and A Place to Breathe is a good example of that. It’s subtle, not so obvious as to question the genre of the compositions, but just enough to give it some taste and individuality.


Number Two: Jack & Owane – Chapter One: Shredemption


Owane and Jack are both renowned musicians making amazing music. Hell, Owane released another EP this year that I struggled not to include in this list! However, I favoured the collaborative effort he made with colleague Jack Gardiner. Chapter One: Shredemption is a delightful album filled with humour, taste, and unrestricted talent. You’ll have a lot of fun listening to this one!


Number One: Von Citizen – Outlier


This has got to be one of my proudest discoveries of the year. Chinese nu prog band Von Citizen released a truly astonishing debut album with Outlier, an album that would spin multiple times whenever I wanted that special blend of respectable musicianship, jazz-borrowed harmonies, and accessibility. It’s still a puzzle to me why this band and album hasn’t exploded in the prog music communities, and hopefully I can reach a few new ears with this post.


Notable Releases

Hover over foreign scripts for pronunciation and romanization.

Friday, 29 January

Dzũng – Dzanca

45:34
progressive metal, folk
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 21 February

John Connearn – Is This Thing On?

20:21
jazz fusion, progressive metal
England, UK
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 2 March

Bodhi – Koans

31:08
progressive metal
Lafayette, Indiana
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Tuesday, 16

Club Nevermind – A Symmetry of Chance

11:49
nu prog, alternative rock
Santa Cruz, California
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Sunday, 21 March

Owane – Yolo, Volume 1

18:06
progressive metal
Norway
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 13 August

Jack & Owane – Chapter One: Shredemption

22:07
jazz fusion
Liverpool, UK
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 16 April

Moray Pringle – Four Day Weekend

12:44
nu prog
London, UK
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 14 May

Altered Animal – To Walk amongst Gods

35:43
nu prog
Netherlands
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 11 June

Tensor – Passport

41:00
nu prog
Columbus, Ohio
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Thursday, 24 June

Syncatto – A Place to Breathe

38:06
progressive metal, flamenco
Fresno, California
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Wednesday, 13 October

Shwesmo – Trail to Now

34:05
progressive metal, jazz fusion
Israel
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Friday, 19 November

Von Citizen – Outlier

34:51
djazz
Guangzhou, China
Independent

Tracklist (click to display)


Best of 2021

01/01 – Best of Afrobeat
01/02 – Best of Atmospheric Black Metal
01/03 – Best of Avant-Garde Black Metal
01/04 – Best of Brutal Death Metal
01/05 – Best of Classical
01/06 – Best of Death Metal
01/07 – Best of Deathcore
01/08 – Best of Doom Metal
01/09 – Best of Folk
01/10 – Best of Grindcore
01/11 – Best of Hardcore
01/12 – Best Improvisation
01/13 – Best of Indie Rock
01/14 – Best of Jazz Fusion
01/15 – Best of Jazzcore
01/16 – Best of Math Rock
01/17 – Best of Mathcore
01/18 – Best of Metalcore
01/19 – Best of Modern Jazz
01/20 – Best of Noise Rock
01/21 – Best of Nu Jazz
01/22 – Best of Nu Prog

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