Burning Ghosts – American Circus (Orenda Records)
Burning Ghosts are no newcomers to extreme improvisation music. However, their release of a surprise full-length on January first is a welcome addition to the beginning of the year! With an unabashed reference to the state of the United States’ politics, American Circus takes you through three long-form—the longest being the 33-minute “Drowning on the High Ground”, an homage to Ornette Coleman—improvisations mixing free jazz and heavy progressive metal music. The result is wild and liberating, cathartic above everything. It’s a fantastic album to start the year with!
Yvette Young – Piano
Yvette Young released a new album. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s good, despite her not playing on the instrument most of us know her for: guitar. This piano and violin-based EP doesn’t sound too far off from Yvette’s usual songwriting; I guess you can take a guitar from a woman’s hands, but not her music. Piano is a healthy sized EP, at around twenty-five minutes, and it’s a fantastic one. You know what you’re in for!
My Wrist – Fresh
My Wrist is back with a follow-up to last year’s Touch Me, which I really liked. I wrote a review for it that apparently touched the musicians involved enough to make an homage and immortalize it in musical form, on the track “Daev Tremblay”. Fresh is just as bewildering and experimental as its predecessor, or perhaps even more. Either way, it’s an astounding journey to go through, so take a deep listen to it!
MoE – Oslo Janus (IV) (Conrad Sound)
After collaborating on the amazing Capsaicin, MoE is back with a solo work: Oslo Janus (IV). The experimental noise rock outfit continues to amaze and bend the circuits of the mind with a thoroughly deranging and quite formidable record. If you think you can tolerate forty minutes of this, then feel free to dive in, it will be rather transcendental!
Mastiff – Plague (APF Records)
Out on the first of February, Mastiff is back with Plague, an utterly earth-shattering album, barely over thirty minutes, but filled to the brim with aggression and heaviness. The sludge-meets-death-meets-grind act doesn’t hold back the slightest, and delivers a dense, atmospheric, and hopeless record. Definitely one to check for the heavy lovers out there.
The Richmond Avant-Improv Collective – Multiplicity (Thirsty Leaves Music)
Known more succinctly as RAIC, the Richmond Avant-Improv Collective is an ensemble made of a great number of musicians. Correspondingly, they also create music from a wide variety of genres and styles. Multiplicity goes from free jazz to post-metal and noise rock, and does each excellently and doubtlessly. It’s a truly amazing album, very diverse and proficient in many musical languages! A must!
Somn – The All-Devouring (Elusive Sound)
The All-Devouring is the debut album of Saint Petersburg-based atmospheric post-black metal band Somn. In just under forty minutes and four tracks, it lays down the “blackened post-rock” style the band has developed, which is quite convincing, I must say. Think of post-black, but with still more emphasis on the “post” side. The album comes out on the 27th, so be on the lookout for it!
Potion & Car Made of Glass Split (List of Lakes Arts)
Two of the most surprising and promising projects join forces on this amazing split. The two are very tough to categorize musically, although I’d say Potion are on the experimental and technical sides of mathcore, while Car Made of Glass are more noisy and perhaps grindcore-oriented. The two of them is a match made in heaven and their split is just as abrasive and exceptional.
Wyxz – Yiy
Wickman was a great album, but Yiy—stylized as YiY—goes even farther. Wyxz is a harsh and aggressive avant-garde progressive rock band. Technical and experimental, they want to challenge preconceived ideas and musical norms. All of this, and more, is achieved on Yiy, which came out earlier this month. It’s truly a beauty, in all its noisy haze. One that I urge you to listen to!