Carvakas, Cleric, Fred Pallem, and Hedvig Mollestad

Carvakas – Casus

So, it’s my first time hearing about this Chilean band, but I must say I’m not disappointed. At first listen, Casus might sound a big rough around the edges, but upon further listening, it starts to be part of Carvakas’s sound and charm. Indeed, Casus sounds like a true old school progressive technical death metal album, and all of these rough edges I mentioned before help to maintain this illusion. I had a great time listening to this album!

Cleric – John Zorn’s Bagatelles, Volume 12 (Tzadik)

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Oh, Cleric. Cleric are unambiguously awesome. Between 2010’s Regressions and 2017’s Retrocausal, they haven’t been the most prolific outfit, but whatever they put out, every single second of it, is worth listening to, over and over again. Cleric have already worked with Mr. Zorn in the past, namely on disc two of The Book Ber’iah. Here, it’s more or less the same formula: John Zorn comes up with all of these compositions and hires various musicians and bands to perform them, in their own way. I already covered the first set of the Bagatelles project on the site, but I felt Cleric’s contribution warranted a little word from my part. While it’s a bit unnatural to hear Cleric play shorter songs (most hang around the two minutes mark), they really deliver something incredible here, and I think that this might elevate their own compositions and performances in the future. There’s even vocal improv in there; I tell you, this album is insane! Be sure to get your hands on it!

Fred Pallen & le Sacre du tympan – (Train fantôme)

Fred Pallem is a highly proficient composer. These past years, he almost released one album per year. And these albums are not of little ambition, they’re all written for and performed by le Sacre du tympan, a jazz large ensemble/orchestra. On his tenth album——we find Fred’s uncanny psychedelic jazz ideas, and they’re as groovy and catchy as ever. Do not let this one pass you by!

Hedvig Mollestad & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra – Maternity Beat (Rune Gramofon)

I didn’t know Hedvig Mollestad—a quick online search taught me she’s a Norwegian jazz guitarist, singer and composer—but my love of Rune grammofon and Tronheim Jazz Orchestra brought me to this album. Maternity Beat is a song cycle about motherhood in—oh look at that—nine songs! Each one of the songs here seems loosely built around a guitar riff, and they’re quite genius, she sure can play! And the ensemble accompanying here is impressively well arranged and coordinated. This is a brilliant album!