Claire Rousay – Several Erasures (Already Dead Tapes)
Percussions is my weak spot. There’s something about it that fascinates, entrances me. I guess this goes with me being much more into rhythm than melody. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that I really adore percussionist Claire Rousay‘s works, which I started following with Neuter. On Several Erasures, Claire demonstrates a finer control than ever on the instruments and objects at her disposal, and creates an aural world unique and captivating. It’s a beautiful album!
Elliott Sharp, Álvaro Domene, and Mike Caratti – Expressed by the Circumference (Iluso)
Well, with such a triumvirate, there’s almost nothing I can write that could better describe the sound of Expressed by the Circumference than the names of its makers. Elliott Sharp, Álvaro Domene, and Mike Carratti, all renowned musicians in their own rights within avant-garde music circles. Of course, the result will be mind-blowing! There isn’t much for me to say, it’s a brilliant avant-garde jazz album, as so often on Iluso!
Maria Faust, Tim Dahl, and Weasel Walter – Farm Fresh (Gotta Let It Out)
The alto sax, bass, and drums trio made of Faust, Dahl, and Walter aims to bridge Eastern European folk and experimental jazz. Maria Faust’s Estonian heritage seeps into the forward-thinking delivery present on Farm Fresh from all three musicians. On her compositions, it’s a collision of worlds, excellently written and performed. The result is a fresh—farm fresh—album that is a necessary addition to any contemporary jazz library.
Miller-Adams-Scully Trio – Mollusk
Mollusk is an album that came out of nowhere, but one that definitely leaves a mark on those lucky enough to find it. The trio is made of Casey Adams on percussions, Gregg Miller on saxophone, and Tom Scully on guitar. Every member’s contribution to the project fits within the more contemporary and avant-garde registre of their own instrument and of the genre as a whole. Some tracks, like “Under Rain”, showcase a real proficiency of atmosphere-building, while others, like “Seven and a Half Minutes”, see the band at their more hectic. A fantastic independent discovery!
John Zorn – The Hermetic Organ, Volume 6: For Edgar Allan Poe (Tzadik)
John Zorn is a true musical enigma. His latest release is the sixth volume of the Hermetic Organ series, dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe. The two half-hour–long improvisations schools most anyone on organ sounds. I have to admit, not having listened to the previous five volumes of his series, that I was a bit anxious as to what I was to find when listening to this one. Would it be some solemn pastoral work? My limited acquaintance with the instrument trapped me, and so Zorn caught me by utter surprise. I honestly didn’t know the instrument was capable of such sounds, and I don’t know if these improvisations were layered or not, but it is absolutely terrifyingly mind-boggling the number and diversity of sounds that come out at once. I swear I heard a saxophone somewhere, but, if I’m to believe the credits, I have been fooled. Spectacular album!
Alfred Vogel & Sylvie Courvoisier – Pulse (Boomslang)
Pulse is the duo effort of Alfred and Sylvie, on drums and piano (in no particular order). While the formula reminds one of the mathcore-inspired modern jazz beast Shamin, the context here is very different. The result is a bunch of masterful improvisations that delectably evade expectations. Overall, the album is quite tranquil and minimalist, but is sprinkled with spurts of intensity and climactic catharsis.