Cryptic Ruse – Dual Spaces: Exercises & Diagrams
Cryptic Ruse‘s latest release is an impressive split with itself, dividing the album in twain down the middle, progressive metal during the former half and doom-drone during the latter. The album is very interesting, as always, by the multiple microtonal temperaments being used and the metal environment in which they’re played. With the recent addition of “Igliashon” Jones to The Mercury Tree, I fear that Cryptic Ruse will take a back seat, but we can still enjoy it while it’s there.
Banda Municipal de Barcelona, Salvador Brotons, and Spanish Brass – De vents i terra
De vents i terra is a beautiful collection of works from Salvador Brotons, José Rafael Pascual-Vilaplana, José Alamà, Amparo Edo, and José Suñer Oriola at the juncture of contemporary classical music and jazz big band. The “Brass Quintet Concerto” triptych being more on the classical side, while the “Menu pour quatre” tetralogy leans more on the jazz side of things. The whole album, made prominently for brass, is absolutely superb and well crafted. It’s a joy to listen to!
Ad Shave – Ad complementum
The recent release of Ad complementum via Soliton sparked my interest. Ad Shave‘s opus of jazz fusion is quite proficient and highly compelling. The Polish quintet knows how to make good and interesting modern jazz fusion, that’s for sure! The keyboard tones, especially, are noticeable, being often quite vintage and with a certain analog quality to them. Nevertheless, it’s the whole that shines rather than its divisions, and that’s what makes the album so great!
Metro 3 – Resonance
Resonance is a huge album. Released on Топот (Topot), it’s a two-piece, fifty-minute experiment, somewhere between avant-garde metal, jazz, and noise. If one thing’s for certain, it’s that it’s not an easy listen, but readers here are more experienced listeners in general, so they might more easily appreciate the sheer weirdness of it. Definitely one to try for yourself!
Volcano – The Island
The psych rock × world fusion entity Volcano just released an absolutely amazing album with The Island. Though you can only preview “Naked Prey” on their Bandcamp page, it gives a clear indication as to what you should expect from the rest of the album: tribal percussions, keyboards lifted from a progressive rock album, psychedelic song structures, and a nasty tendency towards hooking melodies and dancing rhythms. The album is a lot of fun, so I really recommend you take a listen to it if you like the first song!
Mode Dodeca – Mode Dodeca
Mode Dodeca‘s debut is a jaw-dropping piece of alternative rock mixed with some prog and math sensibilities. With echoing vocals and oftentimes atmosphere-building guitars, the result is an album of entrancing melodies and relatable songs. It’s very pretty in its ruggedness, and the chord progressions being used in there are interesting, sometimes quite atypical, but always fruitful. Please listen to this!
Zia – Four-Momentum
After many years, here’s the return of electro-microtonal music master Elaine Walker, and her project Zia. Four-Momentum is an instrumental EP of what can be basically described as microtonal pop songs; that is Zia’s usual style, only here it’s done without vocals whatsoever. Using different temperaments—like with Cryptic Ruse, but with an almost antipodal approach—Elaine succeeds in crafting memorable melodies and meaningful chords that do reflect different emotions and convey different messages. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another eight years for a follow-up!
Patrick Shiroishi & Arturo Ibarra – LA Blues
LA Blues was my favourite free jazz album of the year, on Heavy Blog Is Heavy. As such, I’ve already reviewed it and many others right here (if you click this link), and won’t talk about it much more here. Just know that it’s amazing, poignant, harsh, and beautiful.
Kinzie Steele – When I Was a Tree
Seth Kinzie and Andy Steele join forces on this album to deliver “modern compositions of beauty & space”. I kept their quote intact because I would only have poorly paraphrased it. The piano-and-drums duo builds atmospheric journeys through the lens of modern jazz. Their aim is not to challenge, but rather to comfort, not to bewilder, but instead to be contemplative. As such, the album is a frank success; listen to it if you want more soothing music in your day.