Elder Ones, Tumi Árnason & Magnús Trygvason Eliassen, Aidan Baker, Faith Coloccia & Jon Mueller, Swim Team, Jitters, and Hippie Diktat

Elder Ones – From Untruth (Northern Spy)

Amirth Kidambi’s avant-garde jazz ensemble Elder Ones prepared a strong sophomore to their 2016 Holy Science. From Untruth departs from the universalist theology of its predecessor and strikes in the heart of today’s issues: political division, class war, colonialism, and disinformation, while still maintaining its core musical aspects: improvisation, experimentation, and the fusion of musical traditions into a new, different entity, with the use of contemporary classical music, free jazz, and classical Indian music, for example. The album is meditative, at times shocking, and quite transcendental throughout. It comes out in late March!

Tumi Árnason & Magnús Trygvason Eliassen – Allt er ómælið (Reykjavík Record Shop)

This Icelandic duo consisting of solely saxophone and drums has released a brilliant second effort with Allt er ómæliðEverything Is Immeasurable. Fittingly, Tumi and Magnús play compositions and improvisations that recall the unfathomable and its many facets. Here, it is a contemplative state, there a crushing feeling, there a serene beauty, and there again an inescapable dread. The duo is, during precise and calculated passages, aided by electronic devices for sound manipulation, and it’s used to truly great effect. I recommend “I Want to Die When I Grow Up” for a glimpse into their more atmospheric aspect, and “Hrollurinn” or “Perfect Animal” for a harsher sound.

Aidan Baker, Faith Coloccia & Jon Mueller – See Through (Gizeh Records)

See Through is the common effort of three musicians of high renown: Aidan Baker of Nadja, Faith Coloccia of Mamiffer, and Jon Mueller of Pele. As such, it is a brilliant work of ambient music, post-post-rock, perhaps, but more akin to soundtrack music than anything else. Aidan’s experimentations on guitar provide an outstanding fountainhead of ideas for this record; very rhythmic and even polyrhythmic, droning but also evolving, they really serve as the foundation of the songs on the album. On top of that, Faith’s vocals soar and provide rewarding melodies laden in reverb, while Jon’s percussions support the whole extraordinarily well.

Swim Team – V

It took a while for me to write about this one. Even though it was released in mid January and I already knew of it, it took its sweet time to sink into me. I was at first charmed by the music, which drove me to listen to it multiple times, but it’s only after a while that it dawned on me how fantastic the album is. Rooted in punk music, Vancouver’s Swim Team goes much beyond the scope of the genre, and into post-punk and experimental rock territories. Some songs are pretty simplistic and resemble pop songs—mostly “Brick”—but on many tracks there is at least one aspect that draws me to a closer listen. Examples range from the creative guitars in “X” or the \(\frac{9}{8}\) theme of “Firefly”.

Jitters – Zones (Coup sur coup)

Coup sur coup Records is releasing Jitters‘s 2016 extravaganza Zones physically onto cassette, coming out in May 2019. I rarely mention rereleases like this, but, trust me, it’s for a good cause. Nathan and Danny’s cathartic duo is not unlike the recently mentioned Diarrheal Blast, consisting of contorted, spastic, and totally mad performances of both drums and guitars (and also electronics). This record will give you quite a surreal time filled with harshness, noise, and pure energy. A great work of art, with the epitome being a huge 44-minute psychedelic trip.

Hippie Diktat – Gran Sasso (Coax Records)

France’s doom-jazz trio Hippie Diktat already made an impression on me with their previous album, Black Peplum, but it’s with Gran Sasso that I introduce them to you here. Not unlike bands such as Mombu and Mosca violenta, which collaborated on the amazing album Hunting Demons, Hippie Diktat’s music is slow, heavy, and atmospheric. Call it post-metal or instrumental doom, or yet again doom jazz—they all convey part of the message—Gran Sasso is a work quite similar to Ex Eye, featuring Colin Stetson, albeit much slower and oppressive.

On February 26 2019, this entry was posted.