Gorilla Mask – Brain Drain (Clean Feed)
Peter Van Huffel’s Gorilla Mask is out with the outstanding sequel to Iron Lung. The concept of the band is “a mishmash of punk, metal, jazz, free improvisation and written avant-garde music”, which sounds like a winning recipe by my standards. Moreover, the group’s focus on rhythm as a musical device really hits a soft spot. Check it out!
Dave Malloy – Octet, a Chamber Choir Musical (Nonesuch)
Composer Dave Malloy wrote an a cappella musical, and it’s amazing. Once again, let me just quote: “inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, exploring addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology.” Now, if that alone doesn’t compel you, let me just say that each song feels like a sketch, a little vignette, a short story; different yet bundled together into a coherent collection. Each one has its own soloist, providing the soliloquies supported by the rest of the choir, and sometimes even engaging a dialogue with it! It’s really fun, at times funny, at times philosophical, at times intimate, and at times just sensational!
Emmeluth’s Amoeba – Chimaera (Øra fonogram)
Signe Emmeluth is a Norwegian saxophonist and composer, and Amoeba is her avant-garde, semi-improvised, exploratory jazz quartet. Chimaera is the newest release from the group, and boy what a ride it is! Just take a look at this video for some proof of that. All members of Amoeba truly have a one of a kind synergistic relationship, and it makes for some high quality results!
Jon Bafus – Inflammation Superhighway
Jon Bafus, of super-awesome group Gentleman Surfer—which released our best progressive rock album of 2018!—just came out with a solo nineteen-minute piece called “Inflammation Superhighway”. Now, the inception of this track comes from pretty deep and heavy health issues experiences by Jon, which totally sucks, go read the description on Bandcamp to know more. If you can manage to throw in a few bucks in show of support, I urge you to do so, and in return you get an absolutely bombastic track!
Unit Wail – Egarés (Soleil mutant)
French avant-prog band Unit Wail, formerly on label Soleil Zeuhl, is back with Egarés on Zeuhl-adjacent label Soleil mutant. This new album will probably make you think back to prog greats like King Crimson and Magma, but there’s a well-defined modern edge to the band’s sound that isn’t accurately portrayed by mere, vague comparisons. You know what you’ll have to do, right? Get a seat and listen to this for yourself!
Daniel Lippel – Mirrored Spaces (New Focus)
Classical guitar player and composer Daniel Lippel just released Mirrored Spaces via New Focus Recordings, and it’s a massive one, at over two hours long! The album regroups many composers, but the centrepiece is definitely Lippel’s eponymous hexaptych. “Mirrored Spaces” uses a quarter-tone tuning—microtonality is a very present theme throughout the album—and many extended techniques suitable for an avant-garde album such as this one. It’s a highly admirable and respectable double-album.