Grex – Everything You Said Was Wrong (Geomancy)
Grex is a project of guitarist and composer Karl Evangelista, who recently released another outstanding record on Astral Spirits. I want to talk about this one, though, out via Geomancy Records. Everything You Said Was Wrong walks the line between hip-hop and experimental rock in a truly unique fashion, often straying into jazz territory as well. Filled with noise and effect pedals, odd rhythms alongside more traditional ones, and with a general sense for unsettling themes and harmonies, the album overflows with creativity and its character is unlike anything else. A remarkable record out all the way down in September, so be patient, but the wait will be worth it!
Nihiloxica – Kaloli (Crammed Discs)
Nihiloxica sounds like Afrofuturistic dystopian electro music, but at its core, it’s a six-headed percussion ensemble from Uganda. I’ve greatly enjoyed their previous, shorter releases, but Kaloli is their first full-length. On the album, the band showcases what they do best: repetitive but evolving tribal beats where the past meets the future with dark synth lines, oppressive rhythms, and deranging soundscapes. It’s a massive success, and there is plenty to enjoy and dig into on the record!
Maud the Moth – Ὀρφνή [Orphnḗ / Orphnē] (Nooirax)
Maud the Moth is the solo project of classically-trained singer and multi-instrumentalist Amaya López-Carromero. Her compositions cover a wide range of genres and styles, from folk to jazz to classical and more experimental and avant-garde srtylings as well. Ὀρφνή—which is the name of a Nymph, also known as Styx, who lived in Hades—is a creative and otherworldly album with glorious production and even better compositions.
Brandon Seabrook, Cooper-Moore, and Gerald Cleaver – Exultations (Astral Spirits)
Guitarist Brandon Seabrook is no newcomer to this blog. His style of playing and composition is uniquely bewildering and his participation with other musicians always memorable. This time, it’s a legendary trio with Cooper-Moore and Gerald Cleaver. Exultations, out on Astral Spirits, is a different kind of free jazz record, one only Seabrook et al. could achieve. It’s noisy, off-kilter, but weirdly balanced, which makes it all the more rewarding to listen to.
Sanggar Tripittaka – Ndag surye (Insitu)
One of the most amazing things I find with music nowadays is the reappropriation of traditional music and its recontextualization in today’s world. One such example of this is Sanggar Tripittakan‘s contemporary gamelan ensemble, playing the compositions of three modern gamelan musicians. The result is this beautiful amalgamation of Indonesian music, very lyrical, and off-putting to the Westerner’s ears. I’d strongly recommend consuming more gamelan and non-Western music, starting with this one, to develop your ear, open-mindedness, and comprehension. Just like spicy food, you can’t truly appreciate it unless you’re somewhat accustomed to it. I urge you go down that path, and this album is a marvellous starting point.
Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (Secret City)
Klô Pelgag is spearheading the new art pop movement in Québec, with her idiosyncratic compositions, eccentric performances, and grasp of musical and lyrical components. Hopefully, her example will encourage many other artists to disregard boundaries. Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs, named after the village of the same name, is an exquisite pop album, sung in French, that plays with the abstract and absurd, the progressive structures and progressions, and with a large range of instrumentation providing a fitting backbone to the outstanding songs it harbours. Give it a listen, or ten, you shan’t be disappointed.
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