Ensemble Improvisation libre électro-acoustique – Post. Variations (Cuchabata)
The Iléa ensemble—an acronym stemming from “improvisation libre électro-acoustique“, or “free electro-acoustic improvisation”—just released a new album, and it pushes the creation of sounds to new levels. I think that my favourite moment on the album is actually the introduction: it’s short, but it blends electronic and acoustic sounds so perfectly that it concisely gives away all that Iléa stands for. Of course, the rest of the album—thirty-something minutes—continues to explore, but in a more long-form format. Their blend of classical timbres with electronic effects is one of their defining features, and it’s an awesome thing to experience.
Shake Stew – Gris Gris (Traumton)
I recently became extremely excited when I read a bit about Austrian band Shake Stew‘s upcoming album. A mix of spiritual and intellectual jazz, a double album, a lineup that consists of two drummers, two bassists, two saxophonists, and a trumpetist (with more secondary instrumentation), influences that range from Gnawa music to modern jazz fusion… It’s just got everything I want! I highly recommend checking out this incredible album; if you just listen to a few moments of any of their songs, I’m sure you’ll find something to love about it.
Raphael Malfliet Large Ensemble – LE10 18-05 (Ruweh)
Raphael Malfliet‘s newest project involves a large ensemble of musicians in a composition-improvisation superposition. LE10 18-05 is a superb, brilliant, and oftentimes deranging album that takes every opportunity it gets to test the musicians, the instruments, and the listeners. Opening track “Arborescence” is a prime example of this, as it moves apparently freely, without cohesion, haphazardly, but everything here is strictly confined by the score and interplay rules between musicians. I regret waiting so long before buying this one, because it’s such a profound musical experience. This album is truly stunning!
Dawn Ray’d – Behold Sedition Plainsong (Prosthetic)
If you’re playing black metal, nowadays, there’s a huge risk of ambiguity if you’re not vocal about your principles. Dawn Ray’d shreds this ambiguity to pieces by being a clear and vocal antifascist, anti-classist, and anarchist band. Behold Sedition Plainsong is the band’s most recent effort, and it continues their typical sound of straight-up folk-tinged black metal. It’s not complicated, and it’s all I’m asking from them. Get a good listen—and read the lyrics and liner notes—at Dawn Ray’d’s album, because it’s quite fantastic.
Tachycardie – Probables (Un je-ne-sais-quoi)
Un je-ne-sais-quoi is a new label I’m now fond of. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy’s Tachycardie project, with the Probables album, just created something absolutely mind-blowing. The record showcases four compositions of contemporary music, unclassifiable between classical, jazz, and world music. “Mille fois bonjour depuis le Vignemalle” is highly rhythmic and percussive, “Aunir, Forcer” is both more minimalist and maximalist, unifying lowercase elements with aural destruction, “Vesprir” is the quiet one of the bunch, focusing on amplified sounds, and “Tarir” is the noisy closer that merges all that has been attempted prior into a big beautiful mess. It’s one hell of a ride, this album, and I can’t recommend it enough!
Håla duett – Rana (Collectif Coax)
Håla duett is the marriage of guitarist Sheik Anorak and drummer Yann Joussein. This union leads to a stellar polyrhythmic, psychedelic noise rock band with visible krautrock and African music influences. Being an EP, it’s cruelly short, but each one of the four tracks have plenty of time to breathe, most of them being over six minutes long and exploring at length only a handful of musical ideas. In this context, I think it’s better to fully explore a few themes rather than bring in a lot of them and having too little time to dig into them. The result is an album that strongly resonates with my rhythmic sensibilities, and is rather creative and cathartic in many ways. Definitely check it out!