Les funktionnaires – 2034
Les funktionnaires is a Montréal-based band that I know only because I’ve come across a poster for the release show of their new album, 2034, which happens to be next Friday. The cover art was impressive enough that I took note of it and went online to hear what it sounds like, and . . . it’s actually a lot of fun! 2034 came out last week, and it’s a full-length album somewhere in the hazy waters between funk—obviously—psychedelic rock, and stoner music. It’s really well crafted and features more than a few odes to Québécois culture. Whether or not you’re part of this culture, this is a fun and enjoyable record for most anyone!
The Pen Club – Data Retrieval (Eupcaccia)
This Sydney-based improvisational trio is really impressive. Saxophone, piano, drums, and a whole lot of talent, creativity, and chemistry is sometimes all it takes to create something utterly bewildering. The three musicians use pre-composed passages and ideas sporadically throughout their long improvised sessions, which serve as anchoring point to all members where they can re-synchronize and whence they can go forth into new unknown territories. It’s an amazing record!
Andys Skordis – In… Se… (Insitu)
The contemporary Gamelan scene is undergoing a surprising flourishing, thanks in no small part to Insitu Recordings, which have been promoting and releasing many artists from many styles, from the more traditional to the more experimental. Andys Skordis‘s Gamelan opera In… Se… is definitely of the latter. The Cypriot composer’s newest work clocks in at almost two hours, and it’s a complete operatic composition with libretto and performance that is totally immersed in Gamelan and Western traditions. If you’re looking for something completely different, this is right there for you.
The Resonance Project – The Resonance Project
It’s a project stemming from Yas Nomura and Lang Zhao, better known for their incredible chops in Thrailkill—previously known as Mammoth—but they join forces here for a different kind of technically-proficient progressive metal fusion, this time without Wes and with Yas on guitars (as well as on bass). The project is honestly really impressive, both because of everyone’s insane level of skills—I mean, how implausible that part in “The Anthem” sounds?—and the quality and depth of the compositions presented. That’s one album that’s going to be in fond memory for a long time!
Ian Alexander – Tau Librae
Guitarist Ian Alexander‘s most recent album, Tau Librae, is an independent release fusing jazz and progressive rock in a beautiful and diverse end product. The compositions are made for guitar, drums, vibraphone, and harp, which gives them a rather unique feel. Coupled with a multitude of rhythmic and harmonic tricks, it makes for an EP that’s enjoyable on multiple levels and listens. “Electric Water Experience” is perhaps my favourite, revolving around the number 5, and feeling very dreamy yet not sacrificing the level of detail for it. Be sure to check it out!
Matt Mitchell – Phalanx Ambassadors (Pi)
Pianist Matt Mitchell is ubiquitous in the contemporary jazz scene. A few of the bands he played with recently include Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux, John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Anna Webber, all of which I completely adored. On Phalanx Ambassadors, he takes his improvisational and compositional skills to their limits to create something truly out of the ordinary. It’s a wild album that will bite back, but the masochists that we are love to be bitten.