Mini-Reviews LVII

Experimental math rock is such a fertile ground, and this time it’s U Sco‘s turn to reap the fields, with Tuskflower, the band’s third album, which came out last September. The six tracks – from ‘O’ to ‘OOOOOO’ – fill the fifty minutes at hand with very cool compositions leaning on the noise and kraut rock genres, while constantly reaffirming their math roots by way of odd time signatures. Most of what you’ll hear comes from improvisations, one-takes, and little overdubs.
Aican is a Russian instrumental progressive rock band, and they’ve released Don’t Go Deep into the Forest in September, too. The album follows the story of a man trudging into a mysterious, magical forest. It’s rather easy to let the music image the journey in your mind without resorting to the use of lyrics. Some parts do reminisce of post rock, but the bulk of the album balances between progressive rock and metal.
Cancel Christmas, by Dumb Waiter, came out in May of last year, and is the band’s sophomore release. It’s a shame I had to wait this long to discover this, because what’s playing is a very talented and resourceful brand of progressive rock jazz fusion. There’s the somewhat expected math rock hint as well, in some guitar licks, but you’ll often find your expectations defied by the band. If ‘Black Mayonnaise’ is any example, it’ll move from hard jazz to math rock, and then to sludge and post rock. Just start the next track, ‘Cancel Xmas’, and you’re greeted by classical guitars played in a flamenco style. You don’t need to say more to have it sold to me.
N-1 (N Minus One), is an experimental rock quartet from Germany, and they’ve just released Imma – short for Immadiesesbesetzungkaroussel -, an almost-ninety-minute collection of tracks, most above the ten-minute mark, which, in good kraut rock tradition, take their time to build up and develop relatively simple themes, somewhat akin to what post rock does. The album has me more interested than usual, though, thanks to the band’s particular taste and style.
Air Canda is an interesting experimental jazz quartet from Russia including a tenor saxophone. Air Canda was released back in 2014, but I had to share it here upon listening to it. There’s quite a lot of diversity, too, going from progressive rock to avant-garde jazz. So, overall, it’s a nice and refreshing album to get your hands on!
Iceland has all the praise, when it comes to black metal, but they never seem to rest on their laurels. Instead, more bands keep budding and pushing their sounds to newer grounds. Although Árstíðir lífsins – stylized as ᚪᚱᛊᛏᛁᛞᛁᚱ᛬ᛚᛁᚠᛊᛁᚾᛊ – is not a new name to the scene, their latest album, Heljarkviða – stylized ᚻᛖᛚᛃᚫᚱᚲᚣᛁᛞᚨ -, is the one with which I discovered them. Get ready, because this is something! First off, the use of organic instruments – like strings, acoustic instruments, and percussions -, as well as very low, choir-like vocals makes this album truly ritualistic and meditative. For all atmospheric black metal fans out there, don’t miss out on this one!

grif鬼否 (GriffO) is a Chinese math rock band, and they released 宇宙蛋 (Cosmos Egg) in November of last year. The EP is relatively short, at fifteen minutes long, but features four nice little tracks. Their home blend has a good dose of C-pop influence in it, thanks in part to their singer, 王易玄 (Wáng Yì Xuán). On top of that, song number two, ‘傻白甜’ (Ingenue), has an almost dream pop feel to it. Overall, even if the EP is short, the songs on it are neat!

French art rock band Yang funded their third album, The Failure of Words, through a public campaign, and it will be released on February ninth. It turns out that the full-length is just shy of fifty-five minutes long, and showcases some pretty intricate progressive rock compositions. However, it’s not to say that the album is earth-shattering, especially since the scene is so talented, ingenious, and creative! The songs are well written and masterfully recorded, but seem tame in comparison to some other bands that I listened to, recently.

Music transcends faiths.
Music brings us together.
Music helps us fight through.

On January 30 2017, this entry was posted.