Chaos Echœs with Mats Gustafsson – Sustain
The collaboration, titled Sustain, is made of two parts of equal length that achieve a deranging, dense atmosphere that’s as far from black metal as it is from free jazz. The album is closer to dark ambient music, in general. Mats’ saxophone lines are most often drawn out and melancholic, and backed by the infinitely reverberating guitars, distorted bass, and hectic percussions of Chaos Echœs. I was expecting something bombastic, relentless, and heavy, but I am more than pleased to be surprised thusly.
Cosmo Sheldrake – The Much Much How How and I
The album shows the strong hand that Cosmo has on pop composition. Each of the fourteen songs on display are, in their own way, interesting, emotive, and full of ear hooks. I say “pop”, but the reality is deeper than that. Although many songs would definitely qualify as such, they are conveyed through a lush orchestration and a firm indie folk vibe; in the end, they are more than the sum of their parts. The fact that “their parts” is but one man only adds to my stupor.
Haolin Munk – Planestasia Suite
In what sounds like a softer version of Montréal’s New Apple Taste, without the noise and the rock, their science-fiction concept album – who else gets hints of Clipping.? – is an astonishing jazz fusion release filled with tasty grooves, decadent solo sections, and an overall spotless arrangement work.
Since the Haolin Munk quartet is an instrumental entity, each vocal track exists thanks to the help of a total of nine singers. Interestingly enough, the guests themselves wrote the lyrics that would be included within the band’s imagined sci-fi storyline. That, along with all the saxophone and the swung beats, gives off a strong vibe of retrofuturism, with a few select moments augmented with electronic music elements.
Piniol – Bran coucou
Bran coucou is the full-length endeavour made by this trio-plus-quartet, and it slaps like nothing else. As it is basically a double band playing as one, a sort of musical conjoined twins, Piniol boasts two drummers, two bassists, two guitarists, and one keyboard player. Six of the seven participants contribute vocal duties, and only one person comes out of seemingly nowhere: drummer Jean Joly, apparently filling in for Ni’s Nicolas Bernollin. This is a daunting lineup, and I can only imagine how difficult it is to manage such a multi-headed beast, with each its own wills and ideas. Yet, however, against all odds, the Piniol chimera was successful.
Christophe Monniot – Jericho sinfonia