Monthly Recommendations: August 2019

inus noice ackerley fifth alliance riga

Zeitgeber – Transforming the Random Crushing Forces of the Universe into Manageable Patterns (Art as Catharsis)

I have a deep love affair with the Australian handpan-and-clarinet duo, dating back since the release of their debut, Heteronomy. On their upcoming EP, the duo expands its sonic palette by adding layers of guitars, bass, didgeridoo, viola, and more to the core instrumentation. This leads to a more lush band sound, but affects the way the material can be played live. Well, such matters matter not for now, because the recordings are as trance-inducing and enjoyable as ever. Be ready to hop in for some slick polyrhythms and odd-time grooves, as well as a majestic atmospheric aura surrounding the whole deal.

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The Central – Van Dyke Browne’s Crystal

Wisconsin-based mathcore group The Central has been a longtime favourite of mine. Just look at my past reviews of Discovery of a Rat and Sick and Dying for proof. Well, out of the blue and without warning, the duo just put out a new EP, and it’s as good as anything they’ve done before! If you want crunchy off-time riffs with a healthy dose of weird, look no further!

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Mouthbreathr™ – Mouthbreathr™

Mouthbreathr™ is an avant-garde jazz trio from Detroit who has just released a self-titled debut in early August. The trio is made up of Sean Perlmutter on drums, David Dunham on guitar, and Jason Didia playing saxophones, flute, and Moog. The result of this experimental adventure is quite thought-provoking. The compositions often jump from one end of the spectrum to the other, from metal(-ish) to ambient(-ish), but all is permeated by a strong sense of jazz harmony and rhythm. Yes, this album is for you, reader of CTEBCM!

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Rïga – Chaos et félicité (Not Music)

Here comes the second release under Not Music‘s wings! French percussionist and composer Bastien Jouvin’s creative journey for Chaos et félicité has been kick-started by our Marathon software. The prospect of new, impossible rhythms seems to have had a catalytic effect on him, and new compositions just seemed to pour out of his mind. The results of these experiments are amassed on this forty-minute album, which is coming out in one month, on August 7.

Rïga’s style fuses electronic walls of texture, classical percussion, post-rock swells, noise passages, and hardcore beats, and it’s truer than ever on Chaos et félicité. At times, Bastien plays with traditional Gnawa and West African rhythms, while also giving way to stochastic passages and aleatoric studies. However, rhythm is but part of the massive sound found throughout the release. The rest is part synthesizer, part voice, part harmony, part melody, texture, grit, spectrum, and so on. It’s truly hard to describe it or recommend only a few similar artists, because of the sheer breadth and scope of the album. Even if it looks somewhat strange to recommend this album to fans of both Mogwai and Floex, both Amon Tobin and Dälek, and as well 65dos as Aphex Twin, it’s because elements of all of them can be found therein.

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The Institute for Navigating the Universal Self – Western Spaghettification (Three One G)

The Institute for Navigating the Universal Self, acronymously known as INUS, just released their debut album, with the awesome title of Western Spaghettification. I’ve got to say the music is no less awesome! There’s definitely some avant-prog or Zeuhl influences in there, but also a lot of noise rock and a general affinity for weird sounds in general (I’m mostly referring to the voice, here). The album is only slightly short, at twenty-six minutes, but every second of it is filled with exciting moments, so here I prefer this quality over a longer release. Check it out!

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A World Wondered Full – ประเทศของคุณอยู่ในงานศพมานานแล้ว (Pratheṣ̄ k̄hxng khuṇ xyū̀ nı ngān ṣ̄ph mā nān læ̂w)

This two-side, thirty-minute album is a testament to Thai post-rock band A World Wondered Full‘s brilliance. The quartet uses many instruments from their traditional music scene—phin, santur, and many percussion—and applies some of the tropes of the genre unto them, which results in a rather novel and endlessly interesting blend. Read the album liner notes for some insight into the conceptual basis of the album!

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New Age Doom – New Age Doom

New Age Doom is a Vancouver-based project by Eric J. Breitenbach and Greg Valou, who are joined in by Kurt Schindelka on saxophone, Zeb Pigott-Duggan on violin, Nori Akagi on taiko, and Vi An Diep on guzheng for various tracks. The project lies somewhere between drone and free jazz. “The Way of Primordial Sound”, the introduction to the record, provides a perfect example of this, as guitars wallow in atmospheric walls of sound until the drums barge in and play frantically until the song ends. The album thus draws parallels to Omniataxia and another project from British Columbia, i.o. On top of that, the album makes full use of a compact disc’s run time, clocking in mere seconds before the eighty minutes threshold. So you’re sure to have a lot out of this one!

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Ben Hedquist – The Mists of Uncertainty

Polyrhythmic and filled with odd times and a complex harmolodic language, Ben Hedquist‘s debut album shows great promise for the Phoenix, Arizona bassist and composer. The project takes shape in the form of a quintet with two guitars that complement each other marvellously, backed by Ben’s double bass and Andrew Flores on drums, and fronted by Chaz Martineau on saxophone. The album has quite a lot of diversity to it, so some compositions are quite aggressive and dizzying (“Hammerhead”), while others are more subtle and emotive (“The Mists of Uncertainty”). An amazing album for the contemporary jazz fan!

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U Circle Breakers – Música para un pez descalzo (Puerto)

Ernesto Aurignac’s U Circle Breakers ensemble is a big deal. Seventeen members playing a fusion of classical, progressive rock, and jazz! Música para un pez descalzo sometimes sounds like it’s a soundtrack, but most of the times it’s a fun symphonic suite. It is anchored in classical music, but sometimes has a nice little touch of jazz or symphonic rock to it that just adds a little bit more flavour. If you want a fun new classical piece, this could be right up your alley!

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Collector – Post Rock Lately (Scribbled Fang)

Collector is a trio formed of Jakob Heinemann, Devin Drobka, and Matt Blair; all known names and accomplished musicians. Contrary to what you might believe, Post Rock Lately is a jazz album: an experimental collection of two improvisations with influences ranging from electronic music to noise to drone and free jazz. The result is a baffling set, almost an hour long, with “Swing Tune 1” (not a swing tune, 44 minutes long) and the eponymous track (not post-rock, 12 minutes long). It’s really an amazing album to listen to and just follow the trio on their whimsical peregrinations.

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Alexander Noice – Noice (Orenda)

Okay, this has got to be one of the best experimental pop albums of the year. Is it even that genre? I cannot tell. It definitely has pop sensibilities and deep roots in it, but it also has the backbone of avant-prog, such as Yolk or jazz like Freaks. It also has the pomp of The Knells but without the full choir . . . In the end, it’s an astounding album perhaps more fitting alongside Zappa than Coltrane or Björk, but at home anywhere near those three.

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Jessica Ackerley – A New Kind of Water

Canada-born, New York-based guitarist Jessica Ackerley has a harmonic language and playing style all her own. That much is evident on her new jazz album for quartet, A New Kind of Water—which sounds like the slogan for “energized” bottled water or something like that—and upcoming noise rock album with Essi. Building on her previous work, Coalesce, Ackerley offers a set of alternatively challenging and rewarding compositions, with a refined contemporary sound. Over the course of the album, Ackerley easily displays a broad range of inspirations, ideas, and proficiency, which makes for a brilliant album on repeated listens.

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John Zorn – Encomia (Tzadik)

Label page

You know the drill, by now… Zorn releases a new album, I buy it, I urge you to do the same and listen to it. It’s just a mandatory step in the process. Encomia is a collection of piano pieces including three preludes inspired by Debussy, Ravel, Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, and Vaslav Nijinsky and five short pieces for piano, under the name “Encomia”, also inspired by many figures. The album ends with “Die Traumdeutung”, where the piano plays alongside the violin in a magnificent Sigmund Freud-inspired piece.

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Wrvth – No Rising Sun (Unique Leader)

California-based Wrvth used to play technical death metal and deathcore, but this seems to have changed on No Rising Sun. I’m not here to complain, though. Their move towards a more blackened sound with big post-hardcore influences, while still keeping a strong sense of progressive death metal, makes for an album that I greatly appreciate. They sound a bit like Rorcal and Comity, Der Weg einer Freiheit and other similar artists. It’s a beautiful, angry, contemplative, and atmospheric journey.

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The Fifth Alliance – The Depth of the Darkness (Burning World)

I’ve absolutely loved Death Poems, Dutch band The Fifth Alliance‘s previous release. You won’t be surprised to know, therefore, that I was pretty excited when The Depth of the Darkness was announced. You can throw away your fears and insecurities about its quality, for it is a grandiose album carrying the flame of Death Poems and gracing us with awe and fear. The band really honed their blackened doom formula, with hints of post-rock, giving us just enough melodic phrases to stick in our heads before diving into murky tremolo pickings and blast beats and screams. It comes out on August 30, be ready!

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The Side Eye – Broken Telephone (Arachnidiscs)

Broken Telephone is a recording of a free improvisation trio. The group—Michael Lynn on bass, Kayla Milmine on saxophone, and MJ Wright on drums—hops from jazz to noise in a chaotic session where the leading voice role rotates between the players, like many trains of thought racing, alternatively in front and behind one another. It’s quite an exhilarating recording that builds up quite slowly but reaches stupendous heights!

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On September 2 2019, this entry was posted.
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