New Thread Quartet – Plastic Facts (New Focus Recordings)
Contemporary classical music doesn’t get enough spotlight here (and I vow to change that). Let’s start with New York-based New Thread Quartet, a saxophone tetraphony playing pieces that are, at times, utterly terrifying and powerful; at other times contemplative, meandering, or intriguing. Each track is from a different composer, but they all shine equally on this record.
Richmond Avant-Improv Collective – Multiplicity (Thirsty Leaves Music)
Known more succinctly as RAIC, the Richmond Avant-Improv Collective is an ensemble made of a great number of musicians. Correspondingly, they also create music from a wide variety of genres and styles. Multiplicity goes from free jazz to post-metal and noise rock, and does each excellently and doubtlessly. It’s a truly amazing album, very diverse and proficient in many musical languages! A must!
Ted Byrnes, Michael Foster, and Jacob Wick – Token Breeder (Hard Angle)
Ted Byrnes‘s Materialism was an album that grew a lot on me, last year, so I was pretty excited to see Token Breeder, which features him alongside saxophonist Michael Foster and trumpetist Jacob Wick. The album is rife with outstanding improvisations and wild performances from all involved parties. I’m a sucker for percussions, though, so I’m in awe before this instrument in particular, aided by the fact that it’s the one I’m most familiar with playing among the three presented here. Mad album!
Tracteur – Tracteur
I swear, the French are an endless source of amazing creative music. Tracteur is the latest in line, with their self-titled debut album. They seem to call themselves “world noise”, but, besides the world music instruments and noise rock elements, there’s a strong Zeuhl or avant-prog vibe to their compositions. It’s wild, it’s funny, it’s awesome, it’s free.
Emile Parisien Quartet – Double Screening