Monthly Recommendations: March 2020

Y/N – Part Ⅰ: It’s Glass & Part Ⅱ: It’s Also Glass

Experimental pop artist Y/N released, a few years ago, Larry and the Eternal Light, one of my favourite albums of the year, and so it is with much excitement that I present to you a double EP release about… glass? and brains? and aliens? Honestly I’m not entirely certain what it’s about, but I know the music’s great! Y/N’s very idiosyncratic approach to composition still shine and make this diptych one really fun ride!

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Ground Patrol – Geophone (Art as Catharsis)

Australian progressive math rock band Ground Patrol are releasing Geophone, their third album, on March 6. I’ve already written about how great the band is, but on this new opus, they outdo themselves with their hypnotizing cyclical polyrhythmic patterns.

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Souphl – Commérages

Souphl is definitely one of the strongest newcomers from the Québec death metal scene. Unafraid to experiment with harmony, rhythm, timbre, excerpts, and structure, Commérages is instantly a memorable release, and a staple of its genre. The album revolves around the concept of commérages (gossips) and their impact, with the phrase de médisance à calomnie (from scandal to slander) being quite à propos.

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Dai Kaht –

I liked the first Dai Kaht album a lot, when it came out in 2017. So, it was with high hopes that I started listening to their second offering, when it was released out of nowhere this month. I’m glad to say that remains at least as progressive and psychedelic and zeuhl as its predecessor. Just for the record, the Finnish band seems to be fonder of the wilder Japanese school of zeuhl than of the French marching band one. That’s a good thing, if you ask me!

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The Archetypal Syndicate – Non Locality (Gigantonium)

Blending world music and contemporary classical, France’s Archetypal Syndicate is a trio with immense ambitions and even bigger guts, all that’s required to plan and execute such an astute and forward-thinking release. Non Locality is a brilliant album by all measures, and something you need to experience for yourselves to truly grasp.

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Horse Lords – The Common Task (Northern Spy)

Horse Lords are back! and they are stronger than ever! The band’s just intonation psychedelic rock is very cleverly written and played, with many interesting rhythmic-harmonic relationships used in songwriting and a lot of wild modulations keeping you on edge. It’s a brilliant and amazing record!

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Immortal Onion – XD: Experience Design

Polish nu jazz sensation Immortal Onion just released XD: Experience Design, a follow-up to their outstanding Ocelot of Salvation. The new album sees the trio hone their skills on odd metres, polyrhythms, and complex melodic themes. XD is a full forty minutes long, so there’s plenty to enjoy.

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Neck of the Woods – The Annex of Ire (Pelagic)

The Annex of Ire is Vancouver-based progressive death metalcore unit Neck of the Woods‘s upcoming release. The album is a dark new chapter of their career, and it’s a captivating one. On this album, the band merges multiple influences and many genres into a cohesive approach unique to them. At times it’s straight out of a melodeath text book, and others it’s metalcore or progressive death that shines instead. It’s a very rewarding album to listen to from end to end.

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0% Hate – At the Mercy of Your Own

From Las Vegas comes surprising progressive technical death metal band 0% Hate. Surprising, most of all, because I’m not in the habit of listening to tech-death songs with a ten-minute runtime. Yet, on At the Mercy of Your Own, this is not unusual, as two tracks out of four hang close to this mark or go beyond it. That makes for intricate song structures filled with an insane number of riffs, many with independent voices between the guitar and the bass, which is highly appreciated. A brilliant debut!

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Amnutseba – Emanatism (Iron Bonehead)

I’ve discussed the bleak black metal of Amnutseba already, but, since they’re off to releasing their official debut album, Emanatism, let me reiterate. The enigmatic French band gathers influences from all over the place to put together some of the vilest, most repugnant metal out there. You can listen to “Dislūmen” to enter the whirl of dissonance.

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Artús – Cerc (Pagans)

How to approach this… French band Artús is a seven-headed hydra plying European folk instruments—the hurdy-gurdy, psalterium, violin, and various percussion—among modern rock ones—drums, guitar, bass, and synthesizer—merging the two in an indescribable blend that sounds as much like metal as it does jazz and folk music. The metal sound is mostly achieved through low bass and drum odd-time riffs on top of a constant \(\frac{4}{4}\) hypermeasure—the basis of djent, some might say—while the jazz sound comes from the rich harmonies found through the album, and the folk, obviously, from the instrument timbres and voice, which sings mostly in Catalan. A truly splendid album, unique and memorable!

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Patrick Shiroishi – Descension (Thin Wrist)

Harrowing. Saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi‘s latest release conveys strong emotions, so be prepared when you hit play. On Descension, Patrick accompanies himself on the saxophone with electronics, like on “Grandchildren of the Camps”, and voice, as on “Above the Black Heavens Is Endless”. We can once again bask in the instrumental mastery of Patrick and his profound grasp of music, with this meditative and compelling release.

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Zan – Behold the Key (Black House)

Progressive death metal, mathcore, deathgrind? In the right proportions, this makes for an extremely interesting time. Zan‘s Behold the Key is just that, a solid banger of a record that will make your neck sore after half an hour of relentless headbanging. There’s an incredible drive behind the band’s compositions! A solid release from early 2020!

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On April 1 2020, this entry was posted.
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