Mula & Poil – Mulapoil
French avant-prog phenomenon Poil always impress, so I guess they aren’t surprising in that regard, but they’ve joined forces now with Colombian band Mula for a lengthy experimental split record. Poil’s thirteen-minute song, “Gagaku”, shows them at their peak of creativity and musicianship, while Mula’s side acquaints us with the unknown entity. Both sides of this little album are genuinely interesting in their own rights and a nice little derangement of the ear.
Nybo/Ravn – En (alle)
This odd Norwegian organism just released what looks like their debut album for streaming on Bandcamp, even if it is to be released only in December. Nybo/Ravn plays an intriguing blend of jazz and rock with slightly classical elements. En (alle) goes from the very modern to the somewhat nostalgic in almost every one of the tracks they present us. The album is quite lyrical in its delivery—a beautiful and contemplative piece of art.
Inertia – Teratoma
Teratoma is the latest release of the New Yorkers in Inertia. The album is very diversified and varied, going from insanely technical death metal (“Pachyderm”) to sweet and gentle math rock (“Relax”). All throughout, Inertia shows high-level musicianship and composition skills. This is one album that keeps you on your toes from song to song, and each time delivers a surprising new aspect of their personality.
Anguish – Anguish
I needn’t tell you much more than the fact that Anguish assembles members of the hip-hop group Dälek, the experimental jazz band Fire! Orchestra, and the krautrock legend Faust. But I will. Anguish is an unbelievable experimental jazz-hop record. The album is the epitome of this genre fusion, perhaps the best one to come out of it yet—more certainly the best one I know—swaying between experimental jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and electronic, noise passages. A must!
Poline Renou, Matthieu Donarier et Sylvain Lemêtre – Adieu mes très belles
The latest of French clarinetist and composer Matthieu Donarier is a transcendental masterpiece. Adieu mes très belles assembles contemporary compositions with traditional folksongs and improvisation techniques. The result is à cheval between avant-garde jazz and contemporary classical music, as well as folk music. Did I say “masterpiece”? Masterpiece.
Sheep Effect – Saxual Harassment
This Lithuanian quartet turns the “jazz” knob up on world music-influenced electronic dance music. Saxual Harassment is made with a tenor sax with many an effects pedal attached to it. Songs like “For Cough” are absolute gems of pure enjoyment, combining the extreme bass of electro with the cathartic highs of the saxophone. This album is full of amazing moments like this, so be sure to catch it!
Seajeff – Magenta
Originally announced for 2016 and under a different artist name—C-Jeff—it now finally came out for everyone to hear. In typical C-Jeff—now Seajeff—fashion, Magenta is a well thought-out and expertly carried-out album using chiptune—here the ZX Spectrum computer—as sole instrument. Regardless of that huge limitation, Magenta succeeds in covering a wide variety of musical genres and sonic textures. A masterful album going from jazz fusion to progressive metal, but, most importantly, conveying that sweet retrowave vibe.
Beaten to Death – Agronomicon
It’s always quite difficult to describe Beaten to Death‘s sound: it’s grindcore but melodic, quite noisy and heavy-hitting but also almost devoid of distortion, going instead for the sound of an overdrive and other effects. At a little over twenty minutes, it’s not a huge offering, but it’s a worthy one. The Oslo-based quintet continues to plow their way ahead, and each of their releases continues to be an insanely good one.
Sound Underground – Power of Three
Sound Underground is a New York-based trio of avant-garde jazz lacking one of my favourite aspects of most of the music that I listen to: percussions. Despite that, Power of Three is an enthralling experience. The guitar-trumpet-saxophone (and sometimes bells) formula works perfectly well. The air instruments most often share the duty of being melodic, and, together, harmonious, while the strings take on, almost all by themselves, the rhythmic obligations. Power of Three is an experiment I’ll gladly try again!
Terzo – A Comedy of Failures
Somewhere between folk music, math rock, and jazz fusion lies Terzo, a band sharing members with the legendary Father Figure†. The duo, which is aided by various musicians for supplementary instruments, deals into Gypsy music territory, but with a definitely modern edge to the sound, which perhaps denatures the original sound, but in exchange brings something new to the world. This album is majestic and beautiful, one to slowly and carefully listen to.
Jared Burrows, Clyde Reed, and Joe Sorbara – Reliable Parts
This avant-garde jazz album deserves much praise. Reliable Parts is an almost unfathomable piece of work; minimalistic and maximalistic, surreal and ethereal. The trio works together like a multitude of little pieces inside complex machinery. One could hardly be faulted for finding such an engineering blueprint overwhelming and potentially unrealistic, but the musicians here make it work flawlessly. An album to grind your gears to.
Talweg – Au crible du crier s’épellent les arbres morts
Talweg is an uncanny project from France. They call themselves a “free metal” duo, and it’s perhaps quite accurate. Other descriptions that came to mind were ambient experimental black metal—with emphasis on experimental and ambient—and minimalistic contemporary music bordering musique concrète. The album’s very experimental in nature, but it’s an interesting and quite challenging experience as well. Be sure to try it out!