Some Became Hollow Tubes – Keep It in the Ground (Gizeh)
Nothing seems better fitting than Gizeh’s own slogan flying above this album on Bandcamp: “The Noise of Harmony & the Harmony of Noise”. Indeed, Some Became Hollow Tubes‘s music feels at time like background noise—droning sounds for extended periods of time with few if any change with each successive repetition—yet it does so harmoniously (that term is used in its literal definition: there is harmony, but few would consider it qualitatively harmonious). The guitar-effects-synths and drums duo builds up immense atmospheres eerier than post-rock’s more massive examples and at the same time more relatable. Keep It in the Ground is an ambient post-rock masterpiece.
Nick Mazzarella Trio – Counterbalance (Astral Spirits)
The Astral Spirits label keeps churning out releases, endlessly it seems! Even if they’re not all to my taste, most of them are great, and Nick Mazzarella‘s Counterbalance is a fantastic example of that. It sounds like I’m listening to an old Coltrane album at times—which is probably my favourite classic jazz musician—and other times it feels like what it actually is: a contemporary jazz pieces collection. Whichever way you look at it, Counterbalance is a brilliant free jazz album!
A Half with Tinnitus – A Half with Tinnitus (Arachnidiscs)
This recording is of a free improvisation session of a quasi-anonymous quartet of Montreal. A Half with Tinnitus is a strange but fascinating effort full of seemingly nonsensical musical meanderings and complete player synergy. Everyone on board overflows with creativity regarding their respective instrument: saxophone, trumpet, percussion, and electronics all have a designated place and role and they play it to the perfection. A stellar album!
Makeunder – Pale Cicada (Good Eye)
Friends have likened this amazing album to Prince, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Frank Ocean, and even Jacob Collier! Some of these I feel are justified, some not, but what is for certain is that Pale Cicada is one hell of a jam. I’ve already lauded it as the “summer album” of the year, because it’s so funky, groovy, fresh, and lively that it is said to change an Australian winter into a Canadian summer, or something like that… There’s a good variety and depth to the songs on the album, but they all reflect the same creativity and skill, and fun! I guess that’s the take-away, here: it’s a fun album, through and through!
Ben Hall & Don Dietrich – Tiger Swallow Tail (Radical Documents)
Tiger Swallow Tail is a sax-and-drums noise-jazz improvisational masterclass. The two untitled tracks on record add up to a little over EP length, but they are absolutely worth it despite making up for a relatively short album. The drums keep an unsteady grid going on for the noisical experimentations of the saxophone, and, truly, that’s all we need in life. It’s a blasphemous, loud, and abrasive album. Good.
Present and Whereas [Split] (Clandestine Ritual)
Present and Whereas‘s self-titled split is made from a collage of various recordings and improvisations. The two sides, Augur Cries and Overlay, therefore offer quite a great variety of moments, which can go from the psychedelic rock to the grindcore to the free jazz to the noise, and it’s quite an amazing journey. It’s at times like a heavy interpretation of zeuhl, which is quite an apt descriptor, I guess. Either way, it’s an awesome album worth checking out!