Poil Ueda, Lasiodora, Baber & Wileman, and Don Bolo

Poil 上田 – Poil 上田 (Dur et Doux)


Poil is among one of my all-time favourite bands—just check this review or this one if you need convincing. With this new album, which is set for release in March 2023, the French avant-prog trio teams up with Ni’s bassist—they’ve already collaborated on Piniol—and, for the first time, Japanese 薩摩琵琶 (satsuma-biwa) player and singer 上田純子 (Junko Ueda). The result of this collaboration is an incredible, although rather short (32 minutes is really not that bad), blend of French avant-prog and traditional Japanese music, poems, and spectacle. It’s a truly astounding record… Read more

Brian!, Trevor Dunn, Miriodor, and Oiseaux-Tempête

Brian! – Cataclysmic Engine (Nefarious Industries)


What if you replaced the bassist with a bassoonist? Well, Brian! answered this question in 2010 with their debut EP EEE. Twelve years on, the New York power trio has mastered its peculiar sound and grown more confident, more adventurous, and more certain. With the Cataclysmic Engine, you can hear the idiosyncratic sound of the bassoon, somewhere between electric bass and synthesizer during the riffs and a genuine woodwind instrument during solos. I love this instrument, and I’m really grateful that such a band exists! Be sure to check out this new… Read more

Greco Bastián, An Abstract Illusion, Greber, and Toehider

Greco Bastián – With a Little Hell from My Friends

What kind of mad scientist is this? The lad doesn’t even play an instrument, yet he writes (and publishes!) one of the best avant-prog releases of 2022? And that’s all with real instruments! Well, mostly… Greco conjured some of the brightest names in the genre to play on his album—I’m talking Koenjihyakkei, Ruins, Univers Zéro, Ryoko Ono, Pierre Vervloesem, Secret Chiefs 3, Patrick Shiroishi, Scherzoo, Jon Bafus, Samo Šalamon, and more! What an incredible feat of collaboration, coordination, networking, and determination! The result is a fascinating and mesmerizing album full… Read more

Saint Sadrill – Pierrefilant

The Music

The Words

Pierrefilant is the debut album of Lyon, France’s Saint Sadrill sextet, who plays a thoroughly interwoven mix of avant-garde prog and jazz fusion. Out on November 2 via the excellent French label Dur et Doux, the album is over an hour long and features a full-time vibraphonist. I was anticipating the album since the first single came out, and, now that it is, let me tell you about it.

I was expecting the release to be good; I mean, listen to “Corq”: it’s beautiful. Even if it’s not the most theoretically interesting track on there, it … Read more

Isaac – Évasions manquées

The Music

The Words

From their Gaulish city of Reims, Isaac—stylized as ISaAC—just released Évasions manquées, their sole release since 2011, if we don’t count their split with Térébenthine in 2014, which would still leave a wide gap between the two. The band has been likened to The Mars Volta, among others, but the similarities, although present, are threadbare. Let’s see what the band has to offer.

Évasions manquées is a three-song EP, with the longest song, self-titled, topping the twelve-minute mark. At first, with “Aliocha”, we’re greeted with a droning post-hardcore piece. The Mars Volta parallels … Read more