Kami Octet – Spring Party

The Music

The Words

We truly are well treated in this early 2018. So much great music has been knocking on my eardrums that it’s difficult to keep track. Although a late 2017 release, France’s Kami Octet, an avant-garde jazz eight-member ensemble, and their album Spring Party, was only just now heard by yours truly. The release is an adventurous and thorough experiment on contemporary jazz, sharing similarities with Fire! Orchestra and other such modern artists like Jaimie Branch. I’ve noticed the former mainly due to the vocal eccentricities of Christine Bertocchi, who at times recall moments of … Read more

Death Drag – Shifted

The Sounds

The Words

Iluso has a great track record for providing us with some of the wildest, most adventurous jazz albums out there. I think I’ve become acquainted with the label through dMu’s Synaptic Self, which was a true revelation to me! Today, they’re back with Death Drag‘s debut album, Shifted.

Shifted is like a free jazz album built with the tools of noise metal. The trio consists of drummer and composer Mike Caratti, aided by Santiago Horro on heavily distorted bass guitar, Roberto Sassi on guitar, and Luke Barlow, who plays keyboards and Rhodes. Each … Read more

We Pyrrhic Conquerors – The End Is Nigh

The Music

The Thoughts

The general free-flowing complexity of zeuhl music and the band name We Pyrrhic Conquerors suggest a sizable ensemble of musicians, performing with some level of loose improvisation. Yet Bandcamp informs us that the richly composed The End Is Nigh is the product of one Joey M. Bishop. That’s about all the information I can glean about the artist; there’s no Facebook page to refer to, no specific location given (Bandcamp tags the project as United States, but the drums were recorded at a studio in Indonesia?), and even Google currently returns zero results for the band … Read more

Garrett Wingfield’s Octopod – Monoliths and Sepulchres

The Music

The Thoughts

For full disclosure, yes, I’ve backed this project on indiegogo. Nonetheless, I think this album is a really awesome one! Monoliths and Sepulchres is the debut full-length from Denton, Texas-based experimental jazz unit The Octopod. The aptly-named Octopod features eight musicians, including three horn-blowers (correction: five). As such, their music is heavily textured and rich. The album moves from free jazz during the prelude, postlude, and interludes to composed scores in the main tracks. Consequently, the result is a highly aberrant album that’s nonetheless a more than recommended listen. Its theme is to grow progressively … Read more

Merkabah – Million Miles

Moloch was a defining album for me. As one of the first, and, above all, best, albums truly bridging the gap between jazz and metal into a strange form of palatable yet challenging avant-garde jazz record. The Polish quintet is now back with their third release: Million Miles. Their newest takes up where Moloch left off – kicking and screaming –, and offers us an experience that’s almost as searing as its predecessor. However, instead of pure abrasive power, Million Miles is more delicate, tasteful, and mature than its older sibling. They obviously still share the same genes, but … Read more