The Bureau of Atomic Tourism – Eden (Rat)
Jon Irabagon’s Bureau of Atomic Tourism is a highly eclectic and mind-blowing sextet project. On their debut release, Eden, the group takes many detours and experiments in contemporary jazz ensemble composition, and the result is amazing! Eden is full of quirks and surprises!
Sasha Berliner – Azalea
New York-based vibraphonist and composer Sasha Berliner just released Azalea. First off, the vibraphone and nonchalant swing might give you a “dark jazz” feel, but the album gleefully explores various genres and headspaces, from the aforementioned soft, moody jazz to the modern, alternative one, there’s plenty to like on Azalea!
Ted Byrnes & Michael Foster – Ends and Means (Hard Angle)
Percussionist Ted Byrnes and saxophonist Michael Foster really are creating some of my favourite free improvisation recordings, recently. Exhibit A. With Ends and Means, they’re just stoking the flames of their metaphorical creative fire. Byrnes & Foster really have an otherworldly connection and play with a rarely equalled synergy and energy.
Silent Fires – Forests (Ambitious Mindful Projects)
Pianist and composer Alessandro Sgobbio just released Forests, a collection of compositions for contemporary classical and electroacoustic quartet, under the name Silent Fires. The inclusion of electroacoustic elements into what is, for the most part, a modern classical record highlights the strength of this technique—which is now a genre by and of itself—and really helps to create different textures, unattainable by the acoustic ensemble. It’s a really surprising and enjoyable record.
Gloss Coma – 002 (Black Mirror)
Jorge Elbrecht is an enigma. After releasing a brilliant progressive blackgaze record earlier this year as Coral Cross, here comes the second album under a different moniker: Gloss Coma. This project deals into astonishing darkwave, cold, industrial, and at times pure nostalgia (hear “Perish” for a prime example of this). Jorge is an incredible musician, eclectic and exploratory, and I’m really glad that his back catalogue gets such high-quality releases!
Katariin Raska & Christian Meaas Svendsen – Finding Ourselves in All Things (仲間 (Nakama))
I’ve sat on this record for quite some time, and it finally came out on December 13! The avant-garde duo consists of Katariin Raska on torupill, an Estonian bagpipe, and Christian Meaas Svendsen on double bass. Their symbiosis on this record is primal and stunning, to the point of being exhausting to listen to! The first half is chaotic and hectic, while the second is more of an atmospheric, droning piece. Two diametrically opposite side of the same coin, I presume, and both intensely immersive!