The Central – Van Dyke Browne’s Crystal
Wisconsin-based mathcore group The Central has been a longtime favourite of mine. Just look at my past reviews of Discovery of a Rat and Sick and Dying for proof. Well, out of the blue and without warning, the duo just put out a new EP, and it’s as good as anything they’ve done before! If you want crunchy off-time riffs with a healthy dose of weird, look no further!
Organic Noises – Organic Noises (Lynx Music)
Some of you might recall—but I doubt it—of a band named Relocator, birthed out of the uncanniest of places: the Mike Portnoy forums. The band was perhaps my first experience of violin being a full-time member of a prog band. Now, Relocator was pretty good, but it lacked the depth and breadth that today’s subject brings. Organic Noises is an album that strongly incorporates elements of various folk musics into jazz and metal. The Relocator reminiscence stemmed from the presence of violin on an instrumental prog track, but that’s merely one part of Organic Noises. The band also makes great use of various flutes and saz, as well as some vocals on one track. All of that makes for an amazing and diverse listening experience.
The Institute for Navigating the Universal Self – Western Spaghettification (Three One G)
The Institute for Navigating the Universal Self, acronymously known as INUS, just released their debut album, with the awesome title of Western Spaghettification. I’ve got to say the music is no less awesome! There’s definitely some avant-prog or Zeuhl influences in there, but also a lot of noise rock and a general affinity for weird sounds in general (I’m mostly referring to the voice, here). The album is only slightly short, at twenty-six minutes, but every second of it is filled with exciting moments, so here I prefer this quality over a longer release. Check it out!
Mouthbreathr™ – Mouthbreathr™
Mouthbreathr™ is an avant-garde jazz trio from Detroit who has just released a self-titled debut in early August. The trio is made up of Sean Perlmutter on drums, David Dunham on guitar, and Jason Didia playing saxophones, flute, and Moog. The result of this experimental adventure is quite thought-provoking. The compositions often jump from one end of the spectrum to the other, from metal(-ish) to ambient(-ish), but all is permeated by a strong sense of jazz harmony and rhythm. Yes, this album is for you, reader of CTEBCM!
Ḥashshāshīn – بدخشان (Badaxšān) / Badakhshan (Art as Catharsis)
Ḥashshāshīn is back! Their debut album, nīhsāhshsaḤ, was amazing and sublime, and, after a break of about three years, the band comes back with an upcoming sophomore. بدخشان (Badaxšān) / Badakhshan is named after a historical region comprising parts of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and China. It served as a powerful catalyst and inspiration for the music on record. Speaking of which, the compositions on the album are as excellent as ever, perhaps honing that mystical edge even sharper through the proficient use of timbre, repetition, progression, and rhythm. بدخشان (Badaxšān) / Badakhshan is truly mesmerizing and hypnotizing. It’s an album that will grab you from start to finish. It’s out on September 27.
Naked Eye Ensemble & Ju-Ping Song – Toy (New Focus)
As the name implies, Toy is a collection of pieces centred on toy piano and other juvenile and mature instruments. Five composers took part in the composition of this album, bringing new perspectives on the instrument of choice and creative ways to approach composition and performance. The result is a contemporary classical music album looking with new eyes on the past and future alike. It’s really quite a staggering album, and perhaps the only one in my library using toy piano!