Wet Electric – Wet Electricity, Volume 1
In an uncanny series of events, Wet Electric‘s latest album art features an old-school computer, just like Ellen Kirkwood’s [A]part (which is amazing, by the way). Better than mildly funny is the music on Volume 1. The New York quintet plays an avant-garde style of jazz that is most wondrous, and deals conceptually with the mystery and spirituality that seems to be lacking in today’s “information age”. The album is great: it has touches of minimalism, which make it breathe, and a certain folk sensibility, too, thanks to the full-time violin player and part-time flautist. Worthy album.
Milanku – Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant
The upcoming album from Montréal-based post-metal Milanku here takes up two spaces in the image, thanks to its pretty artwork for vinyl. The quintet moves away somewhat from the sludge roots it has grown with their previous release, De fragments, and into a much more post-heavy sound. The record makes me think a lot of Dumbsaint’s magical Panorama, in Ten Pieces, but not entirely instrumental. Monument du non-être & Mouvement du non-vivant is very close from being that, though, as vocals only show up when it is absolutely necessary: sporadically throughout. The album is crafted with utmost care and attention, and it pays off.
Doucha – Sur le fil
Out earlier this month, Sur le fil is the sophomore release of French klezmer jazz band Doucha. So, with Jewish scales and upbeat rhythms, Doucha plows their way through the forty minutes of this album like it’s a breeze, but what a fun breeze! If you want more—whether “more” be comparisons or recommendations is up to you—jazz madman John Zorn (coming up next) released a whopping fifty-three albums of Jewish jazz with his Masada project. Doucha comes in and fills the somewhat blatant void of Jewish music influence in jazz with their rocking jazz fusion release.
John Zorn – Salem, 1692
John Zorn is impossible to follow. The New York-based musician and composer is just too damn prolific. It was only by accident that I stumbled upon Salem, 1692, the new album of his Insurrection series, but what a fortunate accident it was. On this album, Zorn is joined by a stellar crew of musicians with members from Infinien and Cleric for one, Fantômas, Mr. Bungle, and Secret Chiefs 3 for the second, and Imperial Triumphant for the latter. Apart from this monstrous lineup, the music is truly amazing. Times groovy and times atmospheric, it’s part surreal and part afflictive, and completely engrossing.
Ryan Albert Miller – Atrophy Torque Fly
Previously known for his involvement with U Sco, Ryan Albert Miller now released his sophomore solo album: the forty-minute Atrophy Torque Fly. It’s an astonishing work of avant-garde jazz, or is it avant-prog? The lines are pretty blurry at that point, but the fusion of genres and styles is evident and absolutely delicious. I have to say, the upright bass and alto saxophone definitely makes me lean towards avant-garde jazz as a foundation, with progressive rock as fusion elements, but who is to say for sure? Regardless of this, the album is an outstanding piece of work!
Awes – Demo
Germany’s Awes is an experimental math rock band in the very beginning of their existence. They’ve just released their Demo, which features about fifteen minutes of highly energetic and chaotic math rock. I cannot help but draw parallels to the legendary band Hella, for their incessant and reckless drummer, and not so different guitarist. This is a fun and exciting demo, which bodes well for the future of this formation. Hopefully, we get to hear something like an EP or full-length release in the near future!
Lady Fitness – Charlotte
Set for release in December, Charlotte is French avant-prog band Lady Fitness‘s sophomore release, which will be released by stellar label L’Étourneur. At forty minutes in length, Charlotte is complex and insanely fast. Riff after riff and theme after theme, often hopping between genres on a whim, Lady Fitness have what sounds like punk branches at times, but that only adds to the méli-mélo bag they offer. Unfortunately, the album page has now been taken down on Bandcamp, but keep an eye on the band’s and label’s pages for when it comes back up!
Azure – Redtail
British progressive rock band Azure has finally come with new music, less than two years after their previous one, Wish for Spring, but with only twenty minutes of material. The redeeming factor is that it is one expansive progressive track, and it’s quite good! I need to crash the party, though, because—you know why—I can’t stand the very cheaply made programmed instruments on this record. I’ve already explained my thoughts on it before, but programmed drums can and sometimes do sound good, but here they don’t—at all—, and I’m fairly certain that the bass guitar too has fallen prey to the artificial rapture. Azure has so much potential, but I cannot take the project seriously if it doesn’t take its own music more seriously than glorified Guitar Pro tabs.