Nick Zanca “Cacerolazo”

Cacerolazo is a departure for Nick Zanca in many ways; from his Mister Lies moniker and especially from the sonic fields where I’m used to finding him. Built around field recordings captured in 2013 while Zanca was at a tour stop in Turkey, he turns these cathartic and, at times, ominous captured moments into an intimate self-reflection. With each subsequent listen, the breadth of emotion in … Continue reading Nick Zanca “Cacerolazo”

Joel St. Julien “Empathy”

There’s a certain power in confronting bleakness by turning it on its head and creating a warm, safe place beyond its reach. Haitian-American composer Joel St. Julien built his own sonic universe during the depths of early 2021 when the pandemic raged and it was hard to know what each day would bring. Empathy is lush, full of vibrant hues and beautiful vistas where possibility rings like … Continue reading Joel St. Julien “Empathy”

Myriam Gendron “Ma Délire – Songs of love, lost & found”

Myriam Gendron understands timing and the fluid nature of permanence. A seven-year gap between her debut, Not So Deep As A Well, and her stunning new double album, Ma Délire – Songs of love, lost & found, holds out a little longer as the solo guitar intro of opener, “Go Away From My Window,” hums lackadaisical for over a minute before her voice enters the fray. In … Continue reading Myriam Gendron “Ma Délire – Songs of love, lost & found”

Alex Cunningham “As Slow as the Stream”

It’s been a banner year for experimental violin music. One of my favorite releases of the year so far – gabby fluke-mogul’s Threshold – takes the instrument into uncharted territory, but this new joint from Alex Cunningham takes a totally different path while leaving a similarly heavy impression. As Slow as the Stream is a single 33-minute improvised excursion that moves with such speed and with such presence that … Continue reading Alex Cunningham “As Slow as the Stream”

Mariano Rodriguez “La Ciudad que descansa sobre las espaldas de un Monstruo Dormido”

Argentinian guitarist Mariano Rodriguez weaves a compelling narrative with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and an understanding of the evolving landscape. La Ciudad que descansa sobre las espaldas de un Monstruo Dormido translates as “The City that Rests on the Back of a Sleeping Monster” and across 14 beguiling pieces, Rodriguez paints intimate sonic pictures of his life in ways that extend across imagined borders to … Continue reading Mariano Rodriguez “La Ciudad que descansa sobre las espaldas de un Monstruo Dormido”

Amir Abbey “Dast”

Amir Abbey put a quiet exclamation mark on 2020 with Embers, as Secret Pyramid, a rich, flowing ambient saunter that continues to move me in surprising ways. Abbey turns a different trick with the first release under his own name, Dast. Across four engaging, minimalist pieces, Abbey pushes and explores the sonic capabilities of the santur, an Iranian hammered dulcimer. The results are surprising. Archaic tones spill … Continue reading Amir Abbey “Dast”

David Sanford Big Band “A Prayer For Lester Bowie”

Building an album around a composition for Lester Bowie is immediately going to pique my interest. Bowie always didn’t simply seek out new ground, he created it, invented it through sweat, erudition, and sheer brilliance. David Sanford is cut from the same slab of marble as he pushes big band into new and exciting directions, imbuing it with a surprising modern edge. Opening this hot … Continue reading David Sanford Big Band “A Prayer For Lester Bowie”

Mark Tester “Oblivion Rhythms Revisited”

Mark Tester has become one of those artists whose new work I will always make a point to check out. Whether it’s solo, in his fantastic duo recordings with Landon Caldwell, or contributions to the inimitable Crazy Doberman, Tester is an uncategorizable force. He can do it all (check out this stellar compilation he and Caldwell put together, for example) and he always keeps me guessing.  For … Continue reading Mark Tester “Oblivion Rhythms Revisited”

O Yama O “Bruxelles”

When it comes to creating vivid, alien worlds through sound and performance, O Yama O always charm and surprise. The duo of Rie Nakajima and Keiko Yamamoto are joined by Marie Roux on drum and Billy Steiger on violin for Bruxelles, an enchanting performance from 2019 that sounds beamed in from a distant, ancient universe. It is music of chance and circumstance, built on scavenged sounds … Continue reading O Yama O “Bruxelles”

Andreas Brandal “Primal”

There’s something about this new offering from Andreas Brandal that feels like the soundtrack to whatever is happening in the dusty, cobwebbed covered corners of my brain as of late. Rummaging through detritus, there’s a lot of empty space that stings with surprising sharpness, but transonic gold emerges within the conflagrating trepidation. Primal is a horror soundtrack. Countless scrapes and rattling mixed with banal everyday sounds … Continue reading Andreas Brandal “Primal”