A CLOSER LISTEN weekly #41.5
Fall Music Previews! (part ii)
Dear Listeners! Joseph again, on this off week. I’m slowly leaning towards making this newsletter weekly, rather than bi-weekly, as I’ve gotten into the habit of posting more often. So, why not? Maybe I’ll share more material from our extensive ACL archives, or from my personal work. Or if we get enough subscribers I’ll commission some special features. What do you think?
Last week, we collected the first half of our 2023 Fall Music Previews. Next week, we’ll launch a new feature, share the first episode of season 4 of the Sound Propositions podcast, and return to our selection of recent reviews and upcoming releases. Until then, here are the remaining categories of our Fall Music Previews. Happy listening.
Fall is a wonderful time to catch modern composition artists on tour, from solo pianists to full orchestras. The spectrum of moods seems to score the colors of the season. As the leaves offer one last burst of color before the end of the year, this genre does the same.
This season sees the return of Sophie Hutchings, Christopher Tignor and Peter Broderick, as well as a posthumous work from Jóhann Jóhannsson. To sweeten the pot, fall also brings a suite for migration, a score to a shadow puppet show, a tribute to space dogs Belka & Strelka and an 11 1/2 hour movement!
Cover art: Lara Somogyi’s ! (orchestral expansion), covered in Strings & Things below.
Alessandro Sgobbio‘s Piano Music 2 was the first autumn album we heard about this year, back in the waning days of spring. We think this deserves some requisite attention, so we’re putting it first in our preview. Each piece is dedicated to a person, place or topic, giving the French composer an extra sense of connection (September 22). Our very own Garreth Brooke (recording as Garreth Broke) is releasing an engaging EP on 1631 Recordings. Each track is a duet with a plant, a person or an A.I., as portrayed on the cover of Conversations, pictured right (September 29). Thomas Vanz‘ tender Colors of Invisible is being offered on “eco-coloured” vinyl; no two pieces are the same. The filmmaker-composer sets his sights on the stars without losing track of the ground below (Mesh, October 27).
Piano & Coffee Records is prepping two projects for early fall. First is Memory Reconstructions, a series of reworks from Jakob Lindhagen‘s Memory Constructions, including contributions from Blair Coron, Hior Chronik and Vargkvint (September 22); a week later, Hara Alonso returns to piano on Notions of Hope (September 29). Yann Tiersen heads in the opposite direction from Lindhagen by offering a solo piano version of his album Kerber, in the wake of a collection of remixes (Mute, September 15). The new movie Rudy is a far cry from the classic sports movie of the same name, this one more tender than arena-filled. Akira Kosemura provides a score of 31 miniatures (Schole, September 15).
Adding strings and indigenous vocals to the mix, Sophie Hutchings presents the expansive A World Outside, but fear not, her piano magic remains intact (Mercury KX, October 27). Hania Rani also adds vocals to Ghosts, a haunted October album that includes a collaboration with Ólafur Arnalds (Gondwana, October 6). Rumpistol completes his emotive piano trilogy with Going Inside, “created for inner journeys and psychedelic therapy.” The artist would be overjoyed if the album were used in an actual therapeutic setting, which we can imagine happening as the music is so rich in timbre, graced with the contributions of eight other musicians (Raske Plater, September 29). Olivia Belli‘s Intermundia is out this fall on Sony / XXIM, preceded by the sumptuous single Valadier. Streaming sensation Sofiane Pamart unveils the full-length Noche on October 20, inspired by Latin American locations (Le Tigre Noir).
Roger Eno returns on Deutsche Grammophon with the skies, they shift like chords. The album alternates between solo piano and fleshier combinations, with a bit of electronics thrown in. The only vocal track is “Strangely I Dreampt,” sung by Eno’s eldest daughter Cecily (October 13). One of our favorite pianists, Hauschka, returns with the colorful Philanthropy, an album whose titles along promote a more spiritual life (City Slang, October 20). After working with Ben McElroy, Dan Cook (A Spot on the Hill) was inspired to write Patterns, which looks for connections in music, visual art and humanity (Tenth wave, October 24). Stefano Guzzetti goes electronic as ONDA, but fear not; the piano is still the heart of Nami‘s danceable recordings (2020 Editions, September 1).
Alex Kozobolis has released a number of seasonal-themed EPs over the years, and they are now being collected as the seasons are not four. The set covers a single year, from autumn chill to winter blankets to spring and summer bloom, making it perfect to play no matter the month (October 13). Blurstem insists that Safe Travels, Old Friend is not a piano album, although it is; just don’t expect the instrument to be played like a normal piano. The ivory DNA is altered through pitch shifting and sampling (Bigo & Twigetti, September 22). Piano, crackle and tape loop mingle on Richard Sears‘ Appear to Fade, which was recorded in a single day (figureight, September 29). Edouard Ferlet‘s PIANOïD² is a jaunty experiment with a piano controlled by a computer. The jazz pianist shares time with technology, producing a hybrid result (Mélisse, November 3).
Strings and Things
Galya Bisengalieva was born in Kazakhstan before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but during the time when nuclear tests were being performed in the region. The area known as the Polygon was a center of Kazakh culture, deemed “uninhabited” by the government, where over a million people were exposed to radiation. The artist’s new album exposes this little-publicized atrocity with high emotion and a great deal of courage (One Little Independent, October 20).
Harpist Lara Somogyi brings new life to last year’s ! with an album of orchestral re-imaginings. More than just a remix album, it stands as a new work in its own right (Mercury KX, October 20). Bridget Kibbey has commissioned six international composers to contribute to Crossing the Ocean, an album for solo harp with a guest appearance from Dawn Upshaw (Pentatone, October 13). Remembering that Mary Lattimore also has a new album out this season (previewed in our Ambient section), this is sounding like a very good season for harpists. To this one might add the harp/cello/tape machine combo of Château Mordécoly, a “red wine inspired” session from duo Mordecoli (Ecka Mordecai and Valerio Tricoli) on A L T E R (September 1).
Violinist Elle Wilson offers Memory Islands, a set in which every song has a story. One is inspired by Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks, another by her Navy veteran grandfather, another by the way the brain awakens from a coma (Bigo & Twigetti, September 29). Also on the same day, the label releases From the Deep, on which the string quartet Curve Ensemble performs pieces by a quintet of composers, including label founder Jim Perkins. Christopher Tignor enhances the sound of his violin with pedals and processing, sounding like a one-man ensemble. The Art of Surrender is percussive and dramatic, while continuing to hit the soaring heights (Western Vinyl, September 29). The News from Utopia is a solo violin album by Austin Wulliman inspired by Zadie Smith’s story “The Lazy River.” We hope that no violins were harmed in the process, although the cover seems to indicate otherwise (Bright Shiny Things, September 15).
How many cellos would you like? How about eight? On Strange Waves, the multitracked instrument is melded to field recordings from Irish seas, courtesy of Kate Ellis & Ed Bennett, producing a low-level drone (Ergodos, October 3). Hand Drawn Dracula is a pretty cool name for a record label, and the cover of Michael Peter Olson‘s Narrative of a Nervous System follows suit with an illustration of “cello anatomy” that might attract a vampire. The cello is fleshed out by other instruments, and bears an electronic tinge (October 27). Cello and electronics also form the core of Powders‘ Concede to Circumstance, which finds inspiration in both ambience and early Playstation games (Them There Records, September 22). The James Jones EP Murmurations is another organic-electronic hybrid, released as flocks begin the fall migration (September 1).
Liu Yiwei has been composing works for theatre and choreography for years, and compiles some of these works as Twilight Diaries. The album has a “ring structure,” which means the end wraps back around to the beginning, a cycle of sound (September 19). The Things We Pass Through Our Genes explores family dynamics through the lens of Hospice care and the composer’s experiences of seeing two grandfathers passing ten years apart. Adding electronics to string quartet, Jackson Greenberg also straddles the line between generations (cmntx, October 27).
We’ve already introduced part of the Lost Tribe Sound slate in our Ambient and Drone section; we continue now with two prime releases in Modern Composition. Some may recall Claire Deak from her collaboration with Tony Dupé a few years back, also on Lost Tribe Sound; this fall she makes her solo debut with the exquisite Sotto Voice. The album pays tribute to Baroque composers Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi (October 6). A week later, the spotlight turns to From the Mouth of the Sun (Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist), whose Valley of the Hummingbirds is the adapted score to a dance performance by Greek choreographers Danae & Dionysios (October 13). Both are part of the subscription series Maps to Where the Poison Goes.
From violin and piano to string quartet and snare, Samuel Adams‘ Current remains elegant throughout. The album also marks one of the last appearances of Spektral Quartet, who is already missed (Other Minds, September 8). When does “structured improvisation” turn into composition? The Pitch & Julia Reidy tackle the question on Neutral Star, a moody set that combines organic and electronic instrumentation (Miasmah, September 22). Triola may be billed as a string trio, but on Scapegoat they are joined by a cavalcade of like-minded guests. The album is conceived as an “imaginary opera,” buoyed by occasional voice and sound collage (Constructive, October 20). The uncommon bowed psaltery, a 32-string folk instrument on a triangular sound box, is showcased in Neutral Buoyant. Hear Nathan Davis now on Verse (Infrequent Seams, October 6).
We don’t get a lot of albums by shadow puppeteers. Okay, let’s be honest, we’ve only received one. Tristan Allen‘s Tin Iso and the Dawn is an outlier in all the right ways, pensive yet dramatic with a visual component (RVNG, October 20). Joel Styzens enlists cellist Sophie Webber, pianist Rob Clearfield and the ATLYS Quartet on Resonance, a rich set including a suite inspired by the Chicago Botanic Gardens. One can only hope that the music is played for the plants (September 29). We are already loving Joshua Van Tassel‘s The Recently Beautiful, a collection of “lullabies for adults,” written while the rest of the household was asleep. Piano and string quartet create a quiet bridge between the waking and dreaming worlds (Backward Music, November 17). The new album from Future Beat Alliance still has a beat here and there, but it’s mostly a turn to modern composition with a bent for film scores. Lower the Anchor is out September 1 on FBA Recordings.
Miriam Beam’s cover art for Josh Semans‘ To Will a Space into Being is reminiscent of “The Cabin in the Woods,” and is part of the project “These Places Do Not Exist.” The album is less scary, at times even warm, suffused with Juno, string quartet and ondes Martenot (Hidden Notes, September 15). Who can resist Belka & Strelka, the first dogs to circle the earth and return alive? In their album and concert film, brothers Brueder Selke score their journey through cello and electronics, inviting listeners to discover their story (November 24).
String quintet Sybarite5 has three new members, and showcases their newly refreshed sound on Collective Wisdom, which includes music from composers old and new, which range from Armenian folk songs to the Punch Brothers (Bright Shiny Things, October 20). Third Coast Percussion returns with world premieres from Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton and more. Original works are also included on Between Breaths, out September 8 on Cedille Records.
Daniel Bjarnason conducts the Iceland Symphony Orchestra on Prayer to the Dynamo, which highlights a world premiere from Jóhann Jóhannsson, coupled with suites from Sicario and The Theory of Everything. There’s probably not a lot of undiscovered or unreleased music from the composer, so it’s a treasure to be able to drink this in (Deutsche Grammofon, September 15). Also missed is cellist Arthur Russell, now three decades gone. Peter Broderick & Ensemble 0 revisit a classic on Give It to the Sky: Arthur Russell’s Tower of Meaning Expanded, a high-profile release that will introduce the composer to a whole new audience (Erased Tapes, October 6).
Gavin Bryars lends a guest spot on Norwich Under the Water, a thoughtful treatise on climate change that concentrates on the threat to Norwich, in danger of losing significant parts by the end of the decade on its way to being fully submerged. Bill Vine combines orchestral and electronic elements with field recordings and folk song, producing an evocative document that began as the score to a contemporary dance piece (Ryoanji Records, September 11). Duretti Column violist John Metcalfe returns in a big way on Tree, a widescreen concept album that imagines 24 hours in the life of a single tree. A 40-piece orchestra helps him to realize his vision (Real World, September 22).
NMC Recordings has a very cool slate lined up for October 27. Many Voices: Ensemble is a set of works commissioned to be played by very young musicians grades 2-6. We would challenge any listener to guess their age from these sounds; these are tomorrow’s performers today. In These Exceptional Times presents the best submissions sent to the Big Lockdown Music Survey, many of them vocal. While many of us are so done with COVID, this sonic document is filled with insight, humor and creativity. Maybe there was a silver lining to the pandemic after all? Composers’ Academy Volume 6 showcases the work of a trio of young composers, Arthur Keegan, Jamie Man ⽂珮玲, and Nneka Cummins, while Patricia Alessandrini‘s Leçons de ténèbres, performed by Riot Ensemble, is experimental, long in patience and heavy in mood.
zeitkratzer presents Reinhold Friedl: SCARLATTI, a new rendition of a 300-year-old piano sonata. Suffice it to say that it doesn’t sound like the original, but is equally riveting (Karlrecords, September 22). Baroque and electronic music collide on Temporal Gardening, a creative collaboration between Stephan Meidell & Bergen Barokk. With amplified percussion and movements named after mushrooms, anything goes (Aurora, September 15)! Visita returns with Opp. 9 & 13, mature music for multiple ensembles, concluding with “A Soirée For the Migratory Birds,” which pairs well with Murmurations above (September 15). Similarly complex is Alon Nechushtan‘s symphony Chasms-Omens-Shards-Spells, which draws upon ancient religions and includes tracks inspired by Borges, Bradbury and Ives (Naxos, September).
Good Lord Almighty, we’ve got an eleven-and-a-half-hour, 110 track release from Vinny Golia, and it’s only the second of three movements. Even to This Day … Music for Orchestra and Soloists Movement Two: Syncretism: For the Draw … even has that long title to match. Featuring 25 soloists and a blend of composition and improvisation, the album is a beast to comprehend; but amazingly, it’s also quite good (September 23).
Post-rock fans will have plenty to rejoice about this fall as a host of big names are preparing new albums. Explosions in the Sky, world’s end girlfriend, Grails and Spurv are just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve been waiting years for some of these albums, and now they are all being released at once! But wait, there’s more ~ step outside the boundaries of post-rock and you’ll find a host of other worthy releases, including two very different scores for Nosferatu, arriving just in time for Halloween.
We hope you’re as excited as we are! For more new music throughout the season, be sure to visit our Upcoming Releases page, updated daily with new previews. And now, the post-rock cavalcade!
The last album world’s end girlfriend released arrived late in the year and topped our 2016 chart. Resistance & The Blessing is even more ambitious, despite the fact that Last Waltz was about the end of the world. The new set is a 35-track beast on 4 LPs or 3 CDs. No matter how one looks at it, the album is huge. If the first single, “IN THE NAME OF LOVE,” is any indication, we’re in for quite a treat ~ and this time we won’t have to wait, as Virgin Babylon is releasing the album tomorrow, September 9! Also upping their game is Norwegian band Spurv, Choir, brass and strings enhance the surging guitars, producing a feeling of height and depth, an immersive experience. Brefjære is also a concept album, imagining a conversation between a birch tree, a butterfly, a mountain and the wind (Pelagic, September 22).
Explosions in the Sky made a big splash with Big Bend a couple years back, but End is their first non-soundtrack album in seven years, and the last one arrived five years before that. The band is in fine form; arguably, they’ve never made a bad album, and we suspect their patience is part of their formula (Temporary Residence Ltd., September 15). Grails returns after a six-year silence with Arches En Meat, a wild combination of spaghetti western, loungecore, electronics and of course, post-rock! The now quintet continues to stretch their boundaries while remaining true to their roots. This album is also on Temporary Residence Ltd., arriving only a single week later on September 22.
Also pulling out all the stops is Collapse Under the Empire, who is offering their new album Recurring as part of an eleven-LP box set called Works 08-23, containing everything the band has ever done, most of which is appearing on vinyl for the first time. If the thought of playing Collapse Under the Empire tracks from sunrise to sunset without repetition appeals to you, act quickly (September 29)! Trumpet is a great adornment to GLEN, whose album I Can See No Evil keeps its foot on the gas pedal from beginning to end, with only a short respite in the penultimate piece. The album scores a not-so-futuristic dystopia in real time; turn the sound off on any news channel and let this be the score (Sound Effect Records, October 20). The Color of Cyan releases a more reddish album called Egress on September 1. Bolstered by a string ensemble, the trio muses on “time, love and pain,” subjects ripe for large treatments. As the bass player for pg.lost and the Kristian Karlsson player for Cult of Luna, Kristian Karlsson has a lot of post-rock experience, which he puts to use as Soars. Repeater adds Cult of Luna live drummer Christian Augustin, because it’s really hard to play all three instruments at the same time (Pelagic, November 1). Vathres continues the season’s bigger-is-better theme as an intimidating 14-piece ensemble with timbres akin to GY!BE. Liturgy of Lacuna is the brainchild of Alex Zethson, and runs the gamut from orchestral reflection to metallic cacophony (Thanatosis, October 6).
Teeth of the Sea continues to morph and evolve. Hive, loosely based on the Frank Herbert novel of the same name, has a groove, and you can dance to it. At other times, the set turns psychedelic and even industrial. There are even some vocals, but don’t let them scare you; the stinging creature on the cover is far more frightening (Rocket Recordings, October 6). Fred und Luna have compiled Future Sounds of Kraut, which showcases over a dozen artists, established and new. Consider the album a sneak peek into a vibrant yet underreported scene (Compost Records, September 1). Also combining rock and electronics, Vienna’s Radian makes a welcome return, sprinkling guitar segments around in loops and dots. Distorted Rooms honors its title not only with literal, but temporal distortion (Thrill Jockey, September 22). More new krautrock appears on Fluxus 2071, the upcoming album from Sounds of New Soma, preceded by danceable single Bunte Motten (Tonzonen). “GAF are back!” proclaims Discrepant, as proven by the semi-improvised cosmic rock of Gaf y la estrella de la muerte. The album will be out in early September. German super-quartet The Shredz call themselves “krauty,” and prove it on Orbit with healthy doses of dub, groove and funk (September 1).
Denovali has four releases up for pre-order. Our most-anticipated of the four comes from The Lovecraft Sextet, an offshoot of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. As expected, the music is dark and deep. The unexpected treat is that a special edition in hardcover story book is available (October 27). Jason Kohnen also appears on MaskXSoul‘s Oregen, a darkjazz album that highlights the Russian literature and voices, released the same day. Notilis returns with II, a brass-heavy combination of jazz, techno and rock (October 13). Metal and beats meet on Spark and Earth, from guitarist and synthesist Mario Diaz de Leon. The album has a dramatic flair suitable to cinema, with synthesized choir (October 6).
Classical music collides with progressive heavy metal on Calibrating Fiction, a career-defining work from Haralabos [Harry] Stafylakis, who recruited a supergroup to bring his vision to life. We suspect the concert experience will be particularly memorable (New Amsterdam, September 15). The moody, doomjazz-laden Idylle is the first taste of Adria, from the somewhat-supergroup Zahn (Crazysane, November 24). Slow Draw‘s The Mystic Crib is more sedate, yet shares a smoky room vibe (November 10). One man band At the Grove offers a muscular blend of classic and post-rock, with the requisite highs and lows. Infinity is out September 22 on De Mist Records.
Equipment Pointed Ankh‘s Downtown! is bouncy, groovy and tongue-in-cheek, am alternative to heavier fare. The addition of melodica, flute and horns lightens the listening experience, inviting listeners to bob their heads or even dance (Torn Light, September 29). Similar things might be said of Keope, whose jam sessions include sparse lyrics and a variety of rhythmic influences. After hearing FLIKKA FLOKKA, we suggest these two groups get together and consider a tour (Bigamo, September 15). Parachute for Gordo has a lot of fun on the Affe Zu, Klappe Tot EP, changing styles with abandon and inventing new terms like “post-emo,” which it applies to lead single Lizard B-Movie (Not Clean Records, September 1).
Nosferatu receives two new scores this fall. The first comes from Earthset, a rock/post-rock explosion that honors the drama of the original film. Then there’s an improvised “spontaneous” score from Dylan Jack Quartet, heavy on trumpet and mood. Eine Quartett Des Grauens may require a little more synching, but the fun is in the comparison of the two. One might even write a term paper on the different ways in which music can affect the appreciation of cinema, using these and other previous Nosferatu recordings as templates. (One such score comes from metal monsters Sleepbomb, who also has a new album coming this fall on Koolarrow Records.) Both new scores are released October 27, the latter on Creative Nation Music.
Alan Courtis and David Grubbs each play acoustic and electric guitars on Braintrust of Fiends and Werewolves, which is not as scary as it sounds, despite the label’s description of Courtis as a “monster guitarist” (which we believe would make Grubbs the “fiendish” guitarist in this pairing). The timbres may vary, but the tone is always friendly (husky pants, September 8). Guitar, synth and flute are at the core of Adam Coney‘s Ashwin & Above, our preview’s most far-off release. Fortunately The Close Stage is already streaming (Trestle, November 24). L.A. session guitarist Andrew Synowiec does just what the title of his album suggests by having Fun. The album personifies pure rock, recorded live by smiling musicians (House of Syn, September 8).
Dur et Doux consistently releases some of the strangest rock we’ve ever heard. Their seasonal highlight is Yoshitsune, the second part of a diptych from Poil, continuing the story of the titular character (November 3). The same day sees the release of the rambunctious Cinq from CHRONG!, whose styles change faster than clothes at a circus. Yes, that’s a kazoo. On November 28, the label releases ni‘s Fol Naïs, which can go from ambient to screamo in a single track; and on the earlier VOCODER‘s V.O.C.O.D.E.R., weird vocals are mangled into even more bizarre shapes (October 6).
Clearly an album about “the pilgrimage of the warlock” is going to be psych-tinged, and we recommend Child of Time and Earth to fans of the series Witcher. D’luna is a solo artist, but sounds like a full band here, with a wide repertoire (September 22). Prefer Egyptian psych? Try Elephantine‘s Moonshine, a heavily percussive affair with nine total participants, led by Maurice Louca. The double drummers are Elephantine’s not-so-secret strength, but the entire ensemble plays as one (Northern Spy, September 15). Serbia’s The Cyclist Conspiracy injects vocals and a world music vibe to its Mashallah Plan, a high-energy set that sparks an ecstatic trance (Subsound, October 13).
In a wonderful case of international cooperation, Sweden’s sing a song fighter and the U.K.s Hive Mind are teaming up to present Congo Guitar, from Congolese guitarist Vumbi Dekula. This is the first solo album for Dekula after four decades of being a band leader (September 15). We Are Busy Bodies will release Mount Maxwell‘s Litltefolk on November 24, a “journey into memory, melody, and geography” that includes woodblock, congas, shakers and synths, producing a homespun vibe. Invoke‘s Evoke and Travel is an interesting combination of “string quartet, folk band and singer-songwriter,” alternating between instrumental and vocal tracks, with strong servings of banjo and mandolin (Sono Luminus, October 27). McCowski, half of The Lost Brothers, goes “solo” on Notes from the Boneyard, but invites guests. We don’t mind, because they bring cello, viola, pedal steel and more; you call it solo, we call it intriguing (Deltasonic, September 22).
birds in the brickwork follows the lovely Recovery with a strange piece, another beautiful photo book and disc combination, rife with pictures from the British countryside: not all nature, but the liminal places as well. The music is warm and welcoming, tailor-made for the autumnal transition (Wayside & Woodland, October 1). Then October 20, the label will release Littoral States, a richly hued album from Junkboy – two brothers in mourning who traced their father’s history down the coastline, making field recordings as they went. Inviting guests to what became a celebration, they have produced a loving tribute. There is only love and fear, proclaims Bex Burch, although we suspect there are other things as well. The album starts with footsteps and continues through a bucolic environment. A road trip, a handmade xylophone, and a host of famous friends come along for the ride, and the album unfolds like the mixtape one makes when one returns home (International Anthem, October 20).
All About That Jazz
Matthew Halsall‘s An Ever Changing View is jazz for people who normally don’t like jazz. The album offers multiple entry points, from the occasional electronic lean to unique instruments, which include mobiles of keys, triangles and bottle caps. The album offers a homespun experience, and we can see it crossing over to other audiences (Gondwana, September 8). Those who only know William Basinski through his loop-based ouevre may be caught off guard by his work in Sparkle Division: all-out retro funk with a groovy vibe. The common thread: each project travels in time. FOXY will appear October 20 on Temporary Residence Ltd., completing a triumvirate that began with Explosions in the Sky and Grails.
As no public previews are available, we’ll provide a rundown of the instruments that Hans Hulbækmo plays: “drums, percussion, objects, jew´s harp, guitar, Casio keyboard, stylophone, balafon, harmonica, flutes, shruti box, drum machine, kalimba, fiddle and two row accordion.” To learn what this sounds like, tune in to Hubro on September 22, or check out some of his other work on the label as a member of various bands. The label’s following release will be Collage, a multi-layered, semi-improvisational collaboration between Erlend Apneseth Trio & Maja S.K. Ratkje. Field recordings abound, as do incantational, fairy tale snippets of song (October 20).
Joe Acheson plays a dozen instruments on To Dream is to Forget, but he’s joined by eleven other musicians as Hidden Orchestra. Poppy Ackroyd is one of the guests, along with skylarks and bees. Hidden Orchestra splits the difference between rock, jazz, electronics and modern composition, and the album is out September 22. Inspired by Edward Munch, sextet John Ghost produces a fusion of genres, teeming with musical influences from across the sonic board. Thin Air . Mirror Land is described as “a refuge in stormy times,” an antidote to “The Scream” (Sdban Records, October 6).
Drummer Allison Miller offers jazz with a purpose: the preservation of waterways. The live edition of Rivers in Our Veins has already made an impact with tap dancers and video (Royal Potato Family, October 6). Hammered dulcimer and six-string bass make a unique combination, and by inviting friends along for the ride, House of Waters has expanded upon their already-international sound. On Becoming is out September 8 on GroundUP Music.
Swami Lateplate offers Doom Jazz II, a sequel to, well, you know. Yamaha organ plays a big part on the 15-minute single that occupies the album’s back half (Subsound, September 14). Percussionist Carlos Niño & Friends – a lot of friends – join forces on the ambient jazz/jazz fusion album (I’m Just) Chillin’, which seems to suggest a different sort of vibe. The press release lists some of the album’s moods as “On Mushrooms, On LSD, (and) On Ketamine,” none of which we recommend (International Anthem, September 15). The label follows this with Daniel Villarreal‘s Lados B, which exudes a laid-back, summer cruising style, brought to life in the video for “Sunset Cliffs” (October 3). Piano, sax and tabla meet gentle electronics in Daughter of the Seas, a languid set from Visions of Nar. The album draws heavily on Armenian mythology, and is out September 15 on Earshift Music.
The free jazz-electro collective Asynchrone pays tribute to the recently deceased Ryuichi Sakamoto on the free spirited Plastic Bamboo. The album was in the works before his passing, as proven by the A.I.-generated video for Expecting Rivers, initially released last year (Nø Førmat!, September 29). LANZ & Kris Allen dedicate their album Ballard to a longtime childhood friend, who set them on their musical path but died tragically young. The music shows no sign of sadness, instead bursting with color and life, a fitting tribute that draws upon jazz fusion and funk, with a whole lot of beats (Brassland, September 12). Belgian jazz trio KAU invites listeners to dance to The Cycle Repeats, showcasing 80s synth and a loose-limbed sense of fun. The album is out September 23 (not 22, as the band emphasizes) on Sdban.
“What does hell sound like?” asks Joseph Shabason on his newly imagined score to the classic skate film Welcome to Hell. In his hands, hell sounds like a jazz jam, with prominent saxophone, synth and snares, vibraphone and vocal harmonies, and a sense of swing. We suspect he has his afterlives backwards, but the results are funky (Western Vinyl/Telephone Explosion, October 20). Don Kapot‘s lively, sax-happy “afro-kraut” is showcased on I Love Tempo, an album that invites listeners to the dance floor. The introductory bassline of Macarona sounds a lot like that of “My Sharona,” but we suspect the similarity is as intentional as the rhyme (W.E.R.F., September 15). The famous bassline of New Order’s “Ceremony” finds new life as the title track of the album of the same name from Joe Policastro Trio, mixed with music from Erik Satie. The trio covers “Blue Bayou,” while offering originals as well (JeruJazz, October 13).
AKKU Quintet straddles the line between rock and jazz, though the label calls the influence post-punk. Kinema is at times languid, at times groovy, and assured throughout, so we’ll let the listener decide how to classify it (Morpheus, September 15). Jazz and math-rock mingle on Apnea, another genre-resistant release. The Arthur Hnatek Trio creates compositions by interpreting patterns from the Buchla synthesizer, a further extension of timbre (Bridge the Gap, September 15). Emily Wittbrodt‘s Make You Stay is a rock outlier, alternating between lyrical pieces (including one by e.e. cummings) and instrumentals, while incorporating a strong element of modern composition, highlighted by Wittbrodt’s cello (Ana Ott, September 22).
Brazilian jazz guitarist Marcio Philomena was first inspired by Green Day, then developed a love for jazz. Vava is the first single from Trails, out September 8 on Chill Tone. Funky retro jazz rockers SRT make their recorded debut with Vanguards of Groove; but will they be able to top the fame of their Bee Gees cover (Jewell Records, September 8)? Avant jazz with a 60s lean can be found on Daniel Casares’ From a Cabin in the Woods, the music unrelated to the film with a similar title. Sometimes a cabin is just a cabin (Hout Records, October 20). Some are calling Sven Wunder‘s Late Again library music, but we think it’s just some really cool stargazing jazz. “Take a Break” even has a shot at crossing over into the electronic market (Piano Piano, September 29).
Happy 20th anniversary to Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, who celebrates two decades of big band recording with an album of originals. In the Key of KC is out September 22. Sam Eastmond offers big band versions of John Zorn’s music on the elaborately-packaged The Bagatelles Volume 16, leading a dozen performers in presenting a whole new way to listen (Tzadik, September 16).