Free jazz is still, decades after its inception, a massive point of contention for some jazz fans. The freedom to create on the fly in any key with total melodic and harmonic freedom with often frantic rhythms can be hard to digest for the uninitiated. But for a musician and composer like me who is well acquainted with the avant-garde and the atonal; I live for the freedom that an anarchistic approach to melody and harmony creates.
It is in this that we find the music of The Paul Swest, who I have reviewed once before. Everything that this group does well is present once again, and I can without hesitation recommend this record to fans of the previous or free jazz fans looking for a new obsession.
Get Sports Car Illusions at https://thepaulswest.bandcamp.com/album/sports-car-illusions
As a musician I have always felt that the best music just happens. You train your mind to be one with your instrument and its capabilities, then throw it into improvisational situations. Music that is improvisation based takes many forms, and the record Inner by Nunun is one of them.
Nunun is a project consisting of Italian musicians Cesare Discepol (guitar, effects) and Massimo Discepoli (drums). It is deemed to be an album of introspection, experimentation, and as alluded to before, improvisation. The musicianship of Cesare and Massimo cannot be overstated. They understand their craft down to its most minute details.
What really shines here, however, is the compositional acheivements of the group. You are brought to realms of profound groove, ambience, and beauty that flow seamlessly from start to finish on this record. I feel like this album is an intersection of the free jazz philosophy of Ornette Coleman and the grandiose (yet inward-looking) nature of the David Gilmour-led Pink Floyd era.
When Inner releases on March 15th, I suggest you head over to https://acustronica.bandcamp.com/ and pick up a copy for yourself.
“A path of verbed-out jazz, metallic ambience and grinding electro-acoustics.”
These are the descriptors given to those approaching Mondo Flockhard’s second, self-titled, record. Without a doubt words can only do so much justice to music, and in many ways these aforementioned descriptors give just half the picture.
This project by Melbourne-based drummer Maria Moles is an exercise in atmospheric experimentation and complex rhythms. Without a doubt the record is an exercise for the listener, but if the listener fully engages they will be rewarded.
Go in with an open mind, I promise you’ll be delighted.
Mondo Flockhard can be found at https://tonelist.bandcamp.com/album/mondo-flockard
The best kind of music these days is music that defies convention. It’s music that is bold, fresh, and ultimately brave. This bravery can be displayed in numerous forms, but first and foremost the sound must be the focus. In my mind, the bravest music is that which is unable to be boxed into a single genre.
This music is exactly what I find when I listen to An Eclipse of Images. A cooperative project between Italian percussionist Massimo Discepoli and American experimental double-bassist/composer Daniel Barbiero, the record seeks to present musical “ hybrids meticulously built up of acoustic and electronic elements both composed and improvised.”
It does just that. The brilliant interaction between the double-bass, percussion, and electronic synth sounds create an experience that constantly leaves you in different musical worlds. You hear jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and so much more within this record that each listen brings a new perspective.
It is a truly wondrous thing.
An Eclipse of Images can be found at http://www.acustronica.com/an-eclipse-of-images.html
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/
Free jazz is easily one of my favorite styles of the massive jazz genre. There is something about the element of expression within it–rhythmically and melodically–that makes it so special.
Following in this style is musician and visual artist Charles Chace who performs under the project name The Paul Swest. In his newest album Wizard Talk improvisation is the key component to every track. Each instrument has its own soul and when combined there is a collision of atonality and malleable rhythm. Rather than relying on particular motifs or outlined note patterns, each track allows the listener to engage actively in the process of a song being born.
The frequent chromaticism and experimentation found in Wizard Talk may turn off the casual “jazz lounge” listener. That’s fine by me. As a composer and musician who understands the value of music without a tonal center; this kind of sound jives with me. This jazz record is for the already indoctrinated listener of the avant-garde and serialism in music composition.
If you like music that attempts to bend your ear and mind; you should give Wizard Talk a chance.
Wizard Talk by The Paul Swest can be found at:
Round Eye’s music is bonkers. I mean that in the best possible way. The self-described “experimental freak punk” group makes music that constantly pushes and questions what music can become.
In their self-titled LP you will hear the intersection of what sounds like Ornette Coleman, The Stooges, Circle Jerks, and Frank Zappa having a party and jam session simultaneously. Round Eye is a sonic exploration of what happens when you free music of its genre definitions and throw it into a chaotic display of artistry.
The record is loud, melodic, dissonant, fast, complex, and full of life at every turn. The uninitiated to the worlds of punk, doo-wop and free jazz may not get what’s going on, but that is just fine. It seems that no matter where the band goes they gain a following.
A group of expats based in Shanghai, China, Round Eye (a purposely self-deprecating name) has earned the love of locals in mainland China (numerous local Chinese musicians perform on the LP). They have also managed to earn the ire of the government as they have had to tour at times “underground where they held the secret gigs in bomb shelters around the country” due to their stage antics and more. The controversy has come at a benefit to the group, however, as the Ministry of Culture couldn’t shut down the punk spirit. The group is “a crucial force in bridging a wide gap between the eastern and western hemispheres of punk rock.” As a punk musician and “punk scholar” this is such a welcome thing for me to hear (because in the end fuck politics when we have rock n’ roll right?).
Ultimately there really isn’t anything like Round Eye. In the punk world they are pioneers of sorts, forging new ground for a sound of rebellion and camaraderie. Punk never dies and these dudes know that.
Give this band a try, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Round Eye by Round Eye can be found at: