I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of metal music, but this is because I acquired my bias living in Los Angeles during the worst of the “hair band” debacle. However, hearing music like this from the Bassists Alliance Project, especially the bass playing by Alberto Rigoni, reminds me of how intricate and, frankly, progressive, this kind of metal can be.
HJ (Hector Javier) Ayala is a free-jazz/experimental guitarist originally from Mexico who is now residing in Strasbourg, France. His new release is experimental in the most relaxed and mellow sense of the word. A truly enjoyable release, especially since not only does HJ have his own style, but he references artists such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie (may his name be eternal) and even John Fahey (also, memory eternal). Gorgeous but challenging material here.
I don’t like the term noir for music unless it fits in a film-like connotation, but there’s something pleasantly dark in this new release by Luís Lapa & Pé de Cabra, two Portuguese jazz heads. The Saul Bass-inspired cover art gives it away, I suppose, but the music is quite deep.
It has been a joy to follow Umut Çağlar over the past few years. He’s released several albums under the banner of Konstrukt, but on this album, he collaborates with Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore.
The first track, Kensaku, is the ‘quietest’ affair of this album. It buzzes and swells, with multi-instrumentalist Çağlar prods Moore into a drony improv which would have worked beautifully on an early Sonic Youth record (and which holds up rather well today in 2017).
The next two tracks, Red Sun and Echo (outro) go into the sort of monstrous territory that encapsulated the work of Japanese guitar legends like Keiji Haino’s power-trio Fushitsusha, or even the crunchy psychedelic haze of White Heaven.
I would love to see Konstrukt and Umut Çağlar collaborate more with American artists. He makes one hell of a sparring partner for anyone.
Yasmin Hannah King is a guitarist from Bath, England, who just released one of the best instrumental albums I’ve heard in a while, combining folk, post-rock and a type of ambient music into one shimmering package.
Wave after wave of beautifully crunchy, hypnotic drone is what makes JOHN 3:16’s new release (a reissue from 2011, apparently), a 30-minute affair, so appealing. The guitar playing is so heavily textured that you feel like a sonic blanket has wrapped you up, making you forget, albeit temporarily, the vagaries of the world. Drone music tends to be hazy, but this release would have been a stunner during the psychedelic 1970s as much as it is today.
This is a stunning mini-album. Many compliments to Philippe Gerber, JOHN 3:16’s leader and guitarist, for pointing me to this reissue.