Avant Music News Best of 2015 (So Far)

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2015 is halfway over and this year has seen quite a number of notable releases. This list includes over 100 albums each of which is worth a listen, if not more. The ordering below is rough, but should give you an idea of what we are thinking. Releases that we have reviewed feature links to said reviews. Enjoy.

English: Thurston Moore at the 2008 Brooklyn B...

Album of the year candidates
Biota – Funnel to a Thread
Magma – Slag Tanz
Merzbow / Mats Gustafsson / Balazs Pandi / Thurston MooreCuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper

Excellent Releases
Scott AmendolaFade to Orange
Anna Clock – Celestial
Kris Davis / Infrasound – Save Your Breath
Andrew Drury – The Drum
Andrew Drury / Quartet – Content Provider
Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up – After All is Said
Guapo – Obscure Knowledge
Stephen Haynes – Pomegranate
Jack O’ The Clock – Outsider Songs
Kiss the Frog – Hillmonster
Ligeia Mare – Amplifier
Roy Mattson – Mesmer
Northaunt – Istid I-II
NYM – Untitled
Han Earl Park / Catherine Sikora / Nick Didkovsky / Josh Sinton – Anomic Aphasia
Abbey Rader / West Coast Quartet – First Gathering
Remote Viewers – Pitfall
Daniel Rosenboom – Astral Transference / Seven Dreams
Schnellertollermeier – X
Sound Awakener – September Traveler
The Spanish Donkey (Joe Morris / Jamie Saft / Mike Pride) – Raoul
Robert Scott Thompson – Palimpsest
Tunnels of Ah – Thus Avici
Gebhard Ullmann / Basement Research – Hat and Shoes

Honorable mentions
Aires & Rui P. Andrade – Pânico-Ambiente
Apocryphos – The Prisoner’s Cinema
Ariadne – Ex Tempore
Atomic – Lucidity
Autistici – Live at Electric Spring
Michel Banabila / Oene van Geel – Music for Viola and Electronics
Daniel Barbiero / Jimmy Ghaphery – The Convergence of Parallel Lines
Barton Rage / Bill Laswell – Realms I
Beauty School (Chandler / Djill / Heule) – Residual Ugly
Black Dirt Oak / Jantar – Presage
The Bridge Sessions – Sonic Communication
François Carrier / Michel Lambert – iO
François Carrier / Michel Lambert / Rafal Mazur – Unknowable
Brett Carson – Quattuor Elephantis
Drew Ceccato / Tommy Babin / Chris Golinski – Tor
Piotr Cisak / Pawel Oleksinski – Lao
Jeff Cosgrove / Frank Kimbrough / Martin Wind – Conversations with Owls
DarkMatterHalo – Darkness Interrupted
Discordian Community Ensemble – Draught, Suspicion
Harris Eisenstadt – Golden State II
Eliogabal – Mo
Ensemble Signal – Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
Far Rainbow – No Medicine That Can Cure a Fool
Lorenzo Feliciati – KOI
Agusti Fernández, / Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard / Bjørn – Amarnath
Cassio Figueiredo – Diario
Funerary Call – The Mirror Reversed – Part 2
Pete Furniss / Haftor Medbøe – Bitter Together
Gamardah Fungus – Bardo Thodol
Jeremy Gill – Capriccio
Vinny GoliaSolo at Gold Lion Arts
Milford Graves / Bill Laswell – Space / Time Redemption
Devin Gray – RelativE ResonancE
Gush – The March
Rich Halley / 4 Creating Structure
Ross Hammond – Flight
Ross Hammond / Catherine Sikora – Perfect Plasticity
Ross Hammond / John Bafus / Steuart Liebig – Lowburn
Hu – Vibrational – The Epic Botanical Beat Suite
ICP Orchestra – East of the Sun Net 2015
Ima x Atto Plain – Ima x Atto Plain
Iron Fist of the Sun – We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire
Henry Kaiser / Ray Russell – The Celestial Squid
The Kandinsky Effect – Somnambulist
Karjalan – Sissit Want You Dead
Kaze – Uminari
Kellari Trio (Koskinen / Innanen / Hauta-aho) – Kellari Trio
Khost – Corrosive Shroud
Locrian – Infinite Dissolution
Lone Echo (Devin Sarno) – Lone Echo (EP)
Jon Lundbom / Big Five Chord – Jeremiah
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Bird Calls
Maoz / Ilgenfritz / Ligeti – Hypercolor
Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra Galactic Parables, Vol.1
Myra Melford / Snowy Egret – Snowy Egret
Metallic Taste of Blood – Doctoring the Dead
Mz.412 – Hekatomb
Oiseaux-Tempête – Utopiya
Steve Olson Conversations
Jonah Parzen-Johnson – Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow
Craig Pedersen / Quartet – Ghosts
Pines – The Field Journal
The Quash Wagon Reclusion – A Room with Tempered Walls
Amy Reed – Solo Guitar
Rivener – Fires in Repose
Rent Romus / Life Blood – The Otherworld Cycle
John Scott (Stereocilia) – Slow Motion
Secret Keeper (Stephan Crump / Mary Halvorson) – Emerge
Sound Awakener – Be Whole
Spin Marvel – Infolding
Superimpose (Matthias Müller / Christian Marien) – Edinburgh
Tecumseh – Seven
Roger Turner & Otomo Yoshihide – The Last Train
Michael Vlatkovich / Septet – Ask 7
Eli Wallace / Jon Arkin / Karl Evangelista – Cabbages, Captain, & King
Yasunao Tone / Talibam! / Sam Kulik – Double Automatism
John Zorn – Simulacrum

AMN Picks of the Week: Robert Scott Thompson / Locrian / Roy Mattson / Autistici / Bridge Sessions

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Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Robert Scott Thompson – Play is the Supreme Bricoleur of Frail Transient Constructions (2012)
Locrian – Infinite Dissolution (2015)
Roy Mattson – Mesmer (2015)
Autistici – Live at Electric Spring (2015)
The Bridge Sessions – Sonic Communication (2015)

AMN Site News

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Happy July everyone.  I’ve been taking a break for the last few days, relaxing, and catching up on my listening. I haven’t updated all of you with the “State of Avant Music News” in a while, so…

Reviews are moving along nicely.  We’re now averaging about 15-20 a month, give or take. Interviews are moving a bit more slowly, but we hope those will pick up as well. As always, I am very grateful to our reviewers who toil away at this labor of love to share their thoughts with us.

I am thrilled to report that AMN is getting more submissions from musicians, labels, and PR folks than ever. This reflects what I take as a healthy interest in our kind of music. The down side to this is that we cannot review every release that comes our way. We’re lucky to write a few words about every 15th or 20th. In fact, we rarely have time to respond at all or even acknowledge the receipt of these recordings.  If we did, we would not be doing much of anything else. So please accept our apologies in advance if you get nothing but a deafening silence after emailing us. It sucks, but rest assured that we do read all emails and messages, and we do try to listen to all submitted material.

Soon, possibly tomorrow, I’ll be releasing AMN’s “Best of 2015 (so far)” list of recordings. In the past, this has proven to be a popular and fun exercise, and we hope you enjoy it.


Mike (and the rest of AMN)

Midyear Jazz Report From Burning Ambulance

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Via Burning Ambulance:

2015 is half over, and so far it’s been a pretty impressive year for jazz. Here are 20 titles released between January and June that are worth listeners’ attention. Most of them venture closer to classic hard bop and post-bop sounds than to the fringes of the avant-garde (two of them, Terell Stafford‘s Brotherlee Love and Tim Warfield‘s Spherical, are explicit tributes to figures from jazz’s past, albeit ones that avoid the usual pitfalls of the “[Young(ish) Guy] Plays The Music Of [Dead Guy]” album), but nothing here is boring or rote. And of course, there are lots of other worthwhile releases out there right now. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Jazz ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Newsbits: Shipp and Bisio / Evan Parker / Adam Rudolph / Smart Jazz

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British saxophonist Evan Parker

Matthew Shipp and Michael Bisio will perform on Saturday, July 25, 2015 for two shows, 7 and 9 PM, at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln St. in Denver. Tickets are $22.00, general admission and are available on the Dazzle website: or by phone at 303-839-5100.

Speaking of Shipp and Bisio, Something Else previews their new trio release with Newman Taylor Baker.

A new release from the Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet is reviewed.

Adam Rudolph‘s Go: Organic Orchestra, featuring 33 woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussion, will perform Sundays August 9, 16, 23, 30, 7:30 pm, at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music 58 Seventh Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217.

Finally, there is some evidence that listening to jazz is associated with being smart. But we knew that.

AMN Picks of the Week: Kris Davis / Sound Awakener / Eliogabal / Rob Mazurek / Hammond, Bafus, Liebig / Khost

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Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Kris Davis / Infrasound – Save Your Breath (2015)
Sound Awakener – Be Whole (2015)
Eliogabal – Mo (2015)
Rob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra – Galactic Parables, Vol.1 (2015)
Ross Hammond / John Bafus / Steuart Liebig – Lowburn (2015)
Khost – Corrosive Shroud (2015)

The Freedom Principle in Chicago

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From MCA Chicago, a display on African-American experimental art and culture, including the AACM.

The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now links the vibrant legacy of the 1960s African American avant-garde to current art and culture. It is occasioned in part by the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a still-flourishing organization of Chicago musicians whose interdisciplinary explorations expanded the boundaries of jazz. Alongside visual arts collectives such as the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), the AACM was part of a deep engagement with black cultural nationalism both in Chicago and around the world during and after the civil rights era. Combining historical materials with contemporary responses, The Freedom Principle illuminates the continued relevance of that engagement today.