AMN Picks of the Week: Halley, Shipp, Bisio & Baker / Aaron Novik / Kyle Motl & Zach Rowden / Moloch Conspiracy / John Zorn

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.

Halley / Shipp / Bisio / Baker – Terra Incognita (2019)
Aaron Novik – The Fallow Curves (2019)
Kyle Motl / Zach Rowden – Gristle (2019)
Moloch Conspiracy – Baclou (2019)
John Zorn / Sofia Rei – The Book Beri’ah: Keter (2018)
John Zorn / Cleric – The Book Beri’ah: Chokhma (2018)

AMN Most Popular Reviews of 2019 (So Far)

Here at AMN, we try to write as many reviews as we can. There never is enough time and so much fantastic music goes uncovered. Below is a of the 20 most popular reviews that we have published so far in 2019. Enjoy.

  1. David Torn, Tim Berne and Ches Smith – Sun of Goldfinger (2019; ECM Records)
  2. Magma – Zess (2019; Seventh Records)
  3. The Dead C – Rare Ravers (2019; Ba Da Bing Records)
  4. Various Artists – Anthology of Contemporary Music from Africa Continent [Unexplained Sounds Group]; Maurice Louca – Elephantine [Sub Rosa SRV474]
  5. Massimo Pupillo & Tony Buck – Time Being and Unseen (2019; Trost Records)
  6. Anna Webber – Clockwise (2019; Pi Recordings)
  7. Matt Mitchell – Phalanx Ambassadors (2019; Pi Recordings)
  8. Matthew Shipp Trio – Signature (2019; ESP Disk)
  9. Sam Rivers – Emanation [No Business Records NBCD118]
  10. Pat O’Reilly – Three Sheets to the Wind (2019; Gold Bolus)
  11. Ni – Pantophobie (2019; Dur et Doux Records)
  12. Jessica Pavone – In the Action (2019; Relative Pitch Records)
  13. Post-Haste Reed Duo – Donut Robot! [Bandcamp]; Lori Freedman – Excess [Dame cqb 1923]
  14. Sly & The Family Drone – Gentle Persuaders (Love Love Records)
  15. FIMAV 2019 Days 1 and 2
  16. João Pedro Viegas, Luiz Rocha, Silvia Corda & Adriano Orrù – Unknown Shores [Amirani AMRN058]
  17. Jakob Heinemann – Latticework [Scripts Records]; Matt Nelson – Starting [Eschatology Records ER-005]
  18. Bearthoven / Scott Wollschleger – American Dream [Cantaloupe CA21145]
  19. The Cloudwatchers – S/T [Unexplained Sounds Group]; Ståle Storløkken – The Haze of Sleeplessness [Hubro HUBROCD2616]
  20. Jon Wesseltoft and Balazs Pandi – Terreng (2019; Moving Furniture Records)

AMN Most Popular Posts of 2019 (So Far)

Afraid that you’ve missed something in the realm of weird music? Fear not! Below you will find a listing of the 10 most popular non-review posts so far this year.

  1. RIP Joseph Jarman
  2. Avant Music News Best of 2018: Part II – Albums of the Year
  3. Avant Music News Best of 2018: Part I – Honorable Mentions
  4. Pi Recordings to Release Pair of Art Ensemble of Chicago Recordings
  5. First Show of the Frank Zappa Hologram Tour Reviewed
  6. Sun of Goldfinger US Tour in March and April
  7. Matthew Shipp Stone Residency, May 7-11
  8. Top 10 Experimental Music Festivals
  9. RIP Alvin Fielder
  10. 50 ECM Reissues, Part 1

AMN Reviews: Moloch Conspiracy – Baclou (2019; Eighth Tower Records)

Baclou is the name for a Guyanese evil spirit that can be summoned to do harm to a person. There are varying descriptions of a Baclou’s physical appearance, none of them appealing. Baclou is also the title of an experimental release from Moloch Conspiracy (Julien Lacroix), and is based on Lacroix’s experience in French Guyana.

Instrumentally, Lacroix uses cello, malaka, djembe, tama, detuned piano, synthesizers, and field recordings. Thus, this release should not be confused with the more strictly synth-oriented Northern European style of dark ambient music. Instead, it reflects on Lacroix’s venture into the tropical jungle with a heady, organic mix of birdsong, shakers, sparse percussion, and crackling elements. Behind this are slow, menacing waves of synths, cello drones, and bursts of white noise. The result is a suffocating amalgam that evokes the humid, equatorial environment, as well as the voodoo that still influences the inhabitants’ beliefs.

Ultimately, Baclou offers an oppressive psychedelia embodying both natural and supernatural dangers.  Not unlike last year’s Cave of Metaphysical Darkness & Lights, Lacroix intrepidly explores a tenebrous theme in an immersive fashion. Well done, indeed.