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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dylan Ryan / Sand: Circa

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Following up the well-received Sky Bleached (2012, Cuneiform Records), drummer Dylan Ryan and his trio continue their full-blown aerial assault on conventional power trio mechanisms. Think of spaced out jazz rock with asymmetrical doses of Black Sabbath, avant- garde breakouts, and brooding rhythmic tirades, culminated with the art of improvisation. Guitarist Timothy Young's (Wayne Horvitz, David Sylvian) sustain driven single note lines, howling plaintive cries and grizzly crunch chords ride atop Ryan and bassist Devon Hoff's forceful manifesto, modeled with pumping pulses and driving rock grooves. Works such as “Visionary Fantasy" feature devastating thematic overtures, sketched out by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Leon Alvarado: 2014 - Music From An Expanded Universe

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Texas native, keyboardist Leon Alvarado is a true student of the progressive rock genre, citing the customary troupe of icons such as ELP, Yes, and Jethro Tull as influences, paired with his previous Independent and well-received album, Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff (2009). On this EP, Alvarado employs bassist, Warr guitarist Trey Gunn who rose to promise as a member of latter day King Crimson. During his plan of action with Gunn, Alvarado sought to impart a King Crimson-lite touch perhaps as an existential veil that is coated with atmospherics and famed session drummer Jerry Marotta's (Peter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Matt Stevens: Lucid

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Among other positives, British guitar-slinger Matt Stevens (Fierce, The Dead) reminds us why King Crimson founder, guitarist Robert Fripp has been such an influential force. And Stevens keeps it in the family by utilizing latter day Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto's fierce chops on one track. The guitarist's zinging sustain lines, gargantuan crunch chords and use of delays, loops and other sonic niceties is supplemented by his energizing compositions and picturesquely executed acoustic guitar interludes. But the proceedings zoom off the radar from the onset with the Crimson Red era piece “Oxymoron," complete with Stuart Marshall's resonating backbeats and the leader's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Plasmic: Live At Chilli Jazz Festival 2013

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This European outfit started as a trio in 2003, and extended its reach by integrating avant-vocalist Agnes Heginger into its rather pliant mode of operations amid some asymmetrical shenanigans, devious interactions and shifty dialogues. The live recording imparts an air of excitement into your listening space, as the artists' push and prod each other within the idea department. And each musician is a catalyst at various times throughout the course of the program, including Heginger's skittish vocalizing and extraterrestrial -like discourses. The improvisation element is comprised of topsy-turvy mini-motifs stitched together into a polytonal mosaic. On “Salita," the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet: Afterimage

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Boston, MA area pianist, composer Pandelis Karayorgis brandishes his magic at a Chicago venue with some of the Windy City's finest improvisers. He shifts many concepts with odd-metered progressions while straddling the avant-garde spectrum amid a manifesto based on cohesive discourses, where the hornists may purposely lag behind the beat or bust out into commodious movements. Karayorgis is a perceptive composer, whether he ingrains a smoky blues motif with sinuous phrasings or positions the band into a manifold gait where modern and mainstream jazz interlock with free-bop and scorching dialogues by the frontline. Thus, nothing seems out of scope, but ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Lucas Niggli - Andreas Schaerer: Arcanum

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Whether leading his Drum Quartet, seven-piece Zoom ensemble or supporting fabled improvisers, bassist Barry Guy and guitarist Fred Frith, Swiss drummer Lucas Niggli is not one to play it safe or dodge risk-taking processes. His mantra is firmly implanted in a musical world that is assuredly outside the box, after appearing on nearly two-dozen albums for Intakt Records. On Arcanum, Niggli takes another leap of faith by teaming with free-form vocalist Andreas Schaerer. Besides the drummer's colossal sound and enviable technique, the twosome sparks esoteric dialogues, perhaps signaling tribal music for the modern era with an air of antiquity, especially ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zebrina: Hamidbar Medaher

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Eminent American clarinetist Ben Goldberg is an integral component of this Canadian ensemble's buoyant and cleverly articulated blend of traditional Jewish music, rock and modern jazz for John Zorn's enterprising New York-based Tzadik record label. In effect, the band traverses through luxuriant musical terrain, comprised of popping grooves, hummable melodic hooks and crisp, keys-based jazz fusion amid some multihued electronics effects for shading and to intersperse a few off-kilter foibles into the program. Moreover, Goldberg's supple lines often outline the melodic component as keyboardist Jonathan Feldman and guitarist Joel Schwartz receive ample soloing opportunities throughout. The artists' transparent ...



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