Strange sounds and sound-scapes from the avant-garde, here you'll find our picks from the fringes of the musical landscape. Synth witches and wizards, psychedelic explorers, modern composers, and oddities across the spectrum are all covered here.
Tim Hecker Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again & Radio Amor
The launch of the 21st century saw the birth of a string of notable computer-process reinventions of the electric guitar. Included in the ranks of these "laptop guitarists," one could find Christian Fennesz, Oren Ambarchi, Sébastien Roux, and Canada's Tim Hecker. As heard on his collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin, none of these artists have taken the guitar to further reaches and greater abstraction than Hecker. Out of print on vinyl for over a decade, Hecker's first two brilliant forays into guitar obfuscation are reissued on the Kranky label this month in gently remastered editions.
Roy Montgomery Suffuse
Speaking on guitar obfuscation, we've also gotten in a brand new recording from Roy Montgomery. A veteran of the forward thinking New Zealand musical tradition, Roy has many records full of meditative guitar explorations to his name. His hallmark sound is here, layered lo-fi electrics building a misty buzz of sound, though this record is distinct for featuring a number of notable guest vocalists. From Liz Harris of Grouper to Haley Fohr of Circuit Des Yeux, it's a veritable who's-who of young voices of experimental music.
Alice Coltrane Lord of Lords
The always excellent Superior Viaduct label has put another of the classic Alice Coltrane records back in print. Lord of Lords (1972) is a stunning excursion into spiritual jazz recorded with a full orchestra and a stellar rhythm section. Alice's harp playing is of course free and beautiful. If you've only heard Journey in Satchidananda, this would be a great place to get deeper into this highly rewarding catalog.
MKWAJU Ensemble KI-Motion
The excellent reissue label WRWTFWW have dug up another gem from the deep 1980s Japanese underground. Much in the way of Midori Takada's lost masterpiece, "Through The Looking Glass," this is an album of trance-inducing minimalist rhythm explorations. Fusing marimba, vibraphone, bamboo percussion, and synthesizers, KI-Motion marks the beginning of Takada's forays into the intersection of African rhythmic tradition and late 20th century ambient music.
Simonetti / Pignatelli / Morante TENEBRAE (O.S.T.)
So basically, this is Goblin, the Italian ur-horror-synth ensemble. One of the most fruitful runs of film-maker / soundtrack-composer partnerships has to be the collaboration through the 70s and early 80s of Goblin and director Dario Argento. This was their last pairing but my personal introduction to their work together. As such, it's long been a personal favorite of the form, and finally back in print!
Derek Bailey Aida
Initiation to the truly strange edges of what music can be must involve hearing Derek Bailey. The master guitar improviser twists and transforms what you can imagine the instrument can be used for. His records are notoriously hard to come by, but here is a reissue of Aida, his pure solo excursion from 1980. Initiate yourself!