Browsing All posts tagged under »avant-prog«

Ashley Reaks – Compassion Fatigue (1-8) (avant-prog)

October 13, 2014


'Concept’ albums have been a mixed blessing on the history of rock music. The idea that an album might have some connecting theme running through the various songs collected on it has been a controversial one, bitterly opposed at times by those with a strong doctrinal commitment to a particular model of popular music, and of rock as a subset thereof. However, some very interesting music has been articulated over a longer term than the three minute single permits, and I think rock (along with most other varieties of popular music) has long since proved its capacity as a …

Stars In Battledress – In Droplet Form (avant-folk)

September 30, 2014


Music needs to be comprehensible; it is, after all, a form of communication. The more readily digestible it is, however, and the more easily it slips down, the fewer hooks there are to hang any unique meanings on it. There is an inherently unstable dialectic between the familiar and the novel, and somewhere around the mid-point of that duality’s oscillations are the sites at which it resonates with its listeners. The strangeness with which Stars In Battledress tend to strike the listener’s ear is not that of complete unfamiliarity; indeed, their music’s harmonies are primarily built

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 8, 2014


Richard Pinhas and Yoshida Tatsuya are legendary figures in the French and Japanese experimental rock scenes, respectively. ‘Experimental’ is a term that implies a bit of diversity, and the projects they’ve been involved with have covered quite a range of approaches, so there is nothing predictable about this record, and nor would there have been, whatever it sounded like. Pinhas is a guitarist with a penchant for live looping technology, which he uses here to create shimmering skeins of sound rather than hard-edged rhythmic repetitions, mutating colour fields with texturally filigreed surfaces and pelagically roiling depths. He uses quite pronounced distortion, which takes the music into the fringes of noise, but it is soft and warm, amniotically …

Regal Worm – Use and Ornament (avant-prog)

June 15, 2014


‘Detail’ seems to be the watchword by which this album was conceived and constructed; I hesitate to say that it’s all about the arrangements, as it’s clearly about much more, but a conspicuously enormous amount of effort has gone into them. Ideas abound in every area, in an album which is clearly a paean to much of the best music that progressive rock has produced; stylistic cues come from many sources, including folk, jazz and sixties psych-pop, and melodic or harmonic devices are presented in a rapidly cycling kaleidoscope of nuanced affective conditions. However, it is in the constant, subtly modulated…

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

May 28, 2014


Kibou Records is everything I talk about but don’t actually do. It’s a totally independent, DIY music label and online distributor, dedicated to uncompromising underground music, of the noisy punk variety. It’s basically the Revolution, as described by French anarchists The Invisible Committee, a parallel structure that is a challenge to the status quo simply by virtue of its existence. If everyone with music to distribute did this, and everyone bought their music from outfits like this, the corporate music industry would shrivel up and die. Of course the success of such an …

Matt Stevens – Lucid (avant-rock)

April 4, 2014


Matt Stevens has a particular approach as a solo performer; he gigs on his own, with an acoustic guitar, and he plays instrumental music. He’s a great player, but he doesn’t tackle the challenge of solo performance by throwing a heap of complex technique at the problem; instead, he uses live looping technology to accompany himself. He builds up a pattern of rhythm and harmony, in anything from one to several layers, and plays melody over the top (or not, depending on what else is going on). You can see this if you go to one of his gigs. He’ll start playing, then after a while he’ll stop, but what he’s just been …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

March 26, 2014


In the best tradition of underground music, it’s not entirely clear what Milktoast Music is; probably not a label in the traditional sense. More likely a collective of closely related musical projects, I would imagine. This album includes tracks from four of the six acts listed on their website, with those by Richard Pickman in preponderance, and several credited to the label, which are presumably collaborative efforts. The music is humorous and wantonly bizarre, although also quite accessible, and peppered with science-fiction samples. In style, it echoes the timbres of chiptune, with retro digital synths and …