Glenn Astarita

Glenn Astarita

This Germany-based trio artfully expresses the lower register realm, framed on a program that enables the musicians to share equal ground and incorporate a concentrated focus, cloaking a major portion of the album. With growling basses, sinewy arco-passages and the use of objects to alter sounds and provide an ethereal framework, the musicians uncannily tender motifs that could sometimes allude to the use of background electronics. In a sense, the trio plays tricks with your psyche, abetted by darkly resonating notes and supple passages. They often intimate a sacred rite of passage amid several spikes and interconnecting movements, signaling understated buoyancy.

New York City-reared veteran and well-travelled drummer Tony Bianco has been a mainstay in global modern jazz and improvisational circles amid prolific engagements with sax pioneers Evan Parker and David Liebman. Here, he aligns with youthful European inventors, guitarist Michel Delville (The Wrong Object) and nascent saxophonist Jordi Grognard for a program that pushes the envelope via structural baselines and heavy doses of improvisation.

The young HUBRO record label issues LPs and CDs by Norwegian artists, pursuing improvisation that touches upon indigenous folk, jazz, minimalism, electronica and avant-garde metrics. As the second album by the trio 1982 offers a striking audio perspective via its unusual instrumentation. With deep-rooted and slightly disfigured Scandinavian folk, the band casts a vista akin to a solemn winter evening sprawled across farmland-like vistas under a full moon, amid a few highly-charged spikes in the action.

Even though this album by Swiss artist Christoph Erb (reeds) and Chicagoans, Jim Baker (synth & piano) and Michael Zerang (percussion) is often centered on avant-garde sound-shaping implementations, their keen use of space looms as an added instrument. Therefore, it's not always what is stated that counts because the trio leaves room for interpretation and as a result, the program isn't clouded with excesses or superfluous content. Indeed, unorthodox and spiked with minimalism, the musicians explore the capabilities of their instruments via this polytonal endeavor that tenders an undulating environment, spawned by buzzing frameworks and laconic tonal swashes.

The debut album for Housecore Records by this modern psychedelic outfit summons the late 1960's hippie culture, shaded by a modern glean, and strikes a harmonious chord amid the album cover art that at first glance may signify a Sci-Fi western featuring zombies as the outlaws. Maybe an old wine in new bottles thing, but the ensemble's rewarding factors lie within memorable comps. With a touch of progressive-rock amid haunting lyricism, the studio engineering processes embed or perhaps simulate a purist, analog-like soundstage. Featuring psychedelic and hard-rock guitar parts, climactic movements, and a touch of antiquity, the band also embraces the pop-rock spectrum.

Highly-regarded saxophonist and composer Jack Wilkins morphs a holistic viewpoint derived from Appalachian Mountains culture and spins a hip, Americana vibe into the modern jazz vernacular.  Where other projects of a similar nature fail due to superfluous content or perhaps lean too heavily on one genre, Wilkins' mood-evoking sentiment and zesty arrangements proclaim a well-rounded scenario.

With inferences to metal-drenched avant-garde jazz, sounds of doom, and crazed electronica based free-jazz; Combat Astronomy's fourth album extends its bizarre, apocalyptic spin on cross-genre stylizations.  With notable British experimentalists and avant-garde perpetrators shaping the crazed vistas, leader, conceptualizer, and five-string electric bassist James Huggett lays down some of the heaviest bass lines known to mankind with guerrilla tactics and calamitous sound-sculpting maneuvers.  Huggett overdubs bass lines within various parts, and needless to say, envelops an ominous undercurrent throughout the broad plane of lower and upper-register tonal contrasts.

Avant-garde or free-form improvisation doesn't always need to be austere or devoid of character. Essentially, these U.K., based improvisers reaffirm those notions in vibrant fashion via these invigorating works recorded at a home studio and live performances in London.

It's a modernist's dream band, featuring venerable solo and session artists who are among the top pace-setters in progressive-rock. Here, touch guitarist, bassist Trey Gunn (King Crimson), guitarist Henry Kaiser and drummer Morgan Agren (Mats/Morgan Band) burn holes through solid steel walls and formulate an avant-garde spin on the roads previously traversed.

This European quartet presents a study in striking contrasts. It's sort of an all-inclusive type foray where psychedelic guitar parts chime with spacey overtones, modern jazz and free-form expansionism. The primary differentiator pertains to the band's stylistic mode of operations via cunning arrangements and energized improvisational segments. However, melody is a prime focus and sprinkled throughout the program amid some tender moments along the way.