avant-garde Archive

Album Mini-review: Homme — Homme

File Next to: KT Tunstall, The Roches, Radiohead With electric guitars (run through a Leslie speaker cabinet and other assorted effects) and close yet vocal-acrobatic harmonies, the experimental yet inviting sonic approach of this Chicago duo suggests an otherworldly combination of Nirvana and The Roches. Just when you think they’re going to be some kind

Album Mini-review: Sunn O))) – Kannon

File next to: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Earth, Glenn Branca It’s easy to dismiss the pummeling, sludgy, drone-rock of Sunn O))) as noise; even fans of the group might happily admit that noise isn’t an unfair word to describe the group’s music. But behind the dense sonic curtain of their non-tempo music – there’s nothing

Ahleuchatistas’ Arrebato: Wordless Tributes to the DIY Aesthetic

Even in the fertile musical ground of WNC, Asheville isn’t really known as a hotbed of avant-garde musical adventures. But the two-man group Ahleuchatistas are nothing if not sonic explorers. The touring act came home to Asheville for a free-admission show to celebrate their new album release at Mothlight on Friday, November 20. Variously described

Concert Review: Jaga Jazzist — Asheville NC, 23 June 2015

Demonstrating yet again that – more than sixty-odd years after the dawn of rock’n’roll – popular music idioms remain fertile ground for experimentation and cross-fertilization, Jaga Jazzist combines rock, jazz, electronica, trip-hop, and who-knows-what-else into music that is all and none of those things at once. And as their recent show at New Mountain in

Album Mini-review: Tyondai Braxton — HIVE1

File Next to: David Byrne and Brian Eno, TR-i Son of legendary jazz improv master Anthony Braxton, Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles) has set out to make a name of his own. The experimental HIVE work was initially commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process initiative. Employing multiple musicians manipulating content via laptop computers,

Album Reviews: Four from The Residents

Though they initially submitted demo recordings to major record labels (the bootleg The Warner Brothers Tapes documents the most notorious of these), the inscrutable collective that once jokingly billed themselves “North Louisiana’s Phenomenal Pop Combo” released most of their albums on their own Ralph Records label. That entity – though not The Residents themselves –

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 3

I’m not complaining; it’s a good problem to have. But even after culling the ones I don’t like (and skipping the ones that impress me only mildly), I still end up with a massive pile of albums for review. And when said pile gets out of hand, I do a string of 100-word reviews. I’m

Festival Review: Big Ears Festival 2015, Part 2

Continued from Part One… Next, it was drone time. The minimalist work of the duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen (joined by three additional musicians) was delivered in the bright, daylit room at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The hypnotic vibe of the group’s work lent itself to simply sitting back and closing one’s

Festival Review: Big Ears Festival 2015, Part 1

Typically, I don’t make a point of attending “kickoff events” at the start of music festivals. My thinking is that they’re generally an opportunity to spotlight the event sponsors and so forth. That’s all well and good, but it’s not, strictly speaking, entertainment. But since I had gone to Moogfest 2014‘s opening event and enjoyed

Rick Wakeman, Cannonball Adderley, and Me

Today I’m going to indulge in a brief change of pace. I’d like to tell you about a pair of reissues with which I am involved. I won’t be reviewing either title – what would be the point? – but suffice to say that if I didn’t think they are superb albums, I wouldn’t have