Burial Hex – “The Hierophant”

Burial Hex, the well established pseudonym of experimental singer-songwriter Clay Ruby, has reached its calculated end. Last week, Ruby put out The Hierophant, the most graceful finish conceivable for his long-running project. On past efforts, Burial Hex almost always had me wondering at what point a piece of music might be considered sui generis – his style has clear elements of darkwave, death industrial, and modern classical music, but this has always struck me as a trifling observation to say the least. I believe The Hierophant, fittingly Ruby’s most holistic statement to date, confirms this. So, I can really only set up the above title track by calling it a “Burial Hex song” and hope that’s enough to grab your attention.

Although this ‘death’ was prophesied or whatever, I can’t help but be sad that there won’t be any more Burial Hex music. Fingers crossed that like the recently concluded Dirty Beaches, Ruby will continue exploring his own sound under different names, but as is, he has given us one of the greatest avant-garde albums of the year. Anyway, I feel I should pay my respects: R.I.P. Burial Hex.

The Hierophant is out now via Handmade Birds.

Living In Frames – “Can’t Dream”

Previously mentioned Living In Frames has a new single titled “Can’t Dream,” and it’s a joyous exercise in ambient maximalism. There lies no subtlety in the wailing production on this song, nor should there be. Beginning with a beautiful and layered chord progression, the song consistently hints at dropping into dance territory. However, every time the booming steps threaten to overshadow the song–at 2:40 the song literally teases a 2010-esque dubstep drop–they quickly dissolve away again. Living In Frames is not afraid to employ every sound at his disposal: dark ghost vocals, harsh reverb, glittery synths to fill out the sound, but most importantly, an ear for incredible melodies.

- Garrett Cottingham

Black Spirituals – “Radiant”

With Of Deconstruction, Oakland free improvisation duo Black Spirituals has delivered one of the year’s greatest potpourri albums. Bassist and electronics operator Zachary James Watkins and percussionist Marshall Trammell found each of the album’s three substantial pieces on simple and vague grooves, exploring every bit of space they have to offer. Above, check out 20-minute opener “Radiant,” which rides modulated bass riffs, flourishes of static noise, and skittering drum fills through countless phases. Its effortless fusion of such styles as noise rock, avant-garde metal, EAI, free-jazz, and freaking cumbia, makes this perhaps the most expressive rock project I’ve heard all year. Enjoy!

Of Deconstruction is out now via SIGE Records. Although this is only Black Spirituals’ debut, they have apparently already garnered the attention of eminent electronic art musician and theorist Pauline Oliveros, who contributes a quote to the album’s Bandcamp page. Way to go!

Guerilla Toss – “367 Equalizer” (Video)

Often, Guerilla Toss is revered as one of the noisier, more comprehensive American punk bands, with screeching vocals and wide instrumentals that makes up for what it lacks in melody with drive, energy and chaos. “367 Equaliser” is the comparatively quite friendly track, released earlier this year, which now features a music video that is as bizarre as the song is groovy (which is a lot). The drumming is relaxed, the bassline is funky, the singing is more controlled than usual, and overall the song seems to have been more thoughtful and direct, which a big change for a band whose bassist usually likes to take his pants off on stage. The video features moving animations which often mesh and weave into the next. The animations themselves are basic and totally abstract, which lends to the independent art idea that I think they set out to achieve. The song and video are a subtly well thought out combination, and is certainly a league above the previous attempt for the track “Drip Decay” in 2013. Perhaps the group are channelling their creativity more towards the art side than the punk in their widening genre spectrum – but either way, the results are interesting.

- Fin Worrall

Dead Neanderthals – Prime

Get ready for the most pummeling 40 minutes of music in 2014.

Prime is the latest release from Holland jazz trio Dead Neanderthals, and the band pulls absolutely no punches on their album posted above, which is just one immense free jazz track. It’s a wild and overwhelming listen, and not for the faint of heart. Enjoy!

Last Lizard – “Dickie’s Theme” / “Detroit” (Excerpt)

Last month, Alex Zhang Hungtai announced the laying to rest of his long-running and acclaimed no-wave singer-songwriter alias Dirty Beaches. The recently released Stateless was packed with gorgeous drones and was thankfully an elegant end for the project.

There was a silver lining to this news: Hungtai announced that new music under different handles would be coming as soon as 2015. Lo and behold, he has already delivered over 20 minutes of music under the pseudonym Last Lizard. The 18-minute-long “Dickie’s Theme” and the below 4 minute excerpt from “Detroit” are billed as “tenor sax and tape experiments,” in a similar vein as some of the material on Stateless. Try to imagine The Disintegration Loops constructed only out of layered tenor sax sounds – if you can, then you ought to have a good idea of what you’re in for.

R.I.P. Dirty Beaches. Long live Last Lizard!

Andy Stott – Faith In Strangers

UK electronic music producer Andy Stott comes through with a new record that further melds the worlds of techno and textured, noisy dark ambient music. You can stream Faith In Strangers above, which is getting released on Modern Love this week. Enjoy, and check out a review for Stott’s last full-length right here.

Gazelle Twin – Anti Body EP

Previously mentioned musical oddity Gazelle Twin has a new EP out centered around one of the pivotal cuts from her new full-length album, Unflesh. “Anti Body” is an unsettling musical experience, featuring rigid, industrially tinged kick drums, and some eerily whispered lead vocals. For all it’s unorthodoxy, it’s actually somewhat catchy.

Check this track out, a b-side, and a few remixes via the embed above.

Wilting Sun – Self-Titled

Some strange and relaxing drone and experimental music on this new Wilting Sun album here. While Wilting Sun is careful not to step into anything too accessible, there’s quite a bit of variety on the six tracks here. Some tracks, like the intro here, deliver a mind-numbing drone, but manage to maintain an unsettling atmosphere pregnant with tension. Other moments sound like they’re pulled straight out of the Tim Hecker or Boards of Canada playbook, combining beautifully haunting melodies with soul-crushing noise and fuzz . As the name implies, the music of Wilting Sun is apocalyptic, desolate, and an ideal soundtrack for the end times.

Kijinoise – Kijinoise XIV

Here’s something that caught my ears while wading through Bandcamp earlier today. Kijinoise is a Chinese musician who has been uploading projects quite prolifically since late last month, using solely a guitar to deliver a fuzzy fusion of drone, noise, progressive rock, doom, and free improvisational elements. The results haven’t been totally mind-blowing thus far, but I must say the textures of this self-titled debut are actually quite nice, almost achieving a Sunn O)))-level heaviness at points. Find this guy a label! In the meantime, I’ll just wait a few more days for another release.

Update: It appears as though all the above linked projects have been consolidated into this first one, since renamed Kijinoise XIV.