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!

Horse Lords – Hidden Cities

Featuring quite peculiar synth work, funky bass and drum lines, alternative guitar melody loops and slick sax playing, the functional centre of Horse Lords’ sound rotates on a steady axis of African, Western and Eastern concepts, conveying musical ideas and cadences that are, quite frankly, perfect to read something to. However, no matter how quietly you listen to their new album, Hidden Cities, at some point or another, you’re going to look up and marvel. Containing a handful of longer pieces separated by either busy or relaxed interludes, Hidden Cities is certainly one of their best works to date and sends them further out of the depths of Baltimore and into the eerie misshapen land of prog rock.

- Fin Worrall

Kairon; IRSE! – Ujubasajuba

Finland’s Kairon; IRSE! dropped their sophomore album here this past fall, and I’m incredibly happy this thing didn’t end up slipping by me while we still have some time left in 2014.

The thick, blissful, and syrupy sounds of shoegaze are what you’ll find all over this record. Obscured vocals hiding behind layer upon layer of blaring guitars, but the band also isn’t afraid to embark upon a progressively building post-rock jam in the vain of Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra or Do Make Say Think. An unlikely fusion of genres that sounds really great in this instance.

Vladislav Delay – “Visa Medley”

This week Finnish experimental electronica extraordinaire Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay) dropped a new full-length album called Visa. On this new project, you will not find the rich dub influence of previous two LPs Vantaa and Kuopio; rather, Delay appears to be attempting a return to form…whatever that may be for him. Since the beginning, his work has in many novel ways challenged the conception of ambiance as a passive mode of music, and the five oft-sprawling pieces on Visa very much share this spirit. Delay’s music demands attention – his compositions are angular, his rhythms complex, his progressions combustive. Consequently, he has managed to remain quite a bit more “engaging” than your typical ambient artist. Lay your ears on a medley of Visa‘s tracks above, or stream the whole thing below via Delay’s Bandcamp. Enjoy!

IAYD – TBBR003

I Am Your Destruction is an Austin, TX-based electronic music project that’s just released its first full-length, which I think it self-titled. TBBR003 is just the catalog number from Thebasebit Recordings, I’m pretty sure. Title aside, this is a pretty fun album. It combines the blood-pumping drops and builds of modern EDM with the bright and glitchy grime of 8-bit music.

With the exception of a few artists, I typically find chiptune music to be a little limited. I mean, you have a multitude of artists here agreeing to center their music around 8-bit sounds, some working exclusively within that sound set. However, with IAYD, that is very much not the case. These tracks simultaneously worship at the chiptune altar, and look to bend the rules set by predecessors. Enjoy!

Hail Mary Mallon – Bestiary

Under the handle Hail Mary Mallon, infamous wordsmith Aesop Rock teamed up with the up-and-coming Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz for a rather muddled debut album in 2011, but the trio is back with a vengeance for its bassy, creative and crazy sophomore effort. Apart from the comedic theme of a fundraiser concert for a bowling alley tied into the more abstract tracks, the album doesn’t have much else in terms of a concept. But constant record scratching, throbbing bass lines and some of the rap duo’s illest flows of their respective careers make this album memorable and a great gateway to some of the world’s weirder progressive hip hop developments.

“Jonathan” and “Krill” introduce the album in a heavy, raw, baptism of fire, whereas “Hang Ten”  and the satirical “Whales” provide necessary contrast – the former boasting a quirky Middle-Eastern melody. I expected Aesop and Sonic to deliver some slick lines, so it was mostly down to  DJ Big Wiz to deliver the beats, and while there might be a slight predictability when it comes to his bass-heavy and peculiar approach to boom bap, each song has its own unique print that makes every track inspiring. The future for this project looks bright.

- Fin Worrall

Michna – “She Exists In My Mind”

Known for being somewhat of a chameleon when it comes music production, Michna has carved quite a lane for himself through the intricate mixing and melding of genres: doses of hip hop, electronica, darkened techno has allowed Michna to create a formidable music tapestry and given him the space to delve into areas once thought not feasible. His latest offering is again a combination of all the aforementioned styles. “She Exists In My Mind” is indeed a dark, stark trip inside a curious musical mind that for just over three minutes keeps the listener enthralled and guessing. Be forewarned, rewinds and head nodding will ensue greatly.

- Ron Grant

Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution

I’m no technical death metal fiend, but I’ve been warming up to the new Beyond Creation album lately, and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. These guys dropped a debut album in 2011, but Season of Mist reissuing the record in 2013 gave the band some serious momentum.

It’s not hard to figure out why a label like SoM would salivate at the prospect of working with a band like this. The playing maybe be flashy, but the writing being executed here incredibly catchy and tasteful. Not only that, but the band’s incorporation of fretless bass leads to a sound unlike any relevant technical death metal act out there today.

It’s great to hear bass playing such a pivotal role in a genre where it’s typically tacked on in the background. Plus, the fretless’ fluid, smooth tone brings finesse to a metal style that is typically a little too rigid for my ears.

I could go on, but I’d rather save something for the review, ya know? Stream Beyond Creation’s sophomore album via the widget above, and enjoy!

The Bug – “Mi Lost” ft. Miss Red

If there’s a way to hold attention, it’s to hint at a payoff that never arrives. The Bug’s trap-dub influenced beat swells quite a few times throughout the, but the song dissolves into a formless chorus before any kind of release is ever achieved. Miss Red’s vocals are a prime example of the childish delivery that has become omnipresent in British electronic music. They are passable at best and verge on grating at points. Nevertheless, The Bug’s masterful manipulation of tension alone makes the song worth a listen.

Check out a review of the latest Bug album right here.

- Garrett Cottingham

Black Rain – Dark Pool

A tense and frightening fusion of electronic music and dark ambient coming together here on this Black Rain album, which recently dropped via Blackest Ever Black. Give it a listen via the embed above, and enjoy!

From what I understand, physical copies are currently sold out, but you can still grab mp3s on Bandcamp.