Artist: Louis de Mieulle | Album: Side$how | Genre: Progressive rock, Jazz fusion | Year: 2019
From: New York, USA | Label: Dalang Records
For fans of: Return to Forever, Magma, Brainticket, Probably a lot of those jazzy instrumental metal acts I don’t like
Buy: Bandcamp | Apple Music
I’ve been pretty open in my general hesitance toward instrumental albums. I’m not the kind of person to pay attention to lyrics, but the human voice adds so much character to music, which can be quite difficult to make up for with just instruments. I don’t believe I’ve discussed it in any great detail on this site—though I’ve made a few comments about it on Reddit—but I am also not a fan of the current zeitgeist of jazzy, instrumental rock and metal epitomized by acts like Intervals, Plini, and Sithu Aye. So much of it just sounds like aimless, speedy noodling. Thank God this album avoids those pitfalls magnificently.
French-born bassist and composer Louis de Mieulle’s newest album, Side$how, is a constantly-engaging blend of ambitious instrumental progressive rock with many trappings of jazz. Touches of electronic genres and krautrock crop up throughout this release’s 41-minute runtime. Consisting of eight songs, titled “Bed of Nails, Part 1-8”, the music was mostly improvised and recorded live by de Mieulle, a pair of keyboardists, and a drummer. Continue reading “Album Review: Louis de Mieulle – Side$how”
Band: De Lorians | Album: De Lorians | Genre: Progressive rock, Jazz fusion | Bandcamp
The debut from this Japanese quintet is a brain-melting 32-minute instrumental excursion full of Zappaesque weirdness and flavors of Japanese zeuhl. Saxophones and guitars often trade the lead, twisting out weird solos over a jazzy rhythm section. Hints of the weirder end of the Canterbury sound, a la The Soft Machine, can be heard, particularly in the way the keys are utilized. These eccentricities can, at times, feel scattershot and unfocused, which does detract from the experience.
Score: 76/100 Continue reading “Odds & Ends – August 26, 2019”
Band: Perilymph | Album: Deux | Genre: Krautrock, Progressive rock | Year: 2019
From: Berlin, Germany | Label: Six Tonnes de Chair Records
For fans of: Brainticket, Vespero, early Föllakzoid
Buy: Bandcamp | Amazon | Apple Music
Germany has been at the epicenter of cosmic, experimental rock music that incorporates electronic elements since the early 1970s. The genre is called krautrock, after all. (The term was initially—rightly, in my view—rejected by German artists; the English music press invented the term in order to write off the movement.) Perilymph both adheres to and bucks this genre’s Germanness: this act is a one-man project based in Berlin, though the man behind it, Fabien de Menou, is French.
Regardless of whence Perilymph hails, Deux, this act’s second release, is a wonderful blend of psychedelia, progressive rock, and spacey textures. Continue reading “Album Review: Perilymph – Deux”
Odds and Ends is a segment where I do brief reviews of albums I either didn’t prioritize for longer-form reviews, or ones for which I don’t have that much to say.
Band: Boltzmann Brain | Album: Spacesquid Brain | Genre: Krautrock, Noise rock | Bandcamp
I wanted to like this album a lot more than I did, largely because of its super-cool album art. However, the dissonance is simply too much for me on this release, and the songs often feel unfocused and meandering. If the band were to tone down some of the more shrieking noises, this would be enjoyable, jammy krautrock. I’m sure the dissonance is intentional, but it more often than not comes off as amateurish, rather than daring and deliberate.
Band: Branch of Yore | Album: Kingdom of the First Time | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp
This is a nice, gentle album. Lush synths are the primary instrument on this release, and the vocals are sung delicately and treated with ample reverb. That approach gives this whole release a floating feeling. While I wouldn’t call this album particularly jazzy, many of the keyboard tones are reminiscent of jazz acts. By the end of the album, it does begin to sound a bit same-y, but it’s a nice release overall.
Score: 75/100 Continue reading “Odds and Ends – May 6, 2019”