Published on October 21st, 2019 | by Aaron Scholz0
Nü Directions in Modern Music Vol. 3
Nü Directions in Modern Music is a Feedback column that quickly reviews and promotes music that explores new terrain and pushes the boundaries of convention.
Welcome back for the second edition of Nü Directions! If you like any of the artists featured, please consider buying their tape/LP/CD or at least throwing $5 at the bandcamp link for a download. Support the artists you appreciate. Get at me on Twitter for recommendations, submissions, and dialogue at @aaronscholz_.
Mitelli, Gabriele & Rob Mazurek – Star Splitter (Clean Feed)
Only loosely a jazz album, Mitelli and Mazurek team up for a dizzying collaborative album based on Robert Frost’s poem of the same name. Four planets from our solar system are chosen for examination, and in each piece a cosmic collage of cornets, saxophones, electronics and voice are joined. Everything is carefully executed and makes for quite the astral journey.
Munson, Chad – Surface Tension (Muzan Editions)
After a three year absence, Chad Munson returns with another beautiful ambient work that builds upon his repertoire of methodical and systematic sound stacking. Released on a one-time limited run tape by Japanese label Muzane Editions, Surface Tension pulses, throbs and clicks away beautifully. Like a Jenga game, synths and guitars are stacked atop each other and then select pieces removed to make way for something new to be inserted. But the magnitude of Chad’s music is best enjoyed in a live setting when his performance partner Lindsey Rewuski accompanies him. Catch them both on a western Canadian tour this fall.
Okay Vivian / Brigitte Bardon’t – Split 7” (No Exist)
Two artists from different parts of the world meet on this eerie limited edition 7” lathe cut. Canadian vocalist Brigitte Bardon’t performs a pop-concrète rendition of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” underneath radio static and samples of a broadcast discussing abuse. Turkish performer Okay Vivian sings breathily over sparse and spooky instrumentation. Both very strong and different compositions, but they are certainly at home together here.
Jordan Reyes – Close (American Dreams)
A weird, warbly synthesizer record that explores Reyes’ themes of sobriety and his search for greater meaning. Those who are familiar with modular synthesis and its seemingly endless possibilities will be interested. While it is not exactly a relaxing listen, it is a curious one. The waveforms hit the ear rather hard, but I think of it as an aural punctuation on the artist’s statement on defeating his addiction and finding the path forward.
Sunwatchers – Illegal Moves (Trouble in Mind)
The raucous psychedelic free jazz of Sunwatchers is masterful. Named in tribute to Albert Ayler, the band finds and settles on grooves only to freak out freely with saxophone and wah-laden guitar. The album is an exciting listen and includes a cover of Alice Coltrane’s “Ptah, the el Daoud” played in playful fashion, but with a rock ‘n roll wildness that brings a fresh feeling to the number.