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The two unlikely compatriots are actually old associates: 74-year-old Wadada Leo Smith, active since the late 1960s, allowed 45-year-old Vijay Iyer to play in a quartet with him. While Smith lingers on just a few crucial notes within each piece—rendering them either as murmurs or guttural attacks—Iyer relishes the boundless, genre-defying freedom of the duet format.
He creates sweeping contrasts with creeper vines of bunched-up piano clusters, muted Rhodes splats, and electroacoustic tremors.
The band’s unerring sense of inertia neatly balances these proggier touches with a steely compositional sense.
— moving collaboration between a confirmed free-improv legend and a comparatively youthful polyglot with a wide variety of jazz, contemporary classical, and pop music bonafides.
The plot rises and crashes on Khan’s pristine, often spectral voice, which navigates the ins and outs of heartache and tragedy with a disquieting serenity, as if she’s still waiting at the crash site in her wedding dress, long after her love has gone, embittered and alone.
— On their fourth full-length, Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu consolidate their claim on the figurative space between atmospheric black metal’s thin air and blackgaze’s celestial strain.
There was plenty to mourn over within music itself, as we said farewell to David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Phife Dawg, Sharon Jones, and too many others.
But nevertheless, we found comfort in song: Solange’s meditations, Chance the Rapper’s spirituality, Bruno Mars’s throwback levity.
Theirs is the sound of crafts disintegrating in high orbit, dead stars crumbling into gravitational fields, and the hypoxia of cosmic irrelevance.