Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Chicago Odense Ensemble: “Soup” [audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Chicago_Odense_Ensemble_Soup.mp3|titles=Chicago Odense Ensemble “Soup”]
Hajduch: Chicago Odense Ensemble is the latest foray of Rob Mazurek (Exploding Star Orchestra, Chicago Underground, Isotope 217)into large-group jazz fusion. He’s brought along some of his previous collaborators (Jeff Parker and Dan Bitney of Tortoise and Isotope 217; Matt Lux, also of Isotope 217) as well as some fresh faces (Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt of European psych band Causa Sui and percussionist Brian Keigher).
Producer/multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried at Sea) and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) have long and assorted ties in and around Chicago, where the two reside and contribute to the city’s vibrant underground.
Parker, in addition to his main gig in Minsk, has produced the likes of Pelican, Rwake, Unearthly Trance, Jai Alai Savant, Lair of the Minotaur, and Nachtmystium, and Lamont, outside of Yakuza, recently finished recording a solo album and regularly plays with other experimental metal and noise outfits (Decayist, Sick Gazelle) as well as improvised-jazz players (Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis).
Each man’s résumé is a mile long, and now the two have come together to pay tribute to Chicago’s late-’80s and early-’90s Wax Trax! industrial scene with their new project, Circle of Animals. A diverse and widely recognizable cast of drummers rounds out the lineup on this release, with names like Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste), John Herndon (Tortoise), John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage), and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) lending their talents.
Jazz drummer Scott Amendola has a new trio, rounded out by Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and bass troubadour John Shifflett. The appropriately named Scott Amendola Trio is set to release its debut album — though hardly a debut for any of the members — Lift on October 18.
In the winter of 2008, Danish musicians Jonas Munk and Jakob Skøtt hunkered down in a Chicago studio with locals such as Jeff Parker and Dan Bitney of Tortoise, Matt Lux of Isotope 217, and composer/cornetist Rob Mazurek of Exploding Star Orchestra and Chicago Underground Duo.
Brought together by Brian Keigher, the group of all-stars combined their unique blend of styles in total improvisation, the result of which recalls Miles Davis‘ ventures in electronic music in the early ’70s. Loose ideas and grooves come together into well-developed electro-jazz soundscapes frequently punctuated by brilliant virtuosic solos.
It’s a pretty safe bet that whoever coined the phrase “post-punk” didn’t envision Nathan Bell‘s music. Likewise, it’s unlikely that the average banjo picker ever envisioned the instrument being manipulated to produce the array of sounds that Bell wrings from his instrument.
The first show is already sold out. Get your ticket today, and while you’re at it, check out their new video for “Prepare Your Coffin” from their latest album, Beacons of Ancestorship out now on Thrill Jockey
Holy collaboration — Mike Patton and Justin Broadrick are contributing to a score by Fog‘s Andrew Broder and Adam “Doseone” Drucker for a semi-autobiographical “photographic novel” by Alan Moore. Whoa.
In other news, The Dillinger Escape Plan has signed to Season of Mist, Eyedea & Abilities has a new album, two Rodriguez-Lopezbrothers (not Omar) are releasing a debut full-length, and Múm will release a new disc in August. This and more is in the roundup.