[2008] Daniel Levin Trio - Fuhuffah

By request... Daniel Levin in cello, Håker-Flaten (The Thing) in bass, Gerard Cleaver in drums.

Buy it directly from Clean Feed here.

[2011] Valborg - Barbarian

The most active Zeitgester Music project as of lately (considering the latest three albums), Valborg's new album is a followup of the sound established in Crown of Sorrow, combining several influences and aesthetics in their music ranging from progressive rock to death and doom metal, making their music hard to describe at first.
Similar enough, however, to the likes of late Celtic Frost and Triptykon (specially the latter), and this comparison is fair given their participation in Tom Warrior's Roadburn Festival 2010 and later praise he gave to the band. What's for sure is that the unique blend of sounds in Barbarian makes it one of my favorites of this year.

Buy it directly from Zeitgeister Music here.

[2011] Seven Sisters of Sleep - Seven Sisters of Sleep

Great debut album of this new hardcore/sludge band from California, and easily one of the best things I've heard coming from Southern Lord's new batch of hardcore/crust-punk bands. Short, heavy songs filled with hardcore madness and gloom brutality, gravitating towards the likes of Eyehategod and Thou, distancing themselves from these bands with their energetic, fast-paced delivery.

Buy it directly from Southern Lord here.

[2011] Horseback/Locrian - New Dominions

The new collaboration between Horseback and Locrian is here, released in no other label but Utech Records. Two tracks clocking around 20min in total; my favorite being Our Epitaph, focusing in building upon the song structure using a breathtaking layering, involving Locrian's ever present tremolo-picked chords and Horseback's galloping slow riffing, accompanied by sparse drumming turning the song in a heavy trip. The Gift goes the opposite way, setting an eerie mood with the slow, crashing guitars complementing the piano and layered harsh vocals. Short but compelling release.

Buy it directly from Utech Records here.

[1993] Stereolab - The Groop Played ''Space Age Batchelor Pad Music''

As of lately, my go-to choice for Stereolab. One of their earliest albums, while it seems softer than Peng!, in here the motorik-fueled beats are more accentuated than in their next albums, even featuring an obvious Neu! homage. There's some noisy tracks that resemble what they'll later do in "Transient Random..." but in a more digestible package. Perfect for fans and starters alike.

Buy it directly from CD Universe here.

[2007] Peter Brötzmann, Paal Nilssen-Love & Mats Gustafsson - The Fat Is Gone

Three long songs, three renowned exponents of the contemporary european jazz scene. The Fat Is Gone gathers Paal Nilssen-Love and Mats Gustafsson (from The Thing) with one of the big legends of the German jazz scene (Peter Brötzmann), who displays his wildest, most intense musical side to be in par with the two Scandinavian improvisers, resulting in a very dense record, a must listen.

Buy it directly from Robot here.

[2005] The Thing - Live at Blå

Look at that smug Paal's face...
This is their first live album recorded around 2005, which has some songs from their debut album and Garage but mostly reinterpreted and loosened out. The live renditions of those songs (Awake-Nu being my favorite and one of the most recognizable songs) leave nothing to be desired from those epic sessions, filled with even more energy than the studio counterparts.

Buy it directly from Insound here.

[2009] Chord - Flora

Chord is a collective of four guitar musicians formed in Illinois (among them Trevor De Brauw from Pelican), focusing their efforts into a stripped out, minimalist arrangement revolving around a single chord, distorted and reinterpreted as they please, keeping into account the overall tone and texture of each composition. Inspired in composers such as Tony Conrad and Glenn Branca (specially the latter, since his direct influence can be felt throughout the songs), Chord delivers satisfactory results with this album, their debut.

Buy it directly from Neurot Recordings here.

[2011] irr. app. (ext.) / Nurse With Wound - 4 Orphans

After Angry Electric Finger 3, 4 Orphans is the new collaboration between these two bizarre figures of the sound collage/dark ambient scene, although it's somewhat of an irr. app. (ext.) album mostly, considering it's based around old Nurse With Wound arrangements, along with the weirdest things the former could come up with in order to spice up the surreal vibe of the album. As usual, artwork by Matt Waldron.

Buy it directly from irr. app. (ext.)'s Bandcamp here.

[2011] Tuusanuuskat - Nääksää Nää Mun Kyyneleet

Fonal Records' latest release, Tuusanuuskat is a collaborative work between their label manager Sami Sänpäkkilä (also known as ES) and Jan Anderzén (Kemialliset Ystävät), both very involved in the past and current finnish experimental scene. This album is a series of disjointed sound collages revolving around similar themes, heavily layered in non-abrasive noise. Defying description, the underlying melodies buried beneath these 5 tracks are both confusing and soothing in nature, concealing its real depth.

Buy it directly from Fonal Records here.

[2005] Zu & Mats Gustafsson - How To Raise An Ox

If there was any doubt that Mats Gustafsson had the required talent to work alongside a jazz band with math-rock leanings (and therefore, constricted to a measure) while retaining the freedom of his intense sax delivery, How To Raise An Ox single-handedly dissipates them all. This incredible collaboration shows the best of Zu in terms of math-rock and free improvisation while leaving enough space for Gustafsson's short and energetic sax outbursts, complimenting without overshadowing the Italian collective.

Buy it directly from Atavistic Worldwide here.

[2011] Torture Corpse/Architeuthis Rex - Ignorance/Daemon

Architeuthis Rex returns this year in a split with the paranoid, trance-inducing, dark ambient project known as Torture Corpse. 4 songs, three full songs on side A belonging to Torture Corpse and a longer one on side B, belonging to Architeuthis Rex, both following a tribal, psychedelic sound evoking wilderness and ashen, forbidden territories. Released under the niche label Stunned Records, dedicated mostly to noise, drone and dark ambient artists with abstract leanings.

Currently out of stock at Stunned Records.

[2011] Larsen & Z'EV - In V.Tro

Half recorded during live sessions and another half recorded in studio, this collaboration was commissioned as a "soundtrack for micro-cinematic images on the study of cells", as a tribute to Giuseppe Levi, who researched and exploited the great potential of the in vitro technique, which gives name to this album. Aside from the interesting backstory, Larsen proves again that they shine in collaborative projects. Z'EV delivers his usual experimental approach to percussion to the mix, giving it a strong abstract feel while Larsen controls the mood of the album with its minimalist guitar and synth pair. Somewhat similar to their Nurse With Wound collaboration, Larsen sticks to their minimalistic post-rock side bordering in drone while Z'EV takes care of the bizarre background.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Important Records here.

[2010] Marcia Bassett/Jenny Gräf - Paradam

A female duo mapping the mysteries hidden beneath the empty cosmos and the tightly compressed stone crystal with their heavily layered and abrasive noise tapestry, making a clever use of brass instruments and subdued harmonies. Mastered by the veteran James Plotkin.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Utech Records here.

[2010] Architeuthis Rex - Dark As The Sea

Sunken civilizations, inhabited by fearsome creatures and forgotten, devout cultures subdued by eons of tectonic and oceanic chaos. Architeuthis Rex (the monicker used by the italian artist Antonio Galluci) does it best to manifest all these obscure dreamworlds evoked by the immensity of the sea, in which bizarre entities come back to life.

Buy it directly from Utech Records here (scroll down).

[2011] The Haxan Cloak - The Haxan Cloak

One of the most interesting Aurora Borealis artists of this year, The Haxan Cloak have released a few live CDr EPs  independently through the years, this s/t being their first LP under a label. The music is composed of classical arrangements, electronically processed via free improvisation and combined with haunting field recordings, creating a very distinctive aura avoiding further descriptions. Another one of these introspective albums that fully reveal themselves after constant listens at high volumes.

Buy it directly from Aurora Borealis here (scroll down).

[2011] Daniel Levin - Inner Landscape

Inner Landscape is Daniel Levin's first solo album, released via Clean Feed as many of his trio/quartet works. Fully improvised, this album is a stripped out display of his cello skills that have been already evident in his ensemble works but in here we get to appreciate them in full form, exploring the wide range of possibilities the stringed instrument has to offer with a dynamic, precise and beautiful delivery.

Buy it directly from Clean Feed here.

[2006] - Panzerpappa - Koralrevens Klagesang

Norwegian avant-prog in the vein of Samla Mammas Manna and Art Zoyd, although in a less dark, instrumental style that differences them from the classic RIO bands. It still follows some of the ideas from the scene while applying its own personal style, which becomes evident from the very first listen. Good material for those looking for rare, modern gems within the avant-prog scene.

Currently unavailable.

[2001] Luigi Archetti & Bo Wiget - Low Tide Digitals

This guitar/cello duo from Italy and Switzerland respectively is one of the few non-norwegian artists releasing material via Rune Grammofon, focusing on a series of three albums (so far) ranging from ambient to jazz, with a very minimalist approach to their music. This is their first one released back in 2001, very minimal and low key, setting the roots for their next releases.

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2011] Gregg Kowalsky - Battery Townsley

Recorded inside the WWII bunker that gives this release its name, using a similar method for his Tape Chants, in which he locates cassette players across a room creating stacked, ever-evolving loops with the output. One of the most interesting drone releases of this year from the ones I've seen.

Buy it directly from Kowalsky's Bigcartel site here.

[2011] Fire! with Jim O'Rourke - Unreleased?

After two years of their first album, Fire! teams up with Jim O'Rourke to release the follow-up, 4 new tracks pushing forward the abrasive, repetitive style of the trio with his piercing guitar blasts and clever sound experiments. Intense collaboration, it adds up to another successful Gustafsson-related project in which O'Rourke collaborates, and already in constant rotation for me. Thoroughly recommended.

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2011] Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church of The Leading Hand + Aluk Tolodo - A Collaboration

Tight, syncopated drumming, wonky bass and martial industrial madness. What's not to love? The new collaboration between these two dark beasts is out, and as expected, it shows the best of both bodies of work and much more. Considered a continuation of Der Blutharsch's first release in this vein, in which the noisy psyschedelic-rock band White Hills participated. Outstanding release.

Buy it directly from Amortout here.

[2011] Nurse With Wound - Orgasm Mix

Sold at the KOKO show back in May 15th, making it a tour-only release. Abrasive loops of noise, interlaced with haunting, indiscernible sampling.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Unavailable for purchase.

[2010] The Skull Defekts & The Sons Of God - Received In Studio Dental, Gothenburg

A bizarre collaboration between part of The Skull Defekts (typically known for their noisy, stripped out guitar output) and the bizarre duo The Sons of God, whose main focus are free performances, noise and visual exploration (each documented in a somewhat long discography). The set recorded for this album is comprised by a tense, unresolved aura full of scraped metallic sounds and an empty, haunting atmosphere.

Buy it directly from Utech Records here.

[2006] The Thing - Action Jazz

In what could be considered their best release (at least in my opinion), Action Jazz delivers the most intense performance of the trio, displaying a tightly orchestrated setup in each one of the songs. This time the band focuses in covers, from Ornette Coleman to Lightning Bolt, breaking apart with a fast, energetic interpretation of jazz and noise rock bands. Only the songs Better Living... and ...Through BBQ were originally composed by the band, and both are eclectic, free improvisations, ranging from tight, minimal outbursts to violent explosions of sax and metals.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Robot here.

[2011] Oikos - Ecotono

Second album of this Spanish duo, mostly comprising of oscillating drones and gently reverberated guitar, reminding at times of Andrew Moon's project RST (also signed to Utech Records), except more minimal and brooding, relying mostly in the blurred, overlapping layers of drone track after track.

Buy it directly from Utech Records here.

[2009] Fire! - You Liked Me Five Minutes Ago

Another Gustafsson-related project, and this time it's a mixture between psychedelic/noise rock and free jazz, full of piercing feedback and abrasive landscapes, adding up to the screaming sax. Heavily energetic, this album in particular shows a brand of jazz relying mostly in repetitive patterns, building up and collapsing with each passing minute.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC Part 1 Part 2] Updated!

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2010] Rose Kemp - Golden Shroud

Rose Kemp was a weird discovery for me. While I'm used to female vocals in doom metal, specially in the way bands like Serpentcult and Blood Ceremony incorporate them, Rose Kemp goes beyond these two bands, with an energetic, gospel-like delivery that instantly becomes the center of attention. It caught me off guard the first time I heard it, the way the vocals emphasize the heaviness of the band while almost bordering cheesy territories (just barely) was just unique. Musically it stays mostly on a traditional doom metal mode, but it goes into folk rock territory in several occasions, not as much as her previous albums though, but it's definitely there. Quite a mix, for those looking for something different in the genre.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Rose Kemp here.

[2009] Supersilent - 9

Back to the extremely low key improvisations, consisting mostly by fiddling with organs. This is definitely another album in the vein of 5 or 6 (specially 5), whose quiet, tense parts are more prominent than those with instrumentation. Dark and brooding, it still manages to retain the style of the band, despite having no percussion at all.

Downloaad it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[1984] K.U.K.L. - The Eye

One of the earliest projects involving Björk, and easily the one that captured the insanity that is often hinted but not fully displayed in her well known solo career. Simply put, not only she was able to shriek, scream and ramble in the way only someone with her vocals would, but she was also in a band that emphasized it, lyrically and conceptually speaking. KUKL (sorcery in icelandic, apparently) is an underrated band that heavily focused into experimental punk and art rock, dabbling at times with the hazy, drugged out akin to psychedelic rock, reverberated and chaotic.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from One Little Indian here.

[2007] Sunburned Circle - The Blaze Game

A very intense, live collaboration between two masters of psychedelic jams, Sunburned Hand of The Man (USA) and Circle (Finland). Together they delivered a long, almost non-stop show full of blissed out solos and slow building patterns, which reminds me of the best improvised moments in Amon Düül II, everything tightly layered,without a single quiet moment.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Conspiracy Records here.

[2011] Master Musicians of Bukkake - Totem Three

Their latest release and the last from their Totem trilogy, this album is the perfect closure for an amazing series of albums that explored the occult, unknown places of the Earth with its array of sounds, influences and bizarre elements. Comparing bands is always unfair, but it seems to me that they've already gotten closer, if not surpassed, bands from the psychedelic krautrock era such as Agitation Free and Can (saving the distances of course), by combining the best of the psychedelic rock sound with strong eastern influences, and late 20th century's filmography. And on that note (while following the idea of their previous single), this album is a homage to John Carpenter's horror films, mimicking the vintage synths and dark atmosphere that characterized classics like The Thing and the Halloween series.

Buy it directly from Important Records here.

[1986] Shub Niggurath - Les Morts Von Vite (Reissue 1997)

More french avant-prog, and this time is the turn of the legendary Shub Niggurath. Inspired by Magma and Art Zoyd, their occult, haunting vibe typical of the french bands following the contemporary classical approach in progressive rock back then. It's not as energetic as Magma was (with its strong jazz elements), but it's as bombastic and full of the same free improvisation that characterized the bands from the well known Rock In Opposition movement.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Musea Records here.

[2007] Supersilent - 8

Similar in vein to 7, less chaotic and with an emphasis in Helge Sten's electronic dabbling. Part of this session became part of what was later released as 11, the same free form drumming with Henriksen's slow and sultry trumpet can be heard here.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[1978] Univers Zéro / Art Zoyd - Live at Theatre du Taur, Toulouse, France

A somewhat rare bootleg of a 1978 show in France, in which Univers Zéro and Art Zoyd shared the stage and even played songs together. This bootleg recording is not complete though (some songs are missing), but what most would look forward to hear (a collaboration between both bands) is present in Complainte.
Aside from that, this bootleg has songs from Univers Zéro's Heresie era, and Art Zoyd's first album played live; it's not the best recording ever since the mic pans from channel to channel and there's a few other flaws, but even then it's worth having, particularly for Univers Zéro's Jack The Ripper, excellent live rendition of one of their most famous songs.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Unavailable for purchase.

[2005] Supersilent - 7

Live DVD release (only audio provided), following the continuity of their previous releases but straying away (once again) from the sound of their preceding album (heavily relying in electronic elements) in order to showcase their wide experience in free improvisation, clocking at 1h48min of live show.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2010][REQUEST] Mop Meuchiine - Mop Meuchiine plays Robert Wyatt

Another Robert Wyatt tribute, and this time is the collective Mop Meuchiine, fronted by the prolific Pascal Maupeu, with an intense collaborative project which ranges from the jazzy feel of early Soft Machine to the intense, improvisational post-rock delivery of bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and similar.
Excellent material.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Le Chant Du Monde here.

[2001] Noothgrush - Failing Early, Failing Often

Yet another compilation of Noothgrush's early material (splits and unreleased songs), this time the last one before splitting up. For those who don't know this influential sludge/hardcore band from California, the content of this compilation might be good enough to understand why this band is considered a classic within the genre, which also has ties with Graves at Sea (via their female drummer, Chiyo Nukaga). Pessimism, Isolation and Star Wars lyrics (featured in some movie samples) were their most familiar traits, along with a stripped out, low-endy riffing that puts them along the heaviest of the genre.

Download it here: [V0]

Currently unavailable.

[2003] Toadliquor - The Hortator's Lament

Toadliquor is one of the many influential sludge bands of the late decade, whose slow, devastating sound with drowned, hardcore vocals gave them a special place among the big acts from the beginning of the 00's. Having released only two official albums (Hortator's Lament being their last, and also the compilation of all their previous songs), they garnered instant cult status during Southern Lord's golden era. Easily one of my most inspiring, favorite bands.
Influential material, and recommended for whoever wants a good start in both doom and sludge metal.

Download it here: [V2][V0]

Buy it directly from Southern Lord here.

[2000] Melancholy Pessimism - Evil Planet

Once again, the czech fail to disappoint me. With bands in the vein of !T.O.O.H.! and Lykathea Aflame in that scene, it's evident they're experts in what concerns to technical death metal with a strong experimental side. Melancholy Pessimism follows that lineage, but also mixes disparate music genres like jazz and even hip-hop in their fast, technical grind, while retaining the humor that characterizes czech death metal bands. One of their best albums, and also the most experimental of their career.

Download it here: [320][V0] Updated!

Currently unavailable.

[1976] Art Zoyd - Symphonie pour le Jour où Brûleront les Cités (2008 Reissue)

One of the few still existing bands that formed part of the legendary Rock In Opposition movement, which also managed to remain somewhat fresh after all these decades. Art Zoyd's debut already shows some of the traits characterizing bands like Magma and Univers Zéro: dark, gospel-like choruses, with a prominent strings section (mostly heard in Univers Zéro) and a strong jazz influence. While it's not as noticeable in this album (their first), it shows some of the dark ambient leaning that will later give them relevance within the french scene.
Comparatively speaking, Univers Zéro and Art Zoyd share plenty of traits, although the former delved more into avant-prog rock than the latter, which focused mostly on electronic arrangements. As with the other members of the Rock In Opposition original lineup, it'd be a sin to overlook.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC Part 1 Part 2] Updated!

Currently unavailable.

[2003] Supersilent - 6

Picking up where it left off, 6 retains some of the minimalistic style introduced in 5, but this time the electronic contributions of Helge Sten and Arve Henriksen's slow, sultry trumpet take over and gives the album a very melancholic, reflexive mood. It constantly toys with off-putting, bizarre synth melodies, overlapping and enhancing the dark atmosphere.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[REQUEST] [2006] Walter &Sabrina - Chioma SuperNormal: The Dark Album

I haven't actually listened to this yet, but I might get around to it today. I'm not fully familiar with the projects associated to AMM as it's something I have on my to-do list. For whoever requested it, enjoy.
And after listening to this, I can certify it's really good stuff. A bizarre form of art-pop, involving electronic manipulation and contemporary classical in big doses, paired with sarcastic, dark humored lyrics.

"This uniform dull plodder,
This Sodden Strangler.
All hail little man, into average stagger marching.
Feeling social inferiority."
~ The Sodden Stranger

Download it here: [256 Part 1 Part 2][V0]

Buy it directly from Danny Dark Records here.

[2001] Supersilent - 5

Another radical change of pace in their style, this release is very minimal in style. While there's several free jazz bursts that rise from the almost quiet delivery (in an excellent display of dynamics), this album requires a lot of attention since it keeps itself low key, consisting mostly on lengthy brass notes and short electronic bursts, even more prominent here than in 4.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2011] The Skull Defekts - Peer Amid

Dark, psychedelic rock with some tribal elements, and a healthy dose of noise rock, it's what the new The Skull Defekts is all about. Less out there and more traditional than some of their previous material, this is the rockiest side of the band, still retaining some of the abrasive noise/drone experimentation the fans of the band are already familiar with. I'd say it's a really solid release, if anything is less "out there" than their previous releases but it doesn't take away the best of the band.
This is the vinyl edition, which includes an extra song called Hidden Hymn.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Buy it directly from Thrill Jockey Records here.

[1998] Supersilent - 4

Follow up of the 1-3 album which compiled 3 CD's into one (half live, half studio), 4 is an entirely studio album, single CD, which combines the free jazz output displayed on their first album with strong electronic elements and even vocalizations (by Henriksen), making it very different from their preceding release.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2008] The Skull Defekts - The Drone Drug

With an almost unapproachable output that hardly resembles their apparent influences (Wire, Can and a few others), The Skull Defekts' trance-inducing noise/post-punk is left behind in favor of relentless feedback noise, manipulated as abrasive electronic drone, that might have more in common with Yellow Swans than bands akin to Earth or Sunn O))). Worth giving a listen.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Release The Bats here.

[1987] AMM - The Inexhaustible Document (Reissue 1994)

Very few albums from back in those days get close to what AMM engineered during the recording of this album: tense, minimal improvisations which explored and exerted the slow building mindset of the ensemble, while managing to retain a feebly kept attention from the listener due to its length.
This reissue in particular has an expanded version of the track Page 9:2 with material recorded during the same period, and considerably less minimal than the original version track.

Download it here: [V0][FLAC Part 1 Part 2] Updated!

Buy it directly from Matchless Recordings here.

[2006] Circle - Miljard

Very unlike most of their back catalog, Miljard is Circle's most obvious ambient album, which still has a few motorik tingles, but it's mostly slow and drawn out. If you enjoy that side of them or if you're a fan of low key, guitar-oriented post-rock, you might enjoy this album. Personally I think it's good (in a complete different direction), 2CD's full of  great ambient music which the short bursts of intensity the band is known for.

Download it here: [320: Part 1 Part 2][V0]

Buy it directly from Ektro Records here.