Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Irreal, River Run Thee And The Planet

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Chicagoan post-punk act Disappears’ fifth studio album Irreal proves itself a dystopian sonic thriller of note. Frontman Brian Case’s deep, dark vocals inhabit a propulsive purr on opening track “Integration,” a relatively lengthy composition that segues seamlessly into the inspired, post-punk landscape of the seven accompanying songs. Minimalist in structure, the title track relies on the ever-present chops of drummer Noah Leger and the percussive, sometimes staccato guitar stylings of Jonathan Van Herik and Damon Carruesco. Leger’s riffs and cymbal/snare work throughout infuse a sense of allatonceness that sets Irreal apart from the band’s earlier work. If this is what “estrangement from [a] generally accepted sense of reality” sounds like, consider me a figment of my own imagination who’s unabashedly jamming to a brambly nighttime daydream; don’t wake me from this future that requires its citizens incur a few scratches along the way.

Matana Roberts Coin Coin Chapter Three: river run thee (Constellation Records)

Experimentalist, composer and improviser Matana Roberts is a staple of the NYC free jazz scene. The renowned saxophonist’s forthcoming release Coin Coin Chapter Three: river run thee is the third in a 12-album project titled Coin Coin . The 12 tracks on river run thee are collages, and the themes explored therein (and within the larger, epic framework) are focused on Roberts’ experiences as an American and her identity as a black woman. Historically twice- other ed, she refracts events in black history and modern black popular culture, including widely historicized narratives like protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Mo. Whether speaking or singing, Roberts’ voice and her prowess as a saxophonist take center stage here. But the myriad layers on display somehow coalesce into a cohesive, visionary vessel, sort of like the houseboat Roberts calls home.

Young Ejecta The Planet (Driftless Recordings)

Brooklyn duo Young Ejecta’s second release, a self-described “mini-LP”—how that differs from an EP remains unclear—titled The Planet , proffers intelligent, ethereal pop that will satisfy both the chillwave-adjacent, avant-pop fiend and those merely experimenting with the glittery, syrupy genre. These six tracks showcase a diverse compositional range, and there are standout aspects to each song. Opener “Into Your Heart” showcases an ascending, intentionally glitchy rhythmic path; Leanne Macomber, also of Neon Indian, emits out-of-this-world vocals that are contrasted to great effect throughout by the skillful electronics and production wizardry of Joel Ford. If you’re a fan of smart songwriting and beats that play equally well on a drive down the interstate or a packed dance floor, this album is for you. The only song that left me cold was the treacly title track. Standouts include the aforementioned opener, “Welcome to Love” and “Recluse.”

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