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Black Ox Orkestar return after 15 years to explore modern socio-political strife though Jewish diasporic traditions

The Yiddish language originated in the 900s and peaked in the early 1940s with around 11 million speakers, primarily in Europe’s Ashkenazi Jewish communities. But of the six million Jewish people murdered by the Nazis during World War II, 85 percent of them were Yiddish speakers. Just as the worldwide Jewish population has not yet […]

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Michelle Williams in Children of Eden, Sabaton, improv ghost hunters, and more

Before there was Wicked, there was Children of Eden, and before there was Beyoncé, there was Destiny’s Child. Michelle Williams, Bey’s former bandmate, stars in this concert presentation of Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz’s 1991 musical based on the book of Genesis. (Not his first foray into biblical musicals; he also wrote Godspell 20 years earlier.) […]

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Steve Von Till of Neurosis gets stripped-down and cinematic with his solo material

Neurosis have spent more than three decades redefining what heavy metal is and what it can be. They’re a multifaceted beast, moving in many directions depending on where their creative forces guide them and combining sludge metal with prog-rock arrangements, spacey soundscapes, and postrock instrumental layers. The members of the five-piece band frequently break away […]

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Experimental musician Claire Rousay makes you listen to everything

Prolific experimental percussionist and electronic musician Claire Rousay has created a sprawling body of work that clunks and patters somewhere between noise and silence, music and abstraction. Her new release, Everything Perfect Is Already Here (out April 22 on Shelter Press), consists of two 15-minute ambient explorations that rustle and dissolve in gentle lyrical spasms. […]

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Matchess draws music from the resources of memory on Sonescent

For roughly a decade, Chicago multi-instrumentalist Whitney Johnson maintained a fairly steady developmental arc with her solo project, Matchess. Her songs, which comprised layers of viola, organ, tape loops, drum machine, and voice, progressively materialized out of a murky, analog fog; the hooky, propulsive tracks on the 2018 release Sacracorpa glided like a lucid dream […]

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By deconstructing the flute, Laura Cocks’s Field Anatomies builds new worlds

When you’re ensconced in a circle of 29 piccolos, no one can hear you scream. New York-based flutist and TAK Ensemble cofounder Laura Cocks re-creates this otherworldly sonic scenario in David Bird’s “Atolls,” the first piece off their new debut solo album, Field Anatomies (Carrier). Bird says his piece derived the auxiliary performers’ pitches by […]

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Trevor Dunn and Sannety mix and match electronics, experimentation, and rhythm as SpermChurch

Bassist Trevor Dunn has forged relationships with polyglot saxophonist and composer John Zorn, avant-garde reedist Ben Goldberg, and scads of other jazz-world luminaries. He plays on Diatom Ribbons, a career-defining 2019 record by jazz keyboardist Kris Davis, but his contributions have largely gone unheralded, subsumed in the overall greatness of the album. Despite these accomplishments, […]

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Arc Mountain is the underground-label collaboration you’ve been waiting for

Like doesn’t necessarily breed like—just ask all the friends for whom I’ve tried (and failed) to play cupid. But similarity is bliss for underground labels Deathbomb Arc and Hausu Mountain, which collaborated to release the compilation Arc Mountain on May 7. Based respectively in Los Angeles and Chicago, these eclectic, irreverent labels might be separated […]