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Steve Roach, Structures From Silence (30th anniversary Deluxe Remastered Edition)

2014 | Label: Projekt / Entertainment One Distribution

In the past year, New Age music has begun to escape the lamentable late-’80s stereotypes — Harmonic Convergence, crystals, Kenny G — that have long plagued it. Last fall, Light in the Attic released a stellar compilation called I Am the Center that catalogued small-press New Age releases from the ’50s to the ’70s; Warp records reissued Laaraji; All Saints reissued Harold Budd. Articles popped up in Pitchfork and even in the New York Times.

One name conspicuously missing from this mini-renaissance is the California-born/Arizona-based Steve Roach. Much of… more »

Pharoahe Monch, PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

2014 | Label: W.A.R. Media LLC

After 2011′s thematically scattershot, lyrically inconsistent W.A.R. (We Are Renegades), it would have been sufficient for Pharoahe Monch’s followup PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to have been merely solid. Something on the level of, say, 2007′s underrated, heavy-hitting Desire would’ve been plenty. Instead, what we get from Monch is something deeper and more conceptual: a case study in how one allegorically semiautobiographical narrator attempts to overcome his traumatic experiences.

Whether those experiences come from mental health struggles (“Losing My Mind”), drug addiction (“Broken Again”), the dignity-sapping downward spiral of economic uncertainty… more »

Triptykon, Melana Chasmata

2014 | Label: Century Media / The Orchard

Along with Venom and Bathory, Thomas G. Fischer is a pioneer of the first wave of ’80s black metal. First with the primitive thrash outfit Hellhammer, and then with the more experimental Celtic Frost, he pushed the genre’s boundaries to their limits. Celtic Frost released the essential albums To Mega Therion in 1985 and Into the Pandemonium in 1987 before disbanding; motivated by a renewed hatred for the mainstream and the human race, they reunited for 2006′s colossal, doomy Monotheist, but internal friction promptly tore the band apart and… more »

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