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2021 Was a Year, and It's Over

A quick query of the Exposé review database shows that we have published 208 reviews for music released in 2021. These have spanned quite a variety in sound, from ambient electronic music and experimental music made on invented instruments to old-school space rock and modern interpretations of progessive rock. And a lot of other stuff from all over the map — both the stylistic map and the map of the world. We haven’t been much into making lists lately, so we’ll just throw out some reminders of some of our favorite 2021 releases.

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-01-03

In no particular order, here are some of the 2021 releases we felt really stood out. (There will be a few more reviews coming out in the next few weeks, so we are not completely done with 2021, no matter how much we would like to be.)

Chirstine Ott — Time to Die

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-07-18

French composer and multi-instrumentalist Christine Ott’s fourth album, Time to Die, is a sensory journey between the world of the living and that of the dead. » Read more

Christine Ott - Time to Die cover art

Doringo — Budem Budem

Doringo - Budem Budem cover art

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-12-27

When we last checked in with the band following their 2020 release Gužva u Svemiru, they were a trio, including bassist Mihovil Jurdana and drummer Damir Mihaljević, with other players guesting on this track or that. For their latest 2021 album Budem Budem, the band has expanded to a six-piece… » Read more

Jack o’ the Clock — Leaving California

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-07-12

This album features compositions that had been gestating in the group’s repertoire for some time as well as some more recent pieces. » Read more

Jack o’ the Clock - Leaving California cover art

Various Artists — Head Rush

Various Artists - Head Rush cover art

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-08-17

Fruits de Mer, the purveyors of all things psych, prog, etc. have a strong love for Krautrock. Over the past ten years they’ve released several tribute compilations of various German bands on the Brain label et. al. On Head Rush, the focus narrows to the heady motorik days of Can, Neu!, Harmonia, and Klaus Dinger. » Read more

Steve Roach / Michael Stearns — Beyond Earth & Sky

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-11-07

It’s been many years — decades, in fact — since these two electronic music pioneers appeared together on a recording. Roach and Stearns used to be neighbors in the Los Angeles area in the late 70s when both were getting their start, before each took different paths out of the city, Stearns to New Mexico to concentrate more on soundtrack work, Roach to Arizona to continue his work, releasing over 175 albums to date. » Read more

Steve Roach / Michael Stearns - Beyond Earth & Sky cover art

Sana Nagano — Smashing Humans

Sana Nagano - Smashing Humans cover art

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-04-23

The music occupies that wonderful (for me, at least) area where avant jazz meets RIO and experimental chamber music, with compositions that take unexpected turns and are full of jarring rhythms and harmonies. » Read more

The Honey Pot — The Secret

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-09-23

The Honey Pot is perhaps the best neo-psych band on the planet. Icarus Peel and bandmates have released a gorgeously affectionate album wrapped in glorious sunflakes of 60s / 70s psych that bathes your ears in a kaleidoscopic trip of lysergic blossoms and faerie glitter. » Read more

The Honey Pot - The Secret cover art

Mdou Moctar — Afrique Victime

Mdou Moctar - Time to Die cover art

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-09-18

It doesn’t take more than around 30 seconds into the first track — the unusual effected guitar introduction, even before the rest of the band comes in or before the singing starts — to realize that this is something very unusual, not borne of any European or Western stylings, far off the beaten path. » Read more

Ghost Rhythms — Imaginary Mountains

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-03-09

For their follow-up to the excellent Live at Yoshiwara (2019), French band Ghost Rhythms presents Imaginary Mountains, which is probably even better. » Read more

Ghost Rhythms - Imaginary Mountains cover art

Rob Gould — Plays Pawn Hearts

Rob Gould - Plays Pawn Hearts cover art

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-11-16

As time passed, critics realized the quality of this classic album, referring to Pawn Hearts as a misunderstood masterpiece and one of the most extraordinary albums of its era. So how do you improve upon perfection? Ask Rob Gould about his three year labor of love, completely reworking the music and releasing it to mark Pawn Hearts’ 50th anniversary. » Read more

Ske — Insolubilia

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-08-28

Ske is the project of Italian composer and keyboardist Paolo Botta, who is a member of the AltrOck label bands Yūgen and Not a Good Sign, and has also been associated with Ciccada, Homunculus Res, Picchio dal Pozzo and other groups. » Read more

Ske - Insolubilia cover art

Jordsjø — Pastoralia

Jordsjø - Pastoralia cover art

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-07-27

Jordsjø’s previous release, Nattfolien (2019), is a very good album, but with Pastoralia they’ve topped it, presenting a wonderful progressive rock blend that has echoes of past eras but sounds fresh and timeless. » Read more

Alessandro Corvaglia — Out of the Gate

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-11-23

One might be forgiven for not recognizing the name immediately, but as soon as he sings anyone who has listened to Italian progressive rock of the last twenty years or so will recognize his voice from somewhere. Indeed, Corvaglia has been the lead singer for La Maschera di Cera since their beginnings in 2002, as well as involvement with numerous other Zuffanti-related projects over the years (Hostsonaten, Merlin, the Rock Opera) and other bands like the reformed Delirium, Daedalus, Narrow Pass, and as a guest singer and player (guitar and keyboards) on even more releases. » Read more

Alessandro Corvaglia - Out of the Gate cover art

Asaf Sirkis — Solar Flash

Asaf Sirkis - Solar Flash cover art

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-12-20

Solar Flash brings us yet another combination of the Moonjune regulars, with drummer Asaf Sirkis at the helm and providing the compositions and Gary Husband serving up keyboards, both of whom have appeared on numerous recordings, though not together. » Read more

Sendelica — And Man Created God

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-10-24

Hard to believe that Sendelica has been a member of the Fruits de Mer stable of bands for over ten years now: albums, singles, compilations, gigs, etc. And over this past decade Sendelica has flowered into one of the finest instrumental space rock bands performing today. » Read more

Sendelica - And Man Created God cover art

Filed under: New releases

Related artist(s): Peter Hammill, Steve Roach, Van der Graaf Generator, Level ∏ (Uwe Cremer), Mark Wingfield, Jay Tausig, Sendelica, Crystal Jacqueline (Bourne), Michael Stearns, Audio Cologne Project, Jack o' the Clock, Icarus Peel, The Honey Pot, Cary Grace, Gary Husband, Gordon Giltrap, Asaf Sirkis, Jordsjø, Elfin Bow (Elizabeth Kearney), Moon Goose, Ghost Rhythms, Sylwia Białas, The Legendary Flower Punk, The Lost Stoned Pandas, Doringo, Christine Ott, Sana Nagano, Mdou Moctar, Rob Gould, Ske (Paolo Botta), Alessandro Corvaglia

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