I try to listen to a lot of fresh, interesting music. Here's a choice of 5 records that have especially caught my interest during the last week.

Ministry of Spontaneous Composition by D.C. Improvisers Collective

Source: Avant Music News, preview: Bandcamp

I'm a sucker for witty and funny album & song titles, and that's one of the primary reasons this record piqued my interest. It's a brilliant, interesting feat by this Washington D.C. based improv collective. Sincerely humorous, eclectic, and approachable without ever winding up in the prosaic, it's one of my favorite jazz-related releases of the year so far.

Skáphe² by Skáphe

Source: Angry Metal Guy, preview: Bandcamp

If there's one record I've listened to in my life that I'd have to pick out that represents hopelessness and the nihilistic in music, Skáphe² would probably come to mind first. Unlike other releases in this vein, Skaphe offers no catharsis. Even the short hint of optimism in the album's final track serves only as a reminder of what could've been - but by then, the band made damn sure you're aware that it never will be.

On the Nature of Thingness by International Contemporary Ensemble

Source: Avant Music News, info: Starkland

ICE is a US-based collective dedicated to playing contemporary classical music. On the record, they play music composed by two of their members. It's a tour-de-force of modern composed music played with an array of unusual instruments like parts of a broken music box. It also includes an intriguing interpretation of Hugo Ball's Dada Manifesto called "Dada", which was probably the piece that caught the most of my attention.

Blister the Maw by Sonance

Info: Holy Roar Records

Combining noise, ambient and post-hardcore / sludge is nothing too new. However, Sonance takes it to the next level on this short cassette. The soundscapes in the first and longest piece are almost soundtrack-like (a very evil, tormenting soundtrack), peaking into a wall of guitar drones, noise, screams, and haunting whispers. Resolution comes in the form of the acoustic short track "Cherry", but doesn't last long - the album's second half is more classically sludgy, with great, crushing guitar work.

Different Selves by Shapednoise

Source: A Closer Listen

You could think of Different Selves as an electronic companion to Skáphe's record. The underlying assumption, to me, seems to be similar: complete abandonment of hope and any kind of optimism - not just in human existence, but the entire universe. Dark, heavy music obviously inspired by techno and industrial traditions, but with heavy influence of noise and compositional tendencies in modern electronic music. Shaping the noise indeed.