20 Best Avant Albums of 2015

The year's best in noise, out-jazz, contemporary classical, ambient, drone and more

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Jacob Kirkegaard, '5 Pieces'
20
9/20

9. Jacob Kirkegaard, '5 Pieces'

Limited to just 200 copies but no less necessary, this three-cassette release anthologizes five recent works by one of contemporary sound art's most subtle, intriguing figures. More artistically minded than field recordings, more naturally hewn than noise tapes, Kirkegaard amplifies hidden worlds into evocative drifts. The underwater recordings of Æsturarium turn Hudson River glubs and swirling sediments into a 29-minute white-noise suite; Iron Wind captures the vibrations of German fences for a haunting breath of ambience. Déjà Vu is a feedback conversation between eight empty rooms; Fool's Fire is an electrified needle picking up radio waves from crystals (it sounds like an orchestra of run-out grooves); and Under Bjerget is a 58-minute meditation for the rattling tubes in a Copenhagen basement, glacially moving from drone to pulse to rumble.

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