20 Best Avant Albums of 2015

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

Matana Roberts, 'Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee'
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15. Matana Roberts, 'Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee'

The first two chapters in Matana Roberts' endlessly intense, 12-part Coin Coin series were sweeping works of post-rock cinema, opera drama, large ensemble jazz turmoil and harrowing saxwork from the bloodiest edges of emotion. Her third has a decidedly smaller cast — Chapter 1 had 16 instrumentalists, this is just her — but is no less deep. A more austere outing composed on loop and effects pedals, Roberts culls dazzling swarms for voice, drone and her own impassioned alto sax solos — a frame for a post-modern collage of Malcolm X speeches, logs from slave ships, "The Star-Spangled Banner" and her own field recordings from the contemporary South and New York City.

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