20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

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

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Brötzmann/Adasiewicz/Edwards/Noble, 'Mental Shake'
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17/20

17. Brötzmann/Adasiewicz/Edwards/Noble, 'Mental Shake'

A four-man improv fit at London's Cafe Oto, this piece moves from slowly boiling psychotic reaction to full-tilt insanity. Peter Brötzmann, the 73-year-old master of sax fireworks, is as exploratory and explosive as ever; vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz counters his monstrous presences with atmosphere and overtones; and the rhythm section of John Edwards and Steve Noble provide broken bluster from the chaotic beginning to the lounge-jazz conclusion.

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