20 Best Avant Albums of 2014

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

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Kevin Drumm/Jason Lescalleet, 'The Abyss'

5. Kevin Drumm/Jason Lescalleet, 'The Abyss'

Two masters of noise — harsh and ambient respectively — have spent recent years releasing barely-there works of minimal (yet unquestionably bleak) rumble; like Shut In, the meditative, nauseous, cassette-only drone piece from Chicago's Kevin Drumm and Much to My Demise, in which Maine's Jason Lescalleet buried reels of tape for three months at a time. This two-disc collabo plays to their strengths both past and present. The first 37 minutes is maybe the year's best noise record: blown-out fuzz that grows claws, records manipulated and abused, yowling digital noise and cicada swirl. The final two pieces follow their new direction: "The Abyss" is 33 minutes of subterranean rumbles, digital crackles, glistening synths and gentle feedback; and "The Echo of Your Past" is a 49-minute boat trip from the swamp to dog-whistle oblivion to krautrock bliss.

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