20 Best Avant Albums of 2016

The year's best in ambient, noise, out-jazz, synth music, contemporary composition and more

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Fox/Soper Duo, 'Magenta Line'

4. Fox/Soper Duo, 'Magenta Line'

The drumming of New York City machine gun Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs, Ben Frost) is a radioactive link between extreme metal excess and spiritual-jazz improv. On this 44-minute cassette he teams with modular synth tweaker Ryan Soper in a noise-punk antler-knot of gnashing noise. They're sometime locked together like a rock band, occasionally dueling like beasts, but usually sounding like Naked City drummer Joey Baron in a slaughterhouse. The scuzz-meets-sweat sound is reminiscent of Aughties loftcore crews like Mindflayer and Sightings, but the warm effect pedals have been updated for our harsh new digital reality. And when Fox plays psychedelic eighth notes against the void in "N," it sounds like Oneida meets harsh-noiser Kevin Drumm meets the chord progression from INXS' "The One Thing."

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