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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Masami Akita and Eiko Ishibashi, 'Kouen Kyoudai 公園兄弟'
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19. Masami Akita and Eiko Ishibashi, 'Kouen Kyoudai 公園兄弟'

Scene leader Masami Akita (better known as Merzbow) and Steely Dan–esque prog-pop composer Eiko Ishibashi join forces for a mixed-media noise statement. Side A ("Slide") is more uplifting than thresher-izing, more ecstasy than oblivion: Synth drones get into dissonant friction with harsh feedback, and tumbling double kick drum sputters like a jazz-trained Alex Van Halen. Side B ("Jungle Gym") is slightly more doom-centric, as a piano duets with skitters of computer glitch, cascading under a frenzy of electronics and then limping to the finish line in some sci-fi quicksand.

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