20 Best Avant Albums of 2017

The year's best in ambient, noise, out-jazz, experimental electronic and more

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Vijay Iyer Sextet, 'Far From Over'

5. Vijay Iyer Sextet, 'Far From Over'

With five all-star musicians absolutely bursting with frenetic chops, boundary-pushing pianist Vijay Iyer tumbles through a hard-rocking, head-boggling, weirdly grooving set of tunes. Complete with absolutely shredding sax solos from Steve Lehman and Mark Shim, the album sometimes plays like funk with a broken leg ("Far From Over"), sometimes like electric Miles on an ambient bender ("End of the Tunnel," "Wake") and sometimes as Beefheart bop ("Down to the Wire"). Though Iyer's unique vision bridges this melding of calculus and fiery solos, special note should be given to drummer Tyshawn Sorey – a recent MacArthur Genius Grant recipient ­– somehow keeping everything together with a groove equal parts King Crimson and J. Dilla. 

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