Roy Montgomery's latest sounds almost normal 

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Improvisational noise, which was on an underground roll from the late 1980s to about 2010, has been underrepresented of late. But there are still significant releases that run the gamut from semi-melodic drone to free-form racket. Among them are experimental blues guitarist Roy Montgomery — who opts for a more layered, melodic approach — and Sonic Youth founder Kim Gordon, who chases a chaotic muse in her work with the Body/Head duo.

Montgomery, a New Zealand veteran of Pin Group, has some shoegaze inclinations, and his decision to recruit such female singers as Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux and Liz Harris of Grouper for his new album Suffuse (Ba Da Bing) gives it a hushed but melancholy grace. The first few tracks feature Montgomery’s lyrics, before letting his guests debut their own lyrical works over the guitarist’s majestic backing. As a result, Suffuse sounds almost normal.

Gordon’s project with guitarist Bill Nace, which goes by the name Body/Head, is moving the other way. Nace, a Massachusetts jazz artist, has shown in recent work with Samara Lubelski that he can hew to a melodic path, so Body/Head’s foray into outer limits in The Switch (Matador) clearly is Gordon’s doing. These five new tracks are uncompromising enough to scare off some, but kudos to Gordon for sticking to her sonic screeches.


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