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Avant Garde

CVLT Nation’s Top 10 AVANT GARDE Albums of 2022

#10 SNEERS. Tales For Violent Days

M.Greta Blaankar’s vocals creep out of their mouth to paint Sonic Gothic Portraits that are both haunting and extremely powerful. This is the kind of music that captivates my imagination and makes me realize musical boundaries should not exist! If you have an open mind and would like to experience music that is truly free do not miss this album! Read the full feature HERE.

Released May 4th, 2022, via God Unknown Records.

#9 GREY WULF Path Of Urda

This lo-fi, gentle, and violent experimental black metal record feels like synchronicity. GREY WULF undertook the Path of Urda to understand the death of the body and the eternal nature of the soul according to Urda, death goddess and one of the three Nornir or fates, the past. They studied The Veil and the permeable nature of our consciousness. This record takes us down their path. The sounds on Path of Urda feel like the space between the spirit realm and the physical plane. There’s a tension between Grey Wulf’s unearthly vocals and the frantic, despondent, dedicated sounds of their instruments. Both sound distant but conjoined, like I’m standing between two dimensions and hearing both. This is a record for subconscious exploration. Read the full feature HERE.

Released April 1, 2022, via PTP.

#8 PLOUGHSHARE Ingested Burial Ground

As I’m listening to PLOUGHSHARE‘s track “Divulging Bees, Spiders, And Scorpions,” I can feel my skin crawling. The relentless buzz makes their industrial black death noise a harrowing listen, but this is far from one heavy note. There are expansive, fantasmal breakdowns that let me breathe for a moment before their sonic swarm envelops me in darkness yet again. Their seamless blending of every caustic genre makes this album an exciting listen for any connoisseur of dark avant-garde music. Read the full feature HERE.

Released December 8th, 2022, via Brilliant Emperor. 

#7 MAI MAI MAI Rimorso

Excuse me as my thoughts drift away into a space of Dark Bliss! This feeling of amazement is happening because I’m immersing myself in the sounds of MAI MAI MAI’s album Rimorso. I must tell y’all that the modern ancient industrial gothic music of MAI MAI MAI is mesmerizing. Read the full feature HERE.

Released May 22nd, 2022, via Maple Death Records.

#6 SRSQ Ever Crashing

This is the kind of music I feel rising up my spine and gathering around my neck until it bursts out of the top of my head like a glittering, electric fountain of sound and energy. SRSQ’s voice is heavenly and transcendent, but it’s also heavy with heartbreak and resilience. Ever Crashing is a masterpiece of emotion channeled into sound, and it’s a must-listen for anyone who’s living this human experience. I swear you’ll purge feelings you didn’t know you had while listening to this.

Released August 1, 2022, via Dais Records.

#5 PENDANT Harp

I don’t often associate avant-garde music with a need to move, but Harp had me dancing from the first dreamlike melodies. This is a record that weaves dream pop and shoegaze with experimental electronics with darkwave and rap and it’s all of those things but more. It’s romantic at times and aggressive at others. It’s a mood all the way through.

Released April 8, 2022, via Saddle Creek Records.

#4 LUNACY Echo In The Memory

I write this from a place of BLISS! I write this from a place of wonderment! I write this from a place of pure imagination! I write this from a place of knowing that the project LUNACY is like no other and for that reason their music makes me feel otherworldly.

The music you will encounter on this offering is beyond special — it’s what the inner self just might sound like. LUNACY’s fuzzed-out reverbed drenched ghostly melodies will numb your being to the fucked noise of the outside world. This will allow you to travel to other realities where love and creativity reign supreme. I really like to take in some THC edibles, put on LUNACY, and allow my whole sense of self to be altered in a positive way. I challenge you to blast the song “Echo Dub” and tell me it’s not the BOMB! Echo In The Memory is more than just a record, it’s the new sonic ocean where life as we know it is endless.

I have been listening to LUNACY for years and I got to say that this might just be their grandest project to date. Read the full feature HERE.

Released April 1, 2022, via Dedstrange Records.

#3 MOOR MOTHER Jazz Codes

Listening to Moor Mother’s album Jazz Codes feels like having a musical mist suddenly envelop me, slowly revealing a myriad of spoken word artists and layers upon layers of jazz on hip hop on blues on Black joy on Black wisdom on awakened celebration. It’s a free jazz record that weaves in so much expert musicianship that trying to write about it feels lazy…it’s a third eye experience for me.

Released July 1st, 2022, via ANTI- Records.

#2 HOURS OF WORSHIP The Cold That You Left

Over the course of ten Gloomy Dirge-infused anthems, this band shows the world how special they are! Real Talk, it’s like listening to Sisters of Mercy being chopped and screwed by DJ Screw. HOURS OF WORSHIP’s vocals slowly creep into my mind and explode into dark rays of morbid bliss! I can say for a fact that no one else is releasing anything that sounds like The Cold That You Left. I feel so honored to turn y’all on to the new HOURS OF WORSHIP song “There by the Window” below. I want to salute the band for manifesting a chilling and powerful album that will truly make my sad days happy! Released August 19th, 2022, via Iron Bonehead Productions.

Read the full feature HERE.

#1 DREAMCASTMOE Sound Is Like Water

It’s our relentless combing of the sea of artistry that lets us surface a record like this so late in the 2022 game. And if we hadn’t stumbled across dreamcastmoe a couple of weeks ago, we would’ve passed by our top avant-garde album of the year. But luckily, here I am sinking into in his steady yet somehow off-kilter beats, his siren-like vocals flowing all around my brainwaves. Sound is Like Water pulls you under in its sonic current, and cradles you in experimental r&b, psychedelic trip-hop, and electronic soul. Hit play on “El Dorado” and next thing you know, you’re five tracks in hoping that the journey never ends! Released November 4, 2022, via Spectral Sound.

Most Black kids in DC don’t ever get to this point. This is what I am making this music for, in the DC tradition of soul and empathy and love that is rooted in this city. My music is for real people dealing with shit every day.

– dreamcastmoe
Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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