Portland artists The Mercury Tree and Cryptic Ruse each have a history of making progressive, even challenging music. The former is a band who likes to push the boundaries of progressive rock and metal, and the latter is a solo artist experimenting with multiple xenharmonic systems across a multitude of musical genres. The fusion of the two for a collaborative EP is a match made in heaven: the Cryptic Tree pentaptych will be released on the 31st of July, and it explores via a handful of compositions the possibilities of microtonality in a progressive rock setting.

You can go on Can This Even Be Called Music? to listen to the first track, “The Cold Flame Burns”, which is more laid back than “Huntress”, but no less exploratory. “Huntress” is infringing on metal territory, and an abuse of vocoder that can’t help but place a huge grin across my face. The harmonic ideas present in this composition are genuinely mind-blowing: lush and extended and very creative, especially for a system with 17 notes to the octave as this one.

Be certain to secure your copy of this incredibly good and forward-thinking release on bandcamp! Cryptic Tree comes out on Tuesday.

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