Fourteen years is a long time to spend with one label, especially for jazz and fusion groups. Azymuth celebrated 14 years with the United Kingdom's Far Out label in 2008. Butterfly is their eight record for the imprint and their first new studio album in four years. The original trio – Jose Roberto Bertami (keyboards/vocals), Alex Malheiros (bass/guitars/vocals), and Ivan Conti (drums/percussion/vocals) – is still together after 35 years. Here jazz, funk, fusion, and elegant samba are woven together seamlessly. The disc was produced by the trio with David Brinkworth (Harmonic 33). "Butterfly," the album opener, is a sultry, breezy cover of the classic Herbie Hancock track, originally on 1974's Thrust. The elegant sound of gorgeously arranged strings (by Arthur Verocai no less), warm rolling Rhodes piano, Conti's breaking drums that walk the line between lithe funk and samba, and a pronounced but languid bassline gradually and deliberately build the space, stopping at interludes to reinsert the sensuous mood in the melodic line. Certainly it's an auspicious way to begin, but it's only one of the many highlights on this set.
After 14 years of silence, alt-metal supergroup A Perfect Circle returned with Eat the Elephant. Previously active on 2004's antiwar eMOTIVe – when the U.S. was embroiled in a different state of social upheaval – they re-emerged in 2018 at another pivotal time with just as much to say. While much transpired in their absence, A Perfect Circle evolved, addressing government shifts, technological advances, and social deterioration in a manner befitting of frontman Maynard James Keenan, who delivers some of the most wickedly barbed lyrics of his career. Here, Keenan and co-founder Billy Howerdel are joined by a revamped lineup that includes James Iha, Matt McJunkins, and Jeff Friedl, as well as producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, LCD Soundsystem). This matured incarnation of the band balances brute force with softer moments that may surprise, yet digging deeper reveals a wealth of poetic lyricism and social commentary. The title track ushers in this new era, a melancholy prelude that sounds eerily similar to Cat Power's bittersweet "The Greatest."