Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Honorable Mentions

The following is a list of the music that, in a lot of ways, I didn't spend enough time with.  It's been a busy year around these parts.  The list constitutes positions 31 through 50 of my year-end favorites.  I'm pretty sure any one of these albums, given some more time, would have ended up in the top 30.  As it is, here is a twenty-way tie for thirty-first place (in descending order). The 2012 Forest Gospel year-end list (in music) is coming soon...

Rebecca Volynsky

Joe Todd-Stanton

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nick Millevoi - In White Sky

Grizzly, doom-laden solo guitar from Nick Millevoi of Many Arms (whose self-titled LP on Tzadik this year was an incredible noise/punk/jazz frenzy).  On In White Sky, Millevoi has lets things slowly devolve into a wonderfully dark, trenchant granularity.  Beautifully demented and worthy of some meditative headphone time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Eve Risser / Benjamin Duboc / Edward Perraud - En Corps

I kind of fell head over heals for avant jazz this year.  I've been tip toeing around it for a couple years now and this year, the year of Mayan enlightenment/apocalypse, I've found myself finally falling into the genre without reserve.  If you follow the blog, maybe you've noticed (and, like Erin, are disappointed).  By and large I am drawn to the bombasticly chaotic and swinging (best when hand in hand), which is what makes En Corps, a spare, non-swinging evisceration of jazz, such a surprisingly delicious and eye-opening discovery for me.  The album seems to burrow deeply into the tension of the almost-explosion: the space of the music world that precedes and bubbles towards a crescendo--yet here, Risser (piano), Duboc (bass), and Perraud (drums) dig their heels in and ride that tension of the almost-chaos (which is a chaos all its own) into a space that is both maddening and enlightening.  Consisting of two tracks, the first of which expands beyond a half an hour (the second, fifteen minutes), there is something to be said about the endurance of the musicians and the listeners who brave En Corps, but its a listening experience that rewards like nearly no other in 2012 that I can think of.  Something of a holy grail for adventurous listeners, I don't care what your stripe.

Undercurrents by Michael Fragstein

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Robert G. Fresson

Chris Corsano - Cut

Chris Corsano's everywhere.  He's been everywhere for awhile; collaborating with just about everyone worth noting working within avant rock, noise, and jazz circles.  And while he is a marvelous component of everything he's involved, an amazing percussionist, it's his solo work that I'm most fond of.  Cut is a perfect example of his wide-ranging sensibilities, quilting together a patchwork of modular noises and abstract drumming into something that satisfies immediately, track by track, and builds into something else that is cohesively resonant and confounding at the same time.  A really amazing album.  Also: awe-struck by the video below--Corsano is the next level.

Matthew Houston

Freak Heat Waves - S/T

Thorny, patiently epic art rock from Canada.  Year end fodder.  Newly-pressed-and-limited-to-300-vinyl-LPs-you-better-act-quick music. Because, if not, all that'll be left are regrets.  And guitars searing themselves into your subconscious, percussion ratcheting itself into your soul, vocals evaporating into thin air.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ahnnu - Couch / Pro Habitat

Ahnnu is a Los Angeles-based post-hip hop experimentalist that can be loosely, if vaguely, connected to the forefather work of Prefuse 73 (just to give you an arena), and 2012 is his coming out party.  Dude's released three albums this year--the most recent of which, Survival, popping up in October.  Survival is fair, but where you should really focus your time is with the first two from this year: Couch and Pro Habitat.  The albums are just lush, off-kilter with their overabundance of sampling, and luxuriously woozy.  They are distinctive from one another, but I can't help listening to them back-to-back--making them brother and sister. Something about these two albums just hits the pleasure centers so hard, its exhilarating   Ahnnu isn't new, per se, but relatively--certainly new to me--and in that capacity, maybe my most exciting personal discovery of 2012.  Check both albums streaming below:

So Long, Hong Kong by Gregory Kane

A charming exhibition of place, or: "I want to go to there."

Paula - Relaxed Fit

December is usually the month for playing catch-up, scrambling around trying to listen to everything you meant to over the course of the past 11 months in order to order your year end list.  I'm going to have a hard time doing that, though, after stumbling on Paula's Relaxed Fit from late last year.  I mean, holy moly!, this album is nuts!  Why have I never heard of these guys before?  And a Cadence Weapon spot on "Change the Subject"?!  Sooooo so good.