Monday, January 01, 2007

Favorite Recordings of 2006

That season again. I set a personal record this year, I'm pretty sure, as I acquired 207 recordings in the calendar year 2006. Although I realize this is only about, I'm guessing, an eighth of what Pinnell takes in annually, it's a ridiculous amount of new music to listen to in such a short time, much less comment on semi-intelligently. And a lot of it was very good. This is largely a function, I imagine, of labels accurately ascertaining my general taste and sending along things likely to fit in. Good job, guys and gals, I appreciate it.

I want to make special mention of Erstwhile. Over the years, I've received a bit of flak for how highly I regard this label, some due to my having known Jon Abbey personally since slightly before its inception. Well, tough. I can't help it if he routinely produces much of the best music around. 2006 marks the sixth year in a row that my #1 slot is occupied by an Erstwhile release. Here's the recent history:

2005 - Rowe/Sachiko/Nakamura/Yoshihide - s/t
2004 - Rowe/Beins - s/t
2003 - Rowe/Tilbury - Duos for Doris
2002 - MIMEO/Tilbury - The Hands of Caravaggio
2001 - Rowe/Nakamura - Weather Sky

(fwiw, in 2000, I ranked Cecil Taylor's "Nailed" #1 with Tilbury's Feldman collection, "All Piano" second and Rowe/Muller/Sugimoto's "The World Turned Upside Down" third. Were I re-doing that year today, I imagine the Tilbury (a non-Erst) would be at the top, with Rowe/Muller/Sugimoto next)

Careful observers of the above listing (or anyone who can read) will notice another common element: Keith Rowe. What can I say? For my money, he's created the finest, deepest music I've heard in the last several years, with AMM up to a couple years back, on his own and with various collaborators as well, especially with Tilbury. That Jon has succeeded in producing most of Keith's best work since 2000 is all to his credit. Thanks, Keith and Jon!

I thought 2006 was going to be another shoo-in for the Rowe/Abbey team. Well, they made it but it was much closer than I would've expected mid-year, Jason Lescalleet's extraordinary album, "The Pilgrim" making a very strong, late-game run. Two things gave "between" the edge: 1) the piece "Lausanne" contains the most beautiful music I've heard since the Doris sessions (which, gun to head, would be my current choice for favorite album ever) and 2), the more general nature of the Rowe/Nakamura album is, ultimately, more to my liking than the specificity of Jason's, as beautifully and deeply stated as the latter is.

I also wanted to make special mention of Nicolas Malevitis' fine label, Absurd, out of Greece which produced a large number of wonderful discs that made it to me this year. Congrats, Nicolas! And similarly to Mark Wastell, both for his own work and for the Confront label. Well done, Mark.

So, here we go. As always, when I say 2006, I'm referring to things I acquired during that year. I'm sure some of these came out in 2005. Maybe even 2004. I don't care. I am including a separate section for things which either came out in 2006 but consisted largely or entirely of earlier material or things that I happened to pick up but are from far enough back that even I can't put them in a 2006 listing.


10 Favorites of 2006, in rough order of preference:

1) Keith Rowe/Toshimaru Nakamura - between (Erstwhile)
2) Jason Lescalleet - The Pilgrim (Glistening Examples)
3) Ferran Fages/Will Guthrie - cinabri (Absurd)
4) Olivia Block - Heave To (Sedimental)
5) Filament - Dark Room filled with Light (Uplink)
6) Keith Rowe/Mark Wastell - s/t (Confront)
7) Looper - Squarehorse (Absurd)
8) David Lacey/Paul Vogel/Mark Wastell - s/t (Confront)
9) Mattin/Radu Malfatti - Going Fragile (Formed)
10) [N:Q] - November Quebec (Esquilo)


11) Alfredo Costa Monteiro - Stylt (Absurd)
12) Jeph Jerman - Lithiary (Fargone)
13) Mark Wastell - Amoungst English Men (absinth)
14) Gabriel Paiuk - Res Extensa (Sedimental)
15) Serge Baghdassarians/Boris Baltschun/Burkhard Beins - Zur Stabilen Stutzung... (absinth)
16) Joel Stern/Anthony Guerra - Outdoor Bowers (twothousandand)
17) (various) - For Feldman (OgreOgress)
18) Morton Feldman - Complete Violin/Viola and Piano Works (OgreOgress)
19) Didac Lagarriga - The Reversed Supermarket Trolley.... (Lalia)
20) Kai Fagaschinski/Bernhard Gal - Going Around in Serpentines (Charizma)

10 Things Containing Music from Years Past that I Loved:

1) Morton Feldman - The Viola in My Life (New World)
2) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - En Concert a Paris (Ocora)
3) Pura Paku Alaran - Java: Court Gamelan, Vol. 1 (Nonesuch)
4) Ornette Coleman - Paris Concert (Trio)
5) Robert Ashley - Dust (Lovely Music)
6) Keith Rowe/Oren Ambarchi - Squire (For4Ears)
7) David Tudor/Gordon Mumma - s/t (New World)
8) Loren Connors - Night Through (Family Vineyard)
9) Nguyen Vinh Bao - Nguyen Vinh Bao Ensemble (Ocora)
10) Luc Ferrari - Son Memorise (Sub Rosa)

Other recordings I enjoyed a bunch (thanks, everyone!)

Philip Samartzis - Unheard Spaces (Microphonics)
Ami Yoshida/Christof Kurzmann - aso (Erstwhile)
Giuseppe Ielasi/Howie Steltzer - Night Life (Bronbron)
Jon Mueller/Jason Kahn - Supershells (Formed)
Tomas Korber/Keith Rowe/Gunter Muller - Fibre (For4Ears)
Rick Reed - Dark Skies at Noon (Elevator Bath)
Richard Chartier - Current (Room40)
Mattin/Jean-Luc Guionnet/Bertrand Denzler/Taku Unami - -/:. (Fargone)
Ingar Zach - In (Kning)
Asher - Three Untitled Compositions (CDR)
Mersault - Mersault (Quakebasket)
EKG/Giuseppe Ielasi - Group (Formed)
Nmperign/Jason Lescalleet - Love Me Two Times (Intransitive)
Mike Cooper - Giacinto (Hipshot)
Greg Davis/Jeph Jerman - Ku (Room40)
Philip Samartzis/Lawrence English - One Plus One (Room40)
Seth Nihil/John Grzinich - Gyre (Cut)
AS11 - Monotheism (antifrost)
Michael Renkel - Errorkoerpor III (absinth)
Ingar Zach - Percussion Music (Sofa)
Traw/Rhodri Davies - Cwymp y Dwr ar Ganol Dydd (Confront)
Sei Miguel - The Tone Gardens (Creative Sources)
Loren Chasse/Phil Mouldycliff/Chris Potter/Keith Rowe - Debris Field (ICR)
Eliane Radigue - Elemental II (Records of Sleaze Art)
Annette Krebs - Untitled (CDR)
Asher - And, Invariably, the Blue (CDR)
Michael Renkel/Sonia Bender - 7ft_KONKA (absinth)
Philip Samartzis/Kozo Inada - h[ ] (Room40)
Mike Shiflet - Ichinomiya 5.3.6 (Little Enjoyer)
Adam Sonderberg/Paul Bradley - Anoxia (Longbox)
Greg Davis/Steven Hess - Decisions (Longbox)
Asher - Graceful Degradation (con-v)
Daniel Menche - Creatures of Cadence (Longbox)
Mattin/Axel Dorner - Berlin (absurd)
John Butcher/Christof Kurzmann - The Big Misunderstanding... (Potlatch)
Jason Kahn/Tomas Korber/Christian Weber - Zurchen Aufnahmen (Longbox)
Will Guthrie - Building Blocks (Antboy)
Sunshine Has Blown - s/t (mymwly)
Michel Doneda - Solo las Planques (Sillon)
Eddie Prevost - Entelechy (Matchless)
Kommando Raumschiff Zitrone - First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Quincunx)
Arek Gulbenkoglu - s/t (Antboy)
Polwechsel - Archives of the North (hatOLOGY)
If, Bwana - Gruntle (absurd)
Janek Schaefer - In the Last Hour (Room40)
RM74/RLW - Pirouetten (Crouton)
Momeht Ybaxehnr - Five Moments of Silence for the Dead of Chernobyl (Fargone)
Minamo - A Herdsman's Life (Esquilo)
Will Montgomery - Water Blinks (Selvageflame)
Scott Walker - The Drift (Drag City)
HZL - Ayes (White Flag)
VHF - Statics (l'Innomable)
Joe Colley/Jason Lescalleet - Annihilate this Week (Korm)
Bruce Russell - 21st Century Field Hollers and Prison Songs (wmo/r)
Will Guthrie - Body and Limbs Still Look to Light (Cathnor)
Sabine Ercklentz - Steinschlag (l'Innomable)
Loy Fankbonner - El Pabellon (Azul Discografica)
Grundik Kasyansky - Light and Roundchair (Creative Sources)

....I could go on, but......

Enjoy the new year!

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