Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just a note: First new recording of 2007 that I've really, really liked: Matthieu Saladin's "Intervalles" on l'Innomable

Nine pieces for computer enhanced bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, beautifully restrained, always fascinating.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

When someone stops me on the street and says, "Olewnick, if you had to pick one piece that epitomizes the best in post-Coltrane avant jazz, what would it be?" (this occurs three or four times daily) I usually answer, "Ohnedaruth, from the Art Ensemble's 'Phase One' on Prestige", from 1971.

This piece has everything--three distinct structural elements, each of them paramount in the music and some extraordinary playing, capped by one of the fiercest solos I know. The first third or so is taken up by spacey percussion, all metallic and gong or cymbal oriented, beautifully done with no sense of either hurrying or kitschy mysticism. Favors' electric bass eventually joins in, softly booming single notes that blend in with the gongs. Then his acoustic begins weaving through the mix, gradually gaining force until the horns explode in a marvelous fanfare, amazing harmonics. The theme, Jarman's, is rattled off, no nonsense, banged out, its hard boppish lines shot out like a nail gun. An explosion of horns once again, then three solos. First, the superbly liquid Jarman on tenor then a raucous and sardonic Bowie over an eruptive drum backing from Moye, who's fantastic throughout. But the payoff is the unbelievable Roscoe solo, as ferocious and backbreakingly strong as anything I've ever heard him do. Typically, he edges into it, laying slabs like thick paint from a palette knife, building the groundwork from which he launches, tearing holes in the ozone (Will, ya gotta love the structure in this one!). The final few roars are as powerful as you'll find in jazz. The fanfare returns briefly and Bam! it's over.

"Lebert Aaly" ain't half bad either even if they butcher the anagram. Another "Horn Web" in a sense, with (I think) Bowie's steer horns leading the way. Another fine example of loose spaciness working wonderfully, everything connected, no sense of self-indulgence, imaginative use of multiple sounds. Great walking bass line from Favors toward the end; after Mingus, there's no walking bass I'd rather hear.

"Bap-Tizum". Well, what can one say? As I said before, this was my intro to the band and the damn thing still kills. A live set from the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, September 9, 1972, introduced by John Sinclair to a crowd of 10,000, as he says in the liners, "most of whom had never heard anything like this music before in their young lives." It was the sort of set that would typify and AEC performance in years to come: An opening, Moye-led percussion piece that's super powerful. To this day, when I'm idly tapping out rhythms somewhere, I'm likely to fall into this piece (either this or Reich's 'Drumming'). Moans and screams lead into Favors' "Immm" (boy do I miss the titles from those days!), a spacey, part spoken word piece that actually works. Then there's Roscoe and his structure, his perverse sense of pacing and slab-like constructiveness, "Unanka". A sublime theme leads to a funereal bass rhythm over which Mitchell plays so deliciously off, so against his accompaniment. This is a piece I had a good deal of trouble with as a young 'un but have come to really appreciate. Side two begins with Mitchell's short and hectic "Oouffnoon" (!!!) featuring splattering Bowie before segueing into another version of "Ohnedaruth", perhaps not quite as earthshaking as the one on "Phase One", but still pretty great. Bowie (I think it's Bowie) gets so worked up during his solo that he begins shouting something like, "...Fan...dang....Fuck those motherfuckers, man! They aren't gonna go tell you shit, man!!" Ah and then "Odwalla", I believe for the first time on record. What a timeless, beautiful theme, so forcefully stated by the paired bass saxophones, the line iterated with variations for several minutes before they strut
off-stage, still playing. Sinclair returns to the mic, "A mighty band indeed!" Indeed.

"Fanfare for the Warriors" is the final piece of my "great sextet" of AEC recordings, recorded in 1973 with the addition of Muhal Richard Abrams. You might think that messing with the quintet's chemistry could cause some problems, including muddiness, but nothing of the sort occurs. If I had to pick a nit, it might be that there's a small tinge of the smorgasbord here, a little bit of a sampling selection at the expense of a unified whole. But each element is brilliantly created, so it's a trifling matter. 99 times out of 100, something like "Illistrum", with its faux naive mysticism would likely send me rushing for the turntable to advance the stylus, but damned if they don't pull it off. The furious swing of Bowie's "Barnyard Scuffle Shuffle" (when the tenors lock into unison late in the piece, yow!), the mazelike, supersolid structure of Mitchell's "Nonaah", the ecstasy-to-calm of the title track, all wonderful pieces. I think it might be "Tnoona" that stays with me the most, though, and is also the one work with (tenuous) connections to future lower case improv. Well, except for its close. But I think (?) it's pretty unique in the AEC's discography and a powerful, haunting piece.

Six fantastic recordings that still reward. More on subsequent releases later, but for my bucks, this was their peak. I saw them perform maybe five or six times. They were wildly inconsistent and, oddly enough, the last time I saw the intact quintet (I caught a quartet version, sans Jarman, 6-7 years back at Merkin), in the mid 80s in the garden at MOMA, might have been the strongest of those.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I just posted my relatively lengthy review of Michel Henritzi's "Keith Rowe Serves Imperialism" at Bags, here.

We'll see what transpires.....

Friday, January 26, 2007

Virtuoso Organ: Xenakis, Babbitt, Wuorinen, Ferneyhough

Sunday, February 11, 2007
5:15 PM

St. Thomas Church
1 W.53rd Street
New York City, New York
Kevin Bowyer, organ
with assisting guest organists:
Stephen Gosling and Eric Huebner

Iannis Xenakis – Gmeeoorh
Brian Ferneyhough - Sieben Sterne
Milton Babbitt - Manifold Music
Charles Wuorinen - Natural Fantasy

Miller Theatre teams up with St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue to present a two-concert festival featuring some of the most extraordinary and seldom-heard music of the last 50 years that will showcase St. Thomas’s two remarkable organs. Kevin Bowyer opens with a program of organ pyrotechnics that will stretch his jaw-dropping virtuosity to its limits.



Driving up to Casa Manila to procure weekend vittles (ensaymadas, kare kare, goto, menudo) I heard about this on KCR. Having the chance to hear the Xenakis live, for free no less, might make this difficult to pass up. The organ in question is apparently a mighty one and GMEEOORH calls for a few assistants to, at one point, depress entire banks of keys, all stops pulled, with yardsticks. Yeesh.

I've long been of the opinion that there are six Art Ensemble releases that stand above the rest and that, conveniently enough, they fall into three pairs:

First are the two masterpieces on Nessa, "People in Sorrow" and "Les Stances a Sophie". As I mentioned earlier PiS was recorded a scant two weeks after the Paris session but in terms of maturity of conception, it seems to have advanced several large strides. As wonderful as I find "The Spiritual", this album-length piece--while touching briefly on a few of the theatrical aspects of the earlier track, is much more a throughgoing whole, much deeper. The gorgeous, plaintive melody (Mitchell) glues the work together, surfacing periodically but it's the deliberate pace, the willingness to remain somber and restrained for about the first 85% of the piece that's especially striking. This also serves to increase the surprise at the abrupt shift toward the end of Side Two when the shrill double-reed drone (a shenai?) appears and the melody grows urgent, if not strident. Just a wonderful fully realized work. I've seen many listeners rank this at the top of the AEC's output, something that would be tough to argue with.

Well, except for Sophie, maybe....This may have been the second AEC album I heard; I recall ordering it from New Music Distribution Service pretty quickly after having heard "Bap-Tizum". Great cover, too, Roscoe looking especially cool. Incidentally, I just noticed checking at AMG that "Certain Blacks" is listed with a recording date of 2/12/70; my copy on Inner City was without a date. I assumed it was from around the same time, but hadn't realized it pre-dated Sophie by five months. It goes to a point I was going to make later that, as great as their stuff was from this period, they were by no means absolutely consistent, "Certain Blacks" being something of a blowing session, not bad, but not as profound as other work they were doing contemproaneously. Anyway, back to Sophie: Has there ever been a greater example of avant jazz/rock/funk hybrid than "Theme de Yoyo"? Not in this listener's book. I love Miles as much as the next guy, but this song has killed me from Day One and continues to do so decades on. Everything perfect, even from a pop song standpoint, given its length--nothing goes on too long, each statement is precise and impassioned, Fontella Bass' voice just oozes sex. What more could you want? And the rest of the album is just about as good. Again, they managed to achieve an amazing level of maturity in a short time. There's not a wasted sound here. And Don Moye....it's like a championship baseball team calling up a superstar from AAA. Cemented everything.

The second pair originally came out in the US on Prestige, of all things, the first simply called "The Art Ensemble of Chicago" and subtitled, "with Fontella Bass", the second "Phase One". The first seems to have pretty much disappeared--I don' think it's part of the current Atavistic reissue series (some correct me if I'm mistaken). [Whoops, I think I'm wrong, happily; just found it] Wonderful photo of Bass on the back; looks like frlom around the same time as this one. Each album features two side-long tracks. "How Strange/Ole Jed" opens with a fantastic African (Afro-Cuban) percussion/chant that I'm guessing Moye brought in. If anyone knows the source, please let me know. Interestingly, the section concludes with exactly the same conga pattern as the piece at the beginning of "Bap-Tizum". The main theme, a folk tale about Ole Jed falling into a well, sounds to me like the work of Favors with its southern inflections. It harkens a bit back to "The Spiritual", Bass laughing through some of the lyrics, before turning more somber near its end, all low horns and flute before a very short but riotous finale. Lovely piece. Mitchell's "Horn Web" (what a great title!) is more overtly experimental, beginning with an intense Moye solo before encountering a handful of pointillist blasts, then a soft arco bass/muted horns passage. Will's fascination with Mitchell's structural use of sound is in clear evidence here, the piece unfolding in slabs. There's what appears to be some group improvisation (I wonder if any rules were in effect) but even here, his flute acts like a sheepdog. It's spacey, something the AEC was often (sometimes justafiably) criticised for being, but here it all gels--diaphanous without evaporating entirely. There's a hint of the "Odwalla" theme buried inside as well some luscious horn harmonies.

Getting longish here. I'll continue with the other three later....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The first Art Ensemble of Chicago record I picked up was "Bap-Tizum", probably around its release date which I think was Fall, 1973. I don't exactly remember why, whether or not I'd heard anything on KCR (probably) or read something in downbeat. But the local record store, imaginatively named Recordland (near the corner of Main St. and Market St., Po'town) carried it as it was on Atlantic. More on that one later, but what a record.

I began backtracking, picking up what earlier releases I could find though for some reason the BYG stuff, even in later years, escaped my grasp. But the Nessas, the couple on Prestige and a few others were found.

In '75, Arista released a twofer which they titled "Paris Session", though the music therein has since seen the light of day in several other guises I believe. Recorded on July 26, 1969, it's the earliest AEC recording I have (as opposed to pre-AEC Mitchell led groups). It's very good, even if something of a grab bag affair, but it contains two stunning sidelong tracks: "Tutankhamen" (spelled "Tutankhamun" here) and one of my all-time favorite Art Ensemble performances, Roscoe Mitchell's "The Spiritual". Both, in different ways, are illustrative of what's been lacking in most modern jazz for a long time now.

I'm not sure there's a "melody" in jazz or anywhere else quite like Malachi Favors' lumbering, monolithic "Tutankhamen". It's almost anti-melodic, trundling hesitantly down its path like some just-awakened behemoth. It just sounds so ancient. If anyone can think of a precedent, I'd love to hear it. Led in by some gorgeous muted trumpet from Bowie, the theme is stated by the rather unusual tandem of bassoon and bass sax then just oozes out into the marshland. Bowie shines again and you can hear in his playing glimmers of what would occur less than two weeks later when they recorded the extraordinary "People in Sorrow". As was their custom, instruments are picked up and dropped throughout but there's never a forced sense, never any idea of using everything in the arsenal. It totally relaxed, in fact, underpinned by Favors' arco that allows the flute and trumpet to waft unhurriedly above. It gets spacey, regroups, turns sardonic, explodes in percussion--everything we came to expect from them.

But the real treasure is "The Spiritual". It's difficult to imagine how terrible any venture in this direction would be if tried today. A "story piece", it wallows in caricature and stereotypes, making no bones about it, leaving it to the listener to decide just how accurate or not they may be. Bowie sinking his trumpet into water, a totally lovely melody played haltingly on flute (Mitchell, I think) and various small percussion back up someone (Favors?) talking about going on down the road to hear "Ol' Billy Billy" tell a story. Exaggerated southern black country slang and redneck squawking trade blows amidst some of the loveliest horn playing and most sympathetic percussion they ever put on record. "Them boys gwine over to Mr. Greeeen's plantation...them boys ran off inna the swamp...Them niggers have killed my woman...I give five hunnert dollahs to the man who shoot 'em down!" It's just so, so unaffected. "What is that song you're always singin'?" "That song ain't got no name...it's just a spiritual...just a spiritual." I shudder to think how most of the Vision fest crowd would handle something like this.

The riverboat comes, there's banjo and kazoo playing and general noise-making. A percussive/whistle explosion, perhaps indicating the murder of the boys. Raging trumpet and sopranino, hallucinatory vibes (as in vibraphone), riotous piano (Jarman), pounding gongs and yelling. Favors' rock hard bass surges to the fore, steadying the craft with a rich, somber restatement of the melody over chaotic balafon, deep final strums giving way to Mitchell's anguished alto and the flute's return over whispered "I don't know"s, sighs and wails. The trumpet returns beneath the water, sinking out of sight.

An absolute masterpiece in this listener's opinion. Oh, for jazz to be in the creative state it was in '69!

Friday, January 19, 2007

So, as far as I can remember, the Velvet Underground was an unknown quantity in Poughkeepsie in the late 60s. They were very much a NYC band after all. On the other hand, I do remember hearing the Fugs ESP-Disk back around '70-71 so, who knows? In any case, VU wasn't being listened to by the kids I hung around with in high school. My first recollection of hearing of them in any detail other than the name was with reference to the burgeoning punk scene in '74-'75 (maybe alongside the release of 'Metal Machine Music') by which time I was thoroughly immersing myself in avant jazz and had less than no desire to look back onto anything rock-like in nature.

The odd thing is, I went through a bit of a John Cale phase a few years earlier. I'm pretty sure in the summer of '72, on that fine WBRU station, I heard some Cale, presumably "The Academy in Peril". I quickly picked that up along with, in the ensuing year or two, "Paris 1919" and his collaboration with Terry Riley, "Church of Anthrax", greatly enjoying all of them (although they too would succumb to my Great Rock Purge of '75--I remember that Anthrax was borderline, but I was ruthless in those days! Awful decision). I suppose I knew that Cale had been in VU but for whatever reason, I had no itch to go back and investigate. I recall almost buying MMM as well, most likely due to reading various rock critics refer to it as "unlistenable noise", but deciding against it.

Since then, periodically, I've thought I should give these records a real listen, having heard bits and pieces that were intriguing and, more, curious about the influence of people like Tony Conrad and Lamonte Young on this branch of rock. A few years back, Jon lent me some mid-60s Cale (extended drones) that I loved, also stoking interest. More recently, having come to understand the large effect Young's music had on nascent AMM (via Cardew), my curiosity was sparked once again. The Josetxo Grieta disc was just the thing to get me to finally pull the trigger.

So I picked up the first two this afternoon, even springing for the "deluxe" edition of the first album. "White Light/White Heat" is on at the moment and, overall, I'm enjoying this more--far dirtier and grungier. But I liked the other as well, not surprisingly preferring the more extreme things, actually enjoying "European Son" the most. And it was obvious to me that I've heard "Heroin" more often in the past than I thought as it was quite recognizable. (The same thing with "I Heard Her Call My Name")

Anyway, glad I finally got 'em. Give me a few decades and I'll get around to stuff.

[Edit: OK, I have to give it up for "Sister Ray". Excellent]

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Readers who trawl the byways at I Hate Music will be, erm, heartened to know that I received the Michel Henritzi offering, "Keith Rowe Serves Imperialism" this afternoon. The accompanying text, which can be read at www.mattin.org, is printed in a handsome booklet. Four tracks, non-contemporaneous "duos" between Henritzi and Shin'ichi Isohata, Bruce Russell, Mattin and Taku Unami. I'll write it up for Bags, no problem, even if I think the title is just a silly, puerile provocation (and isn't particularly backed up in the notes). The disc is a dedication to Derek Bailey and Masayuki Takayanagi and one funny thing is that Isohata's playing on the opening track is utterly Bailey-esque. I guess imitation doesn't serve imperialism. The second, on now, is a feedback duet with Russell and sounds pretty OK.

Also in the same package is "Euskal Semea", by Josetxo Grieta (Josetxo Anitua & Inigo Eguillor) and Mattin. If I'm understanding the notes correctly, it's a deconstruction of the Velvet's "European Son". We shall see. (Not that I'd know "European Son" if I tripped over it....)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The fifth volume of Unseen Cinema is titled "Picturing a Metropolis" and, sure enough, deals with early evocations of a rapidly growing Manhattan. It's easily the least aesthetically interesting of the discs thus far. The earlier films are essentially panoramas and tracking shots of the city while many of the later ones are often breathless homages to skyscrapers and bustling city-dwellers, the sort of thing that was doubtless pretty new and cool when shot but--perhaps through no fault of their own--come across as fairly corny and cliched nowadays. That may be an unfair judgment but few of them, to me, had the inherent poetic eye to allow them to transcend what came after.

There were several exceptions, including G.W. "Billy" Blitzer's "Interior New York Subway 14th St. to 42nd St" (1905) which tracked the rear of a subway car as it sped uptown, the lighting being provided from a pacing flatbed on an adjacent track; beautifully done. Rudy Burckhardt's "Pursuit of Happiness" (1940) was an effective, and intentionally silent, study of city walkers and, again surprising to me, the Busby Berkeley number, "Lullaby of Broadway" (1935) was impressively snazzy. btw, throughout the set, in most cases, the producers of "Unseen Cinema" have seen fit to include their own musical accompaniment when either the original soundtrack was unavailable or, I imagine, with the assumption that live music would have been played whenever these things were shown. A mistake, imho, as the new contributions, try as they might to sound "period", tend toward the bland.

My favorite piece, though, was the concluding "Autumn Fire" (1930-33) by Herman Weinberg. Running some 22 minutes (the longest one on this disc) it manages to survive a schmaltzy, tired story line (Lovers who've fought, she moping around in the country, he moping around in Manhattan) by concentrating on and contrasting beautiful "nature" shots with equally well-observed urban portraits, some of them coming close to the sort of thing Ralph Steiner was doing around the same time.

Throughout most of the films, though, I found myself looking at them more as anthropological/historical documents than as aesthetic objects, trying to identify this or that building or landmark and, more than anything else, watching the people going about their daily business, picking up hints on how things were done then. One of the striking things, up until about 1930 as far as you could tell by what's in evidence here, is the strictness of dress--the buttoned up, tie-wearing crowds. And the hats! Jeez Louise, you look around in vain to find somebody, anybody, not wearing a hat! From upper class twits to guys digging the holes for future skyscrapers. As an inveterate hater of headwear, I found this very disturbing. Thank goodness that sanity eventually prevailed.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Boy, it sucks when you're talking about a recording less than 25 years old and the only available image I could find is this one. Great cover though.

"New Music from Antarctica" (yes, for lack of a better solution I file this as though the sounds actually stem from there), hopefully but inaccurately subtitled "vol. 1", was a compilation of tracks from people in the ambit of the early 80s incarnation of The Kitchen, the music/performance/video space that was initially on the corner of Grand and Wooster in Soho before moving up to its current location on West 19th St. (just checked out their site here--looks like there are some interesting things in the video archive). I don't recall the sequence of Directors but around that time they included Rhys Chatham and George Lewis. This comp seems to have been assembled under the direction of Peter Gordon (in conjunction with video work by Kit Fitzgerald and John Sanborn; the video from this project is apparently for sale here), founder of the at-one-time-exciting Love of Life Orchestra. Ironically then, the two weakest pieces here are the LOLO/Gordon tracks that bracket the release, Gordon already on the downslope from excellent releases like "Geneve" and "Extended Niceties" that would ultimately extend to the less interesting "Innocent" and "Brooklyn".

Sandwiched between, however, are a number of luscious works. Two wonderful songs by Jill Kroesen (who, thanks to diligent research by Rita from Jazz Corner, we've learned owns a resort in Desert Springs CA these days!), "I'm Sorry I'm Such a Weenie" and a great cover of Smokey Robinson's "You Really Got a Hold on Me". On the latter, she performs it as a drawn-out moan, anguished, petulant, just herself and piano--quite harrowing.

I think when I first heard it, I found "Blue" Gene Tyranny's "The World's Greatest Piano Player" to be excessively noodlesome, but over the years I've come to really enjoy wallowing in it. A trio with David Van Tieghem and Laswell, it's something of a frolic as Tyranny is all over the place, keeping it funky but not shying from the florid. I always think of Van Tieghem with Anton Fier, btw, as two drummers who concentrate on a pretty narrow spectrum--solid, precise rock drumming--but carry it off surprisingly well. The handful of things I've heard from Tyranny since then have been enjoyable as well, making me think I should check out his work further. He also does some pretty decent writing for AMG once in a while.

My personal highlight of the set, though, is Ned Sublette's extraordinary "I Ain't Afraid of Girls". Backed entirely by horns (including Lewis), this is a warped, extremely catchy C&W song, nasally sung by Sublette with lyrics delineating his, erm, machoness:

I'm afraid of Hollywood and I'm afraid of snakes
I'm afraid of tumbleweed and I'm afraid of rakes
I'm afraid of fire and I'm afraid to fight
I'm afraid of being locked in the john and I'm afraid of eatin' tripe.

But I'm the bravest man in the whole wide world
'Cause I ain't afraid of girls.
I'm the braveest man in the whole wide world
'Cause I ain't afraid of girls!

I love'em when they're hot and sexy
I love 'em when they get a little corny
I ain't afraid when they cry a lot
I ain't afraid when they get horny

I like 'em when they need me and
I like it when they don't
If they take me for stud
Or a savior on a horse

etc... (all lyrics approximated from memory)

Side Two opens with Chatham's "Drastic Classicism", I think the first time I ever heard his music and it's a pretty good one, though not quite up to either "Der Donnergotter" or much of the music on "Factor X". At the time a fascinating adjunct to Branca's work, harsher and less traditionally structured. This is followed by a humdrum Van Tieghem piece, then the Kroesen cover and finally, a sludgy Gordon number (though, interestingly, with Maarten van Regteren Altena and Rene van Aast along for the ride).

I believe this was momentarily available on disc on the Italian New Tone label in the early 90s. Wish there had been a Vol. 2, at least.

Just a couple of notes. Went gallery-hopping in Chelsea yesterday with my friend Carol. Two shows stood out: One by Theresa Chong, a sample of whose work can be seen above, though the pieces are intricate enough that small repros don't come near to doing them justice. Either black on white or white on black, it seems she (randomly?) distributes tiny squarish-shapes on paper then simply makes linear connections between them as she sees fit. My first thought was of an exceedlingly complex graphic score and, indeed, doing a little research, discovered she has had training as a cellist and a strong interest in Cage. The exhibition includes a fine, whimsical video as well. At the Danese Gallery, 535 W 24th St. through Feb. 10.

The other, coincidentally enough as it turned out, was a small exhibition of John Cage watercolors. I believe I've seen some of these in reproduction but not for a long time and I'm sure I'd never seen them in the flesh. Beautiful works. I forget the gallery, but it was on the south side of W. 24th between 10th and 11th. The one below wasn't there but it's not dissimialr to the six or seven that were.

Finally, there's a good and reasonably lengthy article by Steve Smith in today's NYT on the upcoming Robert Ashley opera, "Concrete". Well done, Steve!

Friday, January 12, 2007

So on the way home this evening, I pick up some reading material: Updike's "Rabbit Is Rich" (the series has me hooked), Rick Moody's "The Diviner" and Jonathan Lethem's collection of stories, "Men and Cartoons". I begin the first piece in the latter on the PATH train home, "The Vision", concerning the remeeting of the narrator with a childhood acquaintance who used to dress and make himself up and speak like the Marvel Comics character of the same name. On page 2, Lethem writes:

Now the Vision was a grown man in a sweatshirt moving an open Martini & Rossi carton of compact discs into the basement entrance of the next-door brownstone. I spotted Captain Beefheart, Sonny Sharrock, Eugene Chadbourne.

OK, if any direct correlation between visual art and music is iffy, it's ubdoubtably more so between music and literature. But here we have a pretty well known writer (his "Motherless Brooklyn" has been optioned for film by Edward Norton) making reference to one cult rock figure and two musicians who, what? 5% of his readership may have heard of? Now I happen to know, second hand, that it's unlikely Lethem consulted his weird-music friend for some names. Lethem knows his music fairly well and I don't doubt he's a fan of all three. But what I wouldn't give to know what percentage of his readers know to whom he's referring here. Beefheart? Sure, certainly a majority would know the name (though I wonder about it at the lower age range of the spectrum) and I imagine a healthy minority, say 25%, would count themselves as fans. But Sharrock and Chadbourne? Even citing Sharrock on his own is a little odd as his only solo albums, if I'm not mistaken, were things on Enemy and to the extent he's know at all, I think it's as a member of Last Exit, Pharoah Sanders' bands, etc. It's interesting that he'd use these three because you assume he's constructing the charater, giving his readers clues as to his make-up. How do most people read this? "Huh, one weirdo and two guys I've never heard of, probably also weird." fwiw, Moody knows his musical stuff as well.

No particular point to make with this....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Admit it, you didn't recognize her.

I'm sure I first saw the name Laurie Anderson while browsing through Art Forum (or Art News or Art in America) in the library at Vassar in the early 70s. I'm reasonably sure that the article had to do with her piece which involved encasing her skate-clad feet in a block of ice, positioning said block on a corner somewhere on Canal St. and Ms. Anderson playing her violin until the ice melted enough that skateblades touched pavement. Though I can't now locate the exact year of that piece, so I may be off a bit.

So when "Big Science" made the big time, I wasn't entirely unfamiliar with the comely lass with the deep dimples and the spiky hair but still, what a record! This is one of those items that, if heard by a 20-something in 2007, I have to think would have drastically less effect than it did when heard by a 28-year old in 1982. The digitalization of daily life was just being infused into the general atmosphere and Anderson perfectly captured the mixture of wonder, awe, giddy excitement and a tinge of fear that percolated in the minds of alert observers back then. Today, of course, there's a certain quaintness about pieces like "O Superman" but, as is usually the case with nostalgia, if you heard it at the time, it will always retain an aura of "newness".

It distresses me greatly that I can't locate any pics of the inside sleeve of "Big Science", an extreme close-up in black and white, raking light of a wall-socket, its shocked, alien "face" an appropriate flip-side to the moronic yellow smileys beginning to make their rounds at this time. But it's indicative of one of Anderson's central themes: using commonplace objects or activities and imbuing them with extra-normal aspects. When she says, "Don't forget your mittens" you know there are other meanings being attached to the phrase even if, as encountered in pre-sleep states, you can't logically make the connections.

Although you can hear vestiges of Minimalism, Anderson's music comes a bit more out of Robert Ashley, I think and exists in a vein abutting things like Angelo Badalamenti. Personally, I also enjoy those rare occasions when she veers to the harsh side as on "Sweaters" (with Rufus Harley!) and "Example #22". But the pop hit "O Superman" holds up very well even if the notion of incorporating a phone message ain't as cool today. The delicious dread of the lines, "So hold me, Mom/In your long arms/Your petrochemical arms" is as chilling now as then.

But my favorite pieces are still the closing two tracks, "Let X=X" and "It Tango" which, as they bleed directly into each other, I've always thought of as a single work. Those of you too young to have ever taken a course or two in Basic programming (as I did around that time) might not derive the same frisson of pleasure at the first title as I do. I recall encountering that "phrase" and marvelling at the poetry of it, the idea of "letting" something equal itself. Hard to explain, but those six symbols are an amazingly concise chunk of meaning. The two songs are wonderful examples of Anderson conflating everyday vernacular with dream-logic as well as, in "It Tango", the bemusement of interpersonal relationships. Not to mention George Lewis' great, rollicking trombone-itude. Here you go:

I met this guy - and he looked like might have been a hat check clerk at an ice rink.
Which, in fact, he turned out to be.
And I said: Oh boy. Right again.
Let X=X.
You know, it could be you.
It's a sky-blue sky. Satellites are out tonight.
Let X=X.
You know, I could write a book.
And this book would be think enough to stun an ox.
Cause I can see the future and it's a place - about 70 miles east of here.
Where it's lighter.
Linger on over here.
Got the time?
Let X=X.
I got this postcard. And it read, it said: Dear Amigo - Dear Partner.
Listen, uh - I just want to say thanks. So...thanks.
Thanks for all the presents.
Thanks for introducing me to the Chief.
Thanks for putting on the feedbag.
Thanks for going all out.
Thanks for showing me your Swiss Army knife.
and uh - Thanks for letting me autograph your cast.
Hug and kisses. XXXXOOOO.
Oh yeah, P.S.
I - feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go.
Cause I - I feel - feel like - I am - in a burning building - and I gotta go.

She said: It looks. Don't you think it looks a lot like rain?
He said: Isn't it. Isn't it just. Isn't it just like a woman?
She said: It's hard. It's just hard. It's just kind of hard to say.
He said: Isn't it. Isn't it just. Isn't it just like a woman?
She said: It goes. That's the way it goes. It goes that way.
He said: Isn't it. Isn't it just like a woman?
She said: It takes. It takes one. It takes on to. It takes one to know one.
He said: Isn't it just like a woman?
She said: She said it. She said it to no. She said it to no one.
Isn't it. Isn't it just? Isn't it just like a woman?
Your eyes.
It's a day's work to look in to them.
Your eyes.
It's a day's work just looking in to them.

I went to see her massive show, "United States" (from which the tracks on "Big Science" derive) at BAM in the mid 80s. The performence and subsequent 5-LP release have plenty of juicy moments though there's a bit of a stretching-thin quality as well. She began to turn more toward pop song accessibility with "Mister Heartbreak" (Laswell, Belew, etc.) and "Home of the Brave", which I also saw at the Beacon Theatre. Again, a song here and there hit home but the rewards were dwindling and I stopped following her career. iirc, in preparation for "Strange Angel", she took singing lessons. *sigh* Aside from her having been Mrs. Lou Reed for a while now, I have almost no idea what she's been doing for the last 18 or so years.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Sometime maybe around 1983-84, she had an installation at the Queens Museum of all places, in Flushing Meadow Park. A bunch of very cool objects there including a pillow with built-in speakers, a seemingly solid, wood block table with a couple of semi-circular indentations at one end in which you placed your elbows then cupped your hands over your ears, only then hearing the music embedded within resonating via your ulnae and radii, and a phone booth. You picked up the receiver and heard Anderson softly prodding, "Say something" When you did, it was recorded and played back a second or two later through the earpiece, making conversation seriously complicated.

Wonder if she still does such things?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Going to MOMA the other day and, especially, noticing the crowd at the Brice Marden show, revived one of my perennial complaints/issues: To the extent--however arguable one thinks it is--you can correlate certain varieties of abstract visual art (here, let's concentrate on early 60s minimalism) with contemporary eai, why is the "market", ie, the number of people interested, so much larger for the former than the latter?

I'd guess that, at the time I was there, there were about 200 people milling about the exhibit. Over the course of the day, I think it's safe to say that well over 1,000 people attended (probably much more, but let's say 1,000). Let's say that 100 out of this 1,000 were actually seriously looking at the paintings, not just in attendance beacause it was hip to be there, dragged by their girlfriends, etc. I don't know how long the exhibition is running, but if it's two months and that's the average, you're talking 6,000 people seriously looking at and appreciating very "difficult" paintings, art that deals with issues that are at least tangentially relate to those raised by eai having to do with space, extended time, placement of tones, subtle variation, etc. (of course, many different aspects as well). 6,000 is far, far in excess of the number of people likely to pick up, say, the upcoming MIMEO release on Cathnor (one, interestingly enough, based on--possibly apocryphal--ideas of Cy Twombley). And that's just people who happened to visit MOMA in NYC.

The obvious question is: Why isn't a substantial fraction of that 6,000 listening to music that's at least a rough equivalent, aesthetically speaking, of the visual art they're admiring? Forget eai, I have a tough time believeing they're going home and turning on Cartridge Music or Pithoprakta or Four Systems. Why this vast disconnect between the so-called avant-garde in music and visual art (or music and any number of art forms with an enormously greater audience)?

Always bothered me. The most likely answer I've come up with is that it's simply a matter of time and how much of it the average person is willing to spend to come to grips with--or, crucially, to appear to have come to grips with--a given work. You can stand in front of an Agnes Martin for ten seconds and claim to have "seen" it. Now, while I grant that there exist people with far greater visual/esthetic acumen than myself, I have a tough time believing anyone's really seen a Martin (or any other decent visual work) in ten seconds, really grasped what there is to be grasped. But you can say you did and move on. To even maintain that pretense about, for example, Rowe and Nakamura's "between", you have to devote a couple of hours to actually listening to the music-and that's just once! As before, there's no way (imho) that a mere single listen is going to do more than to peel away the uppermost layer of the music, but it's at least a minimum requirement and one that necessitates some 720 times more seconds to accomplish, an investment I just think most people aren't willing to make.

A parallel question is raised: What do these artists listen to? I'm afraid that the answer might not be far different from the guy in the gallery with My Chemical Romance on his IPod. I happened to catch a little profile of Brice Marden on PBS the other night--not terribly impressive. But I bet the, if you'll excuse me, "quality percentage" is higher.

The thing is, in my experience it works in reverse rather well. Fans of AMM, say, aren't likely to be found drooling over the latest Leroy Nieman lithos or waiting in line for Dan Brown to sign copies of his new book. And yes, I think these yokels are the rough equivalents of whoever's the flavor of the week in corporate pop.

Rant over. For now.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Went with my niece Tiana to the Bodies exhibit at the South Street Seaport yesterday. Pretty interesting, especially the portions dealing with the circulatory and nervous systems. In the former, they injected a red polymer into the cadaver's veins, apparently a very fine one as it got deep into the smaller veins and capillaries where it hardened. Then, the surrounding tissue and bone was dissected or perhaps acid-bathed away, leaving an amazing "cloud" of veins.

We then went up to MOMA. I realized I hadn't actually been through the regular collection since they returned to the 53rd St. site, having only gone there for the Richter exhibit a couple years back. Struck me as a well-organized collection when you go to the 5th floor and work your way down. The 6th floor had a Brice Marden show; while I enjoyed the squiggles, I found the solid color pieces much more beautiful than I had before, things like this:

Other highlights were the Bill Viola installation ("Stations"), the big Twombley's, a couple of Rauschenberg combines and a welcome re-meeting with the Richter Baader-Meinhof series, still one of the strongest things in recent visual art I've seen.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I never saw DNA during their brief existence. I'm pretty sure my first exposure to them was on the Eno-produced album, "No New York" that my brother Drew owned that came out in '78. I liked what I heard then, however (this in a period where I was listening to almost nothing but avant-jazz) and Lindsay's name stuck in my head enough that when I saw things he appeared on a couple years later like the first records from Kip Hanrahan and the Golden Palominos, I picked them up. So when I noticed his gawky, hyper-dorky mug on the front of an album called "Envy", leading a bunch of musicians grouped under the iffy name, Ambitious Lovers, I went for it. They only made three albums--I have the first two on vinyl, the last, "Lust", on disc--though I assume, by virtue of the titles that severn were planned. Two salient facts stood out from "Envy", the first release. One was incorporating the once-removed funk of current (early 80s) Talking Heads into a looser, more openly avant format. The second, more interesting to me at the time, was threading Brazilian motifs and instrumentation into the mix, a music I was fairly ignorant of then. A year after the first Lovers' record, Lindsay would organize and produce Caetano Veloso's spectacular US debut album on Nonesuch. It was a good, gutsy move on Lindsay's part, revitalizing the music he'd been brought up on in Brazil, hearing how it could mesh with that of downtown NYC.

Listening to it now, the main drawback is Scherer, more particularly that highly temporally localized sound of the synths and drum machines he employs. Still, pieces like "Too Many Mansions" and "Dora" (a lovely Brazilian ballad) hold up pretty well and some of the funkier numbers kick relative butt and have some strong hooks. As tends to be the case, the albums dwindle in effect as time went by; I think they achieved a tiny bit of commercial success, that might have been a reason. Some of the Zorn troops appear on "Greed" from '88 and smooth things out a bit too much. Overall though, the two vinyls sound better today than I might have guessed.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

We all have gaping holes in our music collections I'm sure but some are just ridiculous. My pre-20th century Western classical holdings are minimal (hell, my 20th century ain't that great either) but, like pre-1960 jazz, this was largely a conscious, economic decision from way back, based on the fact that I could hear a great deal of this music on the radio on a fairly regular basis so I'd be better off purchasing things I was less likely to otherwise encounter. One of the reasons I was confident of hearing great unowned-by-me music over the airwaves was the existence of WKCR, the radio station of Columbia University.

I still have a pretty vivid memory of an evening in the late summer of 1972, no one home, me downstairs fiddling with my Dad's ancient, massive radio console/record player. (I wish I could find a photo--I forget the brand name but it was about 2x2x3 feet, brown and cream-colored plastic laminate, big ivory preset buttons, about five or six different radio spectra available) In the spring of that year, I'd discovered Ornette and, over the summer while washing dishes at Block Island, had listened to Brown University's station (WBRU?) where I'd heard Mingus and Terry Riley among others. I'd managed to acquire a general bit of knowledge to the effect that the more interesting stations were clustered down at the lower end of the dial, on the opposite end of the neighborhood from my previous radio home, WNEW-FM way up there at 102.7, so I was casting about in those nether regions when I heard an intense, wailing soprano saxophone. Well, turned out to be Coltrane on one of the longer versions of "My Favorite Things" and the station was KCR. I've been hooked ever since.

I don't listen at home hardly at all any more, but it's still my station of choice when in the car, almost anytime save for the odd Columbia sports broadcast. Their jazz programming is excellent as is their classical and avant-garde. It's one station where you're just about as likely to hear Keith Rowe as Charlie Parker. Some great non-Western music shows as well, including Indian and Chinese affairs I often catch while puttering to and from weekend errands.

They do festivals too, regular 24 hour deals on various birthdays, mostly jazz. But once a year, on the week between Christmas and New Year's, they do a week-long, 24 hour a day extravganza of Bach. Nuttin' but Bach. This year, I happened to be in the car not once, but twice while they were spinning Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldberg Variations. It knocked me out.

I don't have a lot of Bach at home. No good reason, I just don't. There are a couple of LPs of the cello sonatas (Yo-Yo Ma) and one or two others but that's it. So, this evening, I went and bought the Sony 3-disc set rather dopily titled, "A State of Wonder" which includes both the 1955 and 1981 Gould sessions as well as a bunch of outtakes and studio chatter. I heard some of the latter as well the other day and it was pretty damn fascinating. This is the 2002 issue. I know there's a 2005 release (1955 only, I think) that includes additional outtakes like Gould launching into the Star-Spangled Banner which are amazing but that wasn't available, so...

Glad to have this in hand though and looking forward to it. As it happens, I've been unable to listen as yet since another item arrived that had priority, the Perlonex/Rowe/Palestine set. That's the way it goes.

Also looking forward to hearing two new things on Intransitive, Brendan Murray's "Wonders Never Cease" (two albums with "Wonder" in their titles in one day...hmmmm, I wonder....) and Seht & Stelzer's "Exactly What You Lost".

[Later] Listened to the 1955 set. Just amazing.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Fourth volume of the Unseen Cinema set is devoted to "Inverted Narratives", essentially innovations in cinematic storytelling technique. As such, most of the interest lies in the technical nature of how the narrative flow is constructed, less in the actual content of the films which ranges from cliched to silly to amateurishly surrealistic. Two major exceptions. "Black Dawn" (also know as "Dawn to Dawn") is a beautifully shot, if poorly acted, morality play concerning an abused and housebound daughter of a farmer (the stunningly beautiful Julie Haydon--seen above--evoking a 1930s version of Liv Ullmann) who meets a dashing young man--melodrama ensues. I noted in some imdb trivia that Ms. Haydon supplied Fay Wray's screams in "King Kong".

The other is a wonderfully chilling depiction of the Saki story, "Sredni Vashtar" by David Bradley. Shot in silence in the early 40s, one of its weirder aspect is the dialogue being dubbed in decades later by Bradley himself. All the more weird in the that characters are two women and a young boy.

Oh yeah, and then there's this guy from "Even As You and I"--loved his face:

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!