Archive for January 2010

Lists and Things

January 2, 2010

Thanks to Brandon for pointing out to me that a band I play with has placed on a Spanish music blog’s top album list for 2008 (it’s a review of the decade). This reminds me of the virtues of a good list. I recently read an interview with Umberto Eco about his new book, The Infinity of Lists, in which he argues that list making has been central to the civilizing project throughout history. Basically, they are primitive and essential tools for making sense of the world around us, making it relatively comprehensible and manipulable. With that in mind–and with the knowledge that I contribute to an infinity of year-end lists–here are some music lists, mostly recorded for posterity, but also with the vain pretension that I contribute to making the world slightly more civilized.

What I listened to this year (according to last.fm)

1. Angelo Badalamenti Can’t get enough of the Twin Peaks soundtracks. Grady Tate is god.

2. Nick Cave Somehow ignored the man up until now, and am trying to make up for it.

3. Starflyer 59 I went through a brief but intense phase of catching up with their last few records. And will never stop listening to Everbody Makes Mistakes.

4. Davíd Garza Still making great records. Dream Delay is possibly his best full-length.

5. Nas Someone else I overlooked for too long. Hip Hop is Dead and Illmatic prove QB is more than sucka MC’s.

6. Pulp Jarvis. That is all.

7. Ennio Morricone Mike Patton’s  Crime and Dissonance collection is simply mindblowing. In addition to everything else Morricone did.

8. Richard Swift His new Atlantic Ocean release is great. 

9. Jimi Hendrix This surprised me, but I forgot I had to learn a bunch of his songs for a cover band I played in for a couple months. Never been a big fan, but it was fun to learn these songs and I gained a lot of admiration for Mitch Mitchell.

10. Willie Nelson I’ve been really into Phases and Stages the last few months. I love this man.

Honorable Mentions: Last.fm doesn’t track classical composers well (since the artist tag is usually whatever soloist or group played the piece), but I listened to a ton of Messiaen, Webern, Schnittke, Gabaidulina, and John Adams.

Concerts: I didn’t get to see much unless I was playing in it, but highlights include Steve Beresford/BLISTRAP at Cafe Otto in London, Music Go Music in London, The Sixteen performing pieces by James MacMillan at Greyfriar’s Kirk, Edinburgh, James Blackshaw at Old St Paul’s in Edinburgh, Davíd Garza at Continental Gallery in Austin. The concert I most enjoyed playing in 2009, and of all time, was a duet with vocal improviser Madame P at the Bowery, Edinburgh.

New Releases
(in no particular order)

Richard Swift, Atlantic Ocean
Wild Beasts, Two Dancers
Z’s, Music of the Modern White
Atlas Sound, Logos
Flaming Lips, Embyronic
Mos Def, The Ecstatic
Higamos Hogamos, Higamos Hogamos
Jono El Grande, Neo Dada
James Blackshaw, The Glass Bead Game
Dave Bazan, Curse Your Branches
Cyro Baptista, Infinito
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation and Flow
Han Bennink Trio, Parken
Wadada Leo Smith & Jack Dejohnette, America