Saturday, 31 December 2011

Best of list ... for me.

It's fun to see all the best of lists appearing. I sent mine off to the Free Jazz Blog today which as usual Stef asks us to do and which is fun, you have to think through what albums you've reviewed and enjoyed most this past year. Of course it doesn't represent reality at all as you can only say what you've listened to and naturally that isn't the best of anything. However, what's great is that you get to look at lists of albums and take note of those that look interesting. I'll certainly be trying to get hold of quite a few interesting things I've noticed on other peoples lists and you'll notice below a short list of 'I should get hold of this one' which might be just as enlightening.

What I heard and liked (a lot) in 2011.

- The Engines - Brass and Wire
- Peter Evans Quintet - Ghosts
- Twelves - The Adding Machine
- Red Trio + John Butcher
- Nate Wooley - Trumpet/Amplifier
- Peter Evans - Beyond Civilized and Primitive
- Russ Lossing Trio - Oracle
- Noel Taylor & Alberto Popolla - We All Fall Down
- Motif - Facienda
- Jeff Davis - We Sleep Outside
- Peter Evans and Nate Wooley - High Society 
- Fond of Tigers - Continent and Western (didn't arrive at my place until 2011)
- Pikapika Teart - Moonberry (an excellent prog-rock band from Siberia)
- Mark Hanslip and Javier Carmona - Dosados
- Examples of Twelves - Things Will Be
- Ochion Jewell - First Suite For Quartet
- Sam Trapchak's Put Together Funny - Lollipopocalypse 

What I noticed on lists that looked real interesting (take note to get hold of).

- Foton Quartet - Zomo Hall
- Hera - Where My Complete Beloved Is.
- Chris Dingman - Walking Dreams
- Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms
- Scoolptures - White Sickness
- Hopscotch - Hopscotch

There's certainly plenty of stuff out there that I didn't mention or just missed off the list. It's interesting to see how commercial the year has been on other fronts and I must say that much music that I've heard this year is leaning towards the pop vein. The development of the prog-rock, post-rock market is sounding more and more like U2's Joshua Tree album but without vocals and so gone are te days of real melodic (or experimental) exploration as King Crimson or Soft Machine and C°. One look at the BBC's round up of the year shows how depressing things have become when taking into account the X-Factor craze, convincing people that they have some sort of talent rather than understanding they are pale imitations of stars they admire.

Much of the market is geared towards these stars and lists such as Free Jazz Blog (for the full list click here) show there is still a strong following of real exploratory music. Unfortunately I don't know of any blogs (please tell me in the comments section) who are more dedicated towards electro acoustic music and reactions towards this area of the music world. I myself get the chance to see in Brussels the electro acoustic music festivals run by Musique et Recherche and so in recent festivals I've had the chance to discover many interesting composers working in this area. My favourite discoveries - in 2011 - were Suk-Jun Kim, Pierre-Alexandre Tremblay and Monty Adkins, all of whom worked in different areas, musically speaking. Suk-Jun Kim has won many awards for his compositions some of which I heard at the festival, and his work is full of humour whilst fairly abstract. Interestingly enough PA Tremblay and Monty Adkins (both based in the UK) seemed to work in a way that was far more 'musical', so making their work extremely accessible to the average listener- if they ever get a chance to listen.

Anyhow, I will be interested to see what happens in 2012, crisis and all, as often music produced in politically difficult climates can often bring great results. I'll also be keeping an ear open on the Polish Jazz front as this seems to be an area where music is fast developing, but where the general public is still ill informed. Happy listening in 2012.

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