Thursday, 31 December 2009

Music of 2009


Broadcast and the Focus Group – Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age and the tour cd Mother is the Milky Way. They seem to be developing a positively Beefheartian way with titles.
Belbury Poly – From an Ancient Star. Loved the synthesiser music for model railways.
Stereolab – Chemical Chords. Looks like it might be their last, alas.
Trembling Bells – Carbeth. Wild folk, at times sounding like an unlikely collaboration between Joan Baez (or Pentangle’s Jacqui McShee) and Alex Harvey.
Sound Carriers – Harmonium
School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms
Je Suis Animal – Self-Taught Magic from a Book
Animal Collective – Merriwether Post Pavillion
Espers – Espers III
Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue
Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport.
Gravenhurst – Fires in Distant Buildings
Moon Wiring Club – An Audience of Art Deco Eyes
Welcome to the Welcome Wagon. An unashamedly evangelical group associated with Sufjan Stevens. Tremendously rousing – I may yet see the light.
Richard Youngs – Under Stellar Streams/Beyond the Valley of the Ultrahits
Atlas Sound – Logos
Au Revoir Simone – Still Night, Still Light (with nice Samuel Palmer cover)
The North Sea Radio Orchestra – Birds. Plus their lovely arrangements of Vernon Elliot’s Smallfilms music on the Freak Zone.

Catherine Ribeiro

Some amazing female vocalists:
Josephine Foster, Carla Bozulich (Evangelista), Lavinia Blackwall (of Trembling Bells), Merrill Garbus aka tune-yArDs (brilliant at the ATP festival last May) with Bird-Brains, Tara Burke aka Fursaxa, Brigitte Fontaine (Vous et Nous), and the incredible French/Portugese singer Catherine Ribeiro, with her seventies band Les Alpes (the LP Paix from 1972 and others).

Lots of Charalambides and Jackie-O Motherfucker, freeform rock drift.
More drift, occasionally erupting into noise with the Harmony of the Spheres and Invisible Pyramid/Elegy Box sets. Also the soundscaping of July Skies, Epic 45 and Windy and Carl (without being dismissive of its content, great to read to).
James Blackshaw’s shimmering acoustic guitar fantasias.
Wire, Teenage Fanclub and Throwing Muses discovered or re-acquainted with via ATP festival.
Cluster and Harmonia listened to again after the BBC4 Krautrock doc.
Excellent Saint Etienne re-issues

Eliane Radigue

Deep listening and resonant drones from Pauline Oliveros (with the deep listening band recorded in underground cisterns and caves, creating massive natural resonances)
and Eliane Radigue (her L’Isle Resonante was incredible, female voices very slowly emerging from formless sound – very moving in an indefinable way).
Maryanne Amarcher’s Sound Characters, music whose sounds affects you on a physical level
Terry Riley’s Les Yeux Fermes
Gyorgy Ligeti – Clocks and Clouds
Karlheinz Stockhausen – Sirius and extracts from Licht (que?)
More Morton Feldman:
Patterns in a Chromatic Field
Triadic Memories
Piano and String Quartet

The Girl In a Suitcase and Watch With Teacher compilations from the inestimable Winchester Hospital Radio, including Johnny Pearson’s marvellous music for Mary, Mungo and Midge (which may have brought a tear to my eye – I’m not saying it didn’t)
Ornette Coleman at the Golden Circle (I finally seemed to get Ornette after all these years. Why did it take so long? It’s very direct music)
Kenny Wheeler – Double Double You (enough with the punning titles already, Ken). Such evocative trumpet playing (and great compositions too).
Sonny Rollins at the Village Vanguard (finally replacing my ancient Yashima cassette, recorded from LPs from Bromley library, in the way back dim and distant before I vowed never to go back to that accursed town again).

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