on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 6 Jul

My twenty favourite albums of 2015 (so far)

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off

1) Polar Bear: Same As You (the one that totally blew me away, here the word“spiritual” might make sense even for atheists, a love of life-album that is terrific in its own ways of suspending time and floating on and on and on)

2) Matana Roberts: Always (a solo alto saxophone album, released on a small label of enthusiasts, Relative Pitch Records, no overdubs, breathtaking recording quality, deep listening – the small problem is, you won’t get it in your local store, it’s a “killer”, believe me, and, for some strange reasons, Matana’s solo excursions remind me of the joyful intensity of Marion Brown’s “Geechee Recollections“)

3) David Torn: Only Sky (a solo guitar album that is so much more than a solo guitar album: a journey through textures, spheres, landscapes; blue moods of exstacy!)

4) Schneider – Kacirek: Shadow Documents (one of the best 50 album of teutonic kraut- and chamber rock ever, with electronics, bass and drums changing roles and going deep to the bottom)

5) The Unthanks: Mount The Air (the sisters from Northumbria are digging deep again; old sources feel fresh without musical botox; if epic dimensions or chamber-like intimacy: they know how to send you places)

6) Keith Jarrett: Creation (the most introspective solo recital since “The Melody At Night With You”, going to the essence without playing old games)

7) Hilde Marie Holsen: Ask (wide spaces, alien trumpet sounds & a constant sense of wonder)

8) The Mountain Goats: Beat the Champ (a record with a sense of yearning, or is longing the better word – and it’s about wrestling, sort of – like the brillant Whiplash is about jazz:) – John Darnielle even adds jazz colors to his heartwrenching songs that cut deep with sharp lyrics and the reinvention of childhood, the constant presence of loss, forgotten rooms and empty parking lots)

9) Rickie Lee Jones: The Other Side of Desire (finally back, and in brilliant form, with lyrics that sound conversational, incl some special New Orleans vibes)

10) Sufjan Stevens: Carrie and Lowell (song cycles about life, love and death cannot be more naked, more intimate. Low-key heartbreak, and a perfect song like “4th of July” that finds solace amidst the knowledge that “we’re all going to die”)

11) John Potter: Amores Pasados (art songs, pop songs, who cares? Old Spanish poems and other sources – set into motion by two lutes and two singers. Captivating.)

12) African Express Presents Terry Riley’s “In C” (excellent cultural transfer from a classic of minimalism to the busy street life of Mali, highly inventive – and you can hear Brian Eno sing a long ooooo)

13) Sam Lee & Friends: The Fade In Time (like a walk through an old English garden, and though you think this all is quintessentially English, the seeds come from the Himalaya, Indonesia and faraway greenlands.)

14) Second Moon of Winter: One For Sorrow, Two For Joy (three friends create magic in a cellar room in Cork County: a clarinet, a synthesizer – and an operatic voice that gets lost in strange areas between forgotten folk songs and electronic meditation)

15) Ghost Harmonic: Codex (the violin in the machine, the in-between-world of hidden overtones and secret echoes – only for seconds, Brian and Arvo lurk around the corner)

16) Paul De Jong: If (one half of the former “Books” delivers a stunning collection of word-play, absurdity, and (not expected) sometimes heart-wrenching melancolia)

17) Jakob Bro: Gefion (full of atmospheres and quietness and slow-building climaxes, archetypal ECM-production with so much care for details … but you go with the flow and wonder how time can pass so quickly when nearly everythng is running slow)

18) Huntsville: Pond (how to get lost in atmospheres & grooves without grooviness and sweetness)

19) Paolo Fresu – Daniele Di Bonaventura: In Maggiore (fabulous exploration of the physicality of the trumpet and the bandoneon, simultaneously delivering a beautiful series of melodies between far away Uruguay and old tunes from Sardinian backyards)

20) V. A. – Radio Vietnam (soundtripping through Eastern Radio, a roller coaster of sampling voices and sounds)

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