@@@ Nick Norton: Mirror Smasher Zero (N/A, 2020) I got to this duo piano plus electronics almost 9 minute piece via a music publicist email. It’s a brisk tempo with a plethora of cascading short piano melodies spiced with some tasteful glitch processing. I like a well done glitch and these accent the playing and don’t detract from it. It does have a small bit of ol’ school Who keyboard counterpoint vibe to it, just a bit. The amount of glitch increases as the track continues but I’m not convinced I need 9 minutes of this. I appreciate the spirit of this. At around 5:30 the tune somewhat explodes with the appearance of a distorted chainsawy synth patch and video game shoot ’em up sounds. This I like, it’s a total shitshow smashing together two things you don’t hear often — a classical influenced arrangement with rampaging electro sci fi sounds. I was just about click away from tipping out and am glad I didn’t.
@@@ Adam Tendler: Toccata Ostinato (Anthology of Recorded Music, 2019) These solo piano pieces are from compositions by Robert Palmer, an American composer who lived from 1915 til 2010. This is the opening piece of the record and it’s played energetically. I know just enough about classical music to make an ass of myself. To my mostly uninformed ears it’s got a bit of Stravinsky wildness while trying to be more traditionally classical. Tendler’s playing is great I’m enjoying it bigly. Palmer’s wikipedia entry notes ‘a lively rhythmic language’ (I agree) and some shouts to vernacular jazz. I was going to describe it as polite Looney Tunes music but I thought that would be ignant.
@@@ Michael Mendez: Love Tko (Derrick Taylor, 2020) If modern roots and smooth, quiet storm r&b had a music lovebaby it would sound like this. I don’t love how soft these sounds are but it’s somewhat offset by the thick rhythm section. He’s gonna just let it go, it’s a love TKO. It’s the full monty here — female background singers, a rock guitar solo and a roots guitar rhythm part, some organ and shit. If you have a nice set of headphones (and I recommend that) this meticulously constructed mix will fill your earholes to the very brim. Somebody labored over these sounds.
@@@ SANTROFI: Alewa (Out Here, 2020) I got to this via last week’s WRIR playlist email. I had to look on the interwebz to see these guys hail from Ghana. I’m hopeful as the drumming in the first track is tasty and there’s an awesome wheezing sound I can’t even identify. There is some large chorus singing that sounds familiar to me from listening to South African music — very sweet and soulful. I’m waiting for the whole band to kick in, if there’s a band in addition to the singing and the drumming. Yes a complete band kicks in for the second tune, Alewa (the title track) — a wicked kit drummer, a full horn section, a tasteful organ player and at least two guitar players. It’s not hyper masculine Fela style Afrobeat, it’s a bit more spacious and laidback which gives the playing plenty of space to breathe. Oh man, what a nice mash of sounds. I’m pretty sure this will end up on my end of year list as the quality of the playing is quite high — funky and energetic. The guitar player is off the hook.
YTD recordings listened to: 504
Good music, not list worthy: 252
Not good music: 223
Honorable Mentions: 0
Possibles: Retox, Defeater, Jonwayne, Okkyung Lee, Slidhr, The Chewers, Susie Iberra/Roberto Rodriguez, The Coral, T.O.M.B., Lozen, Erase Errata, Mastery, Hartley C. White, Weed, Cold Water, Luther Dickinson, Graeme Barrett, Fast Asleep, Goldlink, Cavanaugh, Satoko Fuji, Moken, Juan Atkins, Lantern, Twin Peaks, Djelimady Tounkara, The Oh Sees, Denny Zeitlin, MILF, Unfun, De La Soul, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes, Noname, Klara Lewis, Krullur, The Lowest Form, Hard Proof, Yotoco, Jungle Fire, Sandoz, Oddisee, RAM, Fiver, Succumb Succumb, Gloom, Priests, Propaganda, This is the Kit, Roberto Gonzalez, Integrity, Tuba Skinny, The Expanders, Criolo, Billy Strings, Flowers of Sulphur, Portal, Lawaii, Etran De L’Air, Ruby Karinto, Elysia Crampton, Parquet Courts, Moskus, Kendl Winter, Tkay Maidza, Barro, Daniel Khan, Tallawit Timbouctou, Sumac, Tropical Fuck Storm, Harriet Tubman, Ammar 808, Anais Maviel, Chaka Khan, Pom Poko, Fried Egg, Tarek Atoui, Saicobab, General Purv, Shipping News, Big Thief, Mariachi El Bronx, Pour Me a Grog, Sudan Archives, Lakou Mizik, Moodymann, Pharmakon, Alefa Madagascar, Janjao, Luge, Wiki, Mick Jenkins, Jeremiah Jae, Fera, Gambian Griot Kora Duets, Drama, Beatrice Dillon, Mass Worship, mmmonika, Les Deuxluxes, Tony Allen, Fra Fra, Nihiloxica, Hailu Mergia, Pokey LaFarge, Nico Gomez, Nohe and Sus Santos, schroothoop, Tiny Bit of Giant’s Blood, Pole, Naeem, Mekons, Santrofi