Half Unbacklogged

Due to the American Thanksgiving holiday last week, I was about to get through about two-thirds of the AMN backlog (once I received this morning’s emails, I was back to about half of where I was prior to addressing the backlog, thus the title of this post).  So, over the next few days I’ll be posting material related to information that may be a bit out of date.  I hope to get to the rest soon.

In other news, we now have over 1,800 followers on Facebook, about 1,200 on Twitter, and probably about 200 more that follow us via RSS or email.  While there is probably quite a bit of overlap between these groups, I’m still amazed at the number of people out there who are into the type of music we focus on.

Ever wonder which posts are the most popular on AMN? Here’s the top five from the last 12 months. These are based on direct traffic and not posts viewed via syndication (e.g., said RSS feeds and email).

AMN Reviews: Van der Graaf Generator – ALT
Avant Music News Best of 2011
AMN Best of 2012 (So Far)
Ten Free Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die
Full Blast (Brötzmann-Pliakas-Wertmüller) on Tour

AMN Picks of the Week: Present / John Butcher / MOPDTK / Triptet

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Present – Barbaro (ma non troppo) (2009)
John Butcher – Bell Trove Spools (2012)
Mostly Other People Do The Killing – Slippery Rock (2012)
Triptet – Figure in the Carpet (2012)

AMN Reviews: Sindre Bjerga – Songs of Failure (Wggfdtb)

While you and I might say “drone and occasional noise”, Sindre Bjerga calls his music “cassette player drones and kitchen sink psychedelia”. Which does sound better and actually captures the essence of his art more accurately. He is a mercurial figure, constantly on tour and with a ginormous discography for someone who only began recording in 2003, many of its entries recorded live, like this one. His collaborations with fellow Norwegian Jan-M. Iversen are legion, but Iversen is but one of many like-minded artists with whom he has worked. Often releasing on very small CDR and cassette labels, he and his circle have deftly avoided becoming household names while having a huge effect on the genre itself.

If I am completely up to date, “Songs of Failure” is his most recent solo release, and its two eighteen-minute sections would serve as an excellent primer for anyone unfamiliar with his work. The first untitled track unfolds like a temple opening its doors to worshipers, only to find a choir of plasma welders and metal lathes inside, screaming blades shearing off into echo. With the tinkling of the smallest bells, the second pushes dark ambient to the very edge of a great, sucking black hole, pulling at his monochrome rainbow as he struggles to maintain his grasp on it.