Avant Music News Best of 2015

To the extent that these lists mean much of anything, here are our favorite recordings of 2015. Many of our favorite albums have been reviewed here at AMN, and these reviews have been linked in the list below.

I’m constantly amazed at the amount of high-quality music being put out in recent years. So much, in fact, that it is hard or impossible to listen to all of them. So, let me add the usual disclaimer that this list is incomplete, I have not heard all 2015 releases, and probably missed a few really good ones. Enjoy.

Like this list? Feel free to peruse previous years’ lists.

0005870513_10Albums of the Year

Will Mason Ensemble – Beams of the Huge Night
Merzbow / Mats Gustafsson / Balazs Pandi / Thurston MooreCuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper
Magma – Slag Tanz

Best of 2015

John Luther Adams / Glenn Kotche – Ilimaq
Scott Amendola – Fade to Orange
Anna Clock – Celestial
Daniel Barbiero / Cristiano Bocci – Nostos
Olivia Block – Aberration of Light
Kris Davis Infrasound – Save Your Breath
Andrew Drury – The Drum
Andrew Drury Quartet – Content Provider
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel – DfTaLS with Helton and Bragg
AfterAllIsSaidCoverTomas Fujiwara & the Hook Up – After All is Said
Jacob Garchik – Ye Olde
Guapo – Obscure Knowledge
Stephen Haynes – Pomegranate
Hijokaidan – Emergency Stairway To Heaven
Jon Irabagon – Inaction is an Action
Jack O’ The Clock – Outsider Songs
Kave – Ominousium
Kiss the Frog – Hillmonster
Ligeia Mare – Amplifier
Machinefabriek / Anne Bakker – Deining
Roy Mattson – Mesmer
Northaunt – Istid I-II
NYM – Untitled
Steve Olson / Denman Maroney / Oscar Noriega – The Ruthless Shapes of Paradise
Marco Oppedisano – Resolute
Han Earl Park / Catherine Sikora / Nick Didkovsky / Josh Sinton – Anomic Aphasia
Abbey Rader West Coast Quartet – First Gathering
Remote Viewers – Pitfall
Daniel Rosenboom – Astral Transference / Seven Dreams
Schnellertollermeier – X
222CoverBElliott Sharp – The Boreal
Matthew Shipp Chamber Ensemble – The Gospel According to Matthew and Michael
Slobber Pup – Pole Axe
Sound Awakener – September Traveler (2nd review)
The Spanish Donkey Joe Morris / Jamie Saft / Mike Pride) – Raoul
Robert Scott Thompson – Palimpsest
Henry Threadgill / Zooid – In for a Penny, In for a Pound
Tunnels of Ah – Thus Avici
Gebhard Ullmann, / Basement Research – Hat and Shoes
Kamasi Washington – The Epic
White Out / Nels Cline – Accidental Sky
Nate Wooley – Battle Pieces

Honorable Mentions

Ahleuchatistas – Arrebato
Aires & Rui P. Andrade – Pânico-Ambiente
Allseits – Chimare
Barry Altschul / 3Dom Factor – Tales of the Unforeseen
Animation – Machine Language
Apocryphos – The Prisoner’s Cinema
Mark Applebaum – 30
Ariadne – Ex Tempore
Atomic – Lucidity
Autistici – Live at Electric Spring
Bambi Kino Duo – See Heat
Michel Banabila – Jump Cuts
Michel Banabila / Oene van Geel – Music for Viola and Electronics
Daniel Barbiero / Jimmy Ghaphery – The Convergence of Parallel Lines
Barton Rage / Bill Laswell – Realms I
Bass Communion & Freiband – Bass Communion & Freiband
Beauty School (Chandler / Djill / Heule) – Residual Ugly
Bell Witch – Four Phantoms
Michael Bisio – Accortet
Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy – Out of the Blue
Black Dirt Oak / Jantar – Presage
The Bridge Sessions – Sonic Communication
Broadcloth – In Stitches
François Carrier / Michel Lambert – iO
François Carrier / Michel Lambert / Rafal Mazur – Unknowable
Brett Carson – Quattuor Elephantis
Drew Ceccato / Tommy Babin / Chris Golinski – Tor
Seth Chrisman / Nathan McLaughlin – Olivebridge
Piotr Cisak / Pawel Oleksinski – Lao
Steve Coleman / The Council of Balance – Synovial Joints
Max Corbacho – Splendid Labyrinths
JeffCosgrove_ConversationsWithOwls.inddJeff Cosgrove / Frank Kimbrough / Martin Wind – Conversations with Owls
Carlo Costa – Strata
DarkMatterHalo – Darkness Interrupted
Mario Diaz de Leon – The Soul is the Arena
Discordian Community Ensemble – Draught, Suspicion
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel – Live at Pine Lake June 2015
East West Quintet – Anthem
Eighth Blackbird – Filament
Harris Eisenstadt – Golden State II
Eliogabal – Mo
Ensemble Signal – Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians
Peter Evans / Tim Dahl / Mike Pride – Pulverize the Sound
Far Rainbow – No Medicine That Can Cure a Fool
Lorenzo Feliciati – KOI
Agusti Fernández / Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard / Bjørn Heebøll – Amarnath
Cassio Figueiredo – Diario
Satoko Fujii / Orchestra Berlin – Ighigo Ichie
Satoko Fujii / Tobira – Yamiyo ni Karasu
Funerary Call – The Mirror Reversed – Part 2
Pete Furniss / Haftor Medbøe – Bitter Together
Gamardah Fungus – Bardo Thodol
Michael Gibbs / The NDR Bigband – In My View
Jeremy Gill – Capriccio
Vinny Golia – Solo at Gold Lion Arts
Milford Graves / Bill Laswell – Space / Time Redemption
Gray RelativE ResonancE COVERDevin Gray – RelativE ResonancE
Gurrisonic Orchestra – Three Kids Music
Gurun Gurun – Kon B
Gush – The March
Mats Gustafsson – Piano Mating
Rich Halley 4 – Creating Structure
Rich Halley 4 – Eleven USA 2015
Ross Hammond – Flight
Ross Hammond / Catherine Sikora – Perfect Plasticity
Ross Hammond / John Bafus / Steuart Liebig – Lowburn
Ross Hammond / Luke Stewart / Nate Scheible – Mean Crow
William Hooker Quartet – Creative
Hu Vibrational – The Epic Botanical Beat Suite
ICP Orchestra – East of the Sun
Ima x Atto Plain – Ima x Atto Plain
INNERrOUTe – Fourmation
Iron Fist of the Sun – We Can Yield Our Own Footsteps
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire
Max Johnson Trio – Something Familiar
Henry Kaiser / Ray Russell – The Celestial Squid
Kammarheit – The Nest
The Kandinsky Effect – Somnambulist
Karjalan Sissit – Want You Dead
Kaze – Uminari
Kellari Trio (Koskinen / Innanen / Hauta-aho) – Kellari Trio
Khost – Corrosive Shroud
Kid Millions – The Sanguine Cadaver
Kohoutek – Curious Aroma
Travis Laplante / Peter Evans – Secret Meeting
Le Rex – Wild Man
Dominique Leone – San Francisco
Locrian – Infinite Dissolution
Lone Echo (Devin Sarno) – Lone Echo (EP)
Jon Lundbom / Big Five Chord – Jeremiah
Bill MacKay / Darts and Arrows – Altamira USA 2015
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Bird Calls
Maoz / Ilgenfritz / Ligeti – Hypercolor
Maximalistica – The Clash of the Titans
rob-mazurekRob Mazurek / Exploding Star Orchestra – Galactic Parables, Vol.1
Terrence McManus and John Hebert – Saints and Sinners
Myra Melford – Live at The Stone (EP)
Myra Melford / Snowy Egret – Snowy Egret
Matthew Mercer – Supernatant
Merzbow – Konchuuki
Metallic Taste of Blood – Doctoring the Dead
Moon Zero – Moon Zero
Joe Morris – Solos Bimhuis
Mostly Other People Do The Killing – Mauch Chunk
Mz.412 – Hekatomb
N + ( B O L T ) – N (37) / ( B O L T )
The Necks – Vertigo
Angelika Niescier / Hilmar Jensson / Scott McLemo – Broken Cycle
Nonsemble – Go Seigen vs. Fujisawa Kuranosuke
Oiseaux-Tempête – Utopiya
Mike Olson – Six Projects
Steve Olson – Conversations
Han Earl Park / Dominic Lash / Corey Mwama – A Little Brittle Music
Jonah Parzen-Johnson – Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow
Craig Pedersen Quartet – Ghosts (EP)
The Pines – The Field Journal
Noah Preminger – Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar
The Quash Wagon Reclusion – A Room with Tempered Walls
Mette Rasmussen / Chris Corsano – All the Ghosts at Once
Amy Reed – Solo Guitar (EP)
Christopher Riggs / Carl Testa – Sn
Rivener – Fires in Repose
Steve Roach – Live in Tucson – Pinnacle Moments
Matana Roberts – Always
Rent Romus / Life Blood – The Otherworld Cycle
Adam Rudolph / Go Organic Guitar Orchestra – Turning Towards the Light
John Scott (Stereocilia) – Slow Motion
Secret Keeper (Stephan Crump / Mary Halvorson) – Emerge
Set Self on Fire – To Bathe in Embers
She Spread Sorrow – Rumspringa
artworks-000132129932-eizisj-t500x500Wadada Leo Smith / John Lindberg – Celestial Weather
Sonar – Black Light
Sound Awakener – Be Whole
Spin Marvel – Infolding
Sudoku Killer – Infanticide
Sunn0))) – Kannon
Superimpose (Matthias Müller / Christian Marien) – Edinburgh
Tecumseh – Seven
Robert Scott Thompson – Pale Blue Dot
Robert Scott Thompson – Summer Idyll
Treha Sektori – The Sense of Dust and Sheer (EP)
Troum / Raison d’Etre – De Aeris in Sublunaria Influxu
Roger Turner & Otomo Yoshihide – The Last Train
Michael Vlatkovich Septet – Ask 7
Eli Wallace / Jon Arkin / Karl Evangelista – Cabbages, Captain, & King
Evan Woodle – Nth
Yarn/Wire – Currents Vol. 1
Yarn/Wire – Currents Vol. 3
DamageZerang41Yasunao Tone / Talibam! / Sam Kulik – Double Automatism
Michael Zerang & The Blue Lights – Hash Eaters and Peacekeepers
Michael Zerang & The Blue Lights – Songs from the Big Book of Love
John Zorn – Simulacrum

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Extended Techniques NYC Calendar For January 2016 

English: Ken Vandermark, moers festival 2010

Source: Extended Techniques.

SUNDAY, January 3
3PM John Zorn’s Bagatelles | Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Drew Gress (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

MONDAY, January 4
7:30PM Jenny Lin and Uri Caine (pianos)
http://lpr.com/lpr_events/jenny-lin-and-uri-cane-january-4th-2016/
VENUE: LPR
ADMISSION: $25/Free for members/

TUESDAY, January 5
8 PM Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Chris Corsano (drums), Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Ken Vandermark (reeds)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

WEDNESDAY, January 6
8 PM Mat Maneri (viola), Joe McPhee (sax), Ken Vandermark (reeds)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

WEDNESDAY, January 6
10 PM Tom Rainey (drums) Ned Rothenberg (sax) Ken Vandermark (reeds) and a special guest (piano)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

THURSDAY, January 7
7PM Erik Friedlander (cello), Shoko Nagai (piano), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion)
Premiere of Erik Friedlander’s new works
VENUE: Barbes
ADMISSION: $10

FRIDAY, January 8
8 PM Okkyung Lee (cello) and choreographer/dancer Michelle Boulé
http://www.jackny.org/okkyung-lee-residency.html
Getting rid of glue by means of stone walls – Okkyung Lee and Michelle Boulé at Issue Project Room
VENUE: Jack
ADMISSION: $12-15

SUNDAY, January 10
8:30PM, 10PM Nabatov, Johnson, Sarin
Simon Nabatov (Piano), Max Johnson (Bass), Michael Sarin (Drums)
Rare New York appearance of Cologne-based pianist.
“Nabatov is quite simply one of the finest improvising pianists in Europe.” -Jazz UK

VENUE: IBeam
ADMISSION: $15 Suggested Donation (for both sets)

SUNDAY, January 10
8 PM Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), Ken Vandermark (reeds)

VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

TUESDAY, January 12
7:30PM and 9:30PM Miles Okazaki Trickster

Miles Okazaki – guitar, compositions
Craig Taborn – piano
Anthony Tidd – bass
Sean Rickman – drums
VENUE: Jazz Gallery
ADMISSION: $10/$15

WEDNESDAY, January 13
8:00 PM The Ex, Bill Laswell, Colin Stetson
part of 2016 NYC Winter Jazzfest
http://lpr.com/lpr_events/the-ex-bill-laswell-colin-stetson-happy-apple-january-13th-2016/
VENUE: Jazz Gallery
ADMISSION: $20-$25

THURSDAY, January 14
8:00PM Joe McPhee (reeds), Michael Bisio (bass)
VENUE: Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Center
ADMISSION: $15

THURSDAY, January 14
8:00PM Endangered Blood
Jim Black, drum
Trevor Dunn, bass
Oscar Noriega, alto saxophone and bass clarinet
Chris Speed, tenor saxophone
VENUE: Barbes
ADMISSION: $10

THURSDAY, January 14
9:00pm Zeena Parkins/Brian Chase
10pm Chris Pitsiokos / Tyshawn Sorey
10:45pm Peter Evans / Aaron Burnett / Brandon Lopez / Weasel Walter
https://www.facebook.com/events/1712455312311648/
VENUE: Muchmore’s
ADMISSION: $10

SUNDAY, January 17
3 PM Krakauer & Tagg “Breath and Hammer”
David Krakauer (clarinet), Kathleen Tagg (piano)
http://nationalsawdust.org/event/visionintoart-presents-ferus-festival-with-david-krakauer-kathleen-tagg/
https://www.facebook.com/events/482627571917532/
VENUE: National Sawdust
ADMISSION: $25

TUESDAY, January 19
8 PM Rova-Zorn Quintet
Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, John Zorn (saxes)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

WEDNESDAY, January 20
7:30 PM and 9:30 PM Matthew Shipp Trio
The Conduct of Jazz Album Release Party
http://www.lincolncenter.org/show/matthew-shipp-trio
VENUE: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Lincoln Center)
ADMISSION: From $30

MONDAY, January 25 – SATURDAY, January 30
7:30 PM FOCUS! 2016 | Milton Babbitt’s World: A Centennial Celebration
January 26: 6:30pm – pre-concert Panel Discussion with Bethany Beardslee, Jonathan Dawe, Charles Wuorinen, and others. Moderated by Joel Sachs.
https://events.juilliard.edu/event/888/focus-2016-0126/?date=1149
January 27: Philomel (1964) and works by Davidovsky, Lansky, Martino
https://events.juilliard.edu/event/890/focus-2016-0127/?date=1152
VENUE: The Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Lincoln Center)
ADMISSION: Free

WEDNESDAY, January 27
10 PM Craig Taborn, MR and Ches Smith
Craig Taborn (piano) MR (sax) Ches Smith (drums)
VENUE: The Stone
ADMISSION: $20

THURSDAY, January 28
7:30 PM Weird Wednesdays (on Thursdays).
Terry Dame’s monthly music series dedicated to instrument inventors and players of found objects and other musical oddities. This month, with special guest Kenny Wollesen.
VENUE: Barbes
ADMISSION: $10

FRIDAY January 29 – SATURDAY January 30
7 PM and 9:30 PM Charles Lloyd & The Marvels Featuring Bill Frisell
http://www.lincolncenter.org/show/charles-lloyd-friends-featuring-bill-frisell
VENUE: The Appel Room (Lincoln Center)
ADMISSION: From $33.75

SATURDAY, January 30
8 PM Real Loud Presents: The Late Music of Giacinto Scelsi
Ko-Tha I-III (for prepared double bass)
Aitsi (for electronically prepared piano)
L’Âme Ailée et L’Âme Ouverte (for violin)
Kshara I-III (for two double basses)
performances by Tristan Kasten-Krause, Karl Larson, Hajnal Pivnick and Evan Runyon.
http://thefirehousespace.org/event/giacinto-scelsi-portrait/
https://www.facebook.com/events/952078344828092/
VENUE: The Firehouse Space
ADMISSION: $10

Chicago Scene: January 3-8, 2016

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area.  Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Sunday, January 3rd 2016

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($15-$10)
Mabel Kwan — music by Rebecca Saunders, Santiago Diez-Fischer, Mauricio Pauly, Fredrick Gifford

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont, 773.709.1401 (Donation) (wheelchair-accessible)
Ingrid Laubrock, Tom Rainey
Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Stein, Josh Abrams, Tom Rainey

9:30PM at The Owl, 2521 N Milwaukee, 773.235.5300
Dave Rempis, Joshua Abrams, Avreeayl Ra
Dave Rempis, Jim Baker, Avreeayl Ra

Monday, January 4th 2016

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444 (wheelchair-accessible)
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Jim Baker, Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Julian Kirshner

9:30PM at The Whistler, 2421 N Milwaukee (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Tribute to Tony Williams
Justin Boyd’s Stereo Genius

Tuesday, January 5th 2016

9:30PM at The Whistler, 2421 N Milwaukee (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Meridian Trio : Nick Mazzarella, Matt Ulery, Jeremy Cunningham

Thursday, January 7th 2016

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10 donation)
Dave Rempis, Albert Wildeman, Ryan Packard
Boneshaker : Mars Williams, Kent Kessler, PN-L

Friday, January 8th 2016

8:00PM at Transistor, 3441 N Broadway, 312.631.9408
Trenchalant : Stephen Dorocke, David Zerlin
Kikù Hibino

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616
Sapropelic Pycnic
Haley Fohr
Jim Baker, Carol Genetti
Tar Pets

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:

http://now-is.org/, http://www.ratchetmusic.com, http://www.umbrellamusic.org, http://www.mcachicago.org, http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenterschedule.html, http://www.skylarkchicago.com, http://www.hideoutchicago.com, http://www.elasticrevolution.com, http://www.myopicbookstore.com/music.html, http://www.lampo.org, http://dalniente.com, http://iceorg.org/events/category/chicago, http://www.emptybottle.com/