Avant Music News Best of 2016: Part II – Albums of the Year

To the extent that these lists mean much of anything, here are our favorite recordings of 2016. Many of these albums have been reviewed here at AMN, and such reviews have been linked in the list below.

This year, our list is so lengthy that we broke it into two separate postings. The “best of” is today, and the honorable mentions were yesterday. As usual, let me add the usual disclaimer that this list is incomplete, I have not heard all 2016 releases, and probably missed a few really good ones. Enjoy.

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

Albums of the Year
Dan Weiss – Sixteen: Drummers Suite
Bent Knee – Say So
Anthony Braxton – 3 Compositions (EEMHM)) 2011
Bobby PreviteMass

Best of 2016

John Butcher / Thomas Lehn / Matthew ShippTangle
Happy Place – Northfield
Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio – Desire and Freedom
Christopher Hoffman – Silver Cord Quintet
Perhaps Contraption – Mud Belief
Dave Ball / Jon Savage – Photosynthesis
René Aquarius – Blight
Aram Bajakian – Dolphy Formations
Anthony Braxton –  10+1tet (Knoxville) 2016
Anthony Braxton – Trio (Knoxville) 2016
Brownout – Brownout Presents Black Sabbath, Vol. II
Burning Ghosts – Burning Ghosts
DC Improvisers Collective – Ministry of Spontaneous Composition
Massimo Discepoli / Daniel Barbiero – An Eclipse of Images
dMu – Synaptic Self
Mark Dresser / N.Mitchell / M.Melford / M.Dessen – Virtual Tour: A Reduced Carbon Footprint Concert Series
Cassio Figueiredo – Presença
Fond of Tigers – Uninhabit
Free Nelson Mandoomjazz – The Organ Grinder
Devin Gray – Devin Gray’s Fashionable Pop Music
Mats Gustafsson – This is from the Mouth (EP)
Ross Hammond / Vinny Golia – Ross Hammond and Vinny Golia
Horselover Fats – Liberty Ashes
Nathan Hubbard / Skeleton Key Orchestra – Furiously Dreaming
In Slaughter Natives – Ventre
Jack O’ The Clock – Repetitions of the Old City – I
Reid Karris – Oscines et Ensifera
Jockel Leiss – Fluid Variations
Merzbow / Keiji Haino / Balazs Pandi – An Untroublesome Defencelessness
Mondo Flockard – Spirals (EP)
Naima – Bye
Luca Nasciuti – Morpheus
Alexander Noice – Music Made With Voices
The Out Louds (Halvorson, Goldberg, Fujiwara) – The Out Louds
Richard Pinhas / B.Cleveland, M.Manring, Alberti – Mu
Richard Pinhas / Tatsuya Yoshida / Merzbow – Process and Reality
Xavi Reija – Live at RZZ Barcelona
Daniel Rosenboom – Book of Storms
São Paulo Underground – Cantos Invisíveis
Shrine – Ordeal 26.04.86
Sirius Quartet – Paths Become Lines
Space Sweeper – Alien Oceans
Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up – Old Locks and Irregular Verbs
Thumbscrew (Halvorson / Formanek / Fujiwara) – Convallaria
Tri-Centric Orchestra – Music of Blake, Bynum & Laubrock: Agora, Questions of Transfiguration, Vogelfrei
Luong Hue Trinh – Illusions
Troum – Acouasme
Harvey Valdes Trio – Point Counterpoint
Vaults of Zin – Kadath
Vortex – Moloch
Anna Webber Simple Trio – Binary
Nate Wooley – Argonautica

AMN Picks of the Week: Knuckleball / CARL / Kshatriya / Anna Högberg Attack

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.

Knuckleball (Levine / Hannaford / Gray) – Knuckleball (2016)
CARL – Moon Pools and Petroleum Play (2016)
Kshatriya – Samantabhadra (2016)
Anna Högberg Attack – Anna Högberg Attack (2016)

Seattle Scene: January 6-19, 2017

From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:

Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center
4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)

Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Seattle Composers’ Salon
Fri. Jan. 6, 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

An evening of music and discussion with Seattle composers Tom Baker, Jay Hamilton, Nadya Kadrevis, and Andrew Olmstead. At bi-monthly, informal presentations, the Salon features finished works, previews, and works in progress by regional composers and performers in a casual setting that allows for experimentation and discussion. Everyone is welcome!

Sound Ensemble: Life After Y2K
Sat. Jan. 7, 7 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Just as life didn’t end after Y2K, composition of exciting and poignant music didn’t die with Brahms or Stravinsky. During this concert we will share with you music that we find rich with beauty that has been composed in the years following 2000 by Sarah Bassingthwaighte, Sean Osborn, Marcin Paczkowski, Greg Dixon and Daron Hagen.
Upcoming Events (always subject to change; check our website for updates)

THU. 1/12 – Further Records presents Jonas Reinhardt + Norm Chambers + Leo Mayberry

SAT. 1/14 – Susan Maughlin Wood and Michaud Savage, present new works

THU. 1/19 – Seattle Phonographers Union with guest instrumentalists Tom Varner and others TBA

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Paul Youngquist – A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism (University of Texas Press, 2016) ****
The International Nothing (… And Something) – The Power Of Negative Thinking (Monotype Records, 2016) ***½
Bushman’s Revenge – Jazz, Fritt Etter Hukommelsen (Rune Grammofon, 2016) ***½
Bushman’s Revenge – Bushman’s Fire (Rune Grammofone, 2016) ****½
DEK Trio – Burning Below Zero (Trost, 2016) ****
David Virelles – Antenna (ECM, 2016) ***½

Ben Johnston Hears The Notes Between The Notes

Source: NPR.

Ben Johnston doesn’t follow the rules of music. Sure, he’s got degrees from two colleges and a conservatory. But from an early age, Johnston heard music differently. When he was growing up in Georgia, he questioned the standard scales he was taught in school. “I played by ear and I invented my own chords,” he says.

In Western music, we’re taught that there are set notes in scales, but there is actually an infinite number of pitches in between those notes. They’re called microtones, and those are the notes Johnston likes to work with.