2018 Best of Lists from Around the Web: Part IV

It’s that time again. We gather best-of-2018 lists from around the web and provide links here. Sure, we haven’t reached the end of the year yet, but some intrepid individuals just cannot be held back. The AMN Best of 2018 is coming in early January. Stay tuned…

A Closer Listen’s top ten drone.

A Closer Listen’s top ten ambient.

The Vinyl Factory’s best experimental music of 2018.

Rolling Stone’s 20 best jazz albums of 2018.

Bandcamp’s best jazz albums of 2018.

See also:
2018 Best of Lists from Around the Web: Part I
2018 Best of Lists from Around the Web: Part II
2018 Best of Lists from Around the Web: Part III

AMN Reviews: Anna Thorvaldsdottir – Aequa [Sono Luminus DSL-92227]

Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir has spoken of how, growing up in Iceland, she developed a close relationship to natural landscapes and an appreciation for the subtle changes in light and weather peculiar to a location sited between mountains and ocean. This sensitivity to the quiet drama of nuance carries over to her music, as shown in the recent work on Aequa.

The seven compositions on Aequa—for solo piano, small instrumental groupings and a large chamber orchestra—tend to focus on the resonance of sustained tones undergoing incremental dynamic or timbral changes. The first track, 2011’s Scope for solo piano (performed by Cory Smythe), does this simply and elegantly by building a framework around the lingering decay of held notes. The small ensemble piece Fields (2016) is a wintry composition made of slow, consecutive melodies on cello, double bass and bass clarinet, overlaid with a restless scattering of notes from piano and guitar. Thorsvaldsdottir orchestrates it nicely by dividing the lead lines among the strings and reed, and the ornamental flourishes between piano and guitar. Aequilibria (2014), for eleven-piece chamber orchestra, creates a soundscape of slowly moving timbres through the canny division of the whole ensemble into subgroups. It’s the perfect sound analogue of the gradual environmental metamorphoses Thorsvaldsdottir remembers.



Daniel Barbiero

Seattle Scene: December 20-29, 2018

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.

Thu. Dec. 20, 8 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

An evening of ambient drones and color field projections inspired by organic imagery and occurrences. Rahikka (sound/video artist Carson Rennekamp) explores atmospheric ambiance through droning tones, noise, and repetition. Rahikka has explored various themes including isolation, reflection, patience, and transcendence.

Electronic Blankets
Fri. Dec. 21, 7 PM; $5 – $15 donation at door

An experimental electronic showcase of PNW artists to christen the solstice with borscht, auditory hallucinations, planetary chasms, warm drones, glitch portals, distant raves. Raica (Chloe Harris) + AVOLA (from Portland) + Nordra (Monika Khot aka Zen Mother) + Marcus Price + visuals by Kevin Blanquies.

Thu. 12/27 – Simon Henneman’s ensemble New Series One

Sat. 12/29 – The Antenna Project 4.0: The Nyxology Sessions, Installment 3

5049 Records Podcast Episode 188 – William Winant 

Source: 5049 Records.

Percussionist William Winant has played with everyone from John Cage to John Zorn, Sonic Youth to Mr Bungle, Steve Reich to Iannis Xenakis. If anyone can be described as the Zelig of experimental music, it’s Willie. For this talk, the maestro swings by to talk about his path from a teenager playing trap kit in Los Angeles to performing at the Ojai Festival with Pierre Boulez. We also talk his work as a college instructor, studying gamelan in Indonesia, the recording of “Disco Volante” and a whole lot more. An essential talk with a technician of the sacred.