Avant Music News Best of 2018: Part II – Albums of the Year

To the extent that these lists mean much of anything, here are our favorite recordings of 2018. 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 2018 releases, and have probably missed a few really good ones. Enjoy.

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

Albums of the Year

All Traps on Earth – A Drop of Light
Ari Chersky – Fear Sharpens the Dagger
Philipp Gropper / Philm – Live at Bimhaus
Lauren Redhead – Hearmleoþ-Gieddunga
YAK – Bardo

Best of 2018

4 Airports – 4 Airports
John Luther Adams – Everything That Rises
Ajna – Lucid Intrusion
Albatre – The Fall of the Damned
Anguish – Anguish
Aseptic Void – Ideazione di Contrasto
Steve Ashby & Daniel Barbiero – The Elongated Path
Bangladeafy – Ribboncutter
Big Heart Machine – Big Heart Machine
Bonini Bulga (Pär Boström) – Sealed
Carter / Holmes / Putman / Greene / Ughi – Telepathia Liquida
Chaos Echoes with Mats Gustafsson – Sustain
Josh Charney – Chaos Magic
Common Eider, King Eider – A Wound of Body
Cruel Diagonals – Disambiguation
Death Drag – Shifted
Christi Denton – Meduse
Desiderii Marginis – Vita Arkivet
Alvaro Domene – The Compass
David Dominique – Mask
Evil Genius – Experiments on Human Subjects
Far Corner – Risk
Ghost Flute & Dice – Kropsbygning
Jelena Glasova – The Malady of Death
Jordan Glenn – BEAK
Ross Hammond – Riding Dragons in Winter
Hezaliel – Paradise Lost
Christopher Hoffman – Multifariam
Adam Hopkins – Crickets
Jeton Hoxha – Vowel
Ignite – Ignition (EP)
Ikizukuri – Hexum
Christoph Irniger / Pilgrim – Crosswinds
Jack O’ The Clock – Repetitions of the Old City – II
Pandelis Karayorgis / Damon Smith / E. Rosenthal – Cliff
Reid Karris Group – Ghost Dancers Slay Together
Kiss the Frog – Days of Wrath
Kyoko Kitamura – Protean Labyrinth
Kreysing / Penschuck / Stadlmeier – Re-encypher
Ingrid Laubrock – Contemporary Chaos Practices
The League of Assholes – IM PEACH The Sequel
Lore – Lore EP
Rene Lussier Quintet – Rene Lussier Quintet
Matthew Lux / Communication Arts Quartet – Contra/Fact
Moloch Conpiracy – The Cave of Metaphysical Darkness & Lights
Monolithes – Limites
Michael Moss / Accidental Orchestra – HELIX
William Parker – Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
Jo Quail – Exsolve
Jo Quail / Hands of Ruin – Hands of Ruin Remixes (Single)
Abbey Rader / West Coast Quartet – Second Gathering
Raison d’Etre – Alchymeia
Alec K. Redfearn & The Eyesores – The Opposite
Robert Rich / Markus Reuter – Flood Expeditions: The Gatherings, 19 May 2018
Stephanie Richards – Fullmoon
Rivener – Rivener
Rent Romus / Life Blood Ensemble – Rogue Star
Devin Sarno – Visitor (Suite)
Shatner’s Bassoon – Disco Erosion
Patrick Shiroishi / Dylan Fujioka / Paco Casanova – Kage Cometa
Shrine – Celestial Fire
Josh Sinton / Predicate Trio – Making Bones
Maryam Sirvan – Untamed Terror
SUSS – Ghost Box
Jennifer Thiessen / Ida Toninato – The Space Between Us
The Thing – Again
Robert Scott Thompson – Phonotopological
Henry Threadgill / 14 or 15 Kestra: AGG – Dirt… And More Dirt
Tunnels of Ah – Charnel Transmissions
Peeter Uuskyla / Tellef Øgrim / Anders Berg – Oslo Hærverk
Visions & Phurpa – Monad
Warren Schoenbright – Excavations
Dan Weiss – Starebaby
Mars Williams – An Ayler Xmas Vol. 2
Gabriel Zucker – Weighting

AMN Reviews: Massimo Discepoli – The Right Place on the Wrong Map [Depth of Field]

Finding oneself in the right place by the lights of the wrong map may mean, by analogy, creating a particular kind of music that maps oddly onto its genre. This, fittingly enough, is the case with multi-instrumentalist Massimo Discepoli’s The Right Place on the Wrong Map.  (Full disclosure: Massimo and I collaborated on the recording An Eclipse of Images, and I have some releases on his netlabel.)

The Right Place on the Wrong Map is a follow-up of sorts to Parallax, Discepoli’s solo release of a few years ago. As with the earlier recording, the music on The Right Place falls recognizably within the genre of ambient music, but what sets it apart from much ambient music—what makes it map oddly onto ambient conventions–is its energetic drumming and attention to melody. To be sure, the pieces feature floating electronic soundscapes and slowly-moving harmonies, but these often serve to provide a sonic frame or context for energetic drumming or the development of contentful lines on tuned percussion or keyboards. The drumming adds substance without sounding intrusive or out of place; it works largely because Discepoli is an imaginative, creative drummer who can balance color against propulsion, and dynamics against the demands of expression. Likewise the melodies, played on vibes, piano and electric piano (or their digital doubles), elaborate and add nuance to the more nebulous electronic atmospheres.

This fine recording comes out on 8 January; it’s a good way to start 2019.



Daniel Barbiero

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

A Year (or 60) in the Making: Satoko Fujii’s *Kanreki*

Clayton Thomas, Burkhard Beins – Rhythm Complication (Remote Resonator, 2018) ****

Latest from Norway

Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda – Mizu (Long Song Records) ****½

MoE and Marhaug – Capsaicin (Utech, 2018) ****½

Trumpet Trios

Ingrid Laubrock – Contemporary Chaos Practices (Intakt, 2018) *****

Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love live at Underflow record store, Athens. 12-1-2018.

Solo Percussion – Twelve Albums Overview

Just Outside Reviews

Source: Just Outside.

Bitsy Knox/Roger 3000 – om cold blood (Tanuki)

ergod (Richard Scott/Tapiwa Svosve) – Macrotonality (Physical Correlate)

Ian Vine – still pieces (self-released)

Birgit Ulher/Christoph Schiller – tulpe schict brille (Inexhaustible Editions)

Michael Foster/Katherine Young/Michael Zerang – Bind the hand)s) That Feed (Relative Pitch)

Tony Conrad Exhibition at MIT and Harvard

Source: Hyperallergic.com.

Split between MIT and Harvard University, Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective is the ideal size for the important task of bringing this under-recognized artist into brighter light. So far, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Buffalo, New York, have been the exhibition’s only stops. The latter is where Conrad taught for the bulk of his professional career, so while this is a fairly comprehensive overview of the artist’s prolific career, Conrad’s particular and peculiarly uncontainable genius remains a bit of a secret — a secret that’s exciting to be in on, even as public awareness of the breadth and depth of his influence widens; as Conrad himself once said, “You don’t know who I am, but somehow, indirectly, you’ve been affected by things I did.”

The Big Band Rises Again

Source: The New York Times.

A rigorous, composerly view of the big band has continued to thrive in small pockets of the New York and European music scenes. And today — when big, associative ideas and limitless ambition are the coin of the realm — that tradition is finding new resonance. The saxophonist Kamasi Washington, jazz’s pre-eminent crossover star, has turned heads with the enormity and zeal of his approach, sometimes using dozens of musicians at once. But in New York City, musicians springing from jazz’s academic mainstream are going a slightly different way.