Avant Music News Best of 2020: Part I – Honorable Mentions

Here we are again – the first part of our annual list of our favorite recordings for 2020. Today is for the honorable mentions.

What can be said about 2020? This year took us all by surprise and has had challenge after challenge. While many of us who are stuck at home might have a bit more time to listen to music, musicians were also stuck at home. This means that they had more time to create and record, as well as dig up and dust off archival recordings. And did they ever.

As a consequence, this is probably our longest “best of” lists ever, reaching nearly 400 albums between this posting and tomorrow’s shorter list of albums of the year. But the releases herein are all very good and highly recommended. We reviewed a few of these and linked the reviews where they are available. As usual, I’ll note that it is impossible to listen to all releases for a given year within that year. So, once again, I am sure that there is plenty of great music out there from 2020 that is not listed here. In fact, I have about 100 such recordings still in my queue.

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

Honorable Mentions

Aegri Somnia – Nusquam
Aggelakis, Manolos – The Stone We Had in Our Mouth
Ajna – Oracular
Alcorn, Susan / Quintet – Pedernal
Ali / Berson / Davidoff / Zucker – Anedition
Allemano, Lina – Glimmer Glammer
Alphaxone – Dystopian Gate
Alphaxone / ProtoU / Onasander – Shadows of Forgotten Legends
Also – Live in Celovec
Alves, Pedro Melo – In Igma
Anderson, Vijay / Quartet – Covers
Anderson, Vijay / Silverscreen Sextet – Live at the Angel City Jazz Festival
ANIDA (Conde, Quinteros, Diaz) – CASO
Apocryphos – Against Civilization
Arelseum – Arelseum
Armstrong, Jon – Reabsorb
Ashtoreth and Stratosphere – Between Worlds
Astroturf Noise – Astroturf Noise
Atrium Carceri – Mortal Shell Soundtrack
Barbiero, Daniel – Electronic Remediations for Double Bass
Barbiero, Daniel – In/Completion
Barnson, Matthew – Vanitas
Barrens – Penumbra
Barron, Kenny / Dave Holland – Trio Without Deception
Bartolo – Six Improvisations for Creatures and Machines
Beckahesten – Vattenhålens Dräpare
Berlin Art Quartet – Live at B-Flat
Berne, Tim / Matt Mitchell – Spiders
Bernstein, Sarah – Exolinger
Beyond the Ghost – Eternal Drift
Bishop, Jeb / Centrifugal Trio – Jeb Bishop Centrifugal Trio
BlackWeald – Leonov
BlackWeald – Pure
BlackWeald – She and the Devil’s Sons
Blood Rhythms – Zerrissenheit
Bocci, Cristiano / Francesco Arrighi / Mara Lepore – Anagrammi
Borden, T.J. / James McKain / Kevin Murray – A Picaresque History of Salted Meats
Boudreau, Lea – Chaos Contrôlé
Braxton, Anthony / Eugene Chadbourne – Duo (Improv) 2017
Breiche, La – Le Rite
Brenner & Molenaar – Uninvited Savior
Brenner, Nate / Hamir Atwal / Ben Goldberg – Break Time at the Cyclotron
Brickwork – WEDNTVE
Bruckmann / Djll / Heule / Nishi-Smith – Brittle Feeling
Butcher, John – On Being Observed
Butcher, John / Rhodri Davies – Japanese Duets
Byrne, Dee / Cath Roberts – Disembark!
Caldwell, Landon & Mark Tester – Little Flower
Cameron, Lisa / Tom Carter /Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – Tau Ceti
Carrier, Francois / Michel Lambert / John Edwards – Elements
Carter / Parker / Shipp / Cleaver – Welcome Adventure! Vol. 1
Carter, Daniel / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman – Whoadie
Caustic Reverie – The Flooded Assembly
Cernichov – Cernichov
Cheetham, Andrew / Alan Wilkinson – The Vortex of Past Time
Chicago Underground Quartet – Good Days
Cirera, Alberto / Omar Grandoso / Pablo Diaz – Fortuit
Clark, Kelby – Casino (EP)
Claussen, Martina – Verwoben
Clucas / Bishop / Smith / Crane – Universal or Directional
Cockerham, Ben – Shadow Forth
Cooper-Moore / Stephen Gauci – Conversations Vol. 1
Corsano, Chris – Mezzaluna
Council on American Regicide, The – Anger Management Vol. 1
CP Unit (Chris Pitsiokos) – One Foot on the Ground Smoking Mirror Shakedown
Crozzoli, Miguel / Pablo Diaz – Immerse
Cunningham, Alex / Claire Rousay – Specifically the Water
Cyanotype – Birdsongs of the Necromancer
Danketsu 10 – From a Distance, Everything Shines
Dead Melodies – The Masterplan
Dead Melodies & Beyond the Ghost – Crier’s Bane
Dead Melodies & Zenjungle – Anthropocene
Demonologists – Dissociative Themes
Desiderii Marginis – Departed
Dickey, Whit / Matthew Shipp – Reckoning
Dickey, Whit / Matthew Shipp / Nate Wooley – Pacific Noir
Dijkstra / Bishop / Karayorgis / McBride / Gray – Cutout
Dimuzio, Thomas – Sutro Tranmission
Dolister, Caleb – Daily Thumbprint Collection 3, The Wandering
Domene, Alvaro – Illustris
Drevo, Mira – Dreams of Abandoned Villages
Dronny Darko / ProtoU – Metta
Dunstan, Nick – Atlantic Extraction: Live at Threes
End, The – Allt Är Intet
Ensemble Klang with Keir Neuringer – Elegies & Litanies
Fang, Forrest – The Book of Wanderers
Fargue – Phosphène
Feinberg / Kolodij – Split
Fontana, Bill – Landscape Sculpture with Fog Horns
Formanek, Michael / Quartet – Pre-Apocalyptic
Frith, Fred / Sudhu Tewari / Cenk Ergun – Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down
Gabriel, Serena feat. Steve Roach – Inanna’s Dream
Gauci, Stephen / Adam Lane / Kevin Shea – Studio Sessions, Vol. 9
Gauci, Stephen / S.Leibson / S.Lovata / C.Hinton – Live at Scholes Street Studio
Gertot, Dagmar – Os Lacrimale
GGRIL Plays Ingrid Laubrock
Gilardini, Joel – The Age of Space
God Body Disconnect – The Depths of Finality
Grande Loge – Mantras
Grdina, Gordon / The Marrow – Safar-e-Daroon
GRID (Nelson / Dahl / Podgurski) – Decomposing Force
Gridfailure – Epicenter MMXX: Quarantine Instrumentals
Guinea Pig – The New Neighbors
Gustafsson, Mats – Padova Solo
Halley, Rich – The Shape of Things
Hammer of the Sky – Aarni
Hassell, Jon – Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)
HATHENTER – wr w-r wwr0wr-g 0w -er0gw- -0wr w
Heat Death of the Sun – House of the Yellow Lotus
HLER – LGM-1
Houle, Francois / 4 – Recoder
Hupata! – Microclimates
Hwang, Jason Kao – Human Rites Trio
Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You?
Isostatic – Glacial Epoch
Itaca 4et – Vortex
Jackson, Keefe / Jim Baker / Julian Kirshner – So Glossy and So Thin
Jarguna – My Temple
Jarguna / Henrik Meierkord – Tapestry Flow
Jazz Sabbath – Jazz Sabbath
Junk Magic (Craig Taborn) – Compass Confusion
Kammarheit – Thronal
Karayorgis / McBride / Smith / Gray / Rosenthal – CliffPools
Karris, Reid – Basura
Karris, Reid – Cynical Nihilist
Karris, Reid / Chloe Lin / Peter Maunu – Slate
Kaze & Ikue Mori – Sand Storm
Kirchner, Quin – The Shadow and the Light
Kloob & Onasander – Mundus Patet
Kolodij, John – First Fire / At Dawn
Krock, Brian – Viscera
Lamia – Vox Alles ist Ufer. Ewig ruft das Meer
Last Dream of the Morning – Crucial Anatomy
Laubrock, Ingrid – Dreamt Twice, Twice Dreamt (Music for Chamber Orchestra and Small Ensemble)
Laurenzi, Dustin – Behold
Léandre, Joëlle / Robert Dick / Miya Masaoka – Solar Wind
Lesa Listvy – Unheard Of
Lonberg-Holm, Fred / Farida Amadou / Simon Canatta – Indelible Spine
Lopes, Luis / Humanization 4Tet – Believe, Believe
Lopez, Brandon – Santeria
Luna-Mega, Christopher – Aural Shores
M-Kat Ensemble – Eight Durations
Made To Break F4 – Fake
Mako Sica / Hamid Drake – Balancing Tear
Maneri, Mat / Kalle Moberg /Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – Headspin
Mange Ferraille – Erba Spontanea
Marshall, Josh / Daniel Pearce – Live at Temescal Arts (EP)
Mauve Zone – Transmissions from Carcosa
Mayhall, Matt / Dan Rosenboom – Language
Mazurek, Rob / Exploding Star Orchestra – Dimensional Stardust
Menche, Daniel / Anla Courtis – Cuspa Llullu
Mitchell, Roscoe / Mike Reed – The Ritual and the Dance
Moloch Conspiracy – Incantatios from Ugarit
Moor Mother – Clepsydra
More Eaze / Claire Rousay – If I Don’t Let Myself Be Happy Now Then When?
Mori, Ikue – House of Vines
Mori, Ikue / Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura – Prickly Pear Cactus
Morris, Joe / Mike Pride / Chris Pitsiokos – Field of Materials
Moshe Burnett, Ras – Music Now!
Mount Shrine – Shortwave Ruins
Mount Shrine & Alphaxone – Dream Chambers
Musson, Rachel – I Went This Way
Musson, Rachel / Corey Mwamba – What We Said When We Met
Nakatani, Tatsuya / Matthew Smith / Joel Peterson – Live at Trinosophes
Nakatani, Tatsuya / Shane Parish / Zach Rowden – Live at Static Age Records
Navarro, Aquiles / Tcheser Holmes – Heritage of the Invisible II
Naylor, Xander – Continuum
NERATERRÆ – Scenes from the Sublime
Neuringer, Keir / Shayna Dulberger / Julius Masri – Dromedaries II
Newsome, Sam – Solo Set at the Red Room
Nox Opus – Unending
O’Baoighill, Ruairi – Parish Law
Orientation of We – Emergence
Ormazabal, Iker – The Oscillation
Ouroboros is Broken – In C
Panourgia, Eleni-Ira – Enacting Traces
Park, Han Earl / Catherine Sikora / Nick Didkovsky – Peculiar Velocities
Park, Han Earl / Catherine Sikora / Nick Didkovsky – Therianthropy
Parkins, Zeena / Jeff Kolar – SCALE
Paundra – 7
Phicus – Solid
Phonothek – Styx
Pirog, Anthony – Pocket Poem
Pirog, Anthony – Terry Riley’s In C
Pride, Mike / Jonathan Moritz – The Invitation
Queen Elephantine – Tribute to Atrophos Vol. III
Rader, Abbey / John McMinn – Duo from the Heart
Rapoon – Call Fires to Cloud
Red Fiction – Visions of the Void
Revis, Eric – Slipknots Through a Looking Glass
Rich, Robert – Offering to the Morning Fog
Richards, Steph – Supersense
Robinson, Scott – Flow States
Romus / Koskinen / Life’s Blood Ensemble – Manala
Ronn, Christian / Aram Shelton – Multiring
Rosendorf, Nicol Eltzroth – Big Other
Rosenthal, Sam / Jarguna – Sunwashed Evening Fire
Ruptured World – Interplanetary
Sairen – Vestiges
Salvo, Sofía / Gustavo Obligado / M. von Schultz – MOTOR
Schneider, Maria – Data Lords
Seelig, Mark – The Disciple’s Path
Segger, Mark / Sextet – Lift Off
Selvafiorita, Fabio – The Fall
Serries, Dirk – Solo Acoustic Guitar Improvisations I
Serries, Dirk / Martina Verhoeven / Colin Webster – Praxis
Shedir – Finite Infinity
Shifa (Rachel Musson, Pat Thomas, Mark Sanders) – Live in Oslo
Shipp, Matthew / Trio – The Unidentifiable
Shiroishi, Patrick – (holy alone)
Shiroishi, Patrick – Eye for an Eye
Shiroishi, Patrick / Dylan Fujioka – Neba Neba
Shiroishi, Patrick / Eldar Tagi – Flock
Sikora / Culpo Duo – The Paris Sessions, Volume 1: Mimesis
Sikora, Catherine – Sanctuary (Live at the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris)
Sikora, Catherine / Ethan Winogrand – Things To Do in Paris
SLD Trio – En Vivo en Estudio Libres
Sloth Racket – Exabout – Live at Ramsgate
Sly & the Family Drone – Walk it Dry
Snekkestad, Torben / Agustí Fernández / Barry Guy – The Swiftest Traveler
Soft Kill Option – National Emergency
Sonata Islands Kommandoh – Quasar Burning Bright
Sonologyst – Unexplained Sounds (New Edition)
Stancati, Mario Lina – Cross the Desert
Stein, Jason / Chad Taylor – 85bears
Stellar Death – Fragments of Light
Stemeseder, Elias & Max Andrzejewski – light/tied
Stewart, Luke E- xposure Quintet
Stewart, Macie / Lia Kohl – Recipe for a Boiled Egg
Stine, Tim / Trio – Fresh Demons
SUSS – Promise
Sydnor, Curt – Deep End Shallow
Tàlveg – Arbori
Tàlveg – Ses-Sens (EP)
Tamman, Hans / Jeremy Carlstedt / Stephen Gauci – Studio Sessions Vol. 11
Tamura, Natsuki / Satoko Fujii / Ramon Lopez – Mantle
Tanche – B.S.P.P
Taphephobia – Blue Hour
Taylor, Chad / Trio – The Daily Biological
Thelen, Stephan – World Dialogue
Thompson, Robert Scott – Pattern Language
Tone-Cluster – Kyo Shu
Toninato, Ida – Strangeness Reloaded
Treesearch – Know More Knowledge
Trigger + Dina Maccabee – Trigger + 1
TRRMÀ – The Earth’s Relief
Tunnels of Ah – Deathless Mind
Ulvestad – Fall
Upward – Beams
Urban Eden – Building Gardens from Concrete
Various Artists – Anthology of Contemporary Music from Indonesia
Various Artists – A Year in the Country – Cross Sections of Time
Various Artists – Ambient Jam – Chimera of a New World
Various Artists – Anthology of Post Industrial Music from Balkan Region
Various Artists – Demonology in Dante’s Inferno
Various Artists – Drone Islands – The Lost Map
Various Artists – Eyes Shut, Ears Open: A Burning Ambulance Compilation
Vmthanaachth – La finale de la vie — la résistance faible de la chair est terminée
Vortex – Helioz
Wallace, Eli / Beth McDonald – Solo / Duo
Ward / Verhoeven / Serries / Roberts – Imaginary Junction
Webster, Colin / Dirk Serries – Light Industry
Western, Creed, and Spybey – W ands
Wøllo, Erik / Michael Stearns – Convergence
Work Friends – Happy Hour
WorldService Project – Hiding in Plain Sight
Wyche, Daniel – The Last Flight of the Voidship Remainder
Wyxz – ODYX
yMusic – Ecstatic Science

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