Avant Music News Best of 2021: Part I – Honorable Mentions

Here we are again – the first part of our annual list of our favorite recordings for 2021. Today is for the honorable mentions.

2021. It was supposed to be better than 2020. In some ways it was and in others it was not. As I write this, the pandemic is nearly two years old and hitting record infection levels (thankfully, hospitalizations and deaths are relatively lower for this wave). Live performances came back for a while, in a limited fashion, but now seem to be shutting down again. Throughout, creative musicians find ways to create. Some are saying that 2021 is one of the best years ever in our corner of the music world, at least in terms of recorded output. I will not disagree.

So, once again, I am sure that there is plenty of great music out there from 2021 that is not listed here. In fact, I have over 100 such recordings still in my queue.

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

Honorable Mentions

Ackerley, Jessica – Morning / Mourning
Ackerley, Jessica / Daniel Carter – Friendship
Adoct – Ouvre-Glace
Ahtoh – Snegopad
Alcorn, Susan / Leila Bordreuil / Ingrid Laubrock – Bird Meets Wire
All My Faith Lost – Untitled
Almeida, Gonçalo – Monologis a Dois
Alphaxone / ProtoU – Back to Beyond
Alter Ego + Matmos – Pranam
Alter Ego + Pan Sonic – Microwaves
Altus – Hypoxia

Android Trio – Other Worlds
Angeli, Paolo – Jar’a
Arapis, Giannis / Vilhelm Bromander / Vangelis – Dim Slow Arrow
Areal Vélez, Javier – rrrrrrrrrr tKtK
Avenaim, Robbie / Chris Abrahams / Jim Denley – Weft
Baker, Aidan – Fluss
Baker, Aidan – True Dreaming
Baldwin, Nat / E. Jason Gibbs – Phase Planes
Barbiero, Daniel – Timekeepers Map the Already Gone
Barbiero, Daniel / Cristiano Bocci – Now / Here
Beard, Anthony – Les Contes de Nulle Part
Beckahesten – Midvinter (EP)
Belisle-Chi, Gregg – KOI – Performing the Music of Tim Berne
Beyond the Ghost – The Desolation Age
Beyond the Ghost – The Last Resort

Bianco Brackenbury – Rising Up
Bird, David / Ning Yu – Iron Orchid
Birdsey, Henry – Half-Dragged
Bisio, Michael / Kirk Knuffke / Fred Lonberg-Holm – The Art Spirit
BlackWeald – 666 Minutes in Hell
Block, Olivia – October, 1984
BLOOP (Allemano / Smith) – Proof
Body / Dilloway / Head – Body / Dilloway / Head
Bolton, Rose – The Lost Clock
Branch, Jaimie – Fly or Die Live

Brody, Benjamin Louis / Ian Chang – Floating Into Infinity
Bryerton, Jerome / Damon Smith – …There Must be a Reason for Generating Sounds…
Burnt Sugar / The Arkestra Chamber – Angels Over Oakanda
Butcher, John / D.Lash / J.Russell / M.Sanders – Discernment
Caldwell, James – Pocket Music
Cameron, Lisa / Sandy Ewen – See Creatures Too
Carrier / Schvarzman / Caicedo / Lambert – Glow
Carson, Brett – The Killing Jar
Carter / Wilner / Toure / Ughi – New York United Vol. 2
Carter, Jeremiah / Kelby Clark – Country Music
Caustic Reverie – Chamber Drones
Caustic Reverie – No Remedy

Cementation Anxiety – In Continual
Challenger / Hawkins / Sanders – Imasche
Chamberlain, Eric – Quadratura Cinetectura
Chants du Hasard, Les – Livre Troisième
Chaos Echoes – Ecstasy With the Nonexistents
Cheli, Kevin / Damon Smith / Seth Andrew Davis – Composite
Cisneros, Mark / Nick Francis / Luke Stewart – We Were Here Before
Cities Last Broadcast – The Umbra Report
Cognos – Cognos
Concussed – Precipice of the Void
Corbacho, Max – A Connection to the Wonder
Corona Barathri – Lapis Sacrificialis
cr-ow-tr-io – Hold Music

Cranes (Muller / Risser / Marien) – Formation < Deviation
Crazy Doberman – Everyone is Rolling Down a Hill…
Cunningham, Alex – Slow as the Stream
Cyclone Trio (Magee / Irving / Green) – The Clear Revolution
Das Rad (Archer / Robinson / Dinsdale) – Laik Tors
Davis, Gareth – In Vivo
Davis, Jeff / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Day Before Us – As My Spirit Wanders Free
Dead Melodies – Fabled Machines of Old
Deemer +1 – Aftermath
Demoulin, Julien – Everything Forgotten, Everything Remembered
Desertion Trio – Numbers Maker
Dewar, Andrew Raffo – Ekphrasis Suite
Diaz, Pablo Breves – Poemas Sonoros
Dickey, Whit / William Parker / Matthew Shipp – Village Mothership
DiLella, Dylan – Human Shield

Disidencia de las Máquinas, La – Imago
Domene, Alvaro – Heptad Vol. 1
Doneda, Michel / Frederic Blondy / Tetsu Saitoh – Spring Road 16
Dopolarians – The Bond
Draaier – The Town That Was Murdered
Duplant, Bruno – Paysages Sans Age III
Duplant, Bruno / Rutger Zuydervelt – Synchronicité
Earthflesh – Revelations in Dust
East Axis – Cool With That
Edwards, John / A.Lisle / D.Serries / C.Webster – Peck and Fleet
Eisenberg, Wendy – Bloodletting
ElSaffar, Amir – The Other Shore
Emmeluth, Signe – Hi Hello I’m Signe

Ensemble 1 – Guitar, Bass & Drums
Ensemble SuperMusique – Commutation
Fionnlagh – What Came Before
Fire! – Defeat
Fisher, Marsha – New Ruins
Fluke-Mogul, Gabby – Threshold
Foster, Michael & Ben Bennett – Contractions
Fraser / McCowen / Weinberg – Thip
Fratzke’s Fake Accent, Erik – Four Serious Allegations
Fujii, Satoko – Underground
Fujii, Satoko / Tokyo Trio – Moon on the Lake
Futari (Fujii / Saito) – Beyond

Gabriel, Serena feat. Steve Roach – Seeing Inside
Ganga, Arvind & Riccardo Marogna – Ballads from the Wrecked Ship
Garcia, Violeta / Daniel Bruno / Pablo Díaz – JIKJI
gc / nc – Deprecated
Gdanian – Submersion
German Ocean, The – goii
Gerycz / Powers / Rolin – Lamplighter
Giannouli, Tania / Trio – In Fading Light
Giménez López / Bass / Suarez / Scampino – Reunión en la Granja
Gjerstad, Frode / Isach Skeidsvoll – Twenty Fingers
Gloatmeal (Matt Mitchell and Kate Gentile) – ;,,elf-p::rpl.x:v33
God Body Disconnect – The Wanderer’s Dream

Godlevsky, Adaya / Haggai Fershtman – Sonia
Goldberg, Ben – Everything Happens to Be
Goldberger, Jonathan / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Golding, Binker / John Edwards / Steve Noble – Moon Day
Graham, Forbes / Jim Hobbs / T.Nakatani / V.Shen – Scar’s the Limit
Gray, Devin / Ralph Alessi / Angelica Sanchez – Melt All the Guns
Grdina, Gordon / Jim Black – Martian Kitties
Grdina, Gordon / Square Peg – Klotski
Grey Frequency – Paranormal
Gridfailure – When the Lights Go Out Vol. 3
Gridfailure / S.C.R.A.M. – Gridfailure / S.C.R.A.M.

Gydja – Ár Var Alda
Halley, Rich – Boomslang
Harnik, Elisabeth – Superstructure – Holding Up a Bridge
Harnik, Elisabeth / Christof Kurzmann – Prozession
Harris, Bill / Adam Shead – Orthostat
Hazan, Shay / Quintet – Nuff Headlines
Heinemann, Jakob – Fragmentations
Hidden Forces Trio & Alejandro Rojas-Marcos – Velá
Hinton, Colin / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Hoffman, Christopher – Asp Nimbus
Holub, Mark – Anthropods
Hoppe, Lisa / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Ilgenfritz, James / Brian Chase / Robbie Lee – Loss and Gain
Infinexhuma – Frontier
Jack O’ The Clock – Leaving California

Jackson, Michael Gregory – Frequency Equilibrium Koan
Jarguna / Ryuzen – Kitsune
Jensen, Clarice – Identifying Features
Jeong, Eunhye – Nolda
Jimenez, Kenneth / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Johansson, Sven-Åke / Niklas Fite / Joel Grip – Swinging at Topsi’s
Jones, Darius Raw – Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation)
Jordanova, Victoria – Kernel & Grit
Keeffe, Charlotte – Right Here, Right Now
Kerrod, Jacqueline – 17 Days in December
Kheth Astron – Akratic Laya
Kidambi, Amirtha / Matteo Liberatore – Neutral Love
Klaxon Gueule – Entièrement Unanimes
Kosack, Liz / Cansu Tanrikulu / Devin Gray – Space Bubbles
Kryszk, Nathan / Noah Punkt / Maximilian Breu – BIZZL

Kutler, Jen – Sonified Physiological Indicators of Empathy
Kuzu (Rempis / Dorji / Damon) – The Glass Delusion
Lane, Adam / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Laplante, Travis / Jason Nazary – Tunnel to Light
Largent, Joey – Below Diorite Waters
Lash, Dominic / Quartet – Limulus
Lee, Robbie – Prismatist
Lee, Scott – Through the Mangrove Tunnels
Leibson, Santiago / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Lencastre, Jose / NAU Quartet – Thoughts are Things

Leon, David – Aire de Agua
Leonardi, Stefano / Antonio Bertoni – Viandes
Lesotho – Summer Wars
Lewis, James Brandon / Red Lily Quintet – Jesup Wagon
Lonberg-Holm, Fred / Abdul Moimême / Carlos Santo – Transition Zone
Maneri / Kalmanovitch / Jacobson / Osgood – Variations on No Particular Theme – Part 1
Maudits – Angle Mort
Mayas’ Filamental, Magda – Confluence
McCoy, Yuri – Symphonic Roar
McKain / Murray / Radichel / Suarez / Weeks – The Running of The Bulls
Mcris, John – Ark
Mela, Francisco / Matthew Shipp / William Parker – Music Frees Our Souls, Vol. 1
Minasi, Dom – Eight Hands One Mind
Miracle of Love – Ostracism
Mitchell, Roscoe – D O T S
Mitchell, Roscoe / Sandy Ewen / D.Smith / W.Walter – A Railroad Spike Forms the Voice

Modern Folk, The – Briery Branch
Mono – Beyond the Past – Live in London with the Platinum Anniversary Orchestra
Montana, Lorenzo – Tex-True
Montgomery & Turner – Sounds Passing Through Circumstances
Morris, Joe / Joe McPhee – ERA
Mosconi, Federico – Dreamers and Tides
Mueller, Jon – Family Secret
Musk Ox – Inheritance
Musson, Rachel – Dreamsing
Nebbia, Camila / Patrick Shiroishi – The Human Being as a Fragile Article
Nerell, Loren – The Gong Prophet
Nereus – Five Arcs
Neznamo – Molva
Novik, Aaron – Grounded

Nyctalllz – Persian Trip
Nyquist, Ian – Endless, Shapeless
øjeRum – Stovfald
Ontalva, Ángel – Angel on a Tower
Ormazabal, Iker – The Oscillation (Parts III & IV)
PAKT (P.Jones, A.Skolnick, K.Grohowski, T.Motzer) – PAKT
PAKT (P.Jones, A.Skolnick, K.Grohowski, T.Motzer) – PAKT Live in Pawling
Paradiso Infernal – Paradiso Infernal
Parish, Shane – Disintegrated Satellites
Parker, Christopher / Band of Guardian Angels – Soul Food
Parker, Evan – Winns Winn
Parkins, Andrea – Two Rooms from the Memory Palace
Paul, Ashley / Jeffrey Alexander – Ashley Paul & Jeffrey Alexander

Pavone, Jessica / Wendy Eisenberg / Devin Gray – Universal Dwellings
Pavone, Mario / Dialect Trio + 1 – Blue Vertical
Perelman, Ivo / Matthew Shipp / Whit Dickey – Garden of Jewels
Perez, Alvaro / Alvaro Domene – Zodos
Perez, Álvaro / Álvaro Domene – Radical Accretion
Phillips, Allison / Trio – Placement and Longing
Phillips, Barre / John Butcher / Ståle L. Solberg – We Met… And Then
Phillips, Dan / Hamid Drake – L’Avventura di Vivere
Phurpa & Queen Elephantine – Ita Zor
Pirate – Pirate
Pisaro-Liu, Michael / Nate Wooley – stem-flower-root
Planet Supreme – Creation of a Star
Pluto Juice – Pluto Juice
Poena Sensus – Krubera
Preminger, Noah / Kim Cass – THUNDA

Pride, Mike – I Hate Work
Quatrefoil – DEHORS
Rader, Abbey / John McMinn – Two as One
Red Kite, The – Apophenian Bliss
Richards, Steph / Joshua White – Zephyr
Roach, Steve – As It Is
Roach, Steve – Into the Majestic
Roach, Steve / Michael Stearns – Beyond Earth & Sky
Roach, Steve / Serena Gabriel – Temple of the Melting Dawn
Roberts, Hank / Sextet – Science of Love
Rosenberg, Jonah / Fabulous Trio – The Bulbous and the Budding
Rosenbloom, Mara / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Rousay, Claire – A Softer Focus
Rousay, Claire – Loose Ends
Rova – The Circumference of Reason

Rubinstein, Aaron / Michael Larocca – Studio Sessions Vol. 8
Rue, Gryphon / Merche Blasco – North of the Future
Ruptured World – Shore Rituals
Saáadon – Mret’ (Nautro Noch’) – Die (in the morning night)
SaaR – Gods
Sabled Sun – 2149
Sanford, David / Big Band – A Prayer for Lester Bowie
Schäfer – Mosaik 127
Schlarb, Chris / Chad Taylor – Time No Changes
Schoenbeck, Sara – Sara Schoenbeck
See Through 4 – Permanent Moving Parts
Seelig, Mark – The Disciple’s Meditation
Semiotics Ghosts – Majestic Bastards
Seven Rivers of Fire – Hail Star of the Sea!
Shea, Kevin / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets

Shijin (Schwarz-Bart, David, Galland, Braff) – Theory of Everything
Shiroishi, Patrick – Resting in the Heart of Green Shade
Shocron, Paula / Pablo Díaz – Algo en un Espacio Vacio
Shocron, Paula / William Parker / Pablo Diaz – El Templo
SiJ & Textere Oris – Reflections at the Sea
Sikora, Catherine – Corners
Silicon Relic – E.B.A.N.I. Drones
SINthetik Messiah – Ambient Noize
Sleepwalker – Monument from the Void
Smith / Ewart / Reed – Sun Beams of Shimmering Light

Smith, Wadada Leo – Chicago Symphonies
Smith, Wadada Leo / Henry Kaiser / Alex Varty – Pacifica Coral Reef
Snares of Sixes – MoonBladder
Sorey, Tyshawn / Alarm Will Sound – For George Lewis / Autoschediams
Sorte Død, Den – Den Sorte Død
Sphäre Sechs – Beta Pictoris
Stewart, Luke – Works for Electric Bass Guitar
SUSS – Night Suite
TAK Ensemble – Star Maker Fragments
Taphephobia & IDFT – Kandu
Taylor, Benedict / Dirk Serries – Live Offerings 2019
Thelen, Stephan – Fractal Guitar 2

Tholos Gateway – Tholos Gateway
Thompson, Daniel / Colin Webster – hakons ea
Thompson, Robert Scott – As First Star Awakes, She Wanders There
Thompson, Robert Scott – Escapology
Thompson, Scott – Pal o’Alto
Threadgill, Henry – Poof
Three-Layer Cake – Stove Top
Threshing Floor – Threshing Floor
Tocabajo, Don – Signs
Toren, Cat / Yuma Uesada / Colin Hinton – Ocelot
Trajedesaliva – Ultratumba
TrillaVelt – TrillaVelt
Trottier, Simon / Francois Zaldan – Quattor Tempora
Two Much: Reut Regev and Igal Foni – Never Enough

Uesaka, Yuma / Marilyn Crispell – Streams
Underflow, The – Instant Opaque Evening
Underwater Sleep Orchestra – The Night and Other Sunken Dreams
Various Artists – Anthology of Exploratory Music from India
Various Artists – The Beyond – Music Inspired by the Lucio Fulci Death Trilogy
Vertessen, Raf / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Vertical Squirrels – The Chasm
Wallace, Eli / Stephen Gauci – Pandemic Duets
Wallace, Karoline – Stiklinger
Ward, Alex – Gated
Warren, Kenny – Edges
Warren, Kenny – Light Forms
Wavefield Ensemble – Concrete & Void

Webster, Colin – vs Amp
Weinroth-Browne, Raphael – Worlds Within Live
Williams, Chris / Patrick Shiroishi – San Soleil
Williams, Mars / Vasco Trilla – Spiracle
Wøllo, Erik – North Star
Wøllo, Erik – Recurrence
Wøllo, Erik – Winter Tide: Live at SoundQuest Fest 2021
Wooden Elephant – LANDSCAPES, KNIVES & GLUE – Radiohead’s Kid A Recycled
Wooley, Nate – Mutual Aid Music
Wordclock – A Greater Bliss
Yellow6 – for the first and last
Yuki, Yama / Darisbo / Crise Vitória Gibon

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