Since 2008, we have posted a semi-weekly list of recommended new albums in our “AMN Picks of the Week”. This has grown to a collective list of over 3000 recordings. To put them all in one place, we have a new page archiving our Picks from the last 12 years.
Check out the AMN Picks of the Week Archive for a very long list.
Earlier today, we posted our 1,000th review. Looking back I find this quite remarkable, as we did not review anything for the first 8 years of Avant Music News. I had done some music writing in the mid-nineties but was of the mind that the music had to speak for itself – words were not sufficient to describe what one can hear. In line with Frank Zappa, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” As a result, I resisted publishing any sort of original reviews.
That changed in 2011 when Dan Barbiero convinced me that reviews can be well-written and thoughtful. Since then, he has contributed nearly 400. I started writing again, and a number of other individuals have helped out as well. And as the music world has evolved since, I believe that reviews are taking on a valuable filtering function – there is so much music coming out (much of it quite good) that you need some way of focusing your efforts and time. Reviews help you do that.
In any event, I am grateful to all who have written for AMN over the years – Dan, Stephen, other Dan, Chris, Mike, Irwin, Monique, Tom, and Jacob. And of course to all of you who have read, commented on, and shared our work.
Cyclic Law is a prolific label that started out in the dark ambient space and has expanded from there. We have been reviewing their releases for several years and have now established a review page that includes each review (15 so far). But our reviews are just words and only scratch the surface – check out the music as well.
A few hours ago, Avant Music News posted its 30,000th article. When I started the site in 2003, posting 1-3 articles per day, I never imagined that it would develop into this enterprise with 6-7 posts per day and several thousand followers worldwide. This is a testament to the growth and strength of weird, unusual, creative music. Once again I would like to thank AMN’s contributors, authors, the musicians who we cover, and of course our readers.
On April 29, 2003, I launched a very rudimentary version of Avant Music News. This was before blogs, social media, or legal music streaming services were a thing.
Since then, we have gone through three different hosting platforms and three different software packages for hosting. To a modest extent, the site caught on and grew. In the early years, our biggest problem was finding an article or two to post about every day. Today, our biggest problem is keeping up with news, article, and music review submissions (a quick look at the inbox indicates that the current count of unread submissions is 32, down from twice as many due to yesterday’s sort-and-purge activities).
We are not supported by advertising or beholden to anyone. What you see is the ongoing effort of volunteers who are really into the music. In a world where not-for-profit independent music sites rarely survive long, somehow we’ve managed to stick it out. Maybe that’s because we’re doing what we enjoy and it doesn’t seem like a job. Having said that, I wish we could do more – in particular, more original reviews and interviews. But there is a lot of material coming in and only so many hours in the day.
In any event, I’d like to thank the site’s contributors and writers, the musicians and labels who keep us up to date with what they are doing, and of course our several thousand regular and semi-regular readers. You guys have provided us with reasons to keep going for over a decade and a half.
Celebrate the holidays with a highly irrelevant gift from Avant Music News – we have upgraded our hosting plan to eliminate forced advertising. That’s right – no more ads. For the record, we didn’t make anything on these ads, but got to host the site essentially for free. Now we are paying a nominal amount per year for hosting (don’t worry, it is small) and AMN is ad-free.
The most noticeable benefit, aside from the lack of said ads, is that the site should load faster on all types of clients. A fringe benefit, which we will be exploring soon, is that we will have more control over the customization of our layout. This may help us provide a better user experience, especially on mobile devices. We also have more storage for pictures and videos.
But in the mean time, enjoy the faster ad-free experience.
We have published a new page with a John Zorn overview. There is no new material – this page merely gathers our Zorn-related writings of the last several years in one place.
Needless to say, with Zorn appearing on over 400 recordings and performances of his music taking place regularly worldwide, this is a very abbreviated list. Nonetheless, we plan to let it grow as our exploration of his material continues.
Our Live Music page just got a much-needed update. We’ve added a few new venues and series, while pruning several that have shut down. Check it out for suggestions on where to find live avant-garde music in your area.
And if you know of venues or people putting on creative / weird music that are not listed, send us an email and we’ll include them. Thanks!
We’ve added two new pages to the menu above. The Recent AMN Reviews page lists our 100 most recent reviews in reverse chronological order. The AMN Interviews page lists all of our interviews. I’d like to find a way to make our 800+ reviews more browseable, but so far no luck. You can also use the search box to determine whether we have reviewed something.
Update: Just figured out how to list all reviews…now you can browse all of them.
Our 15-year anniversary came and went this last Sunday.
When I started Avant Music News, the major concerns included finding enough news to publish and keeping the software running. These days the software more or less runs itself, and the news finds us. So there’s that.
But the challenges (and these are very much first-world problems) are to filter through the embarrassment of riches that comes our way every day. And from these, find a handful of articles and items to write about. Since 2011, we have published close to 1000 reviews of albums and live performances. Not to mention over 27,000 articles in general.
Needless to say, on April 29, 2003, I did not expect the site to blossom in the humble way that it has.
Thanks go out to all of you – readers, contributors, and most importantly the musicians carving out their visions on recording mediums old and new. I have endless appreciation for all of you who work tirelessly for modest material rewards, all in the name of art.
I don’t know how long Avant Music News will continue, but 15 years is already beyond my most grandiose expectations. In the mean time, I hope this little site has turned a few ears and opened a few minds. Certainly, my ears have been turned and my mind has been opened more times than I can count.