It’s that time of year again when critics make lists.  The New York Times musical luminaries have made their choices which include, by the way, a couple of items on my list which I’ll be revealing in these very digital environs in due course.  First, however, I thought we should do a community list.  What were your favorite new music releases in 2007?  Oh, hell, let’s make it favorite live performances too.

19 thoughts on “Making a List”
  1. Best of list…. I’m not good at those, primarily because so often my CD purchases are ‘need based’ (I’ve got to play X next week, better go get a recording) and they aren’t necessarily new releases. Here are the new releases that I did get this year.

    Stockhausen: Stimmung – Paul Hillier/Theatre of Voices. I just got it this past weekend and am loving it, although I haven’t been able to get the time to listen to it uninterrupted. I couldn’t believe I found it in a Borders.

    Golijov: Oceana. I thoroughly enjoyed “Oceana” and didn’t mind the songs while the “Tenebrae” didn’t move me tremendously.

    Glenn Kotche: Mobile (oops, it says 2006 on it, but I just got it a couple of months ago). Interesting, but not at the forefront of my current listening.

    Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale: Breathing Under Water. I’m drawn to mixtures of Classical Indian music with electronica, but I don’t like this nearly as much as MIDIval Punditz or Karsh Kale solo.

    Steve Roach: Immersion III. I’ve always enjoyed a lot of Steve’s ambient work, but I was more drawn to the works that involved more tonal harmonies and processes. This is a darker album which, while excellently executed and concieved, is a little too dark for my usual ambient listening.

    As to performances. I don’t get to enough of them, because I’m usually working when there is something I really want to see, but I did participate in an interesting premiere of nuevo Tango musician Ramiro Gallo’s “9 Miniatures” for chamber orchestra. The version was commissioned by an orchestra in Argentina, but they only paid half on the commission so we ended up with the full premiere last month in Cleveland.

  2. I really like that Core of the Coalman record too (Anxiety). Its interesting because the last post from Steve Layton mentions viola and Core of the Coalman is a violist I believe! He doubles in the new music world as Jorge Boehringer, composer. A california guy I think…I talked to him when he was out here once.

  3. Oddly, I didn’t buy much new music this year. Been distracted, I suppose. And of what I did, not a whole lot stood out. I’d have a hard time putting together a full top ten.

    New ones which got numerous listens, in no particular order:
    Tabata Mitsuru – La Vie Electrique: Last Exit To Brainsville
    Argento Ensemble – Winter Fragments (works of Murail)
    Paul Bley – Solo in Mondsee
    Neurosis – Given To The Rising
    Erik Friedlander – Block Ice & Propane
    Bill Frisell, et al. – Floratone

    New to me in 2007, but actually came out a few years ago:
    Shiina Ringo – Karuki, Zamen, Kuri no Hana

    Haven’t quite made up my mind yet, ask me again in six months:
    Zeitkratzer – Metal Machine Music
    David Garland – Noise In You
    Robert Wyatt – Comicopera

    Notable vault discoveries issued in 2007 for the first time:
    Mingus with Dolphy – Cornell 1964
    Neil Young – Live at Massey Hall

    The Dirty Projectors album everyone’s hyped on I think I “appreciated” more than I actually liked. They do what they do well. I’m just not particularly moved by what they do.

    …and that’s what’s coming to mind, as far as This Year In Recorded Music goes. I like that Feist “1-2-3-4” song in the iPod commercial. Come to think of it, I seem to hear most new music via TV commercials nowadays. It’s getting to the point where I don’t even know the names of most bands, I just know them by the products they’re associated with.

    Other things I’ve liked this year:
    1994 Vintage Ports (a little young, I know… decided to open a couple in honor of their Bar Mitzvahs…)
    The rebirth of David Duchovny via Californication (until the last episode, where it cheesed out…)
    It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
    Top Chef
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    The Z-Vex “Fuzz Factory” pedal
    American Apparel print ads (and billboards, if you’re lucky enough to live here in the COTU…)
    and of course, the m’f’n RED SOX. Stuff that in your smirk, Jeter!

  4. Daniel G…

    Heh… we’re being silly man, he’s a friend of ours and a longtime Internet composer! Plus he’s a righteous avant-gardist/composer/percussionist to boot. I think that making fun of Joe Benzola is always on topic, regardless of the initial post. 🙂

    Another list cuz I thought of something else to add:


  5. Since I am mainly interested in all things string quartet, it is no surprise that most of my picks lean that way, so here it goes:

    Bozzini Quartet: Canons + Hoquets (works by Howard Skempton and Jo Kondo)(Quatuor Bozzini qb release)
    Quincy Porter: Complete String Quartets (Albany)
    John Cage: Thirty Pieces for String Quartet/Jakob Ullman: komposition fur streichquartet nr.2 (Arditti Quartet)(hr)
    John Cage: Music for Keyboard 1935-1948/Morton Feldman: The Early Years (it’s about @&#%* time this saw the light od CD day!)(New World)
    Earle Brown: Tracer (Mode)
    Ian Wilson: Veer (String Quartets 4-6, Lyric Suite)(Callino Quartet)(Riverrun)
    Nikolaus Brass: String Quartets 1-3 (Auritus Quartet)(Col Legno)
    Erhard Grosskopf: String Quartets 1-3 (Arditti Quartet)(Neos)
    Morton Feldman: String Quartet No.1 (Ives Ensemble)(hatArt)(All right, I haven’t bought this yet, but any new recording of this piece is an event in itself)
    The Complete Traveling Wilburys (Rhino)(an assemblage of Legends… and Jeff Lynne)
    Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble)
    Tom Johnson: Kientzy Plays Johnson
    Suzanne Vega: Beauty & Crime (Blue Note)(also saw her live at the Fillmore, San Francisco)

    And it was kinda dismal for both of the local nines, although we were behind the foul pole when Oakland’s Marco Scutaro hit that game winning homer off Mariano Rivera in April against the Yankees, and saw Barry Bonds hit his last homers (and we missed 756 by one night) in San Francisco (don’t ask me about the allegations; I don’t care).

    Now back to… Name That Tune (Take it away, Tom!)

  6. XXX

    My six favorite live performances (so far) of 2007:

    Jan Student Composers Concert Wroclaw, Poland (in the Oratorium Marianum where Brahms received an honorary doctorate of music back when Wroclaw, Poland was Breslau, Gemany).

    May Violist Graeme Jennings recital of contemporary solo music from Italy Berkeley, California.

    May Washington National Opera production of Janacek’s Jenufa (set in Communist-era Czechoslovakia).

    Aug San Francisco Symphony free Yerba Buena Center Parks MTT concert of R. Strauss, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich

    Sept Pianist Michael Seth Orland recital of music of Ligeti and Cindy Cox Berkeley, California

    Oct Washington National Opera production of Bolcom/Miller/Weinstein’s A View from the Bridge (Santo Loquasto-led production from the Chicago Lyric [and the MET?])


    Favorite exhibitions:

    Jan Lviv Picture Gallery Reinstallation of Permanent Collection. Lviv, Ukraine

    Feb Fernando Botero’s powerful and controversial series of 47 paintings and drawings depicting the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib Berkeley, California

    Dec The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani from the Georgian National Museum Freer and Sackler Galleries Washington, D.C.


  7. Anybody who knows Joe knows he only drinks the milk of human kindness. And you give him a rattle, with which he’ll wring just about every sound possible out of. 🙂

  8. Give Joe B. a bottle of baby formula and give him a nap, soothed by the sound of his own rhetoric.

  9. I just have one comment. How do we ban Joe Benzola? He’s accused me of being a serialist, a homosexual and now he’s pushing music which promotes the Illuminati!

    My list:


  10. BTW…my choices for top recordings of 2007:

    Spirit of the Season: Mormon Tabernacle Choir
    Vivere: The Best of Andrea Bocelli
    The Music of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Edition
    O Sole Mio: The Studio Collection
    Italia: Chris Botti
    Gurdjieff and Crowley Sing Monteverdi

  11. I thought this was a classical music list. I find the mention of Miles Davis, Robert Plant, and even Terry Riley to be outrageous and insulting. This most certainly is a plot of the left to overthrow the aesthetic values that we hold so dear and important to ourselves and our children. I’m with Anthony Tommasini; more recordings of Berlioz, Schuman, and Beethoven. What I don’t understand is how such an enlightened and spiritually correct scribe like Tommasini can write for that leftist, axis of evil lover NYT. It truly boggles the mind. But then again, he does hold some sympathy for Schoenberg and the decadent 12 tone/serial movement. There is no hope for humanity.

  12. Teiji Ito’s Tenno (Tzadik CD 2007). Recorded in 1964 and released this year in cooperation with Ito’s estate. Ito plays a mind boggling array of instruments and rhythms from around the world in addition to cuing sounds from a phonograph and records. This was a jolt to my ears and I look forward to hearing more of his work.

    Miles Davis The Complete On The Corner Sessions. Seminal music that people are still trying to catch up with. Very inspiring to me this year especially in the realm of live performance.

    And a great live performance I was lucky enough to experience this year at the Museum of the City of New York. TriHarLenium, A Sound Portrait of Harlem 1976-2006. Composed by Craig Harris and performed by the Nation of Imagination Band. The audience was WAY into this piece which is inspired in part by the recent “expansion” into Harlem and the effects it is having on the community. I thought it was brilliant.

    And Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand CD is DEEP. Talk about composing with overtones…

  13. In no particular order:

    Cage: Solo for Voice 58: 18 Microtonal Ragas
    Shapey: Ralph Shapey: Radical Traditionalism (various works)
    Grady: Beyond the Windows Perhaps Among the Podcorn
    The Cage/Feldman rerelease on New World Records
    Cage: Postcard from Heaven
    Glass: Alter Ego Plays Philip Glass
    Riley: Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight
    Wolff: Ten Exercises
    Bartok: Mikrokosmos (Naxos)

    Favorite live performances:

    Paul Bailey Ensemble: Retrace (by Paul Bailey)
    Diverse Instrument Ensemble: this piece intentionally left blank (it was a really cool performance, what can I say)

  14. Oh, and I’ll second Lisa’s Dirty Projectors recommendation, though it will probably take as much mental adjustment for most here, as listening to Beijing opera. Make the effort.

  15. I tend not to pay attention to release dates, so never know if the stuff I find is this year or earlier. One I do know released more-or-less in 2007 (though I think recorded in 2004) are two CDs by the Amsterdam violist Esther Apituley. The first, Violent Viola, was released here late last year, and its companion Viola Voilá this year. They’re a great tour of everything from Dowland to Schubert to Vieuxtemps to Kodaly to Stravinsky to Hindemith to Cage to Piazzolla to Apituley herself. The playing is fine and commited, and the recordings quite good. I know they’re at Emusic and Amazon, though I didn’t see them at iTunes yet.

  16. Rise Above by Dirty Projectors (on Dead Oceans) is probably my single favorite record that you might have heard 07. Anxiety by Core of the Coalman (on Resipiscent) is probably my favorite record of 07 that you haven’t heard yet.

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