Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The songs of 2015

According to Spotify I listened to 2378 different artists this year.  That seems like a lot but I don't have anything to compare it to.  Most of my Spotify listening is "normal" music, not ambient/electronic.  I guess my taste in music would be categorized as "indie" with a leaning toward "indie folk."

There was a lot of very good music again this year.  I've said this before and it continues to be true - anybody who says there is no good music anymore just isn't trying.  My favorite quote on that subject is from Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal - "If you still like all of the music that you liked when you were in high school – and nothing else – you probably don't really like music."

This list is a collection of favorite songs from the past year.  Some of the songs cross reference with my favorite albums of the year.  But it also has many tunes that I loved as stand alone cuts.  Tracks like Get to Know by Charlie Belle or That's Love by Oddisee or All You Favorite Bands by Dawes are all great tunes that deserve to be in heavy rotation even if the albums didn't make my final list.

It's available to stream at Mixcloud here...


Here's the download link...


Here's to another great year in 2016.  Cheers!  

T R A C K L I S T :

  • 00:00  The Chemical Brothers - Wide Open
  • 05:41   Public Service Broadcasting - Go!
  • 09:35   Courtney Barnett - Pedestrian at Best
  • 13:22   Beck - Dreams
  • 18:33   Charlie Belle - Get to Know
  • 22:08   Sports - Saturday
  • 23:20   Crushed Beaks - Overgrown
  • 26:00   The Decemberists - Make You Better
  • 31:00   The Wild Reeds - Where I'm Going
  • 34:46   Caitlin Canty - Get Up
  • 38:21   Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield - Fond Farewell
  • 41:13   Howard - Religion
  • 44:33   The Lone Bellow - Telluride
  • 48:31   On An On - Drifting
  • 52:50   Sufjan Stevens - 4th of July
  • 57:20   Aero Flynn - Moonbeams
  • 1:03:33  David Bowie - Blackstar
  • 1:13:15  Ibeyi - River
  • 1:17:18  Oddisee - That's Love
  • 1:21:15  Tame Impala - Let It Happen
  • 1:28:45  Bayonne - Spectrolite
  • 1:31:55  GEMS - Living as a Ghost
  • 1:34:50  Beirut - No No No
  • 1:37:39  The Punch Brothers - I Blew It Off
  • 1:40:40  Dawes - All Your Favorite Bands
  • 1:44:00  Waxahatchee - Summer of Love
  • 1:45:58  SOAK - Sea Creatures
  • 1:48:55  David Wax Museum - Guesthouse
  • 1:53:00  Father John Misty - The Night Josh Tillman came to our apt
  • 1:56:33  Strand of Oaks - Wonderful(my morning jacket cover)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Jazz

This collection isn't necessarily a "best of 2015" , it's just some of my favorite jazz tunes from the past year.

It begins with one of my favorite albums of the year in any genre - The Thompson fields by The Maria Schneider Orchestra. The title track is remarkable.  The Jaga Jazzist album was a big surprise for me.  I've listen to them on and off for years but had lost interest for some reason.  The track in this mix is strange, futuristic electronic/jazz cut that I have listened to a ton this year.  The other two great discoveries were albums from Kamasi Washington and Kendrick Scott Oracle, definitely worth checking out.

Is there any jazz out there that really engaged you in 2015?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00 Maria Schneider Orchestra - The Thompson Fields
  • 09:50 Jaga Jazzist - Oban
  • 15:12 Kamasi Washington - The Magnificent 7
  • 20:57 Andy Sheppard - Tipping Point
  • 26:37 Kendrick Scott Oracle - we are the drum
  • 32:00 food - this is not a miracle
  • 36:00 Hidden Orchestra - the Revival
  • 39:50 Chris Potter Underground Orchestra - Imaginary Cities(part 2)
  • 48:12 Jakob Bro - Copenhagen
  • 52:24 Giovanni Guidi Trio - The might it rained forever
  • 59:10 Vijay Iyer Trio - Geese
  • 63:45 Ben Monder - Zythum
  • 70:10 Maria Schneider Orchestra - Walking by Flashlight
  • 75:10 end

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Best of 2015 - Ambient

These year end lists are always difficult.  But at least the top 3 spots this year were easy selections - 
Alva Noto - Xerrox, Vol. 3
Max Richter - Sleep
Chris Walla - Tape Loops

It doesn't really matter which one grabbed the top spot, I listened to these three over and over in 2015.  Noto is known for his electronic minimalism but Vol. 3 is beautiful and lush. Max Richter's Sleep is a recording of epic proportion - 8 hours long, it amazes me each time I listen.  Tape Loops by Chris Walla(drummer for Death Cab for Cutie) has an old school ambient feel.  It reminds me of Eno's Music for Airports and Music for Films.  As large as the first two albums on the list can sound, Tape Loops is just the opposite - simple and intimate.

A few albums worth mentioning - Brian Eno: Discreet Music by Contact is an orchestral arrangement of Eno's 1970s Discreet Music.  Like Bang On A Can's cover of Music for Airports this one is familiar yet fresh and different.  Worth checking out.  I've used Sine Dust tracks in several mixes and I will probably use them for years because I love the classic, spacey edge to this EP from 36.

I made a few different end of the year lists, which I will post soon.  One is Best Of 2015 - Instrumental, which is a combination of ambient, electronic, classical and jazz.  For this mix I pulled out the 15 ambient albums on the list and mixed them in the order that I ranked them in that list.  The mix flows very well considering I had the order already selected for me.

I'll post full year end lists soon.


T R A C K L I S T :
  • 00:00   Alva Noto - Isola from Xerrox, Vol. 3
  • 07:20   Max Richter - Return 2 from Sleep
  • 12:35   Chris Walla - Kanta's Theme from Tape Loops
  • 17:05   Benoit Pioulard - Shut-ins on Sunday from Sonnet
  • 19:20   36 - Sunriders part 2 from Sine Dust 
  • 23:40   Olan Mill - Live at the Millenium Barn from Cavade Morlem
  • 29:00   Mikael Delta & Hior Chronik - How to Define Existence from The First Ray
  • 33:00   Bersarin Quartett - Bedingungslos from III
  • 36:06   Contact - Brian Eno: Discreet Music
  • 44:22   Marconi Union - Aftermath from Departures
  • 48:40   Spheruleus - The Railroad from Chronota
  • 55:05   Goldmund - Turncoat from Sometimes
  • 57:57   Nils Frahm - Merry from Solo
  • 61:45   Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie -  The endless battle of the maudlin ballade part 2 from Travels in Constants Vo. 24
  • 64:40   Horizon Fire - Earthlight from Earthlight
  • 67:26   end

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The moon plays the ocean like a violin

As with all mixes this one had a specific starting point or inspiration - the incredible new album from Max Richter - Sleep.  It's 8 hours long!  8 hours!  Here's a link to purchase the full version...


I'm a sucker for high concept projects so I was interested from the start.  Add that to the fact that I am a fan of Richter's music and I knew I'd probably love it.  And yup, I do.  It's the perfect combination of Richter's classical style with an ambient sensibility.  

I knew I had to make a mix with tracks from the Sleep album.  I decided to keep the whole mix in the classical realm.  A lot of the tunes are new like the Besarin Quartet stuff.  Some cuts I've been waiting to use for awhile now, like the John Luther Adams cut.

As much as I like the Max Richter tracks I think my favorite track in the mix is Pie Jesu.  The cut is from The Wine of Silence by Andrew Keeling, David Singleton and Robert Fripp.  The music is based on Fripp's soundscape series, guitar improvisations that use tape loops and echo and reverb.  From there Keeling and Singleton scored the soundscapes for orchestra.  They finally subjected the orchestral recording to further electronic manipulation.  The result is transcendent.  It's a beautiful, beautiful album.

The title of the mix comes from a favorite Andrew Bird song, Night Sky, and I thought it fit somehow.  I really like the way each piece dissolves into the next on this mix.  I hope you like it too.


[ s t r e a m ]   [ d o w n l o a d ]   [ i t u n e s ]

 T R A C K L I S T

    • 00:00 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - Farwell at Tinguit
    • 02:15 Max Richter - Patterns(cypher)
    • 05:55 David Wingo - Opening(Take Shelter ost)
    • 06:55 John Luther Adams - The Light that Fills the World
    • 11:20 Bersarin Quartet - die nachte sind erfullt...
    • 15:50 Brambles - Such Owls as You
    • 20:25 Metropole Orkest - An Ending
    • 24:30 Fripp, Keeling, Singleton - Pie Jesu
    • 31:35 Max Richter - Nor Earth, Nor Boundless Sea
    • 39:05 Olan Mill - Tallole
    • 42:30 Aphex Twin - Rhubarb orc. 19.53 rev
    • 48:35 Keaton Henson - Elevator Song
    • 51:40 Bersarin Quartet - verflossen ist das gold der tage
    • 54:55 Islands of Light - Gypta