Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Albums acquired, October 1 – December 31, 2016

January 10th, 2017 by Reinder

Here, at last, we go.
Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Oy Oy Oy (vinyl w. download code, 2016)
Anne Briggs - Four Songs (vinyl)
Fleetwood Mac - Tusk (vinyl, used)
Heart - Dreamboat Annie (vinyl, used)
Kate Bush - Before the Dawn (4LP, 2016 AND downloads from Qobuz)
Kate Bush - The Dreaming (vinyl, christmas present)
King Crimson - various individual tour downloads (Downloads, DGMlive)
King Crimson - Beat (40th Anniversary Edition 2016 Reissue, CD+DVD)
King Crimson - Three of a Perfect Pair (40th Anniversary Edition 2016 Reissue, CD+DVD)
King Crimson - Radical Action to Unseat the Hold Of The Monkey Mind (3CD+Blu-Ray, 2016)
King Crimson - Thrak (2015 reissue, CD+DVD)
Marek Bili?ski - Best of the Best (vinyl, christmas present)
Marek Bili?ski - Ogród Króla ?witu (vinyl, christmas present)
Lobi Traoré - Bamako Nights (download, Bandcamp)
Noura Mint Seymali - Arbina (download, Bandcamp, 2016)
Opeth - Sorceress (vinyl, 2016)
Pentangle - Finale (2CD, 2016)
Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake (vinyl, 2016)
The Tourists - Reality Effect (vinyl, used)
Various Artists - Lazarus: The original cast recording to the musical by David Bowie and Enda Walsh (2CD)
Yes - Talk (CD)
Yes - Union (vinyl)

Yeah, having friends in Polish means I get to hear some Polish music now. My favorite albums of 2016, in no particular order:
Margo Price - Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
Zeal and Ardor - Devil Is Fine
David Bowie - Blackstar
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
It is unusual for me to have two country albums among my favorites, AND an album of synthesizer-based music, and an alternative metal album.

For 2017, I plan to slow down a bit with the buying of records. I see some financial belt-tightening in my future - or rather, in everybody's future. Also, I want to focus on going to live performances over listening to records, so I will need to make money available for that. I expect I will be digging more deeply into my existing record collection including vinyl bought over the past 30 years, and streaming more.

Albums bought, July 1 – September 30, 2016

October 8th, 2016 by Reinder

Yeah, I don't really post here much anymore and I even let the deadline, if you can call it that, for these quarterly posts lapse. Collecting records is literally the least demanding hobby I've ever had, but I'm still not keeping up with it well.
Not that I didn't buy any records! I did, and the first few for the final quarter are already in as well. More on that at the end of the year, when I put up an end-of-year list. That would be a first for me, because I have never bought as many records in the year of their release as I have in 2016.

Here's the list, with albums from this year clearly indicated as well as the format, source and other details I may want to reference later:

Anderson/Stolt - Invention of Knowledge (vinyl w. CD, 2016)
Betty Davis - The Columbia Years 1968-1969 (CD)
Imarhan - Imarhan (vinyl w. download code, 2016)
Jeff Beck - Loud Hailer (vinyl w. download code, 2016)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani - Synergy (download, Bandcamp, 2016)
King Crimson - Islands (vinyl w. download code)
King Crimson - The Wake of Poseidon (vinyl w. download code)
Marsh Dweller - The Weight of Sunlight (download, Bandcamp, 2016)
Nemesis - Early Days (download, Bandcamp, EP)
Nemesis - Early Days 3 (download, Bandcamp, EP)
Oranssi Pazuzu - Värähtelijä (Download, Bandcamp, 2016)
Peter Gabriel - So (vinyl w. download code)
Steeleye Span - Parcel of Rogues (vinyl, used)
Stick Men - Prog Noir (download, Bandcamp, 2016, preordered)
Tuner - Pole (download, Bandcamp)
Zeal And Ardor - Devil Is Fine (download, Bandcamp, 2016)

Imarhan - Imarhan (Moscoman Remix)

I had a bit more of an interest in metal this quarter than I've had in the past five or six years. Another interest early in the quarter was music recorded on Fostex four-track cassette recorders, which explains the presence of two obscure records by Finnish ambient electronica duo Nemesis (not to be mistaken for any of a dozen other bands by the same name).

For records released this year, I now have three different Spotify playlists:

Best new albums of 2016
Best live albums of 2016
Best reissues of 2016

All of these are incomplete because releases not on Spotify are obviously not included. All will be both expanded and culled as I prepare for a final end-of-year list.

Albums bought April 2 – June 30, 2016

July 18th, 2016 by Reinder

This quarter, Aggie and I finally completed the restoration work on our Thorens TD 165 MKII turntable, so I've been buying a lot of vinyl to play on it (as well as digging through both my old LPs and the ones I bought in the past few years but hadn't got around to open yet). Before that, he passing of Prince in April was an occasion to revisit some of the records from his imperial phase. A record store in Groningen had them on discount before the great man died, and still does. I don't know the reissue history of Prince's classic records, but the ones I bought turned out to be identical to the original CD releases from the 1980s, complete with blurbs about what a great new format CD is. Here's how things shook out:

ELO - Xanadu (vinyl, used)
Eric Bibb and North Country Far With Danny Thompson - The Happiest Man in the World (CD, 2016)
King Crimson - Toronto, November 20, 2015 (download, DGMLive, 2016)
Bert Jansch - Avocet (vinyl w. download code)
Bert Jansch - From The Outside (vinyl w. download code)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Ears (vinyl w. download code, 2016)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - Euclid (vinyl w. download code)
Linda Perhacs - Parallelograms (download, Qobuz)
Margo Price - Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (vinyl)
Prince and the Revolution - Around the World in A Day (CD)
Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (Hi-Res download, Qobuz)
Prince - 1999 (CD)
Prince - Sign of the Times (CD)
Steeleye Span - All Around My Hat (vinyl, used)
Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor’s Guide to Earth (CD)

Bert Jansch - Black Birds of Brittany (vinyl single, RSD, with download)
Janelle Monáe - Heroes (download, iTunes)
Linda Perhacs - The Dancer (download, iTunes)
Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox feat. Nicole Atkins - Heroes (download, iTunes)

I've made a Spotify playlist of albums I enjoyed in 2016 so far which will be updated regularly. It includes reissues and a few of the singles to mix things up. It is very rare for an album of synthesizer-based music and two country albums to be among my favorites in any given year!

Albums bought January 1 – April 1, 2016

April 9th, 2016 by Reinder

A lot of West African music this first quarter of the year. More from non-physical sources as now that we've brought back a lot of our stuff from storage, all our rooms are getting a bit full, so I don't want to add a lot of physical objects. Likely to skip out on Record Store Day this year for the same reason.

Aretha Franklin - Original Album Series (5CD, contains I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, Spirit in the Dark, Aretha Live at Fillmore West)
Bert Jansch - Avocet (download, Bandcamp)
Björk - Medúlla (CD)
Björk - Vulnicura Strings (CD)
Bombino - Azel (Hi-res download, Qobuz)
David Bowie - Blackstar (Hi-res download, HDTracks)
David Bowie - Nothing Has Changed (3CD)
Donny Hathaway - Original Album Series (5CD, contains Everything is Everything, Donny Hathaway, Live, Extension of a Man, In Performance)
Fairport Convention - The Bonny Bunch Of Roses (used Vinyl)
Fleetwood Mac - Original Album Series (5CD, contains Then Play On, Kiln House, Future Games, Bare Trees, Mystery To Me)
Jherek Bischoff and Amanda Palmer - Strung Out in Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute
Ott - Fairchildren (download, Bandcamp)
Rokia Traoré - Né So (Hi-res download, Qobuz)
Tal National - Zoy Zoy Zoy (download, Bandcamp)
Vieux Farka Touré and Julia Easterlin - Touristes (download, Bandcamp)

My Bandcamp collection, started back in 2011. Likely to grow a bit in the next few weeks.

Albums bought September – December 2015

January 18th, 2016 by Reinder

A slow trimester during which I mostly bought reissues and live albums. Only one of these would make my Top 5 for the year and I'm considering selling off some of the physical items already.

Bert Jansch - Moonshine (Bandcamp)
Deep Purple - …To The Rising Sun (Live in Tokyo 2014) (CD/DVD)
Gentle Giant - Octopus (CD + Blu-Ray Disk)
Ghost - Meliora
Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls (CD, deluxe edition)
Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (iTunes)
Judy Dyble - Fragile (iTunes, EP)
Judy Dyble - Live at WM Jazz (iTunes)
Judy Dyble - Talking With Strangers (CD)
Marcus Reuter - Mundo Nuevo (Bandcamp, free download)
Peter Gabriel - 3 (Vinyl w. download code)
Peter Gabriel - 3 Deutsches Album (Vinyl w. download code)
Peter Gabriel - 4 Deutsches Album (Vinyl w. download code)
Queen - A Night At The Odeon (DVD+2CD)
Ritchie Blackmore - The Ritchie Blackmore Story (2DVD+2CD)
Stick Men - Deep (Bandcamp)
21st Century Schizoid Band - 21st Century Shizoid Band (iTunes)
21st Century Schizoid Band - Live In Tokyo (iTunes)
Various artists - Wonderland Presents The Eephus
Yes - Fragile (CD+DVD)

Best albums of 2015, in no particular order:
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power
Björk - Vulnicura
D’Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah (came out in 2014, but after the deadlines for that year's Best of the Year lists had passed)
Ghost - Meliora

2016 has one album purchase to its name so far. Yeah, it's that one. No, I won't review it. Not now, anyway.

Albums bought May – August 2015

August 31st, 2015 by Reinder

Holy crap I bought a lot these past four months! Some of these were on my “Just buy this already” list, because I had been playing them on Spotify or Tidal a lot. Others were provoked by my rediscovery of a band I enjoyed a lot when I was in my late teens; it is sad that it took the passing of one of their members to trigger this, but that is what happened.

Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser (CD, on my “Just buy this already” list)
Björk - Vulnicura (Download, Hi-Res, Society of Sound)
D’Angelo and the Vanguard - Black Messiah (CD, on my “Just buy this already” list)
Day One - Intellectual Property (download, Society of Sound, Hi-Res)
Deep Purple - From The Setting Sun… (Live at Wacken 2013) (CD/DVD) - This album has a companion called "…To The Rising Son", a live album recorded at Budokan at the end of the same tour. That one hadn't arrived in the store yet, so I'll pick it up early September.
Deep Purple - Long Beach 1971 (CD, on my “Just buy this already” list)
The Crimson ProjeKct - Live in Tokyo (CD)
The Crimson ProjeKct - Official Bootleg Live 2012 (CD-quality download, Bandcamp)
Ghost - Meliora (CD)
Bernard Haiting, London Symphony Orchestra - Beethoven Symphony No. 3, Leonore (download, Society of Sound, Hi-Res)
Ibeyi - Ibeyi (CD)
Jethro Tull - Minstrel in the gallery box set edition (2CDs/2DVDs, includes Steven Wilson Remixes, live concert from 1975)
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power (CD)
John Metcalfe - Kites and Echoes (download, Society of Sound, CD quality and Hi-Res vinyl needledrop)
Hannah Peel - Rebox 2/Fabricstate (download, Society of Sound, Hi-Res)
Songhoy Blues - Music In Exile (CD)
Richard Thompson - Still
Wilco - Star Wars (free download from their website)
Yes - Yes (Hi-Res download, HDtracks)
Relayer (Hi-Res download, HDtracks)
Relayer (CD/DVD, 2014 edition with Steven Wilson Remix)
Original Album Series (5-CD set in cheap package, includes Going For The One, Tormato, Drama, 90125, Big Generator)

I’ve decided not to count frequently-streamed items as acquisitions. In fact, I’m giving up on streaming. I’ve canceled Tidal and Spotify though I still have a week to go on the latter. Don’t know how I’ll explore new music from now on- probably Apple Music until the end of September when my free trial runs out. Or maybe I’ll use Bandcamp exclusively for music discovery. I had no problems finding new stuff before the streaming era, so I’ll manage.

My favorite albums of the first half of 2015

June 21st, 2015 by Reinder

Most years, I barely buy enough new albums released the same year to put together a top 10 at the end (I buy a lot of reissues as well as many albums released during the previous few years, and the total number of albums purchased each year is very large, but I'm usually a little behind the curve), but most years, I try anyway. This year, I had a bit of a budget squeeze as I was preparing for a move, which is now canceled. Over time, I was able to relax the budget restrictions; also streaming has made it easier for me to stay up-to-date under those conditions, so I can at least present some sort of Top 5 for the first half of 2015:

1. Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Ba Power (Spotify | Tidal)

Bassekou Kouyaté is the best blues guitarist who doesn't play the blues, or guitar. His band/clan consists entirely of virtuoso players of traditional and newly developed Malian instruments, discreetly complemented here by a rock drummer and some horns and keyboards. Normally I am quite wary of the practice of having West African music overdubbed with Euro-American instruments, but in this case, the additions complement the rock feel that Ngoni Ba were already moving towards.
(There is an official video for the opening track, "Siran Fen" on YouTube, but embedding is disabled on it, so I'm showing the teaser vid instead)

2. Ibeyi - Ibeyi - (Spotify | Tidal)

The album I turn to for spiritual uplift. Previously discussed on this blog.

3. Björk - Vulnicura - (Spotify | Tidal)

You've heard about this one, I'm sure. I've only listened to it 3 or 4 times since it became available on the streaming sites, but its woozy, detailed compositions live up to the hype. I'm not even a fan of Björk, normally, but this album just works for me. Best listened to with good headphones.

4. Songhoy Blues - Music in Exile (Spotify | Tidal)

A more energetic take on Malian blues, with Dan Auerbach's production footprint. This one does fizzle a bit after a very strong start, but that start is very strong indeed.

5. King Crimson - Live at the Orpheum (Not available on Spotify or Tidal)
(No officially sanctioned footage with sound that is representative of the 2014/2015 Crimson appears to exist, and I won't be linking to clandestine recordings)
With only six songs, this live album is more of a teaser for greater things to come, and I'll honestly be surprised if it makes my end-of-year list. But it is a sign of life from the Crims and it showcases a tight, powerful new version of the band.

Ibeyi – Ibeyi

April 26th, 2015 by Reinder

It is entirely possible that Ibeyi are the best newcomers in pop music this year. At least if you ignore that they had an EP out in 2014, but the linked album is their full-length debut.

It is also entirely possible that I am the last person to find this out as there's been a bit of a buzz around them, they've already done a Spotify session and they were at Eurosonic. I have a long-standing habit of missing out on Eurosonic tickets and this year was no exception. Since moving to Hoogezand, I am also deprived of the free Eurosonic gigs, some of which were practically in my back yard when I was living at my old address.

Albums bought January-April 2015

April 21st, 2015 by Reinder

The pace of my record-buying slowed down in the first trimester of 2015 as I focused on putting back more money to pay down my mortgage. Alsom I went on a physical media fast after I put my CD collection and my books into storage in preparation for a move. However, the budget did allow for a few purchases here and there, and now that tax refund/vacation allowance time is coming, I've loosened the restraints a little. Here's my list for the first few months:

Deep Purple - Stockholm 1970 (Vinyl)
Fatoumata Diawara & Roberto Fonseca - At Home Live in Marciac (CD)
Ian Gillan - Access All Areas (CD)
Zoe Keating - Into The Trees (Bandcamp)
King Crimson - Live at the Orpheum (iTunes)
Richard Thompson - Strict Tempo (CD). Strictly speaking, I ordered this from in late 2014 but it only arrived early in the new year.
Tuner - Totem (Bandcamp). This one was technically free to download, but I dropped in a few bucks because I could.
Rokia Traoré - Bownboï (CD)
Stephen Wilson - Hand.Cannot.Erase (iTunes)

But that wasn't all the new (to me) music I added to my library. I also acquired the following releases through the Bowers and Wilkins Society of Sound, which I became a member of last year:

9Bach - Tincian
Berlin Philharmonic String Quintet - Antonin Dvorák - string Quintets
Edwyn Collins - Studio Live Session Liechtenstein
Samantha Crain - Kid Face
Sir Colin Davies, LSO - Sibelius Symphony No. 2 and Pohjola's Daughter
Valerie Gergiev, Marlinsky Orchestra - Shostakovich Symphonies Nos 1 & 15
Valerie Gergiev, Elena Mosuc, Zlata Bulycheva, LSC, LSO - Mahler Symphony No. 2
The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble - Undercurrents
Bernard Haitink, London Symphony Orchestra - Bruckner Symphony No 9
Ethan Johns - Live at Kings Place
Kalbata & Mixmonster - Congo Beat The Drum
Bernie Krause - Particles of Dawn - Scenes from the Great Animal Orchestra
Radiophonic Workshop - S/T
Roller Trio - Tracer
Roman Simovic, London Symphony Orchestra - TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade, BARTÓK Divertimento
Three Cane Whale - Holts and Hovers
Universal Togetherness Band - S/T
Samyel Yurga - Guzo

All of them digital downloads in CD quality (Higher resolution available but I haven't bothered with that). It should be obvious from the length of that list that it is the Society of Sound that, for a subscription price of EUR 40/year, supplied me with a large and incredibly diverse selection of music in a wide, wide range of genres. Several of these titles could be qualified as 'a bit quirky' and one of the things that I enjoy most about this is that month by month, you never know what you're going to get. Is it a band playing classical tunes on old monophonic synthesizers with only some of them having prior experience as keyboardists? Is it a bunch of old geezers recreating the creative milieu of the BBC studios in the 1960s? Or a carefully restored 40-year-old tape from a hot dance group that was tied to a school at the time of recording and was not intended for commercial release? I look forward to being surprised every month, even if not everything makes it to the regular rotation.

Albums bought in 2014.

December 7th, 2014 by Reinder

Everyone's doing their end-of-year stuff already. I don't feel like I'm done trying out new albums just yet. Below, however, is the full list of albums and singles I bought (yes, bought, though I've included all the freebbies I've got as well) in 2014. In most cases, they were tested on Spotify first before I bought them, so I already knew I liked them before I spent my money. This year, I kept track of what medium I bought them in as well. Turns out I do actually still like the CD format.

Albums and singles bought/acquired in 2014, not including thrift store finds

Afterpartees - First/Last (Vinyl single, freebie, RSD, 2014)
Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Blitzmash (LP with download code, RSD) (2014)
Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus (CD+DVD) (2014)
Ian Anderson - Thick As a Brick Live in Iceland (Blu-Ray) (2014)
Bombino - Agamgam 2004 (LP with download code, RSD) (2014)
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (Audiophile Vinyl)
Kate Bush - The Sensual World (Audiophile Vinyl)
Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
Collectif Africa Stop Ebola - Africa Stop Ebola (iTunes)(2014)
Deep Purple - Black Night/Woman From Tokyo (Vinyl single, RSD) (2014)
Deep Purple - Live in Verona (DVD) (2014)
Deep Purple - Made in Japan 40th Anniversary edition, deluxe edition (2014)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (iTunes)
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita - Clychau Dibon (CD) (2014)
Peter Gabriel - Back To Front (Blu-Ray) (2014)
Macy Gray - The Way (CD) (2014)
Dorris Henderson & John Renbourn - Here We Go (CD)
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (40th Anniversary Edition, CD/DVD, includes the Chateau D'Hérouville Sessions) (2014)
Salif Keita - M’Bemba (CD)
Seckou Keita - Tama-Silo (CD)
Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba - Jama Ko (CD)
Bettye Lavette - Change is Gonna Come Sessions EP (iTunes)
Shelagh McDonald - Stargazer (CD, 1999 reissue)
Opeth - Pale Communion (Vinyl) (2014)
Pink Floyd - The Endless River (CD) (2014)
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974 (2CD) (2014)
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974 (DVD) (2014)
Reveller - Pulse (2:51) (CD single, freebie, RSD) (2014)
Anoushka Shankar - Traces of You (CD, bought in London)
Nina Simone - Best of (iTunes)
Saffron Summerfield - The Early Years (iTunes)
St. Vincent - Digital Witness (Vinyl single, freebie) (2014)
St. Vincent - St. Vincent (CD) (2014)
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down (CD) (2014)
Thompson - Family (CD) (2014)
The Touré-Raichel Collective - The Tel Aviv Sessions (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Beautiful Africa (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Tchamantche (CD)
Rokia Traoré - Tuit Tuit (Smadj Remix) (iTunes)
Rokia Traoré - Wanita (iTunes)
Rokia Traoré - Mouneïssa (iTunes)
Various - Celebrating Jon Lord (2DVD) (2014)
Various - Desert Blues 3: Entre Dunes et Savanes
Various - Prog 26: As Sure as Eggs is Eggs (Free CD with Prog 26)
Various - The Dreamers (Free CD with Mojo, September 2014)
Kristeen Young - The Knife Shift (iTunes) (2014)

I'm not going to say anything about these records just yet - I just want to be able to show people this list if the topic of "what did you like in 2014" comes up, because I know it will, frequently. For convenience, here's a summary of records bought this year that were actually released in 2014:

Amsterdam Klezmer Band - Blitzmash
Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus
Ian Anderson - Thick As a Brick Live in Iceland
Bombino - Agamgam 2004
Collectif Africa Stop Ebola - Africa Stop Ebola
Deep Purple - Black Night/Woman From Tokyo
Deep Purple - Live in Verona
Deep Purple - Made in Japan 40th Anniversary edition, deluxe edition
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita - Clychau Dibon
Peter Gabriel - Back To Front
Macy Gray - The Way
Jethro Tull - A Passion Play (40th Anniversary Edition)
Opeth - Pale Communion
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Queen - Live at the Rainbow 1974
Reveller - Pulse (2:51)
St. Vincent - Digital Witness
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Kate Tempest - Everybody Down
Thompson - Family
Various - Celebrating Jon Lord
Various - Prog 26: As Sure as Eggs is Eggs
Various - The Dreamers
Kristeen Young - The Knife Shift

...I don't think I've ever bought as many albums in the year they were released as this year. On the other hand, it's clear that baby boomer music still has a massive hold over me.