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The Choice Bin's Choice-y-er Buy Counter Scores of 2011

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 18, 2011 07:08pm | Post a Comment
As the year 2011 flies to a close, I've gathered some of my favorite scores from the past year together to reflect upon how much great stuff gets traded in at our used buying counter. All this art came in over Amoeba's trade-in counter but didn't make it past my "gotta check this out" sensors-in-overdrive...lots of stuff maybe not have been released in 2011 but plucked from the ocean of "keepers" and brought ashore, as the relevance and quality make it so, and the joy of reconnecting with a reissue or another format.  Our "Insurance Return" policy keeps the good stuff coming in as well.  And I've forgotten more titles than I've remembered...

Vinyl
LPs


John Adams

Harmonium

ECM 1984

I've owned this on a compact disc for ages, and then I see the magnificent film, "I Am Love" with the great Tilda Swinton and I see a vinyl copy of it and my head goes, "BUY THIS"!  This record was cut up and used as the score in such a wonderful, effective way, swooning, tilting and fanfare-ing the scenes making the picture so much more intense and sentimental. Bravissimo. The wax sounds amazing, too, as is the ECM tradition.



Havergal Brian

Complete Piano Music
Cameo Classics 1981

Amazing moods and very sound writing for piano. Think Debussy, Copeland, Ravel, Mozart, Haydn, Bryars and Gershwin and all this rolled into one fellow born in the U.K. in 1876. The great sound on this disc makes it so enjoyable, and being a wonderfully produced U.K. pressing with a brilliant performance by Peter Hill seals the deal.



Forrest Fang

Migration
Ominus Thud 1986

Ambient textures, muti-sonic trips of electronic and real instrument sounds compostition taking me somewhere...there. Fang manufactures mucho sonance to capture and stamp his own sound and style into this rich, alluring pressing on very nice vinyl. Many listens await. Ominus Thud Records? WTF? Almost non-existent.



Hindemith 6

In Musica

EMI ODEON  1975

Chilean chamber-jazz with bassoon (!), flute, vibes, piano and a rhythm section perform sort of a Third Stream style from South America. How this came to into Hollywood is a mind-blower, but great music hath no boundary. The capitol-O-obscure funk monster "Descuadradito" is worth it's weight in gold, and the chops and sensitive playing on this is mesmerizing. Silver foil cover (with masking tape here) is so hip I couldn't believe it. A reissue of this is mandatory.



Jimmy Giuffre 4

Quasar
Soul Note 1985

Jimmy gets it again on this sensitive jazz/rock-'sorta-fusion...HIS fusion, as it's unique and appealing. Synths, electric bass and drums plus Jimmy on the licorice stick and flute deliver a cool, avant-melodic writing style that crosses genres and time periods. I guess this is a CD, as Soul Note stuff has been around digitally. Digitotally.



Aeoliah

Light Of Tao Thru Aeoliah
Narada 1984

2 side-long echo-y keyboard ambiences, with mood aplenty. Trippy motifs and haunted melody make it sound like treated synths, with backwards processing and reverb. Starts out like cheesy DX7 patches, but becomes enchanting soundspectacle as the spirit grabs this guy Aeoliah. Probably subliminal hypnosis and backmasking.



Sambrasa
Trio
En Som Maior
Disco Som Maior 1965

Airto and Hemeto Pascoal made this trio LP with bassist Humberto Clayber back in '65. These guys are great, this being no exception even as their careers were beginning, and I have acquired much of their musics elsewhere. Grooving, skittering bossa-jazz with sounds beyond. I've heard this on CD, but this vinyl reissue is terrifically punchy and present. I'm digging a lot of these Brazilian reissues. Which leads us to...



Milton Banana Trio

Milton Banana Trio
Odeon 1965

I think this is the original Brazilian issue of this amazing trio's LP, with a thin glossy cover and flipback package. 1965 seems to have been a great year for piano trios in Brasil, and this drummer Banana played with the best of the best musicians around... then and afterward. Awesome syncopation and natural feel always present, with his propellant energy infecting everybody, especially pianist Walter Wanderley.


Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters

No Mans Land
Zero Records 1980

Very nice synthesizer and concrete sounds LP from Philadelphia. Buchla electronics and creative composing/writing/improvising make this a top-drawer piece that's really hard to find. Really weird cover makes it hard to figure out what this is, but I took a long look and then the needle-drop did it.



Wavemaker

Where Are We Captain?
Polydor UK  1975

Heavy synthesizer orchestrations and sequenced electrohappenings from the British electronic duo. One of the fellas was in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and the chops here indicate righteous pedigree. Some moody sine waves and pompous riffrock that goes together nicely if you like this kind of thing. Unique gem in this style.



Phil Woods European Rhythm Machin
e
Chromatic Banana
Inner City 1970

Woods finally takes it over the top on this scorcher fom '70, playing electric sax with Gordon Beck's Rhodes and piano and Texier and Humair on bass and drums. Really great energy and chops on a disc I've never seen on CD. Real furious and gnarly most of the time and always grade-A blowing from the fellas. Inner City's 2nd release.



Raul Garcia

Ayacucho
Sono Radio Peru 1968

Self-taught guitarist, lawyer and cultural figure, Garcia manifests the Peruvian sound via his deeply expressive guitar style on this rare LP. With total command of hammer-ons, slides and finger picking, he can communicate the sound of his country's music as a one-man band, portraying the breath of the panflutes and the strumming of the charango simultaneously to establish a terrific individual sound that is truly fascinating. This scratchy, much treasured copy became mine before it could be sent to the clearance bins.



 Compact Discs


Lama Gyurme & Jean Phillipe Rykiel

The Lama's Chants

Narada 1994-2004

I love the sound of a Bhuddhist monk chanting over a good synthesizer patch. So I  like this compilation 2-CD set of these fella's timeless pieces. Airy, minimal and deeply felt music and sound from a very deep-voiced man transmitting some heavy vibrations. Speaking of vibrations...



Beach Boys

Smile Sessions Box Set
Capitol 1966/67

(sobbing)...I love this record, and the sessions that produced the tracks are here in supreme aural ecstasy. Wilson, Parks and the other willing participants elevated themselves beyond what they did with Pet Sounds or any other works to make one of the greatest "rock" records ever conceived (sobs). I'm overjoyed that this finally came out legally, and the sound engineers and art director did a magnificent job...(sobbing...sniffling).



Bendan Perry

Ark
The End Records 2011

Perry's voice has co-driven Dead Can Dance's music, and here is a really nice record he just did, with a similar vibe yet different. He kinda sounds like Sinatra sometimes, and his range here is much wider than I remember on DCD recordings. Synthetic symphony and drum patches envelop the vox. Timely themes and timeless charm.


Edgardo Canton
Edgardo Canton

Musiques Electroacoustiques
Creel Pone 2011

Keith F Whitman's label does it again with this discovery, a great electronic and concrete sound CD-R lovingly put together for fans of this stuff. Canton wrote some of the best of this genre in 1962-70, and I really like his studio sounds and  exotic compositional style. Beauteous bloop-bleep and ecstatic echo combine for a fascinating journey not of this earth.




Tim Hecker

Mirages

Alien Records 2011

Tim releases another fine disc of minimal processed-sound pieces that vibrate deeply into the psyche. Inspiration comes and fades into other dimensions, and these records always make me reflect on my emotions, with a sort of nostalgia built-in to the resonant frequencies somehow conjuring up the past and the future. Psycho-acoustic.




Pat Zimmerli

Modern  Music
Nonesuch 2011

Wondrous new collection of modern music for 2 pianos played by Brad Meldau and Kevin Hayes, featuring a great new piece by Zimmerli, whom I'd never heard of before. Also featuring music by Reich, Glass and Ornette, the Zimmerli work is the real star here, standing shoulder to shoulder with the other more famous composers' pieces. Quite a mover and groover I daresay.



Jordi Savall & Hesperion XXI

Lachrimae Caravaggio
Allavox 2007

My infinite love for Jordi and his clan is revived by this release, one I'd never seen before. A collection of superbly performed, enchanting and moving music from the 16th century with pieces written recently by Savall to complement and connect the music to make this an amazing and deep listening experience, quite unlike anything previous.



Chris Watson

El Tren Fantasma

Touch 2011

Ex-Throbbing Gristler Watson makes an elegant and mesmerizing sound piece from train trip recordings in Mexico. He's made many field recording pieces but this one takes him into Musique Concrete territory and is every bit as good as many concrete' pieces of any era. Groovy old train photos adorn the textured cover.




Stefano Battlaglia Trio

The River of Anyder
ECM 2011

Stefano delivers a modal style, like a mini-raga, on his piano as this trio pushes and pulls around him to create a glorious coming-together of emotions. The nuance and attention to each sound give this music a unique, spellbinding style. 5-star sound



Roger Eno

Flatlands
All Saints 1998

The younger Eno sibling put forth this piece in '98, but I just noticed it this month, and it's a pleasant surprise in terms of the growth Roger has made from the 80's to the late 90's in his composing prowess. It's an ensemble piece that features piano and strings, and comes up as the best work of his that I've been exposed to. Modern composition of the melodic and contrapuntal variety, with delicious chords and sweet string sweeps dictating the direction. Very pleasant stuff, and I've played it multiple times to great inspiration.



Fennesz&Sakamoto

Flumina
Touch 2-CD 2011

Without a doubt the best piano/electronics collaboration that Sakamoto-san has made to date. I loved his Comica disc which set the pace for this direction, and his stuff with Alva Noto is cool, too. The two he's made with Fennesz before this pale in comparison to this deep, lush and savory set of soundwaves. Much more pensive and exotic piano activity characterizes the definitive stature of this set, and the two guys seem to be very comfortable with each other as they've been playing together with YMO and touring. Nice fold-out package with oceanic photography.



Patrick O'Hearn

Transitions
Patrick O'Hearn Music 2011

I like all of O'Hearn's music, the simpler the better, so anything he does gets me listening. Patrick has been doing his thing for almost 27 years, making big, deep glacially-moving synthesizer music. This new one is made up of very simple modes and chords leading into other chords and modes, with thick synth pads and shimmering tones that carry the chords around on their shoulders. Post-new-age music for the enlightened.



Ricardo Villalobos/Max Loderbauer
Re:ECM
ECM 2-CD 2011

An amazing record. The guys took titles in the ECM catalog, and cut them up and
sliced and diced them into new pieces of their own with only said ECM catalog as their sound sources. One of the best ambient or electronica records I've ever heard.



Keith Jarrett

Rio
ECM 2-CD 2011

Keith's in love, and he calls his sigificant other each night before he steps on stage.
It shows, as this is one of his best solo piano records he's ever played. ECM rushed it out so we could dig it and I do very, very much.



Vince Mendoza

Night On Earth
Horizontal 2011

Mr. Mendoza does it again, with his emotion-drenched, sensitive jazz writing, arranging and playing. Lovely dissonances hand-in-glove with bluesy guitar and 20th century strings make this another great piece in Vince's discog. Contempo cool.



Gary Husband
Dirty & Beautiful Volume 1
Abstract Logix 2011

Fantastic shredder from drummer/keyboardist Husband. Players like Jerry Goodman, Jan Hammer, Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin perform some magnificent guest soloing to deem this CD a keeper of the highest order. This jazz-rock music is truly alive and vital in their hands.



Herbie Hancock

Mwandishi (Japanese 24bit Mini-Lp Gold Disc)
WMG Japan 2007

The great Mwandishi album remastered in high definititon, plucked from Amoeba's Japanese mini-LP section, and what a great sound on this disc. I loved this record when it came out in '71 along with Crossings, and the music he invented here generated a new genre copied by scores of folks. I'm still finding the audiophile-quality reissues of some favorites right out of the bins, so they're there, just waiting to be snagged and enjoyed...again.



Relevant Tags

Jazz (108), Best Of 2011 (17), Classical (21), Classical Music (28), Electronic (14), Electronic Music (47), Electronica (41), Hancock (2), New Age (7), World Music (114)