May 2021: Listening Diary

Early in the month, I finally received a copy of William Parker’s 10-volume masterwork, Migration of Silence Into and Out of Tone World, and have been working through it, segment by segment for much of the month. The maximalism of it is astonishing enough, but so is its variability and off-path experimentation. And by ‘experiment’ I don’t mean it in a genre sense, as in the muscular improvisation and challenging sonic spectrum Parker was known for as a player in the 90s/00s – in this expansive collection, Parker is testing his limits as a composer, often in more familiar song, folk and vernacular forms, and vernacular forms. It’s sobering to take a step back and consider how much work this collection contains, and how little talked about this achievement is. Parker is one of the great surviving risk-takers in the jazz and creative music tradition, and he only has ~6000 monthly listeners on a global platform like Spotify, despite 40+ LPs being available there. In the archive, only the lonely know the way I feel tonight.

Another thread this month was geographic – like last month with recent Francophone releases, in May I turned to the Iberian coast, listening to contemporary fado and its hybrids – the new Bastarda & Joao de Sousa collaboration is really interesting – and made my way down to Catalonia to dig around there. Finally, I found myself listening to a fair amount of contemporary Brazilian work, with Tiganá Santana being a voice I returned to often.

Best Listens (new releases)

William Parker – Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Jan 2021)

Bastarda & Joao de Sousa – Fado (May 2021)

Jap Kasai – OWN C (May 2021)

Arooj Aftab – Vulture Prince (April 2021)

Maria Arnal I Marcel Bagés – CLAMOR (March 2021)

Pak Yan Lau – Bakunawa (May 2021)

Magnus Moksnes Myhre & Daniel Herskedal – Desert Lighthouse (May 2021)

Patrick Belaga – Blutt (April 2021)

Laura Cannell & Kate Ellis – May Sounds (May 2021)

Jakob Bro – Uma Elmo (Feb 2021)

Piers Faccini – Shapes of the Fall (April 2021)

Vijay Iyer Trio – Uneasy (April 2021)

Biosphere –  Angel’s Flight (Jan 2021)

Antonina Nowacka – Lamunan (Sept 2020)

Lucia Fumero – Universo Normal (Nov 2020)

Marion Cousin + Kaumwald – Tu Rabo Par’abanico (May 2020)

Big Blood – Do You Wanna Have a Skeleton Party? (Feb 2020)


Sun Ra & His Arkestra – Lanquidity (Definitive Edition) (1978, 2021)

Jose Mauro – A Viagem das Horas (1970, 2021)

Yoshi Wada – The Appointed Cloud (1987, 2021)

Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Lia de Itamaraca – Ciranda Sem Fim (Brazil, 2019)

Celia Cruz & La Sonora Matancera – Homenaje a Los Santos (Mexico/Cuba, 1972)

Tiganá Santana – Vida Codigo (Brazil, 2019)

Irena & Vojtech Havlovi – Your Golden Boat (Prague, 2003)

Ivor Cutler Trio – Ludo (UK, 1967)

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