July 2021: Listening Diary




Best Listens (new releases)

Erlend Apneseth & Margit Myhr – Slåttesong (May 2021)

Tomoko Omura – Branches Vol. 2 (June 2021)

William Parker – Mayan Space Station (July 2021)

William Parker – Painters Winter (July 2021)

yumbo – The Fruit of Errata (June 2021)

Arusha Jain – Under the Lilac Sky (July 2021)

Mabe Fratti – Será Que Ahora Pordremos Entendernos (June 2021)


Best Listens (leftfield pop)

May Witch – May Witch (February 2021)

Mirage – Glass Beams (June 2021)

Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg (April 2021)

Marina Allen – Candlepower (June 2021)

Midnight Sister – Painting the Roses (January 2021)

Bobby Lee – Origin Myths (March 2021)


Best Listens (reissues)

V/A – Good as Gold: Artefacts of the Apple Era 1967-1975 (2021 / 1967-75)

Oronzo de Filippi – Meccanizzazione (2021 / 1971)


Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Jessika Kenney + Eyvind Kang – The Face of the Earth (2012)

Blaise Volou – Nadoki / Boti (1984)

Sirom – A Universe That Roasts Blossoms for a Horse (2019)

Henry Threadgill – Easily Slip Into Another World (1988)

Mary Lou Williams presents Black Christ of the Andes (1964)

July 2021: Viewing Diary


Film (recent releases)

Mandibles – Quentin Dupieux, France, 2021 (2020)

Two of Us – Filippo Meneghetti, France, 2021 (2019)

Summer of Soul – Questlove, US, 2021

Nine Days – Edson Oda, US, 2021

Da 5 Bloods – Spike Lee, US, 2020

Black Widow – Cate Shortland, US, 2021


Film (archival)

Princess Cyd – Stephen Cone, US, 2017

Maso and Miso Go Boating, Nadja Ringart, Ioana Wieder, Carole Roussopoulos, Delphine Seyrig, France, 1976

As Tears Go By – Wong Kar-Wai, Hong Kong, 1988

Los Pequeños Gigantes – Hugo Butler, Mexico, 1960

Raging Bull – Martin Scorcese, US, 1980




Serial TV



Katla – Iceland, 2021

Master of None (Moments in Love) – US, 2021

Ozark (Season 3) – US, 2020

Never Have I Ever (Season 2) – US, 2021

Dave (Season 2) – US, 2021

Hacks (Season 1) – US, 2021

Working Moms (Season 1) – Canada, 2017

A few with the kids:

Hunger Games #1-3 – US, 2012-14

The Willoughbys – US, 2020

June 2021: Listening Diary

A busy month, shy of contemplative spaces and moments – music in the near-background often, but also scattered in the clatter of work and building. A big project came on – launching an art center to share and broadcast musics among other forms. But much new music did find its way in, though, as ever, and a few special collections no less.

Any month that sees a Jeanne Lee reissue is a good one, and this month saw two, Gunter Hampel’s rerelease of far-too rare 1975 LP Conspiracy, and a strange Spotify-only collection of uncertain vintage (’61? ’62?), with a number of live tracks with Ran Blake. The mastering is terrible, and it’s one of those things that may just mysteriously disappear from platform, but there are some wonderful cuts, including “Left Alone” from The Newest Sound Around. Along with the Lee from 1975, we also got a first reissue of the great Tezeta from 1975 by Hailu Mergia. Great year for film, great year for music.

Geneva continues to collect everything good – another terrific Bongo Joe comp, and a big, wild, hybrid, unpredictable release from Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Lots of surprises on that album, and lots of velocity. Nothing was stranger than the new Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band project, which sounds like the frinkiest 90s lost avant-pop disc ever (it’s not), but Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson’s Small Things comes close at times. And speaking of frinky things, the latest Scallops Hotel / RAP Ferreira was back in rotation again – I’d listened to it a lot early in the year, bundle of earworms that it is, and then a friend noted he was in town, so good luck for us.

Most relaxing night sounds: Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti’s latest. Or classic Mina, take you pick.


Best Listens (new releases)

Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp – We’re OK. But we’re lost anyway. (June 2021)

V/A – Club Coco (Bongo Joe compilation) (May 2021)

Mabe Fratti – Será que ahora podremos entendernos (June 2021)

Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band – Banned (June 2021)

Ìxtahuele – Dharmaland (June 2021)

Nico Roig, Lucia Fumero, Rita Payes – Soy esa tonta canción (single, June 2021)

The Vernon Spring – What’s Happening Brother? (single, June 2021)

Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victime (May 2021)

Les Pythons de la Fournaise – L’Orchestre du Piton (May 2021)

Carlos Niño and Friends – More Energy Fields, Current (May 2021)

Nick Hakim & Roy Nathanson – Small Things (April 2021)

R.A.P. Ferreira – bob’s son (January 2021)

Tomás Tello – Cimora (2020)

Douglas Germano – Escumalha (2019)


Best Listens (reissues)

Jeanne Lee – Conspiracy (1975, June 2021)

Jeanne Lee, Ran Blake – Our Season in the Sun (???, June 2021)

Hailu Mergia + The Walias – Tezeta (1975, June 2021)

Mário Rui Silva – Stories from Another Time 1982-1988 (1980s, 2021)

Dmitris Mystakidis – 16 Ρεμπέτικα τραγούδια με κιθάρα | Επετειακή έκδοση (2006, 2021)

Francis Bebey – Dibiye (1997, 2021)


Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Mina – Studio Uno (Italy, 1965)

Yanti Bersaudara – s/t (Singapore, 1971)

Pharoah Sanders – Elevation (US, 1974)

Bargou 08 – Targ (Tunisia, 2017)

Abdou El Omari – Nuits D’Étés (three, Morocco – 2016-17)

June 2021: Viewing Diary

A month of meager viewing relative to others this year. I was heads-down building a cinema instead of seat-down viewing it this month. So, some family viewing, some weekend horror, and some summery Varda for Father’s Day weekend.

I did make it to an actual cinema twice though, making for three public screenings since ‘reopening’. Gaia healing and all that.


Film (recent releases)

Censor – Prano Bailey-Bond, UK, 2021

A Quiet Place (pt II) – John Krasinksi, US, 2021

The Mitchells vs the Machines – Michael Rianda, US, 2021

Circumstantial Pleasures – Lewis Klahr, US, 2020

Girl on the Third Floor – Travis Stevens, 2019


Film (archival)

Ten Skies – James Benning, US, 2004

Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, US, 2008

Moonbird – John Hubley, US, 1959

The Host – Bong Joon-ho, 2006

Cleo from 5 to 7 / Le Bonheur (double feature) – Agnes Varda, France, 1962 / 1965


Serial TV

Katla – Iceland, 2021

Master of None (Moments in Love) – US, 2021

Dave (Season 2) – US, 2021

The Gloaming – Tasmania, 2020

Ozark (Season 3) – US, 2020

The Flight Attendant – US, 2020

A couple with the kids:

Loki – US, 2021

Sweet Tooth, US, 2021

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)


Reissues

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)

May 2021: Viewing Diary

Film (recent releases)

Gunda – Viktor Kossakovsky

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time – Lili Horvát

Nina Wu – Midi Z

Together Together – Nikole Beckwith

We Are Little Zombies – Makoto Nagahisa

The Twentieth Century – Matthew Rankin

Still Processing – Sophy Romvari

Four Roads – Alice Rohrwacher

Süden – Christian Petzold

When I Get Home – Solange Knowles

Days of Bagnold Summer – Simon Bird


Film (archival)

1990 double feature:

Close-Up – Abbas Kiarostami

Trust – Hal Hartley

1984 double feature:

Blood Simple – Joel & Ethan Cohen

Body Double – Brian DePalma

My Neighbor Totoro – Hayao Miyazaki, 1988


Serial TV

Fishing with John (USA, 1992)

Mare of Easttown (USA, 2021)

Exterminate All the Brutes (USA, 2021)

Life in Color (UK, 2021)

P-Valley (USA, 2020)

Shadow and Bone (USA, 2021)


April 2021: Listening Diary

Listening was continuous as spring came on, but also random, a-thematic, full of drift. I was often in novels, at times finishing a couple a week, and music was cross-cutting in and out of focus in the background. The epic listen was the new Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders collaboration, which I initially approached with skepticism, but warmed to on repeat listens, and will probably find among the benchmarks for the year, come winter. Depending on my pitch of mind, some things occasionally sounded perfect at night, like Marseille-based Italian composer Alessandro Bosetti’s recent release Didone, and then made me peevish in the day. One thing that constantly worked in reading environments was the hauntological assemblage of Mirry, eponymously titled, which has a great back-story, recounted in the Guardian back in December.

The new Sourdure LP, De Mòrt Viva, dropped in the beginning of the month, and it’s excellent. That, and the recent release from the Swiss ensemble Meril Wubslin, sent me on a Francophone jag for a couple weeks, that included equal doses of French pop and leftfield, and I discovered new (for me) sweet-tooth singers and indie outfits like Jonathan Personne, Klô Pelgag, Sarah Maison and, perhaps my favorite, Gisèle Pape among them. I finished the month with several spins through the new five-year Bongo Joe label retrospective, which is rangy and deep, and of course full of the quirky and outlying French.

Things that made me feel calm and at home in April: mid-80s Wyatt, the new release by young Catalan phenom Rita Payés, and a couple singles from Arooj Aftab, whose Vulture Prince LP should be here any minute. Finally, a couple days ago, a friend also encouraged me to focus in on Los Angeles pianist Jamael Dean, and that seems like a great prompt into early May, a month I’m optimistic about.


Best Listens (new releases & reissues)

CREATIVE / AUTEURS

Floating Points + Pharoah Sanders + London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (2021)

Alessandro Bosetti – Didone (2021)

Pavel Milyakov & Bendik Giske – s/t (2021)

Lonnie Holley & Matthew E White – Broken Mirror: A Selfie Reflection (2021)

Angel Bat Dawid – Harkening Etudes (2021)

Caterina Barbieri – Fantas Variations (2021)

Philip Glass + Tana Quartet – String Quartet #4 “Buzcak” (2021)

Jamael Dean – Ished Tree / Infant Eyes (w/ Sharada Shashidar) (2020)


OUTERNATIONAL

Sourdure – De mòrt viva (2021)

Gisèle Pape – Caillou (2021)

Meril Wubslin – Alors quoi (2021)

Arooj Aftab – Last Night / Mohabbat (2021)

Alfred Kpebesaaane & Brittany Anjou – Nong Voru / Fake Love (2021)

TEKE::TEKE – Yoru Ni (2021)

Florence Adooni – Mam Pe’ela Su’ure (2021)

Sarah Maison – Soleils (2021)


REISSUES

V/A – Futur Antérieur: Bongo Joe’s 5 Years Anniversary (2016-2020)

Joanna Brouk – Healing Music / Hearing Music (1980, 2016, 2021)

Luli Licinha E O Bando – Flor Lilás (1972, 2021)

José Mauro – A Viagem das Horas (1976, 2021)


AMBIENT / LIBRARY

Mirry – s/t (2021)

The Vernon Spring – A Plane Over Woods (2021)

Marcus Hamblett & Katherine Tinker – The Warren (for piano) (2021)

Howie Lee – Birdy Island (2021)

M. Sage + the Spinnaker Ensemble – The Wind of Things (2021)

Sage, Mary, Shiroishi, Jusell – Fuubutsushi (2020)


STRUMMERS / SONGBIRDS

Rita Payés + Elisabeth Roma – COMO LA PIEL (2021)

Chad VanGaalen – World’s Most Stressed Out Gardner (2021)

Tex Crick – Live in… New York City (2021)

Renée Reed – s/t (2021)

Laure Briard – Eu Voo (2021)

Marinero – Hella Love (2021)

Jonathan Personne – Disparitions (2020)

Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs (2020)

Marie-Pierre Arthur – Des feux pour voir (2020)

Julien Gasc – L’appel de la forêt (2020)


LEFTFIELD / ODD ENDS

skogar – Paradise City Jams (2021)

Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Robert Wyatt – Old Rottenhat (1986)

Boris Grebenshikov + Robert Wyatt – Stella Maris (2015)

Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 – Joia! (2019)

Otim Alpha – Gulu City Anthems (2017)

Ngozi Family – Day of Judgement (1976, 2014)

April 2021: Viewing Diary

Film (recent releases)

Women Make Film (Episodes 1-7) – Mark Cousins

Small Axe: Mangrove – Steve McQueen

Small Axe: Red White and Blue – Steve McQueen

Small Axe: Alex Wheatle – Steve McQueen

Small Axe: Education – Steve McQueen

About Endlessness – Roy Andersson

Malmkrog – Cristi Puiu

Crashing Waves – Lucy Kerr

Dear Comrades! – Andrei Konchalovsky

The Father – Florian Zeller

White Tiger – Ramin Bahrani

Judas and the Black Messiah – Shaka King

Let Them All Talk – Steven Soderbergh

Mank – David Fincher

Shiva Baby – Emma Seligman

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon – Burton / Becher / Phelan

Biggest Little Farm – John Chester

Over the Moon – Audrey Wells / Glen Keane


Film (archival)

Cane River – Horace Jenkins, 1982

Citizen Kane – Orson Welles, 1941


Serial TV

P-Valley (2020, USA)

The Investigation (2021, Denmark)

The Last Dance (2020, USA)

The Falcon & the Winter Soldier (2021, USA)

March 2021: Listening Diary

The tranquil and contemplative companion music that Mustapha Skandrani and Meitei provided me last month found cousins in March in recent releases by Shida Shahadi (Lake of Fire, 2020) and the monthly collaborative releases by the duo of Laura Cannell and Kate Ellis (January | February | March Sounds, 2021). A reissue / rediscovery of the beautiful 2013 release of The Box Tree by Skúli Sverrisson and Óskar Guðjónsson dug a well that I went back to often over the course of the month.

In terms of more voice-based releases, the new collaboration by Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus, These 13 (obscure nod to Faulkner with that title), is the best thing I’ve heard Bird do in years. Effortlessly listenable from beginning to end, parsimonious live recordings with largely violin, guitar, and mandolin – Appalachian folk and raw country, with judicious strings for a nudge of drama here and there. Nothing wrong with it.

Outside domestic turf, a rerelease of Luiz Bonfá’s Reverso do Verso hit right for the roll-out of spring weather, as did the reissue of the Buda Musique collection of Taraab classics Zanzibara Vol. 10. I just found the November release of Tehran TV actress Liraz Charhi‘s new LP – a winning clutch of Israeli-Persian (!) pop with reverent nods to golden-era Googoosh and Ramesh. And speaking of golden eras, MPB auteur José Mauro also seems to be having a new day, with Far Out spinning out new editions of his excellent albums Obnoxius and A Viagem das Horas (the latter earning a full release in late April).

Among leftfield and oddbird finds, recent drops on Bandcamp and Spotify of the 80s recordings of Swiss project Die Welttraumforscher (particularly Die Rückkehr der echten Menschheit (1981-1990)) had me frequently pricking up my ears. As did lumpy/unkempt but consistently inspired releases by Teeth Agency and Fievel is Glauque. Also worth earmarking two French discoveries: the Occitan-language singing field recordist Sourdure (recently with a profile on BC), and a double EP issue of miniatures from Gabriel Gauthier under the name Nevers, Minor Plot Twist and Clueless. Background is cloudy, but foreground is nice. Here we go.


Best Listens (new releases & reissues)

AMBIENT / LIBRARY

Laura Cannell & Kate Ellis – January Sounds / February Sounds / March Sounds (2021)

Lionmilk – I Hope You Are Well (2021)

Shida Shahadi – Lake on Fire (Oct 2020)

Anna Homler & Elizabeth Falconer / Hey String – blue thirty-seven (Nov 2020)

Holland Andrews – Wordless (2021)


OUTERNATIONAL (NEW)

Sourdure – De mòrt viva (2021)

Nevers – Minor Plot Twist / Clueless (2021)

Senyawa – Alkisah (2021)

Liraz – Zan (Nov 2020)

Kutiman – Wachaga (July 2020)


OUTERNATIONAL (REISSUES)

V/a – Zanzibara Vol. 10 (First Modern: Taraab Vibes from Mombasa & Tanga 1970-1990)

Luiz Bonfa – Reverso do Verso

José Mauro – A Viagem das Horas / Obnoxius

Stella Chiweshe – Ambuya!

The Beaters – Harari


JAZZ (REISSUES/REDISCOVERIES)

Skúli Sverrisson & Óskar Guðjónsson – The Box Tree (2021, 2013)

New Muse 4tet – Blue Lotus (2021)

The Modern Jazz Quartet – Continental Escapades (2021, ???)

Hamiet Bluiett – Bearer of the Holy Flame (2021, 1994)


GUITAR AUTEURS

Nathan Salsburg – Landwerk No 2 (Dec 2020)

Mason Lindahl – Kissing Rosy in the Rain (2021)

Pino Palladino & Blake Mills – Notes with Attachments (2021)


STRUMMERS / SONGBIRDS

Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird – These 13 (2021)

James Yorkston & the Second-Hand Orchestra – The Wide, Wide River (2021)


LEFTFIELD / ODD ENDS

Die Welttraumforscher – Die Rückkehr der echten Menschheit (1981-1990)

Fievel Is Glauque – God’s Trashmen Sent to Right the Mess (2021)

Teeth Agency – You Don’t Have to Live in Pain (2021)

Kitchen Cynics – Beads Upon an Abacus (Dec 2020)

V/a – Heisei No Oto: Japanese Left-field Pop from the CD Age (1989-1996)

Five from the Archive (frequent spins, rediscoveries)

Meilyr Jones – 2013 (2016, Wales)

Sourdure – L’Espròva (2018, France – Occitan)

Jose Carlos Schwarz – Boca Ke Papia; Udjus Ke Odjas (Guinea-Bissau, 2017)

V/a – Par les damné.e.es de la terre (Des voix des luttes 1969-1988) (France)

DIEUF-DIEUL de Thiès – Aw Sa Yone Vol 2 (Senegal, 2015)

March 2021: Viewing Diary

Film (recent releases)

Can’t Get You Out of My Head (pts 4-6) – Adam Curtis

Notturno – Gianfranco Rosi

Dear Comrades! – Andrei Konchalovsky

Dead Pigs / Birds of Prey – Cathy Yan double feature (2018 / 2020)

A Month of Single Frames – Lynne Sachs & Barbara Hammer

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets – Bill & Turner Ross

My Octopus Teacher – Pippa Ehrlich & James Reed

Boys State – Amanda McBaine & Jesse Moss

One Night in Miami – Regina King

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Aaron Sorkin

The Mole Agent – Maite Alberdi

Crip Camp – James Lebrecht & Nicole Newnham

Nomad: In the Steps of Bruce Chatwin – Werner Herzog

Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry – RJ Cutler

I Care a Lot – J Blakeson


Film (archival)

Percival – Eric Rohmer, 1978

Double feature: Vertigo / The Green Fog – Hitchcock (1958) / Guy Maddin (2017)

Double feature: Wanda / Badlands – Barbara Loden (1970) / Terrence Malick (1973)

Outer Space – Peter Tscherkassky, 1999

Citizen Kane – Orson Welles, 1941

Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio De Sica, 1948

Sometimes Always Never – Carl Hunter, 2018

L’Atlante – Jean Vigo, 1934

Nationtime – William Greaves, 1972


Serial TV

The Investigation (Efterforskningen) (2021, Denmark)

Borgen (Season 1, 2010, Denmark)

Lupin (2021, France)

Ted Lasso (2020, USA)

Little America (2020, USA)

The Last Dance (2020, USA)