Piano & Coffee is an organization with an admirable goal – helping artists develop their creative projects through artistic collaboration. When you visit their site you are greeted by elegant minimalism and a number of nice features including interview, reviews, album premieres, and even specially created videos. The three featured here make ideal companions to a quiet Sunday morning and a freshly brewed cup.
Shimmering Moods is a label based in Amsterdam that has already had a fruitful 2017 with a number of excellent limited edition CD releases and quite an international roster of artists. Featured here are recent works by Andrew Tasselmyer (USA), Snufmumriko (Sweden) , Rime Trails (Denmark), and Gallery Six (Japan). Also highly recommended are two albums featured on our 2016 year-in-review – Radio Sea’ by Adzuki and ‘Mothers Garden’ by Å Asher-Yates, a brand new reissue of ‘Naar Vi Vaagner’ by øjeRum, and a pair of works by Dimitar Dodovski, ‘Derive’ (2016) and ‘In Every Direction’ (2015). All releases can be found here on their Bandcamp site.
The past six months has seen a small flurry of solo piano recordings from Akira Kosemura , a Tokyo-based recording artist and composer & sound producer for film, stage, and television. This travelogue features a quartet of releases, two from Kosemura’s own Schole Inc. label along a with a pair that find a fitting home on the prolific 1631 Recordings, each with its own unique character & charm.
In the space of ten months, Dennis Huddleston has released three albums from his experimental ambient project 36 (pronounced three-six). Far from making music to simply zone or chill out to, Huddleston often weaves rich thematic and imaginative material into his sonic tapestries for an especially emotive and cerebral listening experience. Considered together, this trio of albums cover a vast perspective spanning past, present, and future.
Various artist compilations can be treasure troves of discovery whether it be previously unheard material from a favorite artist or a finding a completely new voice. Often both types of discovery happen on the same album. These twelve offerings comprised some of the most memorable moments of the year in this category spanning works by over 200 artists that you can find nowhere else.
The EP is often overlooked when it comes year-end retrospectives, but this format can provide us with some very special musical moments and here is a selection of the most memorable of such I enjoyed in 2016 presented in alphabetical order. It simply would not have been the same year in music without each of these outstanding recordings (for me at least). Continue reading
This year saw the return of some a number of beloved and well-known bands from quiet periods ranging from several years to as long as a decade along with bright splashes from some new & dynamic voices. This is a particularly vibrant and diverse selection where genres never define of confine, but only serves as reference points for those of us with inadequate words to describe the music.
This list is short, but particularly sweet. A dozen memorable albums released this year of particularly delicate construction and pastoral feel featuring acoustic guitar, primitive, and experimental folk music.
From the delicate minimalism of a single piano to the aching beauty of a string ensemble to the mysterious studio alchemy of the analog fused with the electronic, this is a selection of some particularly memorable journeys in modern classical music I enjoyed throughout the year. Continue reading
It seems this list can never be big enough to include all the beautiful work done in these genres over the past year, but here are 25 albums that left a lasting impression.
The year in review begins with a new type of list for 2016, but one I very much hope to maintain going forward. Each of these albums is conceptually, thematically or musically connected to a particular place – personal narratives, journeys remembered, or depictions of landscape real or imagined. Each one takes the listener on a journey and immerses them in a unique place or moment in time. One might say they represent the very essence of stationary traveling, which makes them quite to special to this listener in particular…
Calmly transportive. Blissfully adrift. Hazy and translucent. A listening journey with four exceptional albums from around the globe that delve into the idyllic side of ambient and electronic music created by The Green Kingdom (USA), Chihei Hatakeyama (Japan), Warmth (Spain), and James Murray (UK).