Tempted by the Fruit of an Author
[Four Larks: The Temptation of St. Anthony]
The Watcher Watched

Listening Listfully 2016


This blog is a sad thing these days, a walking shadow of its once sprightly self, a faded jaded mandarin, little trafficked, neglected by its proprietor. Over the length of 2016, I find that I have more unfinished drafts than actual posts. And yet, one—at the least, this one—might hold out hope that it may bestir itself again in time.

One tradition to which I yet cling is this: "Listening Listfully", my catalogue of the album/EP-length recordings released in the past twelvemonth that most particularly tickled my fancy. This year, they number 50, but the List is like baseball: it could in theory go on without end. These are personal favorites, as always, rather than "bests"—although I maintain that everything here is here because it is genuinely among the best things of the past year, and not simply because I have enjoyed it. There are inevitably many recordings of quality omitted, simply because I have yet to listen to them.

Last year, I held out until New Year's Eve. For 2016, I am electing to post on the Eve of Christmas Eve, with the intention to follow on on Boxing Day with a 50-plus entry, properly threaded Tweetstorm on this fool's Twitter timeline. If I get truly ambitious, I will update this post to embed those tweets, and possibly to add further commentary. [Update 26 Dec 2016: The Tweetstorm broke as threatened and is now embedded at the end of this post.] In a break from recent practice, I have lumped everything into a single list, eschewing arbitrary genre boundaries. It is all just plain good music to these foolish ears.

I have incorporated opportunities to stream most of the Top 25 choices on the list. I am sufficiently old fashioned that I still prefer to buy and own music, rather than simply streaming it. I also prefer that as large a portion as possible of what I pay for music should make it into the hands of that music's makers. In consequence I find myself more than ever making use of Bandcamp, which advances both of those preferences more than passing well. Bandcamp-linked recordings on this list are purchasable there; for others, I have provided Amazon links.

Flawed, entirely subjective, and internally contradictory as always, here begins the eleventh annual edition of The List: 

 1.    Julius Eastman - Femenine


2.    Darcy James Argue's Secret Society - Real Enemies


3.    David Thomas Broughton - Crippling Lack


4.    David Bowie - Blackstar


5.    Psychic Temple - III


 6.    The Gloaming - 2


7.    Battle Trance - Blade of Love


8.    AHNONI - Hopelessness


9.    Shearwater - Shearwater Plays Lodger


10.    Morgan Guerin - The Saga


11.    Gabriel Kahane - The Fiction Issue


12.    The Lazy Lies - The Lazy Lies


13.    David T. Little - Dog Days

[I wrote about Dog Days here in 2015.]


14.    Qasim Naqvi - Chronology


15.   SheLoom - The Baron of the Fjord


16.    Howe Gelb - Future Standards


17.    Psychic Temple - Plays Music for Airports


18.    Nathaniel Bellows - The Old Illusions


19.    Niechęć - Niechęć


20.    William Brittelle - Dream Has No Sacrifice


21.    EH46 - Metropole des Anges

[First appearing in August, nearly all evidence of this exemplary ambient drone raga musing on southern California themes mysteriously "made itself air into which it vanished" from the online world earlier this month. Included here in the hope it may someday return among us.]


22.    Finnegan Shanahan, Contemporaneous - The Two Halves


23.    Daniel Lanois - Goodbye to Language


24.    Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota - Keep In Touch


25.    Vanishing Twin - Choose Your Own Adventure


26.    Gabriel Kahane & the Knights - Crane Palimpsest


27.    R. Andrew Lee - Adrian Knight: Obsessions


28.    The Rolling Stones - Blue & Lonesome


29.    Sabina Meck - Love is Here


30.    La Femme d'Argent - La Femme d'Argent


31.    Roomful of Teeth, inter alia - The Colorado: Music from the Motion Picture


32.    Jherek Bischoff - Cistern


33.    Bill Nelson - New Northern Dream


34.    Andy Shauf - The Party


35.    The Living Earth Show - Dance Music


36.    Eleanore Oppenheim - Home


37.    Jeremy Flower - The Real Me


38.    Still Corners - Dead Blue


39.    C Duncan - The Midnight Sun


40.    Timo Andres & Gabriel Kahane - Dream Job


41.    Bonjour - Bonjour


42.    Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson - Scent Opera


43.    The Industry, wildUp - The Edge of Forever

[I wrote about The Edge of Forever previously, here.]


44.    Michael Mizrahi - Currents


45.    Chris Kallmyer, inter alia - Rhyolite


46.    Rational Discourse - Live at the Mothlight


47.    Los Angeles Opera - Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles

[I wrote about this production in 2015, here.]


48.    Magik*Magik - Magik*Magik


49.    Steve Jansen - Tender Extinction


50.    Field Music - Commontime



On paper, this list rolls on beyond 50. Many of those Honorable but Unmentioned recordings can be found in my Bandcamp collection, here.]


The Boxing Day Tweetstorm [clicking on the embedded initial tweet below should lead to Twitter and the complete 51-entry collection]:


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