A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
Instead of providing an extended list for 1993, I rag on a number of critical favorites from the year. I’ve mellowed out about Björk’s Debut and U2’s Zooropa, but Siamese Dream and janet. are still overrated.
- Duran Duran, The Wedding Album
- Bill Frisell, Have a Little Faith
- John Zorn / Naked City, Absinthe
- Judy Dunaway and the Evan Gallagher Little Band, Judy Dunaway and the Evan Gallagher Little Band
- Spiny Norman, Crust
- The Love Gods, Hujja Hujja Fishla
- Michael Nyman, The Piano
- Wayne Horvitz / Pigpen, Halfrack
- Clannad, Banba
- Emerson Sting Quartet, American Originals: Ives / Barber String Quartets
Other favorites from the year:
- Kate Bush, The Red Shoes
- Emmylou Harris, Cowgirl’s Prayer
- Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
- Cypress Hill, Black Sunday
- Digable Planets, Reachin’
- U2, Zooropa
- Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love
- Sting, Ten Summoner’s Tales
This time, I’m providing an extended list, and it demonstrates where I was as a listener and where I am.
That Favorite 10 is stuffed to the gills with some really avant-garde titles, the kind put together by a young person trying to be more cosmopolitan than his peers.
The extended list includes music that would have been ignored by the person who compiled the Favorite 10.
My younger self would have scoffed at my older present self for deigning to include hip-hop, and my older self would tell my younger self to examine what social pressures may be coming to bear for his opposition.
Younger self would complain about how hip-hop culture is fetishized by his ethnic cohorts, which older self would acknowledge but caution against succumbing to the racial dynamics of the country.
Younger self would have no idea what older self would be talking about, since younger self hadn’t yet moved to he Mainland US to see these dynamics in action.
All that to say maybe I’ve been resistant to hip-hop because the music that most appeals to me is made predominantly by upper middle class white men.
Tags: bill frisell, charles ives, clannad, cypress hill, digable planets, duran duran, emerson string quartet, emmylou harris, evan gallagher, favorite edition, john zorn, judy dunaway, julee cruise, kate bush, michael nyman, naked city, pigpen, rewind, samuel barber, spiny norman, sting, the love gods, u2, wayne horvitz, wu-tang clan
I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.
The monthly $0.10 CD Sale at Lifelong Thrift Shop was particular fruitful where classical music is concerned.
- Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 4 (Herbert Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic)
- Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 9 (Christoph Dohnányi, Cleveland Orchestra)
- Benjamin Britten, Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo / Music of Bali / British Folk Songs (Benjamin Britten; Peter Pears)
- Benjamin Britten, String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3 / Alla marcia / Three Divertimenti (Sorell Quartet)
- Clara Schumann, Complete Works for Piano 3 (Jozef De Beenhouwer)
- Dmitri Shostakovich / Sergei Prokofiev, Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 / Prokofiev: The Love for Three Oranges (Eugene Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra)
- Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 6 / Theme and Variations / Scherzo / Suite “Alone” (Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra)
- Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony No. 7 (Yuri Temirkanov, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra)
- Emerson String Quartet, Bach: The Art of Fugue
- Fugazi, The Argument
- Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 (Sir Georg Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
- Percy Grainger, Themes of Grainger (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble)
- Peter Lawson, American Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1
- Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All (Deluxe Edition)
- Samuel Barber, Music of Samuel Barber (Leonard Slatkin, St. Louis Symphony)
- Samuel Barber / Charles Ives / Aaron Copland, Barber: Adagio for Strings / Ives: Symphony No. 3 / Copland: Quiet City (Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Sir Neville Marriner)
- Madvillain, Madvillainy
- New Order, Technique
- Sam Smith, The Thrill of It All (Deluxe Edition)
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced
Tags: aaron copland, anton bruckner, benjamin britten, charles ives, clara schumann, dmitri shostakovich, emerson string quartet, fugazi, gustav mahler, jimi hendrix, johann sebastian bach, madvillain, new order, percy grainger, peter lawson, purchase log, sam smith, samuel barber, sergei prokofiev
I’m not the kind of person who has to post selfies or photograph everything I’m eating or doing.
That would be Janet Jackson pictured with this entry.
JACK Quartet, Meany Hall, Jan. 10
I ran into my music theory TA at this concert, and we both we a bit meh about the program. JACK is a great quartet, but I honestly can’t remember much beyond the Morton Feldman piece which opened the concert.
Seattle Symphony, [untitled 2], Benaroya Hall, Jan. 27
The [untitled] series introduces me to a lot of new music of which I never follow up after hearing it. I still love going to these concerts, though.
University of Washington Modern Music Ensemble, John Zorn: Cobra, Meany Hall, March 1
I’ve known about Cobra for years, but this performance was the first I’ve attended. Recordings can’t do this piece justice. It must be experienced live to understand it.
Seattle Symphony, Aaron Jay Kernis: Violin Concerto, Benaroya Hall, March 18
Violinist James Ihnes has a lot of creative capital in Seattle as director of the seasonal chamber music festival, so I think the audience was willing to give Kernis’ concerto a chance. The piece and the performance went over well.
Japan Nite Tour, Chop Suey, March 22
Damn, had it been five years since I’ve attended a Japan Nite concert?
Emerson String Quartet, Meany Hall, April 21
There’s no way I would miss an Emerson concert with Shostakovich or Bartok on the program.
Seattle Symphony, [untitled 3], Benaroya Hall, April 28
A program centered around Andy Warhol concluded with a “popera”, which actually was far more engaging that I expected.
University of Washington Harry Partch Ensemble, Oedipus: A Music Theater Drama, Meany Hall, May 6
UW has a number of Harry Partch’s custom instruments, which were put to use in a production of Oedipus. Without the visual element, they pretty much sound like gamelan.
Midnight Oil, Moore Theatre, May 31
Yeah, definitely my favorite show of the year. The set list covered the entire span of their career, and just about everything I wanted to hear live I did.
Low + MONO, Neptune Theatre, June 16
I’ve known about Low for a long time — mostly through the band’s cover of “Africa” by Toto — but I was never curious enough to seek them out. I was duly impressed, even if I don’t think I’ll own anything other than Things We Lost in the Fire. MONO, of course, brought it.
The Revolution, Showbox, July 15
The band crafted the set list incredibly well. It started off with some obscure but recognizable stuff, but the second half kicked off the favorites. And everyone left pleased.
Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Paramount Theatre, Sept. 12
Jason Isbell delivered a flawless performance as usual. The audience, though, was weird. It was a Tuesday night, and the Seattle Freeze was in full force, with half the audience sitting and the other half standing.
Sam Amidon, Fremont Abbey, Sept. 22
If nothing else, you really must go to a Sam Amidon show just to hear him talk between songs.
Janet Jackson, Key Arena, Sept. 27
I held onto my ticket after two cancellations, and I was glad I did. No opening act. Just Janet dishing out hit after hit in an epic DJ mix, only live.
Seattle Symphony, [untitled 1], Benaroya Hall, Oct. 13
I think this concert was the first where only one piece on the program was entirely unfamiliar to me. It’s always nice to hear Steve Reich’s Different Trains live.
Depeche Mode, Key Arena, Oct. 21
I think Depeche Mode 101 ruined this concert for me. I hadn’t really followed the band since the early aughts, and much of the set list drew from more recent albums.
Kronos Quartet, Federal Way Performing Arts Center, Nov. 4
Kronos has a way of upending expectations. Just when you think you’ve seen them do something new, some composer has them attach bowstring to a plastic toy.
Tags: concert edition, depeche mode, emerson string quartet, harry partch, jack quartet, janet jackson, japan nite, jason isbell, john zorn, kronos quartet, low, midnight oil, mono, sam amidon, seattle symphony, the revolution, university of washington
Concert reviews were always something I wanted to write for this site, but I never drummed up the gumption to jot down my thoughts about shows after I attend them. In reality, I didn’t want shows to become means to an end, in the same way album purchases had become source for reviews.
Still, I go to a lot of concerts, and it feels awkward not mentioning them at least once.
So I’m going to do a year-end overview of all the shows I’ve attended in the past year.
Continue reading »
Tags: arvo part, bang on a can, catalyst quartet, concert edition, danish quartet, duran duran, emerson string quartet, emmylou harris, jason isbell, john adams, mono, neutral milk hotel, rodney crowell, seattle symphony, sturgill simpson, wayne horvitz