Robert Ashley – Improvement (Don Leaves Linda) – Varispeed, Tom Hamilton (Vimeo; 2019. Available to view here.)
Poul Ruders – The Handmaid’s Tale – Marianne Rorholm, Hanne Fischer, Anne Margrethe Dahl, Susanne Resmark, Poul Elming, Aage Haugland, Royal Danish Opera Choir, Royal Danish Orchestra, Michael Schønwandt (Dacapo; 2001)
King Crimson – De Montfort Hall, Leicester, England, Oct. 18, 1971 (DGM; 2019. Audio samples here.)
Grateful Dead – Dave’s Picks, Vol. 30: Fillmore East, New York, NY1/2/70 (Grateful Dead/Rhino; 2019. Audio samples here.)
Hans Werner Henze – El Cimarrón – El Cimarrón Ensemble (Wergo; 2007)
Lee “Scratch” Perry – Trojan Classics (Trojan/Sanctuary; 2014)
Anton Bruckner – Symphony No. 8 in C minor – Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Jaap van Zweden (Challenge Classics; 2012)
King Crimson – State Fairground, Oklahoma City, OK, April 24, 1973 (DGMLive; 2019. Audio samples here.)
Kyle Bobby Dunn – From Here to Eternity (Past Inside the Present; 2019)
Vanessa Rossetto – you & i are earth (Tone Glow; 2019)
Trying to tally the year's "best" recordings is a thankless task, not least because there's no realistic chance anyone has heard everything.… every listener's taste is individual, and focus can be contingent upon situation. All of which said, the following lists comprise the new recordings and archival projects that impressed and moved me most in 2016, with an appendix of still more albums that brightened this year.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/albums2016.jpg5401182Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2016-12-30 22:31:302017-12-27 18:59:23Best of 2016: Noteworthy Recordings
For anyone expecting a painstakingly winnowed-down, tightly focused tabulation of the most significant events to take place in the musical world circa 2016: I apologize, but you'll have to look elsewhere. Even so, it's not at all difficult to name 10 meaningful and affecting musical performances I witnessed this year.
For all the manifold benefits that come with being a music journalist and critic embedded at a performing-arts incubator and presenter – and they are substantial – one meaningful constraint is that it feels inappropriate now to include my employer's projects and products among my year-end best-of listings. What follows is a concise tally of NS-related events and releases that under other circumstances absolutely would have figured into my own personal summaries of the year's most vital art.
https://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/IMG_6407.jpg24483264Steve Smithhttps://nationalsawdust.org/thelog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/national-sawdust-log.pngSteve Smith2016-12-29 19:29:212017-12-28 00:40:28Best of 2016: In Praise of National Sawdust