Monday, February 27, 2017

Music Week

Music: Current count 27834 [27814] rated (+20), 391 [386] unrated (+5).

Rated count slipped severely last week, and would have been much worse had I not dove down a hole trying to find a better Brian Lynch album than I was already aware of -- I have his 2006 collaboration with Eddie Palmieri, Simpático, at A-, and Unsung Heroes (2011) as well as last year's Madera Latino at B+(***). I found lots of pretty good records, but nothing better than those.

Excuses, excuses: I took Tuesday off to cook birthday dinner for my wife: a half-dozen Japanese dishes including salmon teriyaki and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. Lost Monday evening shopping, and queued up three "good ol' good 'uns" while I was cooking -- Ronnie Lane's One for the Road, The Very Best of the Drifters, and Louis Jordan's Five Guys Named Moe: Vol. 2 -- and enjoyed them so much I repeated them, twice. Even now, I have Jordan songs rattling around my head. Also took some time on Sunday for an encore dinner: leftovers (mostly extra produce as opposed to reheating, but I turned the excess dashi into miso soup) plus chicken wings coated in a sticky teriyaki glaze. Alas, no new dessert.

Other things that slowed me down: my two new A- jazz records got a lot of exposure -- the Satoko Fujii double got three plays, and MOPDTK probably got six, maybe more. Not so hard to make up my mind, but I kept putting off the writing. Two non-jazz records also got three spins each: the Jens Lekman that got a Christgau A (and is currently rated 11th at Metacritic, down from 2nd when I first noticed it) and the Jesca Hoop record I actually prefer (currently 5th at Metacritic -- note that the current 2 [Tinariwen] and 3 [XX] albums are already on my fledgling 2017 A-list, although I'm not much impressed by top-rated Sampha, nor by the 6 [Loyle Carner] and 7 [William Basinski] records I checked out this week). Mark Masters and Billy Mintz also got more plays than should have been necessary.

As that rundown suggests, I spent more time looking at 2017 than 2016 releases last week, for the first time this year. As it is, I've heard 91 of the top 100 new records in my 2016 EOY Aggregate -- up from 71 as recently as 2014 (at least that's what a post I found said; I probably listened to a few more after that). I didn't add any new lists to the Aggregate last week, although I plugged in a couple new grades (from Christgau and myself).

I did spend quite a bit of time last week collecting reviews from my Streamnotes columns. I'm currently up to October 2015, so I still have about 17 months to sort through (this month's column should be up later this week, probably about the time I catch up). Reviews for 20th century albums go straight into the draft file, which is currently at 415 pages (225k words). Later reviews go into a sorted text file which I'll later use to fill up the 21st century book (currently Jazz CG only: 145 pages, 52k words; the text file has 1064k words, of which perhaps as much as one-third are redundant entries, so maybe 750k words, which in the current format would mean about 1300 pages).

I think the next step after Streamnotes will be to go through the database files and add stubs for all of the rated but unreviewed albums. That should push the 20th century guide up a bit over 500 pages, but will add very little to the 21st century. I don't think I have enough material for a valid 20th century guide, but I do have more than I expected when I started gathering this writing. I've also skipped over a shitload of non-jazz reviews (I mean thousands), which could be used to seed other projects: my database ratings for country, blues, and pre-1980 rock are pretty encyclopedic, but I doubt if I have reviews for more than 20% of any of them.

Another time sink last week was watching the Oscars and several nominated films on demand (and La La Land in the theater). I've started a book file where I'm collecting political blog posts (I'm still back in 2002, so this has just started). I've been running across a lot of movie reviews from back then, and have squirreled them away in an appendix. Reminds me how much more I saw then than now. Still, I thought I'd look back at the 2016 film list and at least jot down some grades as best I remember them.

  • Hail, Caesar!: B
  • Finding Dory: Animation. B
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Animation. B+
  • Hell or High Water: B+
  • Snowden: A-
  • Moonlight: B+
  • Loving: A-
  • Arrival: B+
  • Manchester by the Sea: B+
  • La La Land: A-

Not much here, and seems even less given that I saw fewer than half in the local monopoly's theaters. Probably the fewest movies I've seen in any year since the mid-1980s. Aside from the snub to Snowden, I don't begrudge the Oscar picks -- Moonlight seems better in memory than it did at the time; Manchester too. Still, far from a banner year.

Oh, we also saw a mockumentary Jason Bailey produced -- not on the Wikipedia list, and not really released yet so I can't look up the title, but I enjoyed it more than anything listed above.

More movies I kinda wished we had seen (well, had some small interest in, sometimes very small): Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater), Elvis & Nixon, Florence Foster Jenkins, Café Society (Woody Allen), Me Before You, Our Kind of Traitor, Captain Fantastic, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Jason Bourne, Equity, Sully, The Magnificent Seven, Queen of Katwe (Mira Nair), Deepwater Horizon, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Tim Burton), The Girl on the Train, The Birth of a Nation, Hacksaw Ridge, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Lion, Jackie, Fences, Hidden Figures. Laura saw Zootopia and hated it.

New records rated this week:

  • William Basinski: A Shadow in Time (2017, Temporary Residence): [r]: B
  • Loyle Carner: Yesterday's Gone (2017, AMF): [r]: B
  • Allison Crutchfield: Tourist in This Town (2017, Merge): [r]: B+(**)
  • Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand (2016 [2017], Cortez Sound, 2CD): [cd]: A-
  • Jean-Brice Godet: Lignes De Crêtes (2016 [2017], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Jesca Hoop: Memories Are Now (2017, Sub Pop): [r]: A-
  • Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now (2017, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B+(***)
  • Brian Lynch: Madera Latino (2012 [2016], Hollistic MusicWorks, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Mark Masters Ensemble: Blue Skylight (2015-16 [2017], Capri): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Billy Mintz: Ugly Beautiful (2015 [2017], Thirteenth Note, 2CD): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Loafer's Hollow (2016 [2017], Hot Cup): [cd]: A-
  • The Sadies: Northern Passages (2017, Yep Roc): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Jens Lekman: When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog (2004, Secretly Canadian): [r]: B+(*)
  • Brian Lynch Sextet: Peer Pressure (1986 [1987], Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
  • Brian Lynch Quintet: Back Room Blues (1989 [1990], Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
  • Brian Lynch: Spheres of Influence (1997, Sharp Nine): [r]: B+(*)
  • Brian Lynch Latin Jazz Sextet: ConClave (2004 [2005], Criss Cross): [r]: B+(**)
  • Brian Lynch: Unsung Heroes Vol. 2 (2008-09 [2013], Hollistic MusicWorks): [r]: B+(**)
  • Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence: ConClave Vol. 2 (2010 [2011], Criss Cross): B+(**)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Bill Brovold & Jamie Saft: Serenity Knolls (Rare Noise): advance: March 31
  • David Feldman: Horizonte (self-released): March 10
  • Jü: Summa (Rare Noise): advance, March 31
  • Robert McCarther: Stranger in Town (Psalms 149 Music)
  • Bill O'Connell: Monk's Cha Cha: Live at the Carnegie-Farian Room (Savant)
  • Miles Okazaki: Trickster (Pi): March 24
  • Rocco John: Peace and Love (Unseen Rain): March 3
  • University of Toronto 12Tet: Trillium Falls (UofT Jazz): March 10
  • University of Toronto Jazz Orcherstra: Sweet Ruby Suite (UofT Jazz): March 10
  • Jim Yanda Trio: Regional Cookin' (1987, Corner Store Jazz)
  • Jim Yanda Trio: Home Road (Corner Store Jazz, 2CD)