Monday, May 7, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 29660 [29628] rated (+32), 356 [372] unrated (-16).

When I unpack an album, I record it in five separate files: my Year 2018 file, my Music Tracking 2018 file, a scratch file which gets folded into my next Music Week post, another scratch file which has review stubs for all of the unrated jazz records in my queue, and what I call my database: actually a set of 20-some text files that get run through a program I wrote to generate a big big table, my Music Database intro file, and the bunch of genre/period-specific files linked to from there. It's not that I don't understand the principle of normalization, but this system evolved over time from something much simpler, and it still works (for the most part). In fact, I usually do a pretty good job of logging those new records in all of those places.

Where I often fall down is when I grade an album. Not only to I usually have to update all of those files (as well as doing nearly all of the unpacking work for streamed albums), I also write a review in working Streamnotes draft file. And, of course, it gets more complicated around EOY time, when I'm compiling my aggregate file and sorting out my jazz and non-jazz EOY lists. It turns out that I sometimes (on average 2-3 times per week) skip one or more of those, most commonly the database files, resulting in short rated counts. When I ran my program this week, I came up with 23 albums rated. I wasn't real real surprised. I didn't have any major disruptions last week, but came up with way more than a normal week's worth of A-list records, and they tend to take more time -- often 3-4 plays; in fact, the only one I see this week that only got two plays was Tommy Flanagan's Giant Steps.

But I was a little surprised, so I counted the records listed below, and came up with 24. Clearly I had missed something, so I went back and rechecked my U-rated albums, and caught a couple from last week, a couple from the previous week, and a few more from further back. In fact, the list below is probably missing something, but that's harder to check and will soon be forgotten.

Three of the A-list records were among the pile I pulled out as strong prospects when trying to wrap up April Streamnotes: Kira Kira, the two Henry Threadgill; the others in that pile scored high B+: Angelika Niescier and Samo Salamon B+. Cardi B and Janelle MonŠe are perhaps the most anticipated pop/rap albums of the season. Cardi B won Pazz & Jop's singles category last year, and that single is on the album, where it doesn't even stand out like hit singles usually do. MonŠe's album temporarily topped Album of the Year. (It's since slipped to 4th, but with 28 reviews, vs. an average of 10 for the three records above it. I haven't heard those three yet, but will look for them next week.) Good chance both records will place top ten in this year's EOY aggregates -- not that my grades have any sway or much correlation there. For whatever it's worth, I got to Cardi B (and to Princess Nokia) before Christgau published last week (both records were on Phil Overeem's list, as was Ceramic Dog's YRU Still Here? and a few other things I listened to but didn't like as much).

Christgau reviewed Willie Nelson the week before, but the record didn't show up on Napster until some time last week. The old Tommy Flanagan record popped up as a "new featured" release, as did Van Morrison and the also-ran Blue Note jazz. I was reminded of Tune-Yards by Michael Tatum, who also has a new "Hall of Records" post on The Rolling Stones, Out of Our Heads (US edition). Playing this now on Napster, just because it was easier to dig out. I know I have the CD somewhere, graded A, but no note on whether it's US or UK edition, so my copy probably predates the reissue that made the distinction. I vividly remember buying "Satisfaction" as a single, thinking it was the greatest thing I had ever heard (and also loving the back side, "The Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man"), but I didn't buy a Stones LP until High Tide and Green Grass. Hard in those days to scrape together enough money to buy a record. Guess I made up for that later.

I can't recall when the last time I had no new mail to unpack was. Nothing today either. Still getting links for downloads but most of them go into the trash immediately. (Exceptions today: a William Parker 3-CD box, Voices Fall From the Sky, and new work from Matt Lavelle. I also kept Posi-Tone's latest link, but can't say I've been very diligent about following them since I stopped getting CDs.) I suppose the good news is less filing, and less clutter. But I've already lost that battle.

Looking forward to a week where there's virtually nothing I have to do.

New records rated this week:

  • Cardi B: Invasion of Privacy (2018, Atlantic): [r]: A-
  • Kenny Barron Quintet: Concentric Circles (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B+(**)
  • Terence Blanchard: Live (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Ceramic Dog: YRU Still Here? (2018, Northern Spy): [r]: A-
  • Chamber 3: Transatlantic (2016 [2018], OA2): [cd]: B+(*)
  • The Nels Cline 4: Currents Constellations (2017 [2018], Blue Note): [r]: B+(*)
  • Elysia Crampton: Elysia Crampton (2018, Break World, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Czarface/MF Doom: Czarface Meets Metal Face (2018, Silver Age): [r]: A-
  • Dave Gisler Trio: Rabbits on the Run (2017 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Kira Kira: Bright Force (2017 [2018], Libra): [cd]: A-
  • Janelle MonŠe: Dirty Computer (2018, Bad Boy): [r]: A-
  • Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco: You're Driving Me Crazy (2018, Legacy): [r]: B+(**)
  • Willie Nelson: Last Man Standing (2018, Legacy): [r]: A-
  • Angelika Niescier Trio: The Berlin Concert (2017 [2018], Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Princess Nokia: A Girl Cried Red (2018, Rough Trade, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Samo Salamon/Tony Malaby/Roberto Dani: Traveling Moving Breathing (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Rob Schwimmer: Heart of Hearing (2018, Sunken Heights Music): [cd]: B-
  • Susana Santos Silva: All the Rivers: Live at Pante„o Nacional (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Sonar With David Torn: Vortex (2017 [2018], RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(***)
  • Henry Threadgill: Double Up, Plays Double Up Plus (2017 [2018], Pi): [cd]: A-
  • Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg: Dirt . . . and More Dirt (2017 [2018], Pi): [cd]: A-
  • Tune-Yards: I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life (2018, 4AD): [r]: B

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Eliane Elias: Music From Man of La Mancha (1995 [2018], Concord): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Tommy Flanagan: Giant Steps: In Memory of John Coltrane (1982, Enja): [r]: A-

Unpacking: Nothing in the mail last week.


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