Monday, February 4, 2019

Music Week

Music: current count 31062 [30033] rated (+29), 253 [251] unrated (+2).

Rated count down from 40+ in recent weeks, mostly because I finally took the time to plow through Anthony Braxton's 11-CD Sextet (Parker) 1993 (on Bandcamp). Only gave it one pass (spread over three days), but loved nearly every minute of it. I pulled the original 1995 2-CD release out, Charlie Parker Project 1993, thinking it might be time to bump it up from A-, and played the live disc in the car today, but couldn't hear enough to make much difference. There is more super-long Braxton on his Bandcamp, if I ever find time to dig into it.

January 2019 Streamnotes appeared last week, with 201 record reviews. That is up from 138 in December, 186 in August (the most of any 2018 month). I looked back through 2013 and didn't find a month/column with more records (185 in November 2013 was the highest 2013-17 total). As I noted back on August 30, 2018, my single column record was 206 records on November 8, 2009, but that was before I settled on monthly posts, so covered 41 days.

I've thought a bit about going back to posting weekly, which would basically mean 20-40 records per post. I could still collect them in monthly files for archival purposes. Doing it weekly would be timelier, and involve more easily digested chunks. It's also been suggested that I should hold back reviews until release dates. Readers noted that of the 8 2019 A/A- releases I touted in January, only 3 had actually been released when my column came out. No commitment yet, but I'll think about that.

I decided that for album tracking purposes, 2018 ended on January 31, 2019 -- the date of my frozen album list. I'll keep adding records to the working album list until January 31, 2020 (a month later than my usual deadline, as I noticed this year that I was finding out about late 2017 releases only when I saw 2018 EOY lists). These are marked in a distinct color, which helps me keep track of some stats. I'm still adding records to the 2018 Jazz and Non-Jazz best-of lists, and will probably do that well into next fall. I'm also still adding to the Music Tracking 2018 file, but the rate has slowed down as I've largely stopped adding to the 2018 EOY Aggregate (and its reissues/old music edition). The Music Tracking file is the easiest way I have of counting how many 2018 releases I've heard/graded: 1091. This also shows that the jazz share was 735 (67.3%). Some other genre totals: hip-hop (88), electronica (38), country (33), world (32), metal (3). Some other genres have switches, but I don't have data for them to use.

I figured out a solution to the database update character set problem I mentioned last week. Importing an ISO-8859-1 mysqldump file using PhpMyAdmin somehow corrupts the file, even with explicit character set flags. But the command line interface read the file correctly, and once stored in the database the PHP code was able to handle it correctly. I was also able to fix a problem with the RSS feed, where the HTTP header and XML header were reporting different character sets. I'm still confused by Firefox, where the "Page Info" dialog still claims "text encoding: windows-1252." I hate it when diagnostic tools lie to you -- in part because you have to prove that no other explanation is possible, and that's a lot more work than finding a workaround -- but that seems to be the case here.

I did finally manage to port the RSS code I wrote for Christgau back to my own website. Same basic problem in that I have to manually edit the description file. I've never used RSS, and was surprised to find that built-in support for it was recently dropped by Firefox. In principle, it should be very useful for me -- especially when compiling Weekend Roundup posts. If you can recommend a reader, let me know. Also let me know if you're having any problems with these RSS feeds. I still intend to port the Q&A system. Shouldn't be much work, especially now that I seem to be working my way past some of the technical problems I've been plagued with recently. Next priority issue for me is to be able to reboot my main machine cleanly. At the moment, I have a batch of software updates waiting reboot. Would be good to post this update before I risk that.

New records rated this week:

  • Armand Hammer: Paraffin (2018, Backwoodz Studioz): [r]: B+(**)
  • Bhad Bhabie: 15 (2018, BHAD Music): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jon Cleary: Dyna-Mite (2018, FHQ): [r]: B+(*)
  • Elvis Costello & the Imposters: Look Now (2018, Concord): [r]: B-
  • Marilyn Crispell/Tanya Kalmanovitch/Richard Teitelbaum: Dream Libretto (2018, Leo): [r]: B+(*)
  • Stephan Crump's Rosetta Trio: Outliers (2017 [2019], Papillon): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Dessa: Chime (2018, Doomtree): [r]: A-
  • Yelena Eckemoff/Manu Katché: Colors (2017 [2019], L&H Production): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Scott Hamilton Trio: Live at Pyatt Hall (2017 [2018], Cellar Live): [r]: B+(**)
  • Heroes Are Gang Leaders: The Amiri Baraka Sessions (2014-15 [2019], Flat Langston's Arkeyes): [cd]: A
  • Julia Holter: Aviary (2018, Domino): [r]: B
  • Sarathy Korwar and Upaj Collective: My East Is Your West (2018, Gearbox): [r]: B+(**)
  • Joe Lovano: Trio Tapestry (2018 [2019], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Ahmoudou Madassane: Zerzura (2018, Sahel Sounds): [r]: B+(**)
  • Metric: Art of Doubt (2018, Metric/BMG): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: The Prophet Speaks (2018, Exile): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jim Piela: Out of Orbit (2018 [2019], Orenda): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Popcaan: Forever (2018, Mixpak): [r]: B+(**)
  • Protoje: A Matter of Time (2018, Easy Star): [r]: B+(*)
  • Zhenya Strigalev: Blues for Maggie (2017 [2018], Whirlwind): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Tony Tixier: Life of Sensitive Creatures (2016 [2017], Whirlwind): [bc]: B+(**)
  • The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note: Global Reach (2018 [2019], self-released): [cd]: C
  • Nate Wooley & Torben Snekkestad: Of Echoing Bronze (2015 [2018], Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B

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

  • Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 (1993 [2018], New Braxton House, 11CD): [bc]: A-
  • Asnake Gebreyes: Ahadu (1988 [2018], Buda Musique): [r]: B+(***)
  • Oneness of Juju: African Rhythms (1975 [2018], Strut): [r]: B+(*)
  • The Paranoid Style: Rock & Roll Just Can't Recall + 3 (2015 [2018], Bar/None, EP): [r]: B+(***)
  • Cecil Taylor: Conversations With Tony Oxley (2008 [2018], Jazzwerkstatt): [r]: A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Ehud Asherie Trio: Wild Man Blues (Capri): March 15
  • Nick Grinder: Farallon (self-released)
  • Jim Piela: Out of Orbit (Orenda)
  • Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi): February 22