Taking stock, a year half over
The Ex & Brass UnboundEnormous Door (Ex Records) Federico UghiFederico Ughi Quartet (FMR) Rachel Musson/Mark Sanders/Steve NobleTatterdemalion (Babel) Matt ParkerWorlds Put Together (BYNK) Petr CancuraDown Home (Roots To Boot) Hashem Assadullahi QuintetPieces (OA2) Frank RosalyCicada Music (Delmark) Fire! OrchestraExit! (Rune Grammofon) Ken Vandermark/Made To BreakLacerba (Clean Feed) Steve ColemanFunctional Arrythmias (Pi) Ivo PerelmanSerendipity (Leo) Gilad HekselmanThis Just In (Jazz Village) Peter EvansZebulon (More Is More) Rudresh MahanthappaGamak (ACT) John McNeilHush Point (Sunnyside) Mats Gustafsson/Merzbow/Balazs PandiCuts (Rare Noise)
But wait, there's more to consider for this year's best of lists. The Spaceways' galaxy is ever expanding...
São Paulo Underground Beija Flors Velho E Sujo Cuneiform 2013
Beija Flors Velho E Sujo is the fourth release from the Brazil/Chicago trio São Paulo Underground. It's the band's second disc for Cuneiform Records, following Três Cabeças Loucuras (2011). The band's first two efforts can be heard on Aesthetics Records label. Like the city of São Paulo itself, the music is crowded, joyous, messy, and both modern and primitive. Recorded in Chicago after an acclaimed North American tour in 2012, the disc opens with a tsunami of sound. Guilherme Granado's bass synth motor blares distorted waves on "Ol' Dirty Hummingbird" like a punch to the solar plexus, as the percussion induces movement. Their sound draws from the new tropicalia electronic movement and the work of cornetist Rob Mazurek's Chicago Underground bands. Like a futurist rendering of technology incorporated into the jungles of the Amazon basin, the altered DNA of this South-meets-North American collaboration could be a soundtrack for a Philip K. Dick sci-fi novel ghost written by Roberto Bolãno. Granado and Mauricio Takara, are both members of Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra and have dabbled in rock and hardcore musics. This trio has now established itself as the heir to bands like Tortoise, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Collections of Colonies of Bees. They can take a classic piece like Harold Arlen's "Over The Rainbow" as Sun Ra could, configure it to have a rough exterior while remaining sincere. The band's clash of fuzzy electronics, percussion and melody is definitely urban, but the jungle's entropy has subverted the sounds of the metropolis. "Taking Back the Sea Is No Easy Task" applies noise to rhythm and hints at Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" as it unwinds itself into a wilderness of sound.
Chris Kelsey & What I Say The Electric Miles Project Self Produced 2013