JG Thirlwell: Best Of 2011

Published on December 31st, 2011 in: Art, Best Of Lists, Movies, Music |

shining blackjazz

Here is some popular music I have been digging this year.

Some on this list came out this year and some didn’t.

Emeralds, Does It Look Like I’m Here?
Jaga Jazzist, One Armed Bandit
Shining, Blackjazz
Oh No Ono, Eggs
Amon Tobin, ISAM
Tim Hecker; Ravedeath, 1972
Poul Ruders; Dramaphonia, etc.
Various Artists, Tradi-Mods vs. Rockers: Alternative Takes on Congotronics
Liturgy, Aesthethica
PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
5uu’s, Regarding Purgatories
Thinking Plague, A History Of Madness/In Extremis
Elysian Fields, Last Night on Earth
Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy Soundtrack
Radiohead, The King Of Limbs
Sentieri Selvaggi, Zingiber
These New Puritans, Hidden
Jean-Claude Vannier, Electro Rapide
John Luther Adams, Earth and the Great Weather
Michael Gordon, Timber (which also has the best packaging of the year . . . it comes in to 5 1/2 ” x 5 1/2″ slabs of wood which open on tiny brass hinges to reveal the CD and booklet nestled into the wood in relief. It stays shut with a tiny magnet.)

As I say each year in what has now become an annual tradition, my main musical diet is classical, contemporary composition, soundtracks, and prog rock.

Here are some of the best performances I was lucky enough to witness in 2011. All in NYC unless otherwise noted.

1/20 So Percussion/Dan Deacon: Ecstatic Music Festival, Merkin Hall (Deacon did a great audience instruction piece)
1/28 Juilliard Orchestra: Portrait of Lutoslawski, Lincoln Center
1/29 Utopia, Highline Ballroom (the proggy bits)
2/17 eighth blackbird, red fish blue fish, and Newspeak play Rzewski, Cage, Andriessen, etc.: Tune-in Music Festival, Park Ave Armory
3/7 Tyondai Braxton playing Central Market with Wordless Music Orchestra: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
3/9 Simon Whetham, Experimental Intermedia
3/24-25 Michel Chion/Ghédalia Tazartès: Café Oto, London
3/31 John Zorn, Schoenberg, Feldman: Monodramas, New York City Opera (incredible staging)
4/19-20 PJ Harvey, Terminal 5 (so good I went twice)
5/11 Nik Zinner’s 41 Strings, Good Units
5/24 Talea Ensemble play Olga Neuwirth, Bohemian National Hall
6/2 Liturgy/Sightings, Knitting Factory
6/4 Mountains/Forma: The Schoolhouse, Bushwick
6/29 David Borden/Mother Mallard, Issue Project Room
7/21 The Monkees, Coney Island
9/12 Wolves in the Throne Room, The Bell House
9/23 Felix Kubin, New Museum
10/1 The Pop Group/Swans/Battles: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Asbury Park (Swans are at their height)
10/2 Portishead: All Tomorrow’s Parties, Asbury Park
10/6 James Blake, Music Hall of Williamsburg
10/13 AXIOM play Grisey, Lindberg, Birtwistle; Peter Jay Sharp Theater
10/27 Amon Tobin, Brooklyn Masonic Temple (mindblowing visuals)
11/22 Thinking Plague, The Stone
11/29 Doctor Nerve, The Stone
12/8 Cheap Trick: Paramount Theater; Huntington, Long Island
12/9 John Zorn, Miller Theater followed by a chilling organ recital by JZ at St Paul’s Chapel
12/13 Anna Calvi, Music Hall of Williamsburg
12/20 Ben Greenberg’s Hubble project, Zebulon
12/23 Pussy Galore, Maxwell’s

. . . as well as these notable performance “events” which delighted:

Christian Marclay, “The Clock” at Paula Cooper Gallery
Ryoji Ikeda, The Armory
John Adams, “Nixon In China” at The Metropolitan Opera
Karen O’s “Stop The Virgens” opera, St. Ann’s Warehouse
Guy Maddin’s Tales From The Gimli Hospital for Performa, Lincoln Center
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc rescored by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) with a 26-piece ensemble, Lincoln Center

And some films I dug:

Melancholia
The Shock Doctrine
Possession (revival at Film Forum)
Neds
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Mesrine
Rare Exports

Goodbye 2011 and good riddance. Here’s to a sensational rest-of-days.

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