Articles
2011 Top 10s and 20s
Spotlight 4

Albums
Akhet
Cory Allen
Alva Noto
Aun
Bass Communion
Alexander Berne
Birds Passage / Rosado
The Black Dog
BNJMN
Ursula Bogner
Cokiyu
Steve Coleman
Cubenx
Mats Eilertsen
Elektro Guzzi
eleventhfloorrecords
Ben Fleury-Steiner
Golden Gardens
Goldmund
Thom Gossage
Steve Hauschildt
Helvacioglu & Pancaroglu
Illuha
Larkian & Yellow6
Clem Leek
Mamerico
Milyoo
Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Nao
Yann Novak
Sasajima & Hirao
Scissors And Sellotape
Ryan Scott
Till von Sein
Shaula
The Silent Section
Scott Solter
Spheruleus
Talkingmakesnosense
thisquietarmy
Anna Thorvaldsdottir
tINI
Tycho

Newly Issued
The Beach Boys

Compilations / Mixes
Deetron
Mike Huckaby
Radio Slave
Rebel Rave 2: Droog

EPs
Thavius Beck
Niccolò Bianchi
Falko Brocksieper
Alex Cobb & Aquarelle
Deru
Everything Is
Ed Hamilton
Hammock
Herzog
Oknai
SlowPitch
Tracey Thorn
Damian Valles

Zomes: Improvisations
Thrill Jockey

Like some dust-covered artefact from a bygone era, Improvisations' three extended meditations play like home-recorded organ-harmonium improvs recorded in some Lower Manhattan loft during the late 60s. Close your eyes and you might find images of LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela forming in your mind, just as you might also anticipate hearing Pandit Pran Nath's voice entering at any moment to deepen further the music's raga-drone vibe. That Improvisations was recorded to cassette tape doesn't surprise, given that it sounds as if someone stumbled upon decaying tapes stashed away for decades in some seldom-visited library of archival recordings.

Arriving as it does after Earth Grid, the LP-only Improvisations is the second Zomes release on Thrill Jockey by Lungfish member Asa Osborne. The album's thirty-four minutes of simple keyboard patterns induce a state of peaceful calm in the listener susceptible to the recording's lo-fi charms, and the three pieces (fifteen, ten, and eight minutes in length) cast the listener adrift upon a lulling sea of melodic ripples that blossom relaxedly against insistently droning pedal points. Fuzzy keyboard patterns blissfully advance and recede, swell in volume and then fade, with all of it grandly wheezing in slow-motion expansions and contractions. There's no question that the recording plays like some out-of-time survivor from decades past, but that doesn't mean it lacks appeal. If anything, the material's lo-fi quality renders Improvisations all the more endearing, an impression bolstered by its sounding so much like a rarity.

February 2012