bookmark_borderOne Reason I Still Buy Music on CD

When you buy an actual physical CD from a band you want to support that doesn’t have their music in physical stores, they often include a thank-you note, which is a charming bit of memorabilia.

Thanks from Martin of Wintergatan
Thank You note

‘Wintergatan’ is a band from Sweden. Martin Molin is the composer of (all?) their music, and the designer/builder/operator of the musical Marble Machine in this now classic YouTube video. He is currently working on the next generation Marble Machine X, and posting videos of the whole process. I decided to buy a physical copy of their 2013 album to support the process while they can’t get into the studio to record their next album or go on tour.

Such exciting things come out of musicians these days, if you ask me.

bookmark_borderPlaylist 2020

Each year, as I acquire new music (Still mostly purchased on CD then ripped to MP3, though an increasing amount of music is only available as digital downloads.), I add new tracks to a yearly playlist for occasional review and December retrospective use. This was 2020 (in order of acquisition):

  1. Bladerunner 2049 Original Soundtrack
    Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch
  2. Arrival Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Johann Johannsson
  3. The Blue Notebooks
    Max Richter
  4. Decksanddrumsandrockandroll
    Propellerheads
  5. Ad Astra Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Max Richter
  6. Asbury Park Live 8/8/13
    They Might Be Giants
  7. 2020
    Zombi
  8. Les Revenants
    Mogwai
  9. Beethoven or Bust
    Don Dorsey
  10. Chemical Chords
    Stereolab
  11. Cloud Atlas Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil
  12. Pieces in a Modern Style 2
    William Orbit
  13. Good
    Morphine
  14. Adrian Legg Live
    Adrian Legg
  15. Dead Bankers
    Adrian Legg
  16. The Ambient Collection
    Art of Noise
  17. Evans City
    Zombi
  18. Interstellar; Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
    Hans Zimmer

As usual, lots of soundtracks and old friends. Both Sharon and I adore the movie Arrival, which set off a big Max Richter kick for us this year. Some of the artists I like who have strong followings, but not large enough followings to interest major music outlets, have switched to online self-releasing, like They Might Be Giants and Adrian Legg. Zombi put out their first new album in years, followed by an EP of some work they did for a Night of the Living Dead (Filmed in Evans City, PA. Check out that “Sound Engineer” credit for Sharon’s dad.) tribute event. I also found an online site for a chain of stores in Maine that had a bunch of CDs that have been on my “Wanted” list for years, just to explain some of the older stuff (8 through 13) on here. The Art of Noise album was the only thing I saw that I wanted on the new Tower Records online store.

bookmark_borderWZUM

Pittsburgh has been without a Jazz radio station since Duquesne University sold WDUQ to a bunch of consultants who turned it into a talk radio station.

Now, we have WZUM at 101.1 which was founded by a passel of people from the old WDUQ stable. About jazzin’ time, if you ask me.

bookmark_borderMusic of 2019

What albums did I acquire in 2019?

Elbow, Giants of All Sizes (2019)
The new album from Elbow, I don’t have quite the emotional attachment to this album as I do Seldom Seen Kid, but these elbums tend to grow on me over time.
Laurie Anderson et al., Songs from the Bardo (2019)
Performed with a large number of other artists, this is not an album of “songs”, but a set of lessons for you to memorize so that you can recall them when you are in the bardo, the place where you are after your body dies. If you can remember and follow the instructions, you will achieve enlightenment. Heavy stuff.
Eric Johnson, Collage (2017)
Catching up on things that were released in years previous, that I wasn’t paying enough attention to notice, this is EJ’s return to electric performance after the next album on this list.
Eric Johnson, ej (2016)
Catching up, this album is all acoustic recordings of various works.
R.E.M., Accelerate (2008)
For some reason, neither Sharon nor I bought this album when it came out, even though I have purchased all of their albums since this one.
The Cars, Move Like This (2011)
Back from the dead after their ascension to Valhalla, The Cars released this album to absolutely no notice that I can remember. I can’t even listen to it. I have no emotional connection to any of this, and can’t force myself to make one.
Smithsonian Folkways, Japan: Semiclassical and Folk Music (1974)
More background music for Pennsic, this joins the library of stuff I bought for last year. It’s probably not historical, but it’s mostly premodern and very Japanese. Some of it really rocks, actually.
Various Artists, Twin Peaks; Music from the Limited Event Series (2017)
I loved the way each episode of the limited series ended in the roadhouse bar, with some band playing. I could have done with less Z. Z. Top and more Silencio, but I will take this, no question. Some cool stuff on this.
Various Artists, Twin Peaks; Limited Event Series Soundtrack (2017)
Angelo, speak to me with your fingers and toes.
Steve Moore, Beloved Exile (2019)
A solo album from one half of Zombi, I wasn’t going to buy this at all, but his label kept promoting it on YouTube, and eventually I realized that I like it a lot. Still want a new Zombi album, but this is good.
Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet, Landfall (2017)
A series of musical monologues where Laurie talks about experiences surrounding Hurricane Sandy. It’s full of metaphors for love and loss over time, and you shouldn’t miss it.
Joe Satriani, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards (2010)
Catching up, here is more Joe Satriani.
Toto, Dune; Original Soundtrack Recording (1984)
Picked this up used, and could not put it down. Who doesn’t love this jaw-dropping soundtrack to this notoriously impenetrable film?
Joe Satriani, What Happens Next (2018)
Started out the new year buying an album that came out in just the previous year. Not quite catching up.
MONO, Nowhere, Now Here (2019)
new album by Japanese band MONO. “Mono” means something like “thing” in Japanese, so it’s not a bad label for this crazy group. I don’t keep up with their live recordings, but their studio albums are must-buys for me.
Jean-Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Infinity (2018)
Jean-Michel really takes it back. Sharon has the other Equinoxe, so I wanted to build. He’s on the same label as Mono, is the only reason I knew these were out.
Jean-Michel Jarre, Oxygene 3 (2016)
I have the first two parts of the Oxygene triptych, and didn’t realize this had come out. This is totally an Oxygene album. All new music, but all one with the others. You can really play them in a row and not know where one ends and the next begins.
Joe Satriani, Shockwave Supernova (2015)
Catching up, you bet. I can’t really point to huge standout works on any of these recent Satriani albums, but more of the same is still more of great stuff, so I am perfectly willing to help Joe buy groceries.

A pretty big year for my music collection, actually. I was employed for ten months out of twelve, which tends to make me feel well-funded and in a mood to support the artists I love.