albums of the year

so there it was then. not one of the best years for a lot of reasons, but they're outside the scope of this essentially superficial and frothy blog, for which we should be thankful.


so i'm sure you're dying to know - what were peter's most nicest records of 2010? unusually, i liked quite a few this year, though for most of the time i seem to be listening to stuff made before i was born or at least while i was in short trousers.

s. carey - all we grow
this is a ludicrously beautiful record. kind of like a less precious and clever sufjan stevens maybe. minimalist but lush and often really moving. at least i thought so. thanks to rory for pushing this one my way.

john zorn - the goddess
every now and again zorn comes up with a corker - the problem is finding them in his ludicrously huge release schedule. marc ribot is especially wondrous on this. some beautiful writing - reminds me a bit of something mike gibbs might have written in the late 60s - shades of carla bley and gary burton's 'a genuine tong funeral' too.

rumer - seasons of my soul
sadsack MOR devotee that i am, i found this largely irresistible. yeah, it sounds like a lot of other things but that's why i like it.

stian westerhus - pitch black star spangled
at the other end of the scale. this is dark as fuck, as my mother might have said (not really). somewhere between sonny sharrock and keith rowe but not like them or anything much else.

christopher willitts - tiger flower circle sun
this has rarely been off my personal stereo over the last couple of months. good music for winter walking though not quite as individual as his previous, surf boundaries. mr willitts himself is claearly an unreconstructed hippy judging from the way he writes and talks about his music, but i can ignore that.

frazey ford - obadiah
lucy got me in to the be good tanyas a few years back, for which i'm eternally grateful. i like the willie mitchell type production on this album - the band really get that tight but loose vibe down that you hear on those al green or ann peebles records. and trish klein is one of my favourite guitarists.

exploding star orchestra - stars have shapes
i liked this one a lot. kind of the AACM goes electronical. i can't help wondering how they get the money together to take a band this size out on the road.

clang sayne

live in brighton, back in august.

captain's gone

don van vliet has died. we were obviously unlikely to see another album from him, but nevertheless, it's a sad time for devotees of the long lunar note. chris has written a rather lovely and thoughtful post on his blog, so there's no need for me to say much here, other than to post my favourite picture of a rock group ever.

city of lost angels

last week i had the pleasure of playing in petra jean phillipson's band for a short run of a performance of 'city of lost angels', a sort of gig/dance performance at notting hill's print room based around petra's rather wonderful album 'notes on death'. other members of the band were mr paul may on the drums, guitarist fred lyenn jacques and nell catchpole on viola. also featured were fontane liang (harp) and joanne leigh gibson, whose opening treated tuba improv was pretty transcendent.

the performance was not without challenges and was pretty far removed from the concept of a standard gig; it took place in the round with the band members on plinths in each corner of the space, and of course the arrangements had to be pretty tight in order not to screw up the choreography (four dancers made up the company and did an amazing job, particularly on the last night when the place was extremely crowded). but we managed to pull it off. the second night was my favourite - it seemed to crackle with energy. this FT review is from the first night.