Favorite music in 2021

The biggest musical event this year was Skylar. She gave me a lot of good music and led me to explore R&B more. Cheers to Skylar!

Favorite Artists

  • Arthur Russell. He is a main reason I wanted to make this article. Colleen says it best, in that after listening to him, she felt “OK, no, I can actually, I can do whatever the hell I want to do because this other person has done it”.
  • John Fahey. I categorize him with the Ethiopian pianist Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou with his mix of folk/blues, classical, and drone. He’s also similar to Miles Davis in a way: where Miles brought jazz to rock, Fahey brings blues guitar to a certain type of rock.
  • Brian Eno — mainly Another Green World
  • Sonic Youth. Some people get into experimental stuff via rock. With Sonic Youth I would say I got into harder alt rock via their experimental stuff.
  • Kendrick Lamar. I’m terrible at paying attention to lyrics, so I knew I would have to up my game listening to him. The investment was paid back manyfold. Gave me that moment listening where I vividly felt like I was experiencing creative genius at work.

Favorite Albums

  • Out of the Blue, Blue Gene Tyranny. A hidden gem of perfection, another one I feel the need to spread the word about.
  • m b v, my bloody valentine. This album seems so innovative it makes me feel like I will never come up with anything original in comparison.
  • Promises, Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders
  • The Terror by the Flaming Lips
  • World of Echo, Arthur Russell
  • Another Green World, Brian Eno
  • Public Strain, Women
  • Daydream Nation and Sister, Sonic Youth
  • Zaireeka, the Flaming Lips, which now has some songs on Spotify via the new The Soft Bulletin Companion album.
  • Jinx by Crumb
  • To Pimp a Butterfly and good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar. DAMN still feels like an album of singles to me.

Special mention: Get Back, the Beatles documentary. I’m tempted to say this is the best music item of the year entirely. Creative collaboration with others is one of the joys of life and this documentary inspired me to continue seeking it out.

Shoutout also to Sun Ra, Thundercat, Frank Ocean, Jon Hassell, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Fleetwood Mac, Cindy Lee, Colleen, Andrew Bernstein, Curtis Mayfield, Low, the Avalanches, Column, the Apples in Stereo, Grouper, Spirit of the Beehive, Daft Punk, L’Rain, and Tirzah.

Shoutout lastly to WRFI in Ithaca and the O’Brien System NTS radio show! I think I need to explore radio shows more in 2022.

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