Beach Music 2014

Not Dick Dale, stuff to plug into your ears for the summer, with more mileage and staying power than the paperbacks you’ll be using to shield your face from the sun:

  • No Lands, Negative Space: a lush, inventive and enveloping debut from electronic musician Michael Hammond.
  • Maya Beiser, Uncovered: An album of ‘classic’ rock songs (Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Nirvana), and the arrangements by Evan Ziporyn and Beiser’s playing are tougher than leather.
  • Lenny Pickett & the UMO, The Prescription: A fantastic blend of jazz and funk from one of the greatest contemporary musicians, soulful to the extreme.
  • Paul O’Dette, My Favorite Dowland: lovely and mesmerizing, an ideal pairing of composer and artist.
  • Dave Seidel, ~60 Hz: a cogent example of how utter focus and discipline can produce expansive results.
  • Brian Charette, The Question That Drives Us: Jazz organ is one of the classic sounds of summer, and this ensemble record from the excellent Charette is full of imaginative tunes, arrangements and playing.
  • Peter Söderberg, On the Carpet of Leaves Illuminated by the Moon: Don’t be surprised there are two lute albums on this list, beach music stretches between funk and quiet—this in an illuminating and beautiful set of ultra-contemporary music played on the gentlest of instruments.
  • Bora Yoon, Sunken Cathedral: Yoon’s album is a rich, long-from composition for voice and electronics, the resonant surface never obscuring the fundamental strength and mystery of her musical thinking.
  • Ursula Oppens, Bruce Brubaker, Meredith Monk: Piano Songs: A terrific set of piano music, one of the most consistently fine collections of Monk’s compositions—the music leads the ear on to wonders.
  • Cypress String Quartet, Schubert: String Quintet and Quarettsatz: As we all eagerly await more Beethoven from this ensemble, we can enjoy their excellent balance of intelligence, elegance and strength.
  • Emilie Wiebel, Omoo: Unclassifiable and engrossing vocals and electronic production, that moves from ambient sounds to a hip take on Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints.”
  • Theo Croker, Afro Physicist: Call it smart funk, jazz for the feet, groin and head, I call it pretty great music.

Get all of these, and don’t forget the sunblock.


Author: gtra1n

I'm a composer and musician, and I write about music—I do that here, for the New York Classical Review, at the Brooklyn Rail (I edit the music section there) and any place else that will have me, like New Music Box and Music & Literature. I also wrote the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew book in the 33 1/3 series.