OK, now this is really the last edition of the series, the rest of which you can read here. This time we've got Kurt Gottschalk and Jeffrey Davison up to bat.
Kurt Gottschalk's Top 1 Record Labels of 2011
I am a horrible listener: Fickle, inattentive, in constant need of amusement and novelty. It’s true that I would gladly listen to Prince or David Murray solos every chance I get for another 20 years, but for the most part I’m interested in nothing quite so much as something unusual. Novelty, all too often perhaps, trumps artistic merit. I’m willing to admit it.
The thirst for the fresh is hard to keep quenched, of course. It’s an upriver battle. The more you hear, the more things there are for new things you hear to sound like. So when something comes along which is both fresh and artistically stunning, I get excited.
I’ve hosted the text and sound artist Alessandro Bosetti on the WFMU waves twice: once with his Mask Mirror project and again with the Japanese audio artist Adachi Tomomi. His 22-minute and wonderfully repetitive piece “Exposé #10” even became something of a minor and controversial hit on Miniature Minotaurs. After seeing his band Trophies – perhaps the pinnacle of his text-with-music works – I’ve been eagerly awaiting a recording debut.
When it finally came, it was on Monotype, a Polish label with which I was only passingly familiar despite the fact that they had some three dozen releases in their catalog. Become Objects of Daily Use came out in July of 2011, only a few months after another Bosetti disc, Royals, which also built extended melodies out of the cadence of repeated, spoken phrases.
My attention – ordinarily too distracted by balloons and shiny objects – was focused, and I soon found other remarkable releases from the label’s 2011 catalog, including an amazing processed drum drone piece by Lasse Marhaug and Mark Wastell called Kiss of Acid and a fantastic collection of field recording based pieces by Lionel Marchetti called Une saison. It feels good to be this excited about a record label. But the taste, of course, is twofold bittersweet. Monotype will now not just have to continue this level of excellence but raise it to keep hold of the off-kilter carousel of my whimsy. And failing that, the bar is just that much higher for the next contender.
Alessandro Bosetti – Gloriously Repeating (excerpt) (MP3) | Trophies – This is not the same as chanting (excerpt) (MP3) | Lasse Marhaug / Mark Wastell: Kiss of Acid (excerpt) (MP3) | Lionel Marchetti: La Grande Vallée (excerpt) (MP3)
Read Jeffrey Davison's placid and psychedelic folk picks of 2011 beneath the fold...
Jeffrey Davison's Favorites of 2011
Marisa Anderson The Golden Hour (Mississippi)
Meg Baird Seasons on Earth (Drag City)
Allysen Callery Winter Island (Woodland Recordings)
Pat Conte Folk Music of the United States: American Songs With Fiddle and Banjo (Jalopy)
Danny Paul Grody In Search of Light (Students of Decay)
Hallock Hill The Union (Hundred Acre)
Heresy of the Free Spirit A Prayer For Light (Incunabulum)
Metal Mountains Golden Trees (Amish)
Josh T. Pearson Last of the Country Gentlemen (Mute)
Gillian Welch The Harrow and the Harvest (Acony)
Tia Blake Folksongs and Ballads (Asphodel)
Veronique Chalot A L'Entree Du Temps Clair (Get Back)
Sandy Denny 19 Rupert Street (Witchwood Media)
John Fahey Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You: The Fonotone Years 1958-1965 (Dust-to-Digital)
Susan Pillsbury (self-titled) (Sunbeam)
Almost top ten, or earlier releases only heard in 2011:
Arborea Red Planet (Strange Attractors)
Ed Askew Imperfiction (Drag City/Galactic Zoo)
Julianna Barwick The Magic Place (Asthmatic Kitty)
Janina Angel Bath Gypsy (Prophase, 2010)
Heather Woods Broderick From the Ground (Preservation, 2009)
Brown Bird Salt for Salt (Supply & Demand)
East River String Band Be Kind to a Man When He's Down (East River)
Marissa Nadler (self-titled) (Box of Cedar)
Richard Skelton Landings (Type, 2010)
Ben Weaver Mirepoix and Smoke (Bloodshot, 2010)