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2013-01-07 by Fat Henry

Fat Henry's Top 10 Albums of 2012

It's been a while since I was doing any writing here at Gube, but I thought I would share my Top 10 albums of 2012, mainly because they're (mostly!) a different bunch of albums from those chosen by Bugge.

They're in no particular order, as I really couldn't choose between them.

1. Year of the Bullet - Greta Aagre & Erik Honoré

A beautiful album by the duo formerly known as Elsewhere. For me, the tracks "Birth Mark" and "Year Of The Bullet" stand out in particular, but I've found myself embroiled in a few debates about this. Sure sign of a GREAT album!

2. Wild Dog - Susanna

Another female vocal, this time by one of the brightest young stars. Susanna's track record has been superb, and this album offers much that led to it spending a lot of time going through my speakers :)

3. Dream Logic - Eivind Aarset

An ECM debut for a long-time member of the Jazzland Recordings community. This album is produced by Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, and the result is a darker (but not in the ominous sense), more atmospheric album than any Aarset has produced so far. And in many ways, it may just be his best yet.

4. The Matriarch and The Wrong Kind Of Flowers - Stian Westerhus

And after Aarset came Westerhus ... :) While his live playing can be a little overpowering at times, his recordings never fail to deliver something possessed of a different kind of beauty to the majority of musicians at work today.

5. Didymoi Dreams - Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus

And from Stian alone to Stian and Sidsel. It was Sidsel's 60th birthday in 2012 (and most justly celebrated in a superb set of musical performances at the Nasjonal Jazzscene at Victoria). This album demonstrates her continued journey into unexplored territories, and Stian shows he is an ideal travelling companion with knowledge of different paths through the same musical landscapes.

6. Infinite Gratitude - Knut Reiersrud Band & Trondheimsolistene

Well ... First off, I'm a sucker for Knut Reiersrud ... Just the very idea of taking classical pieces and using them for improvisation appeals to me as well ... And of course, anyone who has listened to Trondheimsolistene knows they are a top quality ensemble ... So, this, basically, has been playing daily in my house since release. Wonderful!

7. The Cherry Thing / The Cherry Thing Remixes - Neneh Cherry & The Thing


OK, I'm cheating ... two albums here, really ... Obviously, different from previous releases and other collaborations involving The Thing. It has a feeling unlike what you'd expect, somehow seeming like the secret jungle jazz of some 1930s club for the crazy folk. Absolutely fantastic stuff! By contrast, the remixes utterly jump across time and space, and feel more like music by the remixers that are under an extreme influence by The Cherry Thing drug. The shape of fusion to come ...

8. Last Spring - Henning Kraggerud & Bugge Wesseltoft

OK, it probably seems sycophantic to have an album by the boss on this list, but he couldn't include it in his, but I know if he hadn't been the pianist involved, he would have (of course, if it wasn't Bugge on piano, would it have been as good??? Philosophical conundrums!) The album is proof (as if any were needed) that Bugge can work in any musical idiom. And Henning's mastery of the violin and viola, etc, is a revelation. This album has dwelt in my stereo, and become part of my heavy rotation playlist with Knut Reiersrud Band and Trondheimsolistene's album for my Christmas Day ...

9. Live - Nik Bärtsch's Ronin

What can I say about Nik Bärtsch's Ronin? As close to perfection in performance as any outfit can be, never losing humanity in the process. Simple concepts in complex arrangements, dynamic, philosophical, inspiring, fertile, endlessly original, and without comparison. If you haven't done so, get this album. And then catch the next concert you can. If I lived in Zurich, I know where I'd be every Monday night ...

10. Mari Kvien Brunvoll - Mari Kvien Brunvoll

And last on the list, but not last in my estemation is the wonderful Mari Kvien Brunvoll. After her album with Stein Urheim, I was hooked, and this album, entirely live without post-production overdubs, is an invigorating shot of hope in the bleak landscape of an increasingly homogenous music "business" where young artists seem to aspire to be the same as everyone else. This album jumped abord my hifi in September, and has been a regular ever since.



There are many other albums I could add to this list ... And I'm certain that most of you would have utterly different lists. But these albums, for me, have become essential parts of my music collection - I wholeheartedly recommend they become part of yours!

Happy New Year!

Henry

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