Oval: O — Beautifully rendered minimalist electronic music that draws your attention to tone. I’ve been wearing this record out.
Dawn of Midi: First. An ambient, completely free piano, bass, and drums recording. All you stoner non-jazz kiddies could get with these sounds. Lush and inside and outside.
Mark Ribot: Silent Movies — Intelligent, lyrical solo guitar record that transcends genre. Just playing.
Rodrigo Amado: Searching for Adam (Not Two, 2010) Added 8/25/2012. Amado has a beautiful tone, plays with a fluid rhythmic sense and leads an energetic quartet here. These are long stretching pieces where two instruments will play together for big sections, back into the quartet, etc.
Konono No. 1: Assume Crash Position — the distorted percussion really drives the African bus — tough and infectious.
Tony Allen: Secret Agent — It’s fucking Tony Allen, c’mon.
Alexandra Grimal: Owls Talk (Self-released, 2010). Added 8/25/2012. Two saxophones with Gary Peacock on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Very well recorded. It’s hard to tell how much of this record was written and how much is free, but it’s a really beautiful session.
Dr. Dog: Shame Shame — I don’t usually go for the straight pop music, but these guys are excellent arrangers.
Harlem: Idiot — Haven’t dug anything on Matador for ages, but this energetic garage rock is killin’.
Wadada Leo Smith/Ed Blackwell: Blue Mountain Sun’s Drummer. Like Tony Allen, but it’s Ed Black well. C’mon, for fuck’s sake.
Ray LaMontagne: God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise — it fades a little in the second half, but he moved on from over singing and pumps the old school vibes.
Dosh: Tommy — Musical ambient electronica. Tracks 5-7 are best.