That’s it! This is the best! Those three albums are the absolute crème de la crème! I wouldn’t let any of those three fall down any further on the list. That’s just how intensely good they are, how gratifying to listen to, how aurally cathartic and heavenly gifted. These are my top 3 albums of 2019.
Part XXIII: 3-1
3: Rorcal – Muladona (Hummus)
A new Rorcal release is always cause for celebration. Muladona is its name. This time, the music is based off of the harrowing book of the same name by Eric Stener Carlson, in which the Muladona—”a doomed soul transformed into the Devil’s mule”—visits a fevered boy left to himself during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 each night to tell him horrific tales. Instead of the average fourteen-minute track of Κρέων (Créon), we here have no track over eight minutes. This shorter format does not by any means translate to weaker compositions. In true Rorcal fashion, the songs presented here are well thought-out, profoundly subversive, and intense from start to finish. It’s a truly awe-striking album.
2: Alexandra Grimal – Nāga
Hot off the release of her improvised duo with Joëlle Léandre, let’s rewind a little bit to March of this year. This is where Nāga was released. Nāga is a transcendental double album of avant-garde jazz brilliance played by a septet of outstanding musicians. If you start listening to “Inti”, you get a compressed version of what to expect from the rest of the disc within the first few minutes: ethereal atmospheric passages, tupletful Zappaesque black pages, and a solid grasp on storytelling and musicianship that’s pretty much unmatched. You need to go back to this album; it’s so unique and great.
1: Le Grand Sbam – Vaisseau monde (Dur et Doux)
You want it short?: Le Grand Sbam is basically Poil orchestra.
You want it a bit longer?: Vaisseau monde is an avant-prog gem featuring the core members of Poil plus singers Jessica Maresco and Marie Nachury, vibraphonist Mélissa Acchiardi, as well as a whole classical ensemble. The result is an absolutely mind-blowing progfest that will definitely be one of the most insane and best albums of 2019! Mandatory listen, or else it’s the goulag!
That was a bit of a silly thing to do, right? Listening to over 2000 albums in a year, and then just emeting almost all of it in a ridiculously long and unwieldy list… Most of it isn’t even ranked! Well, I guess that actually ranking all of this would’ve taken me days! But I can’t allow myself this! The flow of time stopn’t and releases keep getting released every day, and I must keep my watch over it, lest I let mind-bogglingly good new artists skip by me, and fail myself, the creators, and you, the seekers of originality. So, I just went through my already written reviews of the year, and extracted the albums that more strongly strung my strings, which coincidentally were twenty in number—one much more manageable than 2019—to put in orderly ranking. I hope you enjoyed in some way this twenty-something-day barrage of one hundred albums per day (safe for the very last few ones), and got something, anything, out of this… thing! I wish you all a happy new year, and may good music be on your path!