Published Dec 28, 2010Once again, Exclaim!'s Improv & Avant-Garde year-end list consists of writers' ten top ones. There are two advantages to compiling the list this way. The first is that this result represents a range of innovative releases, which taken together represent a different pulse to the year than most other lists. The second is that Exclaim! actually has ten people covering experimental music in all its forms, which is at the very least uncommon for most general purpose music mags.
This year's list ranges from the fieriest jazz (Little Women) to near-catatonic ambience (M. Ostermeier), with a sizable helping of mutant grooves going off in all directions (the Krautrock reissues of the Sky Records label, Wadada Leo Smith and Chicago Underground Duo).
An artist who embodies a little of everything from this list is Laurie Anderson, whose Homeland LP is now streaming in its entirety here on Exclaim.ca.
Anderson is an avant-garde vet who is comfortable in highly rhythmic or impressionistic settings, and can both compose and improvise at a high level. Easily the best-known name here, she had a big year in 2010. Her concert with John Zorn and Lou Reed in Montreal was one of the year's most controversial shows, but her album Homeland was a return to form after a string of lesser-regarded works.
Exclaim! contributer Michael Barclay writes: "She combines the best of her sci-fi sounds of the '80s with earthier and exotic instrumentation and manages to make it all breathe beautifully".
Check it out for yourself: Exclaim.ca is streaming Laurie Anderson's Homeland until January 3.
To see Exclaim!'s entire Improv & Avant-Garde Year in Review 2010 list, head here. And to check out all our Year in Review coverage, head here.
Stay tuned for these future full-album streams on Exclaim.ca:
Shad T.S.O.L. January 4 to January 10
White Lung It's the Evil January 11 to January 17
Caribou Swim January 18 to January 24