Instrument of Instruments

Best new music 2019

My 2019 annual write-up of the year’s best new music. I publish this post into the ether once a year to summarize what I’ve particularly liked during the last twelve months, in the hope that you might discover something new.

A christmas wreath consisting entirely of round ornaments. December 2018

Best new music 2018

2018 was another year full of outrageous distractions, the misconfigurations and abuses of the public sphere relentlessly encroaching on whatever space one tried to carve out for thinking, experiencing beauty or getting some rest. A year to test our commitments, … [read more]

Courtesy of Jennifer Johannesen via Instagram

Best new music 2017

This year’s best music list comes in the middle of the Great Deep Freeze of 2017, where it’s apparently colder in Canada than at the North Pole. Winter has come. This time, I have no summary words of political, cultural … [read more]

Michelle Willis - See Us Through - Cover

Listening to: Michelle Willis, See Us Through

As I write this review, it seems that the world’s burning has accelerated. It’s not that it wasn’t already burning, but this moment in time has brought us, inter alia: Syria; refugees; Brexit; a coup attempt in Turkey and the unsurprising and merciless purge that followed; incessant and systemically rooted police shootings of black citizens in the US; Donald Trump; and — literally going on right now — a mall shooting in Munich where so far at least 8 people have died.

Pirate Nutcracker by Daria Nepriakhina via Realisticshots.com

Best new music 2015

It has become an annual tradition on this blog, a chore, and — increasingly — an unwelcome reminder of how infrequently I blog these days. Life is busy, and my writing energies are differently channeled, for example into academic assignments. But music remains important, and I continue to actively combat the overwhelming taste for nostalgia most middle-aged people apparently develop at some point, by regularly seeking out new recorded music.

Winter Road by Pavel P. Creative Commons via Flickr

Best new music 2014

Finding the energy to write about the year’s favourite music doesn’t come as easily as it used to anymore. This year, I’ve literally left it to the last hours of 2014 and am now trying to cram it in like … [read more]

Our front yard after the December 2013 ice storm

Best new music of 2013 – Rock, jazz, world, etc.

I took the picture above in our front yard this morning. Overnight, we got the ‘great ice storm of 2013,’ 12 hours of freezing rain. It downed tree limbs and whole trees, took down power lines, destroyed cars and eavestroughs … [read more]

christmas stars by Flickr user mararie (Creative Commons license)

Best new music of 2012 – Rock, jazz, country, world, etc.

My listening habits this past year have continued to shift in a decidedly classical direction. Other things—particularly rock—quickly feel like unwelcome distractions now, giving me a kind of ‘instant listening fatigue.’ It’s never just one thing, but often boils down … [read more]