Bluefat's best of 2013

This action-packed, distracting world of digital communications can be exhilarating, fascinating and fun, that much is painfully clear. There誷 so much music to hear, for one thing 行 hmmm, maybe a bit too much. And you誶e getting that desperate feeling that you誺e got to keep up with all the latest trends! And you誶e gripped with paralysis!

Just forget all that 行 you can誸 keep up, and there誷 no good reason why you ought to, anyway. What you want to do is defeat your fears of looking ignorant, square and insufficiently with-it by sampling smallishly of good music 行 or, more to the point, music you maybe didn誸 know about 行 and taking it, like yourself, on its own terms. While we誶e at it, let誷 all re-examine our own orthodoxies, shall we?

This year again brought more relatively mass-media-unhyped hi-grade music than any sane person would think really possible. And this year誷 Best of 2013 list spans styles/genres/etc. without regard to how lofty or edgy or obscure or over-talked-about it might be viewed by those in the know and by those who love them. In plain fact, within each of these releases listed below is at least a kernal of pure musicality, genuine artistry, above and beyond the call. And that誷 what it誷 all about.
行 John Payne

Aaron ParksArborescence (ECM)
Adam Rudolph / Go Organic OrchestraSonic Mandala (Meta)
Akron/FamilySub Verses (Dead Oceans)
Aleksandra Kurzak, Sinfonia VarsoviaSoprano (Decca)
Alexandria SiloceaSound Waves: Piano Works (Avie)
AM & Shawn LeeLa Musique Numerique (Park the Van)
Ana MouraDesfado (Decca)
Andras SchiffLudwig Van Beethoven: Diabelli-Variationen (ECM)
Anika320 (Stones Throw)
Anna Prohaska, Arcangelo, Jonathan CohenEnchanted Forest (Archive)
Anna Von HausswolffCeremony (Other Music)
Antonio AdolfoFinas Misturas (AAM)
Aoife O誅onovanFossils (Yep Roc)
Apple and the Three OrangesFree and Easy: The Complete Works 1970-1975 (Stones Throw)
Ariel PinkThrash and Burn (Human Ear)
Arrica Rose & the 'sLucky (Poprock)
鐂geirIn the Silence (One Little Indian)
Ballake SissokoAt Peace (Six Degrees)
Barbara & ErniePrelude To (Real Gone)
Barn OwlV (Thrill Jockey)
Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni BaJama Ko (Out Here)
BathsObsidian (Anticon)
Belle and SebastianThe Third Eye Centre (Matador)
Benoit Delbecq / Fred Hersch Double TrioFun House (Songlines)
Big Farm (New Amsterdam)
Bill CallahanDream River (Drag City)
Bill FrisellBig Sur (OKeh)
Bill Ryder JonesA Bad Wind Blows in My Heart (Domino)
BillbandTowards Daybreak (Innova)
Bitchin BajasBitchitronics (Drag City)
Black Label SocietyUnblackened (Entertainment One)
Blue Eyed SonShadows on the Son (Eenie Meenie)
Boardwalk (Stones Throw)
BodyHeadComing Apart (Matador)
BombinoNomad (Nonesuch)
BoogarinsAs Plantas Que Curam (Other Music)
Bosnian Rainbows (Sargent House)
Brother JTThe Svelteness of Boogietude (Thrill Jockey)
Bryan and the Haggards featuring Dr. Eugene ChadbourneMerles Just Want To Have Fun (Northern Spy)
C. Spencer Yeh / Okkyung Lee / Lasse MarhaugWake Up Awesome (Software/Mexican Summer)
CalifoneStitches (Dead Oceans)
Carla Bley, Andy Sheppard, Steve SwallowTrios (ECM)
Carol KleynReturn of the Silkie (Drag City)
Cate Le BonMug Museum (Turnstile)
Ceramic DogYour Turn (Northern Spy)
Chandrika Krishnamurthy TandonSoul March (Soul Chants)
Charles EvansSubliminal Leaps (More Is More)
Charles Lloyd, Jason MoranHagar誷 Song (ECM)
Charlie Poole With the HighlandersThe Complete Paramount & Brunswick Recordings, 1929 (Tompkins Square)
Ches Smith & These ArchesHammered (Clean Feed)
Chet Atkins & Les PaulGuitar Monsters (Real Gone)
Chico MannMagical Thinking (Soundway)
Choir of Queen誷 College Oxford Handel, Scarlatti: Dixit Dominus (Avie)
Chris ForsythSolar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors)
Chris PotterThe Sirens (ECM)
Chris SchlarbPsychic Temple II (Asthmatic Kitty)
Christian Wallumrod EnsembleOutstairs (ECM)
Christopher O誖ileyO誖iley誷 Liszt (Oxengale)
Chrome HoofChrome Black Gold (Cuneiform)
Cian Nugent and the CosmosBorn With the Caul (No Quarter) )
Clara HillWalk the Distance (Tapete)
Cliff MartinezOnly God Forgives sndtk. (Milan)
Clint MansellStoker sndtk. (Milan)
ClogsThe Sundown Song (Brassland)
CocoRosie Tales of a Grass Widow (City Slang)
Colin Edwin / Jon DurantBurnt Relief (Alchemy)
Como Asesinar y FelipesComenzara de Nuevo (Koolarrow)
Concrete KnivesBe Your Own King (Bella Union)
Connan MockasinCaramel (Because)
CorimaQuetzalcoatl (Soleil Zeuhl)
Craig TabornChants (ECM)
Crime & the City SolutionAmerican Twilight (Mute)
Cross RecordBe Good (Ba Da Bing)
Curtis HasselbringNumber Stations (Cuneiform)
DaedelusDrown Out (Anticon)
Daft PunkRandom Access Memories (Columbia)
Daniel BachmanJesus I誱 a Sinner (Tompkins Square)
Daniel HopeSpheres (Deutsche Grammophon)
Daniel WohlCorps Exquis (New Amsterdam)
Darcy James Argue誷 Secret SocietyBrooklyn Babylon (New Amsterdam)
Date PalmsThe Dusted Sessions (Thrill Jockey)
Dave Holland / Craig Taborn / Kevin Eubanks / Eric HarlandPrism (Dare2)
David BowieThe Next Day (Columbia)
David Buchbinder, Hilario DuranWalk to the Sea (Tzadik)
David GrubbsThe Plain Where the Palace Stood (Drag City)
David Murray Infinity QuartetBe My Monster Love (Motema)
Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie Prince BillyWhat the Brothers Sang (Drag City )
Dean WarehamEmancipated Hearts (Double Feature)
Deltron 3030Event 2 (Bulk/Universal)
Dennis Callaci and Simon JoynerNew Secrets (Shrimper)
Diamond TerrifierThe Subtle Body Wears a Shadow (Terrible)
DisappearsEra (Kranky)
Django VorisConstantopolis (100m)
Dobrinka TabakovaString Paths (ECM)
Don & Stevie (Finders Keepers / B-Music)
Don BikoffCelestial Explosion (Tompkins Square)
Dr. Stokley a.k.a. Dudley PerkinsDr. Stokley (Mello)
DumpSuperpowerless / I Can Hear Music (Morr Music)
Dustin WongMediation of Ecstatic Energy (Thrill Jockey)
Dylan Ryan / SandSky Bleached (Cuneiform)
Eastman Wind Ensemble 行 Stravinsky: Octet, L誋istoire du Soldat (Avie)
Eberhard WeberR巗um (ECM)
Eiko IshibashiImitation of Life (Drag City)
Eldar Djangirov TrioBreakthrough (Motema)
Eleni KaraindrouConcert in Athens (ECM)
Elizabeth HainenLes Amis: Debussy, Caplet (Avie)
Ellen AllienLISm (BPitch Control)
Emily WellsMama (The Acoustic Recordings) (Partisan)
Emily Jane WhiteBlood Lines (Important)
Emmylou Harris and Rodney CrowellOld Yellow Moon (Nonesuch)
Enrico Rava, The PM Jazz LabOn the Dance Floor (ECM)
Eric CopelandJoke in the Hole (DFA)
Etienne CharlesCreole Soul (Culture Shock)
Father Yod and the Source FamilyThe Source Family (Drag City)
Faun FablesLight of a Vaster Dark (Drag City)
Fol ChenThe False Alarms (Asthmatic Kitty)
Food, Thomas Stronen, Iain BallamyMercurial Balm (ECM)
Francois Houle and Harvard WiikAves (Songlines)
Frank Fairfield / VariousTurn Me Loose: Outsiders of 'Old-Time' Music (Tompkins Square)
Friedman & LiebezeitSecret Rhythms 5 (Nonplace)
Future Bible HeroesPartygoing (Merge)
Gary LucasCinefantastique (Northern Spy)
Gary Peacock, Marilyn CrispellAzure (ECM)
Gastric BandParty Feel (Armellodie)
George Benjamin 行 Written on Skin: Duet for Piano and Orchestra (Nimbus)
Glenn GouldThe Acoustic Orchestrations: Scriabin, Sibelius (Sony)
Giovanni Guidi TrioCity of Broken Dreams (ECM)
Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House EnsembleSongs of the Metropolis (World Village)
Ghetto Bros.Power Fuerza (Truth & Soul)
Gloria Cheng / The Calder QuartetThe Edge of Light: Messiaen, Saariaho (Harmonia Mundi)
GoldfrappTales of Us (Mute)
Greg FriedmanCan誸 Talk Now (Populuxe)
Gregg KallorA Single Noon (Single Noon)
GuapoHistory of the Visitation (Cuneiform)
Gurf MorlixFinds the Present Tense (Rootball)
Hackamore BrickOne Kiss Leads to Another (Real Gone)
Hall OrchestraElgar: The Apostles Op. 49 (Halle/Nimbus)
The Handsome FamilyWilderness (Carrot Top)
Harry ChristophersHaydn: Symphonies 6 & 82, Violin Concerto in G Major (Coro)
Helen MoneyArriving Angels (Profound Lore)
Heliocentrics13 Degrees of Reality (Now-Again)
HeliotropesA Constant Sea (Manimal Vinyl)
Hero & LeanderTumble (Tapete)
Herwig ZackMade in Germany: Bach, Hindemith, Stahmer, Reger (Avie)
Hillary HahnIn 27 Pieces (Deutsche Grammophon)
The Hilliard EnsembleIl Cor Tristo (ECM)
Howe GelbThe Coincidentalist (New West)
Ian Hunter & the Rant BandWhen I誱 President (Slimstyle)
IasosCelestial Soul Portrait (Numero)
Iggy and the StoogesReady To Die (Fat Possum)
IlaiyaraajaIlectro (Finders Keepers)
Il Sogno Del MarinaioLa Busta Gialla (Clenched Wrench)
Irmin Schmidt, Jaki Liebezeit, Jono Podmore, Burnt FriedmanCyclopean (Spoon/Mute)
Ironing Board SamThe Ninth Wonder of the World of Music (Music Maker)
I See Hawks in L.A. Mystery Drug (Blue Rose)
Iva Bittova (ECM)
Ivo Perelman, Matthew ShippEnigma (Leo)
Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Mat ManeriA Violent Dose of Anything sndtk. (Leo)
Jacco GardnerCabinet of Curiosities (Trouble in Mind)
Jace ClaytonThe Julius Eastman Memory Depot (New Amsterdam)
Jenny HvalInnocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammofon)
Jail WeddingsMeltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion (Neurotic Yell)
JavelinHi-Beams (Luaka Bop)
J DillaMusic From the Lost Scrolls Vol. 1 (Delicious Vinyl)
Jette von RothKomische Welt (Roter Punkt)
Jimmy Jam誷 Mind & Matter (Numero)
Jim Woehrle & Michael YonkersBorders of My Mind (Drag City)
Joan of Arc Testimonium Songs (Polyvinyl)
Joe Lovano U.S. FiveCross Culture (Blue Note)
John Abercrombie39 Steps (ECM)
John GrantPale Green Ghost (Partisan)
John MedeskiA Different Time (Okeh / Sony)
John MurryThe Graceless Age (Evangeline)
John ParishScreenplay (Thrill Jockey)
John Tejada 岩Anaphora / 褺ode誷 Law (Palette)
Joseph Bowie & Adam RudolphGood Medicine: Ig Bo Duet (Defunkt/Meta)
Joseph ByrdNYC 1960-1963 (New World)
Juana MolinaWed 21 (Crammed Discs)
Julia KentCharacter (Leaf)
Julia Hulsmann QuartetIn Full View (ECM)
Julia HolterLoud City Song (Domino)
Julianna BarwickNepenthe (Dead Oceans)
Juliette CommagereHuman (Aeronaut)
June Tabor, Iain Ballamy, Huw WarrenQuercus (ECM)
Jussi ReijonenUn (Unmusic)
The Kandinsky EffectSynesthesia (Cuneiform)
Karl BartosOff the Record (Bureau B)
Kayhan Kalhor, Erdal ErzincanKula Kulluk Yakisir Mi (Live in Bursa / 2011) (ECM 13)
Keller QuartetLigeti: String Quartets / Barber: Adagio (ECM)
Ketil BjornstadLa Notte (ECM)
King Bullard VersionSongs of the BOS Label (Numero)
KneebodyThe Line (Concord)
The Knells (New Amsterdam)
The KPM Music LibraryMusic for Dancefloors (Strut)
KissesKids in L.A. (Rallye)
Kris DavisMassive Threads (Thirsty Ear)
LaibachS (Mute)
LaraajiTwo Sides of Laraaji / Essence/Universe / Celestial Music (All Saints)
LazyObsession (Moniker)
Lee Ranaldo & DustLast Night on Earth (Matador)
Lena HughesQueen of the Flat-Top Guitar (Tompkins Square)
Leonidas Kavakos, Enrico PaceBeethoven: Violin Sonatas (Decca)
Leslie WestStill Climbing (Provogue/Mascot)
Lisa Germanono elephants (Badman)
Lloyd Cole, Hans-Joachim RoedeliusSelected Studies Vol. 1 (Bureau B)
LowThe Invisible Way (Sub Pop)
Little WomenLung (Aum Fidelity)
Lubomyr MelnykCorollaries (Erased Tapes)
Margaret WhitingThe Wheel of Hurt / Maggie Isn誸 Margaret Anymore / Pop Country (Real Gone)
Mark Dresser QuintetNourishments (Clean Feed)
Masaki BatohBrain Pulse Music (Drag City)
Mason WilliamsPhonograph Record / Ear Show (Real Gone)
MatmosThe Marriage of True Minds (Thrill Jockey)
Matthew ShippPiano Sutras (Thirsty Ear)
MedicineTo the Happy Few (Captured Tracks)
Melt-BananaFetch (A-Zap)
Merle Haggard The Complete 60s Singles (Omnivore)
MetamonoWith the Compliments of Nuclear Physics (Instrumentarium)
Michele RabbiaIl Pergolese (ECM)
Mick TurnerDon誸 Tell the Driver (Drag City)
Mikael Jorgensen & Greg O誎eeffe (Butterscotch)
Mike DonovanWot (Drag City)
Miles Davis QuintetLive in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 (Legacy)
Mitsuko Uchida 行 Schumann: G Minor Sonata, Waldszenen, Gesange der Fruhe (Decca)
Mohammed FairouzNative Informant (Naxos)
Molly Drake (Squirrel Thing)
Morton FeldmanViolin and Orchestra (ECM)
Mount EeriePre-Human Ideas (P.W. Elverum and Sun)
Mouse on MarsParastrophics / Wow (Monkeytown)
Mr. ChopIlluminate (Now-Again)
Mr. Ho誷 OrchestroticaWhere Here Meets There (Tiki)
Myron & EBroadway (Stones Throw)
Myra MelfordLife Carries Me This Way (Firehouse 12)
Mystical WeaponsCrotesque (Northern Spy )
Naama KatesKing for the Day (Naama Kates)
Nathan SalsburgHard for To Win and Can誸 Be Won (No Quarter)
Natsuki TamuraDragon Nat (Libra)
The NecksOpen (Northern Spy)
Neon NeonPraxis Makes Perfect (Lex)
NeotantrikIntervisions (Finders Keepers/B-Music)
Nick Cave & the Bad SeedsPush the Sky Away (Bad Seed)
Nick LoweQuality Street (Yep Roc)
Nicolas HorvathFranz Liszt: Christus (Editions Hortus)
Nicolas Masson, Roberto Pianca, Emanuele ManiscalcoThird Reel (ECM)
NightlandsOak Island (Secretly Canadian)
Nils FrahmSpaces (Erased Tapes)
Numbers Band15-60-75 行 Jimmy Bell誷 Still in Town (
Otis G. JohnsonEverythingGod Is Love '78 (Numero)
Paolo Fesu Devil QuartetDesertico (TA)
Patricia BarberSmash (Concord )
Patrick CowleySchool Daze (Dark Entries)
Patty DukeSings Songs From Valley of the Dolls / Time To Move On: Sings Folk Songs (Real Gone)
Patti PageFrom Nashville to L.A.: The Lost Columbia Masters 1963-1969 / The Complete Columbia Singles 1962-1970 (Real Gone)
Peter JefferiesThe Last Great Challenge in a Dull World (De Stijl)
Peter WalkerHas Anybody Seen Our Freedoms? (Delmore)
Perera ElsewhereEverlast (Friends of Friends)
Pop LeviStarlight & Wonder (Counter)
QuasiMole City (Kill Rock Stars)
QuasimotoYessir Whatever (Stones Throw)
Queens of the Stone AgeLike Clockwork (Matador)
Radar BrothersEight (Merge)
Rafal BkechaczChopin: Polonaises (Deutsche Grammophon)
RaffertieSleep of Reason (Ninja Tune)
Ras G and the Afrikan Space ProgramBack on the Planet (Brainfeeder)
Rhys ChathamHarmonie du soir (Northern Spy)
Richard PinhasDesolation Row (Cuneiform)
Richard WaltersRegret Less (Beard Museum)
Robert Wyatt68 (Cuneiform)
Rodion G.A.The Lost Tapes (Strut)
Roedelius SchneiderTiden (Bureau B)
Rose WindowsThe Sun Dogs (Sub Pop)
Royal TruxVeterans of Disorder (Drag City)
Sao Paulo UndergroundBeija Flors Velho E Sujo (Cuneiform)
Satoko FujiiGen Himmel (Libra)
Schneider TMGuitar Sounds (Bureau B)
ShlohmoLaid Out (Friends of Friends)
Sidi ToureAlafia (Thrill Jockey)
Sixth StationThe Hermetic Guitar Music of a Rural Priest (Numero)
Sonny & The SunsetsAntenna to the Afterworld (Polyvinyl)
Sonny Smith100 Records Volume 3 extended version (Polyvinyl)
So Percussion/Dan TruemanNeither Anvil Nor Pulley (Cantaloupe)
S.O.S. (John Surman, Alan Skidmore, Mike Osborne)Looking for the Next One (Cuneiform)
The Stark RealityActing Thinking Feeling (Now-Again)
Stefano Battaglia TrioSongways (ECM)
Stefano Bollani, Hamilton de HolandaO Que Sera (Live at Jazz Middelheim, Antwerp / 2012) (ECM)
Stefano Scodanibbio, Quartetto Prometeo Reinventions (ECM)
Stephan MicusPanagia (ECM)
Stephane WrembelOrigins (Gitane)
Stravinsky Conducts Le Sacre du Printemps (Columbia)
Superhuman HappinessHands (The Royal Potato Family)
Susan JamesDriving Toward the Sun (SJM)
Susanna AbbuehlThe Gift (ECM)
SwearinStrange Surfing (Salinas)
Tenebrae, Nigel ShortGesualdo: Responsories (Archiv)
Tera MelosXed Out (Sargent House)
Terje RypdalMelodic Warrior (ECM)
Tigran HamasyanShadow Theater (Verve)
Tim Berne誷 SnakeoilShadow Man (ECM)
Timur and the Dime MuseumX-Ray Sunsets (Art of Opera)
The Alexander String QuartetBartok & Kodaly: Complete String Quartets (Foghorn)
The BatsFree All the Monsters (Flying Nun)
The Bryan Ferry OrchestraThe Jazz Age (BMG)
The CallasAm I Vertical (Inner Ear)
The Claudia QuintetSeptember (Cuneiform)
The Como MamasGet an Understanding (Daptone)
The Dowland ProjectNight Sessions (ECM)
The Flaming LipsThe Terror (Warner Bros.)
The GrowlersGuilded Pleasures (Everloving)
The Horse's HaWaterdrawn (Fluff & Gravy)
The KnifeShaking the Habitual (Mute)
The MelodicEffra Parade (Anti-)
The Pure ConjectureGendres (Armellodie)
The SadiesInternal Sounds (Yep Roc)
The Steve Swallow QuintetInto the Woodwork (ECM)
Tomasz Stanko NY QuartetWislawa (ECM)
Tonto誷 Expanding HeadbandZero Time (Real Gone)
Tony Joe WhiteHoodoo (Yep Roc)
TribecastanNew Songs From the Old Country (Evergreene)
Turnbull GreenThe Wolf in You (Daylight Curfew )
Van-anh Vanessa Vo, Kronos QuartetThree Mountain Pass (Innova)
Van Dyke ParksSongs Cycled (Bella Union)
VariousBalkan Arts 701: Bulgarian Folk Dances (Evergreen)
VariousBang the Box: The (Lost) Story of AKA Dance Music Chicago 1987-88 (Still Music)
VariousChange the Beat: The Celluloid Records Story 1979-1987 (Strut)
VariousCosmic Machine: French Cosmic & Electronic Avant Garde 1970-1980 (Because)
VariousDual Form (Stones Throw / Leaving)
VariousEccentric Soul: The Dynamic Label (Numero)
VariousEccentric Soul: The Forte Label (Numero)
VariousGood God! Apocryphal Hymns (Numero)
VariousHaiti Direct (Strut)
VariousImaginational Anthem Vol. 6: Origins of American Primitive Guitar (Tompkins Square)
VariousMutazione: Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988 (Strut)
VariousPeru Maravilloso (Tiger誷 Milk)
VariousPurple Snow (Numero)
VariousThe Road to Jajouka (Howe)
Wadada Leo SmithOccupy the World (TUM)
White HillsSo You Are蒘o You誰l Be (Thrill Jockey)
William OnyeabohWho Is William Onyeaboh? (Luaka Bop)
William ParkerWood Flute Songs: Anthology / Live (Aum Fidelity)
WireChange Becomes Us (Pink Flag)
Wolf EyesNo Answer / Lower Floors (De Stijl)
Wooden ShjipsBack to Land (Thrill Jockey)
WovenhandThe Laughing Stalk (Sounds Familyre)
Wrekmeister HarmoniesYou've Always Meant So Much To Me (Thrill Jockey)
Xiu XiuNina (Graveface)
YamantakaSonic Titan (Suicide Squeeze)
Yeahwon ShinLua Ya (ECM)
YellowbirdsSongs From The Vanished Frontier (Royal Potato Family)
Yokokimthurston (Chimera)
Yoko Ono Plastic Ono BandTake Me to the Land of Hell (Chimera)
Zsona BorosEn Otra Parte (ECM)

William Parker
Peter Gannushkin
Molly Drake

Masaki Batoh
Minoru Tsuyuki


Dylan Ryan Sand

Crime & the City Solution

Juliette Commagere
Julia Brokaw
Radar Brothers

Matthew Shipp


Terje Rypdal

Satoko Fujii

So Percussion


Juana Molina
Marcelo Setton & Alejandro Ros
Sonny Smith

Susan James

Chris Schlarb


Lisa Germano

Brian Fery

Haiti Direct

Richard Pinhas

The Growlers

Rodion G.A.