Tuesday 18 December 2018
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.theguardian - 11 days ago

Life, death and cosmic jazz: contemporary classical albums of 2018

From Jóhann Jóhannsson to Laurie Anderson, via Poliça and Nils Frahm, musicians of all ages contributed vital music to the genreJóhann Jóhannsson was proving himself to be Hollywood’s most fascinating and effective soundtrack writer when he died this year, aged only 48. There have already been three very different posthumous soundtrack releases. Mary Magdalene is a respectful, stately score, written with compatriot Hildur Guðnadó The Mercy is both more strident and more highly te while his soundtrack to Panos Cosmatos’s psychedelic horror movie Mandy is perhaps the most interesting to hear in isolation – a piece of dark orchestral gothic that harks back to the post-punk and electronica world from which Jóhannsson emerged.His death came in a year when many pioneers of contemporary music were making superb, groundbreaking albums as senior citizens. Lonnie Holley’s MITH saw the 68-year-old Afrofuturist forging links between ancient plantation chants and cosmic jazz. Landfall saw Laurie Anderson, aged 71, narrating the effects of Hurricane Sandy in her quizzical, meditative voice, while the Kronos Quartet’s shivery, ominous string arrangements brought her nightmarish visions to life. Listening to Pictures saw sound sculptor Jon Hassell still pushing at musical boundaries at the age of 81, burying his FX-laden trumpet under layers of African drums, distorted choirs and ambient electronic drones. Continue reading...

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