Ten albums without which 2015 would have been less rich, and more.

Today – Friday, December 11 – the Boston Globe posted lists of the best albums of 2015 as selected by six critics: staffers James Reed, Sarah Rodman, and Jeremy Eichler, plus regular contributors Julian Benbow, Jon Garelick, and Siddhartha Mitter. Those lists will all be in this Sunday’s print edition, too.

Last year, I was able to slip a list of my own into print, in the context of my then-extant monthly series “Newer Music” With that column now discontinued, a listing of the records that moved me most in 2015 migrates to the one place over which I retain complete control.

I’d love to think that I’ll come back to these lists and add helpful little blurbs, but given my track record of late, if I hesitate I might never get this posted, or at least not in 2015. And so, without further ado…

10 albums without which 2015 would have been less rich.

1. Steve ReichMusic for 18 Musicians – Ensemble Signal/Brad Lubman (Harmonia Mundi)

2. Greg Stuart & Ryoko Akamakotoba koukan (Crisis/Lengua de Lava)

3. Jeph Jerman & Tim Barnesmatterings (Erstwhile)

4 (tie). Jürg FreyMémoire, horizon; Extended Circular Music Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 3 & 7; Architektur der Empfindungen – – Konus Quartett, Mondrian Ensemble (Musiques Suisses)

4 (tie). Jürg FreyGrizzana and other pieces 2009-2014 – Ensemble Grizzana (Another Timbre)

6. Anna ThorvaldsdóttirIn the Light of Air – International Contemporary Ensemble (Sono Luminus)

7. Paula MatthusenPieces for People – Terri Hron, James Moore, Jamie Jordan, Mantra Percussion, Kathleen Supové, Yvonne Troxler, Molly Shaiken, Tiit Helimets, Wil Smith, orkest de ereprijs/Wim Boerman, Todd Reynolds, Yvonne Troxler (Innova)

8. Michael PisaroA mist is a collection of points – Phillip Bush, Greg Stuart (New World)

9. Allison CameronA Gossamer Bit – Contact (Redshift Music)

10. James Moore & Andie SpringerGertrudes: music for violin and resonator guitar (New World)


10 more notable albums.

Henri DutilleuxMétaboles; Violin Concerto, “L’arbre des songes”; Symphony No. 2, “Le double” – Augustin Hadelich, Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot (Seattle Symphony Media)

Lukas Foss – Symphonies Nos. 1-4 – Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose (BMOP/sound)

Ted HearneThe Source – Ted Hearne, Mellissa Hughes, Samia Mounts, Isaiah Robinson, Jonathan Woody, Courtney Orlando, Anne Lanzilotti, Leah Coloff, Taylor Levine, Greg Chudzik, Ron Wiltrout, Nathan Koci (New Amsterdam)

Jenny Olivia JohnsonDon’t Look Back – Megan Schubert, P. Lucy McVeigh, Amanda Crider, Jessica Schmitz, Eileen Mack, Andrew Delclos, Todd Reynolds, Peter Gregson, David Russell, Melinda Menezes, Lisa Liu, Dan Kozak, Isabelle O’Connell, Eliko Akahori, Jake Penn Kozak, Jude Traxler, Jenny Olivia Johnson, Nathaniel Berman, Adam Weiner (Innova)

Missy MazzoliVespers for a New Dark Age – Mellissa Hughes, Victoire, Glenn Kotche, Lorna Dune (New Amsterdam)

Andrew Norman Play; Try; Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose (BMOP/sound)

Dmitri ShostakovichLady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District – Passacaglia; Symphony No. 10 – Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons (Deutsche Grammophon)

Sarah Kirkland SniderUnremembered – Padma Newsome, DM Stith, Shara Worden, Unremembered Orchestra/Edwin Outwater (New Amsterdam)

Scott WorthingtonPrism (Populist)

Nordic AffectClockworking – compositions by Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir,  Hildur Gudnadottir,  Hafdís Bjarnadóttir,  Thurídur Jónsdóttir, and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir (Sono Luminus)


Another 10 notable albums.

Alex CobbChantepleure (Students of Decay)

Sarah DavachiBarons Court (Students of Decay)

Chris DingmanThe Subliminal and the Sublime (Inner Arts)

Mary HalvorsonMeltframe (Firehouse 12)

Iron MaidenThe Book of Souls (BMG)

Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly (Top Dawg/Interscope)

Bill Seamanf(noir) (Eilean)

Joanna Wallfisch & Dan TepferThe Origin of Adjustable Things (Sunnyside)

Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic (Brainfeeder)

WindhandGrief’s Infernal Flower (Relapse)


10 labels to follow.

Another Timbre
Edition Wandelweiser
Glistening Examples
Irritable Hedgehog
New Focus Recordings
Sono Luminus
Weighter Recordings

Original Source: Ten albums without which 2015 would have been less rich, and more.

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