When I tell you that last Sunday I found myself taking part in a classical music quiz with other dinner guests you’ll think me a right posh git, but regular readers will know I’m actually as common as muck.
Anyway, a guy had compiled snippets from classical pieces and we had to name the composer or symphony. I got one right, amazingly, after geographical prompting from the quizmaster – Sibelius? – yes! I felt as chuffed as when I get a question right on University Challenge, which is rare, and if I do it usually relates to music. It goes something like this: the brains are played a Miles Davis tune, and after much deliberating one of them tentatively suggests ‘Louis Armstrong’ – ha!
It’s a given that the brains will know classical music, and they usually do, but on other genres they’re pathetic, unless Radiohead are involved. Oh, and The Smiths, because the swotty buggers never left their bedrooms during the 80s, certainly not to go clubbing, and so they foolishly support the idea of hanging the DJ, any DJ. All that’s probably changed now that they have Grime nights at Uni.
Now, I know you’ve all been gagging to hear what my Album of the Year is because my opinion matters so much. Well, it’s Music For Thomas Carnacki by Jon Brooks, an outstanding musical interpretation of the 'The Gateway Of The Monster' by William Hope Hodgson which features Carnacki, ‘the famous investigator of ‘real’ ghost stories’. An exceptional album, yet it didn't make The Wire’s Top 50 ‘Releases of the Year’. What? I'm hitting town with a spray can to write ‘Justice For Jon Brooks!’ on every wall.
Number One in The Wire chart is the James Ferraro album which, as Tony Herrington explains on their blog, was only voted for by seven out of sixty electors. He also explains the process of democracy at work. If I ran that mag and Ferraro’s album came out on top I’d rig it to show otherwise. I mean, people take this kind of thing seriously, and it looks as if The Wire itself has voted the album as The Best. Christ, have you heard it? Tony jokes that we might ‘think it’s the worst record Dave Grusin never made’, which sums up my opinion.
My Archive Releases of the Year are ‘Miles Davis - Live In Europe 1967 – The Bootleg Series Vol 1’, and ‘The Oram Tapes Vol 1’.
In the spirit of Xmas by way of regifting, which in this case is not the same as passing on a dud, I’m offering you one of the best online ‘gifts’ I’ve received this year. It’s THE COMPLETE ELECTRONIC MUSIC OF IANNIS XENAKIS and you can get it here. A mother (down)lode, for sure, but totally worth it, even if it causes your computer to groan under the weight, as mine did.