PRINT December 2004

Music: Best of 2004

Marina Rosenfeld


1. Don Cherry, Eternal Now (Sonet Grammofon) This magnificent, joy-filled LP from 1973 resurfaced like magic in my life early last year. With rhythms ranging from Gnawan to minimalist, it is my most important record of 2004. I played it nonstop for weeks to my pregnant belly, believing that everything was going to be OK after all.

2. John Zorn, Mike Patton, and Ikue Mori, Hemophiliac: 50th Birthday Celebration Volume Six (Tzadik) Stunning live at New York’s Tonic last September, the fearless interminglings of these three very different improvisers are just as good on CD.

3. Jose Maceda Filipino composer Maceda died in May at age eighty-seven. His ghostly, maximal compositions added bamboo instruments and the murmurs of crickets to postmodern orchestral textures, evoking a hypnotic calm.

4. free103point9’s round-the-clock “NoRNC” live Internet radio coverage Dedicated to the gamut of “transmission arts,” free103point9’s collaborative coverage of the Republican National Convention, undertaken with other activist groups such as the August Sound Coalition, was a critical reference point for artists and other citizens during the otherwise disheartening week Bush and company descended on New York.

5. Radio/Guitar, Thrum (Table of the Elements) Visual artists/musicians Peggy Ahwesh and Barbara Ess’s throbbing vinyl composition. Beautiful.

6. Youssou N’Dour, Egypt (Nonesuch) Senegalese star N’Dour’s work of praise for Muslim liberalism is polished, shimmery pop.

7. Andy Hayleck, Various Recordings Involving Ice (Heresee) These delicate field recordings made in snowy places (“frozen reservoir, ice buckling, occasional wind . . .”) brought the quiet and the cold.

8. Rammellzee, Bi-Conicals of Rammellzee (Gomma) Party music for deranged times from the Wild Style veteran. Disturbing—and best heard loud.

9. Jon Appleton, Appleton Syntonic Menagerie 2 (Phonomena Audio Arts & Multiples) Two decades of allusive sounds—vocal, synthetic, concrete, and just plain other—from an elusive artist.

10. Carly Ptak and Chiara Giovando, Dark Fare/Music from the Congress Theater (Talon) Gutteral, underground music video/audio by artists on the hunt for analog magic.

Marina Rosenfeld, founder and director of the seventeen-woman electric-guitar-and-nail-polish-bottle Sheer Frost Orchestra, is a composer, turntablist, and artist based in New York.