For quite some time now, every Thursday has brought the publication of a review looking back at an album in McLatchey's Second Tier, where our friend Mike visits or re-visits one of his favorite releases. Today marks the start of the next tier, which once again will feature classics from a wide variety of styles, from jazz to classic prog to electronic to death metal — and many places in between.
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-12-22
For this series, we'll simply go in alphabetical order by artist, more or less. There's no sense letting petty rules get in the way of good music, or good music writing. We're starting off with an ambient gem from 1999, Altara from A Produce and M. Griffin. In the weeks to come — who knows how long it will take? — we'll see such artists as Agitation Free, DFA, Miles Davis, East of Eden, and Agorophobic Nosebleed, as well as well-known progressive groups like Yes, Genesis, Camel, Banco, and Änglagård. So check back every week (or more often, since we have new reviews on every other day as well!) and see what Uncle Mike has to say. When an artist has more than one title in the list, we'll throw them out the same day to save time.
In general, we are always focusing on new releases and reissues, since that's what you'll find available now, but there's more to good music that just the new, so it's good to take time for remembering the best of what past decades have to offer. Some of the new reviews revisit things we've reviewed before, so you'll get an additional viewpoint on those — sometimes from another writer back when the music was new, sometimes from Mike himself, so now you can see how views change (or not) on music over the decades.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more