I keep meaning to do these notes but if you’re a regular here you probably know how irregular I am when it comes to blogging because I’m always buried in deadlines.
I think I listened a lot of excellent music in 2023, both classical and non-classical. I definitely expanded my boundaries when it came to listening to more new music from women composers and composers from non-dominant communities. Some of those I posted regularly on Masto as I discovered them. I had the intention of posting some here as well but the weeks kind of disappeared while I was trying to get my act back together both academically and in terms of getting used to this current level of disability. I hope to do better in 2024.
In terms of indie/pop/rock music, I enjoyed a lot of the newer acts and kept up-to-date through the usual music portals: Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Gorilla vs Bear, Spotify etc and through the new releases on Bandcamp and YouTube. But I found this year a growing disconnect with the younger music, one of the things that told me that yes, old age was setting in. Or perhaps I am settling into who I am and that reflects in what I choose. Still, I enjoyed music from favourites who returned with new albums: The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo, Mitski and one of my musical soul brothers, Sufjan Stevens etc.
I also listened to a lot of the back-catalogue of other favourites: this was still the year of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Father John Misty, The New Pornographers, The Shins, Cocteau Twins, Joy Division, and I went on a deep dive of Leonard Cohen’s discography. Jeff Buckley is as always a constant, because he’s another musical soul-brother and I am listening to him right now as I type this.
In Classical/new Music, I was musically obsessed with Hania Rani, continued listening nonstop to Sean Shibe and discovered the music of Germaine Tailleferre and Mel Bonis. I also listened to a lot of Japanese composers like Takashi Yoshimatsu, Tõru Takemitsu, Toshiru Mayuzumi, Dai Fujikura, and of course Ryuichi Sakamoto (like many fans I remain deeply saddened by his passing).
Which brings me to ambient/electronica: Apart from Sakamoto, I continued my deep dive through Harold Budd’s work, but also listened to a lot of loscil, Lawrence English, Richard Skelton, my old dear aural companion — the music of Grouper, Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Panabrite, Talvin Singh, and countless others.
The biggest new (in terms of indie/pop) music discovery for me in 2023 would be Sid Sriram (though he’s been around for awhile in karnatic music and in the indian music scene, apparently) and Nemahsis.
I thought about what I’d choose for my song of the year for 2023, and I kept coming back to Nemahsis’s I Wanna Be Your Right Hand.