Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NPR: 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

Earlier today, NPR posted Turning the Tables, a list of the "150 Greatest Albums Made By Women". Alongside the expected choices (Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Patti Smith, Beyoncé, etc.) and some deserving but easily overlooked records (The Slits, MIA, ESG, etc.) were five disks that could be considered "artists' records":

Dolmen Music by Meredith Monk at #147

"With her voice, in its infinite permutations — gorgeous slides, ululations, breaths, cries, howls, drones — [Monk] navigated a landscape that seemed both familiar and strangely unfamiliar."

Plastic Ono Band by Yoko Ono at #136

"Jarring, experimental and stunning, Ono's album sounds like a head-on collision between her avant-garde art and Lennon's rock and roll (with touches of free jazz by way of an Ornette Coleman quartet on "AOS"). Yoko's voice is a powerful instrument, and it's honed to near perfection on this album; it ricochets with pre-punk raw aggression and incorporates hetai, a vocal style from Japanese kabuki theater."

Deep Listening by Pauline Oliveros (with Stuart Dempster and Panaiotis) at #128

"Throughout her long and distinguished life, Pauline Oliveros abided by the philosophy and practice of deep listening, which is still actively studied by many people today. The album Deep Listening, made with the trombonist and composer Stuart Dempster and the vocalist and composer Paniaotis, was a signpost for a different way of making music. By playing inside of a massive underground cistern, they were able to craft an entirely unique sound on the album. The huge cistern they used at Fort Worden in Washington was effectively an instrument of its own. It supplied massive reverb — an astonishing 45 seconds of reverb, in fact, meaning that the notes they played seemed to hang in midair and stay there. Additional notes would then add to these notes, combining and recombining to create great big clouds of sound."

The Litanies of Satan by Diamanda Galas at #111 

"The album, which clocks in at twenty-eight spine-jolting minutes of Galás's wheezing, whispering and rhythmic wailing that can be heard into the next lifetime, is one of the most singularly influential avant-garde recordings to make its way out of hell and into our world. Artists including PJ Harvey and Zola Jesus have been shaken by The Litanies of Satan, thanks to Galás's stupefying vocal acrobatics — which suggest anything is possible if you dare to pick up a microphone and start screaming."

Big Science by Laurie Anderson at #80

"Big Science is simultaneously silly and prescient, and takes a refreshingly wry attitude to technology's perils compared to today's often obvious commentary on the subject."

Read the full article at NPR.org, here.

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