The Needle Drop

20 Years of Tzadik (Favorite Releases)

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La Mar Enfortuna — Conviviencia (2007, TZ8120)

Sephardic tunes interpreted by the man and woman behind dream pop duo Elysian Fields. Oren Bloedow comes through with a collection of groovy pop, funk, and rock arrangements enlivened by traditional instrumentation and, as everyone says, Jennifer Charles' voice is made of pure velvet.

Makigami Koichi — Tokyo Taiga (2010, TZ7268)

Vocalist, composer, and actor Makigami Koichi delivers his most detailed and varied set of soundscapes to date on Tokyo Taiga. Despite the vastly widened instrumental palette this time around, the pieces come together nicely as a whole and just enough Tuvan/Mongolian throat singing and jaw harp remain for my liking.

Otomo Yoshihide’s New Jazz Ensemble — Dreams (2002, TZ7238)

Probably the most accessible project to bear Yoshihide's name, but with songs this catchy and arrangements this euphoric, it's hard to see that as a drawback.

Earle Brown — Folio and Four Systems (2006, TZ8028)

An all-star cast of musicians (including Merzbow, singer Joan La Barbara, and members of Zs) performs pieces by open form composer Earle Brown. A line-up this stacked really couldn't fail; thankfully its talents have gone to Brown, who I think is woefully underrated.

Jim O’Rourke — Terminal Pharmacy (1995, TZ7011)

A great place to start if you're mostly familiar with O'Rourke's singer-songwriter work and wanna get into his instrumental (particularly electroacoustic) material, which seems to be where his passion really lies.