Dec 27 2017
Best of 2017 #11: Paul Jones – “Clean” (Outside In Music)
Though primarily a work of modern jazz and chamber, Clean is informed by the music of Steve Reich, Kendrick Lamar and Philip Glass… influences that bleed into the music with a remarkable subtlety. Their effect is revealed in harmonic roll-outs, pulsing rhythms, a narrative-like melodic development, and moments of stunning minimalism at the eye of a storm… an undercurrent of influence like an untold strategy guiding the hand of active participants. It’s an effect not unlike that of an author mapping out a storyline, which is an apt metaphor in light of the structure Paul Jones provides his excellent 2017 recording. Full of recurring themes, dramatic plot twists, and inter-character tensions, there’s an abiding sense of novella in sonic form. There are countless jaw-dropping moments of beauty on this album, and at times, it seems like it could go on forever… and then it’s suddenly over, far too soon. This recording fell just outside the official Top Ten, but there’s every argument to be made that not only did it deserve to be included, but that it earned a slot in the top half. Just a wonderful album.
Music from NYC.
Read more on Bird is the Worm.
December 28, 2017 @ 1:54 am
Thankfully I had seen your review a week ago or so and picked this up on eMusic. As of Christmas Eve, it’s gone (along with the Outside In label) in the “Great Christmas Label Purge” by eMusic.
December 28, 2017 @ 7:59 am
After something like nine years, I finally cancelled my eMusic sub… maybe a month after they rolled out the new site. It just got to be exhausting trying to find music on that site, especially when you could never count on what was there being there the next day. Sorry to hear they had more labels drop off the site recently. Maybe it has something to do with a new fiscal year coming up and labels just not liking eMusic’s terms for 2018 (note: that may not be how the label-retailer relationship works even a little bit).
As far as “Clean,” goes, I think you’ll be happy you got it. I liked it right from the start, but my love & appreciation for the album completely dwarfs that first impression. Just a wonderful album that keeps getting more wonderful with each list.
Have a happy new year when it finally rolls around.
December 28, 2017 @ 8:48 am
Yeah, I think I’ve reached that same point you reached this past summer. In roughly the last month, I’ve watched Pi, Mack Avenue, Edition, Clean Feed, Motema and In and Out Music, among others, all disappear with no sign of ever returning (and no response to inquiries to eMu support team). Sunnyside and others went away as part of the 2.0 transition that drove you out. Most of these recent losses all disappeared suddenly on Dec 24, of all days. So I’ll burn through the remaining credits and then say au revoir and move on. Thanks again for the great work you do, and have a happy new year!
December 28, 2017 @ 9:35 am
“Clean” is still there … check Dave’s original link to the album, which I did today. I don’t disagree with any of the comments about eMusic not being what it was, but what I have noticed is that their current Search is very poor at finding anything. You can’t easily find the Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra albums either, at least under his name, but they’re all there (and wonderful, as I’ve just discovered). The site’s curation of albums has certainly leaves a lot to be desired, I’ve recently found a schlew of my wish-list hiding under other player’s names … shoddy. But it’s still a rare month where I can’t spend my credits …
December 28, 2017 @ 10:02 am
Roger, thanks for noting this, and there has been a discussion on a different forum about this topic. The labels appear to truly (and sadly) be gone, but if you know the “exact” link to the content (via Wish List or some other public post), you can still find it (as you correctly note) – at least temporarily. But I think it’s just an artifact of their indexing – they removed the labels, but did not physically remove the content. My point being that it’s not simply poor search function. A week ago you could search and find all of these albums. But a few days ago, a LOT of labels disappeared, including Mack Avenue, Origin/OA2, Clean Feed, Motema, 482 Music, In and Out Music, Edition Records, Unit Records, etc. For those of us who like jazz, it was effectively “the day the eMusic died”. 😉
March 7, 2018 @ 5:58 am
For what it’s worth, Michael, I just checked, and all those labels you listed at the end of your last post are all still up on eMusic, so the news of their demise seems premature. Nevertheless, I often find it hard to find a lot of the kind of new music I like on eM. But their much improved interface and frequent discounts still make it worthwhile sticking around. One disappointment is that Zorn had put up the full Tzadik catalog but it seems to have disappeared in the past month.