2020 Tops with DJ Sleeve

KWVA DJ since 1998, DJ Sleeve gives shares his favorite new albums and reissues as well as his honorable mentions. You can tune in and hear DJ Sleeve every Monday from 4-6 p.m.!

NEW IN 2020

Gigi Masin – Calypso – Beach ambient bliss

Alex Dowling – Reality Rounds – Astonishing choral electronics using autotune and other tricks

Nicolas Jaar – Cenizas – Smoky late night club vibes

Rhucle – Middle/Nostalgia – More ambient bliss

75 Dollar Bill – Live At Tubby’s/Live At Cafe Oto/Live At Roulette – Tour de force band pulls out all the stops on their desert blues jams

United Bible Studies – Roses In The Voltage I-IV – Witchy weirdness and folky tunage

Horse Lords – The Common Task – Basically really loud math rock in just intonation

Powers/Rolin Duo -S/T LP – Dulcimer and 12-string ftw

Sault – Black Is – I was late to this, just a great band all around, check it

X – ALPHABETLAND – Mastered too loud, but great nonetheless

Bailterspace- Concret – Who woulda thought they’d make rock music this loud and dense in 2020

Sonic Boom – All Things Being Equal – Shockingly good space rock comeback album RIYL S3

HAMA – Music From Saharan Whatsapp 08 – The best of the series, keyboard mind melters

Jon Hassell – Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) – Trumpet mutates, dissolves

Shirley Collins – Heart’s Ease – Just the right blend of old and new, trad-folk with a psychedelic sheen

Nurse With Wound – Trippin’ Musik – Long meditative pieces, very trippy indeed

Matthew J. Rolin – Ohio – Truly excellent 12-string guitar work

Hailu Mergia – Yene Mircha – Comeback albums keep popping up, keyboard jams

Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience – To Know Without Knowing – FUNKY and angry

Mekons – EXQUISITE – Some really nice high points on this one, recorded separately in quarantine


N Chambers – Facets – Dreamy synths, very creative

Edward Ka-Spel – A Red Winter Night’s Dream – Typical but also excellent

Glass – Wilting In Mauve – This Heat worship, sure, but also fun!

Actress – Karma & Desire – R&B fragmented through a minimal techno lens

Tafi & Green Door Allstars – Ghana Glasgow Friendship – Very cool Africa/Scotland collaboration

Tuluum Shimmering – Sister Ray Meets China Cat Sunflower Uptown/Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun – How is this guy the first person to come up with this (great) idea for radical reworkings of rock songs? infinite jams that exist outside of any normal timeframe.

75 Dollar Bill – Power Failures – Studio work, not as essential as the live releases but still worth a listen

Sir Richard Bishop – Oneiric Formulary – Only 3 tracks on Bandcamp, but sounds great

Lonnie Holley – National Freedom – Free form improv poetry/music

Adrianne Lenker – Songs And Instrumentals – Big Thief singer goes solo

Spiral Galaxy – S/T – Kosmiche overload from Plastic Crimewave guy

Shabazz Palaces – The Don Of Diamond Dreams – More of their murky modern urban sound

Tashi Dorji – Stateless – Spiky thorny acoustic guitar explosions

Angel Bat Dawid – Transition East – great jazz single

Sarah Louise – Earth And Its Contents – moving away from guitar and into pure sound

Special Interest – The Passion Of – New Orleans dance/punk/funk

Sault – Rise – Not quite as amazing as Black Is, but still excellent

Six Organs Of Admittance – Companion Rises – A few tracks up on Bandcamp, mellow and good


Arthur Russell – Sketches From World Of Echo – Just incredible, cello dreams turned into sound

Trees – 50th Anniversary box – The original “acid folk” records, pretty much

Robert Turman – Chapter Eleven – Staggering synth genius from the late ‘70s-early ’80s

Sonic Youth – Rarities 1-3 – Some really great cuts on these

Nurse With Wound – To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl LP and Merzbild Schwet LP – Long-awaited vinyl reissues

Sun Ra/June Tyson- Saturnian Queen of the Sun Ra Arkestra – Great overview w/some good unreleased tracks

Prince – Sign ‘O The Times deluxe edition – What can I even say about this? essential

Neil Young – Archives 2 – Same as above

Neil Young – Homegrown – If you aren’t gonna buy Archives 2, just get this – Ditch Part 4

Espers – The Weed Tree LP – I am SO glad this FINALLY got reissued, perfect psych/folk in every way

No Trend – box set – Hateful nihilism was never this much fun

V/A – Vanity Demos – Weird and weirdly formatted, but the Tolerance Demos are essential

Zoviet France – Chasse 2 box – just a god damn masterpiece, impeccable remastering, and the two previously-unreleased records are very good

This Heat w/Mario Boyer DIekurroh/Albert Marcoeur – Untitled – Another “FINALLY” in the reissue department

V/A – Music (Vanity 2LP) – Really nice to see all the Vanity label stuff reissued, this is a great compilation of mystery Japanese bafflement

Sun City Girls – Live At Sky Church 2004 – Idk wtf is going on here, it’s impressive that they can still put out things that don’t sound like anything else they did. this one is not for the faint-hearted.

V/A – How The River Ganges Flows: Sublime Masterpieces of Indian Violin, 1933-1952 – Just what it says

Hiroshi Yoshimura – GREEN – More gorgeous ambient with extra twinkly sparkles

Coil – Musick To Play In The Dark – FINALLY a well-pressed vinyl version of this masterpiece, essential moon musick

The Ex – vinyl reissues on Superior Viaduct – Amazing that they reprinted all the booklets and posters as well

No Hang-Ups

Written by Sam Mondros

No Hang-Ups is a weekly segment where you can find recommendations for jazz music of all kinds! This weeks album:

The Köln Concert took place on January 24th, 1975, and is eighty minutes in length containing two improvised pieces (the second of which is split into three parts). It has since become the stuff of legends being both the best-selling jazz solo album of all time as well as the best-selling piano album. 

What can be said about a musician like Keith Jarrett? Can words really describe the otherworldly properties that his music conveys? His album, The Köln Concert, is a piece that transcends music and what the accomplished human is capable of when stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The album carries a legend comparable to those heard from intense fans of the Grateful Dead. Ascribing little details for every reason something sounds the way it does. You know that one friend who insists on playing the entirety of some obscure Dead show because of some measly trivia? “Oh, that was the show Bob Weir had to use a size nine-string instead of a ten because he broke the high E on some bad mescaline and that’s why the accompaniment at minute 27 of Dark Star sounds like that.” Yeah…right…Well, The Köln Concert has a similar kind of history except it must be heard to be believed and its events truly did have a massive impact on his playing on the record.

An eager crowd of 1,400 waits patiently. Tickets were less than two dollars.

In the 24 hours leading up to the show, Jarrett had apparently not gotten a blink of sleep and had not eaten properly. All this aside when he showed up a few hours before the gig the piano he had requested, a Bosendorfer 290 Imperial, was not there due to moving complications. Instead, a different Bosendorfer, one with half-broken pedals and an overall weak high and low register was supplied to the pianist. This meant that the middle of the piano would be where Jarret could find most of his flow throughout the show.

This forced Jarrett to play in a manner he was not used to. Ostinatos (repeating a phrase or motif) would be an integral part of this performance in order to reinforce a theme that might fall short given the poor register of the keys. This would inadvertently bring out Jarrett’s pop sensibilities in an array of different styles. Throughout the album, most notably in Part One, Jarrett can be heard howling, laughing, moaning, and groaning in response to his musical decisions. It is a feature that is small but oddly comforting.

I actually found this album about a year ago after revisiting Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd, a band known for stretching genres with the help of their jazz pianist/keyboardist Richard Wright. If you’re a fan of Wright’s phrasing, expression, and the kind of ideas Floyd were doing pre Dark Side of the Moon, Part One will hopefully more than satisfy you. It’s got enough classical, pop, and droney rubato stints to appease any casual jazz listener. The psychedelic drone vamp of Part One would take pause midway through the song for a key change and return in Part Two B to trance the listener with another ostinato reminiscent of Keith Emerson’s work in Take a Pebble with its stern repetition and almost medieval feel. Jarrett really begins to venture out rhythmically around minute eleven of Part Two B. 

Jarret’s performance in Köln on this winter evening in 1975 can most accurately portray him as a reckless hedonist and improviser extraordinaire to the Nth degree. The Köln concert gives a reel of emotions. It is also a wonderful introduction to both classical and jazz music.