New Music Mix October 2019

I’m planning for this to be a regular ‘column’ if you will on InnerFidelity to post new music every month, or perhaps, every week if the interest is high, and I have the material for it. You’d be surprised by just how much new content comes out every week that’s actually both musically interesting and well recorded. Far from disproving the fallacy that modern music is poorly recorded and uninteresting, I think this rather proves the fact that there has always been interesting music that is well recorded, if only one knows how to dig a little.

Thankfully, I’ve done some digging for you. After combing through numerous releases, all of which are new for 2019, and many of which were released less than a month ago, I picked these 13 albums for your listening pleasure. I draw these albums from a variety of sources – resources from my own network of musicians and audio engineers, suggestions from Qobuz, TIDAL and Amazon Music HD, subscriptions I have on Bandcamp and websites for small record labels I follow. I can’t promise I’ve heard everything that gets released, but I try to cast as broad a net as possible to get a balanced variety.

Speaking of variety, I think in a certain sense, the death of CD and record stores has steered the average listener away from taking risks. The world of popular music certainly runs on Spotify playlists, and other smorgasboard-style listening that serves up carefully-promoted singles for one’s listening pleasure. Sure, this is great if we’re looking for something to fill the sonic background while we commute or work, but for those times when you’re looking for that special something, that sonic ‘meal’ rather than a sonic ‘snack,’ then sometimes only an album will do.

You will probably not like everything on this list, nor the next, nor the next after that. My hope is instead that the majority or plurality of readers find at least a few albums they can enjoy, and one or two albums that open their ears to something they did not expect. Listening comes in many modes – do we like to rock out, chill out, drift off, dance or something else entirely when we listen? The answer is of course individual, but I’ve tried to curate a list that will serve up a little something to everyone’s taste. I’d like to encourage you to try on a different listening hat with some of these albums – perhaps listen to lyrics if you typically listen to the instruments, or vice versa, and see what you find.

You should be able to find all of these albums between some combination of Qobuz, TIDAL, Amazon Music HD, Bandcamp, and other high-quality streaming services or CD-quality to High-Rez download services. I’ve found all of them worth listening to both on headphones and speakers, though of course, musical quality is the first among equals in my selection criteria. I’ve compiled playlist links via TIDAL and Qobuz for most of the list. Enjoy.

October Music List

  • Stay Tuned! - Dominique Fils-Aime
  • Spectrum - Hiromi
  • Dynasty - Hua Li
  • Caroline Shaw: Orange - Attacca Quartet
  • Amadjar - Tinariwen
  • Night Song - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook
  • Cause and Effect - Keane
  • ¡Spangled! - Gaby Moreno
  • Phantom Rhythm - Gong Gong Gong
  • Handfuls of Night - Penguin Cafe
  • S3NS - Ibrahim Maalouf
  • Ancestral Recall - Christian Scott
  • Ballades - Ahmad Jamal

jm's picture

Some nice finds here. Thank you for your filtering work (and the list links).

MarkF786's picture

Night Song is a great album - though note is was released in 1996.

Martin.'s picture

This is my first proper visit back to Innerfidelity since Tyll. I really enjoy what I've read of your posts this far and might actually return as a reader. I don't mean any disrespect to Rafe; just different strokes for different folks. I've not followed any audiophile blog or channel since Tyll's departure and have honestly missed it.

I really like having a new music mix every month as I don't know where to look to try new stuff and get bored with listening to the same songs over and over. Currently listening to "Phantom Rhythm" and can't say I like it or dislike it. I've never heard something like it, in the sense of I've never listened to Chinese music and I don't know how I'd categorize it. But I'm listening and I'm interested. Thank you for that.

Would it be too much to ask for you to add the genre of each album?

Rafe Arnott's picture
Nice to have you back. Different strokes is what makes this an interesting world.
Grover Neville's picture

I really appreciate it! I've spent a lot of time talking with Tyll, Rafe and others and thinking hard about thoughtfully curating content. I can't do what Tyll did - nobody but Tyll can, but I'm trying to respect that legacy (I was an avid Tyll IF reader!) and also bring some new and different flavors all while catering to readers' interests. Glad to hear you're finding it valuable.

I try to have every month be a nice mix of things - a few 'audiophile-friendly' selections, a few more mainstream selections, and a couple of things that are unusual and may open listener's ears. I can absolutely add genres and some descriptions for the music, thank you for the suggestion.

Ortofan's picture

... unlikely collaboration between Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks, especially for those familiar with the former from her recent appearances on the 'Live from Here' PBS radio show and the latter from his days performing with Ry Cooder, yet they've been working together for the past ten years.
For those who tend to find much of the music mentioned here unappealing, this recording is definitely worth a listen.