The top 5 releases of 2018

29 November 2018
Our academics weigh-in on the albums that made their year
Sydney Conservatorium of Music jazz, classical, contemporary and composition academics reveal what's been spinning on their playlists this year.

Mike Viola: The American Egypt

Jadey O'Regan, Lecturer in Contemporary Music

Mike Viola: The American Egypt album cover

"Mike Viola has always been one of my favourite songwriters, it makes no sense that he hasn't seen the popularity that his songs really deserve. This is a wonderful record of thoughtfully written and beautifully produced songs. It’s a little darker than previous releases, but still has all the sad, happy, sweet and funny moments that Viola is so skilled at creating. If you love classic pop song-writing and/or quirky power pop, you'll probably dig this."

James Muller: Live at Wizard Tone

David Theak, Lecturer in Jazz

James Muller: Live at Wizard Tone album cover

"This was recorded in Adelaide in front of a live audience at Wizard Tone studios… The energy, artistry and virtuosity from the musicians is beautifully captured; the excitement of a live concert with the audio quality of a studio session makes for a compelling CD.  

Featuring James Muller on guitar plus Will Vinson (alto sax), Sam Anning (contrabass) and Ben Vanderwal (drums & cymbals)."

HUSH Volume 18: Collective Wisdom - ACO Collective

Paul Stanhope, Senior Lecturer in Composition

Professor Matthew Hindson AM, Deputy Head of School, Deputy Dean

HUSH Volume 18 ACO Collective: Collective Wisdom album cover

Paul: "I know I’m biased, but this is my favourite release for 2018. The music, by twelve Australian composers, was written with young mental health hospital patients in mind. Partnering with the fabulous ACO Collective, the recording is uplifting, high quality music with the idea of conveying comforting and uplifting emotions."

Matthew: "We each wrote a piece of music in response to a residency in Adolescent Mental Health Wards.  So, the tracks are poignant, hopeful, inspiring and heartfelt - a truly emotional album. And being the ACO Collective, the performances are outstanding."

Paul: "I was also delighted to mentor Masters student Natalie Nicolas through the process and was thrilled with how her piece turned out. Recent Con student Natalie Nicolas was also included. Although of great value to hospital patients, it’s music that anyone might find attractive."

Neko Case: Hell-On

Charles Fairchild, Associate Professor of Popular Music

Neko Case: Hell-On album cover

"My favourite release for 2018 is Neko Case’s Hell-On. Case is a famed songwriter and collaborator, relying on the textures and stylistic gestures of American roots music and so-called ‘alt-country’ to back up her subtle, personal stories."

Alexandre Oguey and Neal Peres Da Costa: Pastoral Fables

Neal Peres Da Costa, Professor of Historical Performance

Alexandre Oguey and Neal Peres Da Costa: Pastoral Fables album cover

"So, I would like to say that my favourite CD release of 2018 is Pastoral Fables with Music by Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms played on cor anglais by the inimitable Alexandre Oguey with me on historical piano. This was released by ABC Classics. The CD presents new arrangements that are ravishingly beautiful."