Echoes at the 59th Grammy Awards
Written by John Diliberto on December 6, 2016
The nominees for the 59th Grammy Awards were announced today. Last year I lamented the dearth of Echoes artists nominated, but this year has flipped the script making 2016 a banner year for Echoes artists who can be heard in categories from Best Rock Performance to Best New Age Album.
David Bowie is bound to be the sentimental favorite this year and the fact that he left us with a powerful album, Blackstar doesn’t hurt. He’s nominated in Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album categories.
The Best Dance/Electronic album opened up considerably this year admitting Downtempo, post-rock ambient band Tycho with the album Epoch and Jean-Michel Jarre’s Electronica 1: The Time Machine, the first of his two collaborative albums in the last 2 years.
Interestingly there are three Echoes albums in the Best Alternative Music Album category. I don’t know if this says something about the direction of Alt-Rock or the direction of Echoes. The aforementioned Bowie release, Bon Iver’s flipped out 22, A Million and Radiohead’s subdued and impressionistic A Moon Shaped Pool are among the five nominees.
There are two solid nominations in the World Music category. Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble’s Sing Me Home and Anoushka Shankar’s Land of Gold. We interviewed Yo-Yo Ma and Anoushka played live on the show this past year.
The New Age category has kicked up its best cast in years. Enya must be the prohibitive favorite with her Dark Sky Island release, an Echoes CD of the Month last December. Vangelis should also be a favorite with his return to form album, Rosetta. Hopefully it won’t suffer the fate of its namesake, the Rosetta space probe, which crashed into a comet shortly after the album’s release. The chant duo White Sun’s impressive second album, White Sun II also made it to the list.
Of course, what would a New Age Grammy list be without an entry from pianist Peter Kater. Is this his 12th nomination? He’s in this time for Inner Passion, his album of duets with cellist Tina Guo. Of course, it really wouldn’t be the Best New Age Album list without one WTF nomination, an artist of dubious talents with absolutely no profile whatsoever. That goes to pianist John Burke and his album, Orogen. He’s a capable, bombastically inclined pianist, but, who is he? I just know that musicians, especially pianists like Fiona Joy, are ripping their hair out, and rightly so.Once again, the New Age category proves to be the most easily manipulated, albeit in a legal way, at the Grammys.
A few random observations:
KICKED OUT: Has Bill Frisell been permanently booted out of the jazz categories? He’s got his second nomination in the Best Contemporary Instrumental category with When You Wish Upon a Star, his album of film music covers.
SPLIT VOTE: Unfortunately for Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, they may split their own vote with their retro-electronics soundtrack to the Netflix series, Stranger Things. The score was released in two volumes and both are nominated in the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. It would be great for the most original soundtrack of the year to win.
YIN & YANG: Could there be two more different entries than the EDM giant Steve Aoki documentary I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead and Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble’s The Music of Strangers? The only thing they share are a love of music and the east Asia origins of their central figures, Japan and China respectively.
2016 has been a great year for music recordings, if not musicians, many of whom passed in 2016. The nominations wouldn’t necessarily have been my picks, but I’ve see much, much worse. But really, with the top nominees being Beyoncé with nine nominations, Drake, Rihanna and Kanye West with eight each and Chance The Rapper with seven, the Grammys aren’t about the music you hear on Echoes.
Echoes Nominees for the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
You can see the complete list at Grammy.com.
BEST DANCE RECORDINGS
Bob Moses – Tearing Me Up
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM
Jean-Michel Jarre – Electronica 1: The Time Machine
Tycho – Epoch
BEST CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
Bill Frisell – When You Wish Upon a Star
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE
David Bowie – “Blackstar”
BEST ROCK SONG
David Bowie – “Blackstar”
Radiohead – “Burn the Witch”
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
David Bowie – Blackstar
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
BEST NEW AGE ALBUM
Enya – Dark Sky Island
Peter Kater & Tina Guo – Inner Passion
Vangelis – Rosetta
White Sun – White Sun II
BEST WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Ensemble – Sing Me Home
Anoushka Shankar – Land of Gold
BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – The Revenant
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things 1 & 2
BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA
Peter Gabriel – “The Veil” (from Snowden)
BEST REMIXED RECORDING
Ry X – “Only (Kaskade x Lipless Remix”
The Chemical Brothers – “Wide Open (Joe Godard Remix)”
BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Third Coast Percussion – Steve Reich
BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Jamie XX – Gosh
BEST MUSIC FILM
Yo-Yo Ma – The Music of Strangers