All year long, I keep an Excel spreadsheet that I call “INCOMING MUSIC.” I organize it all by Artist, Album Title, Release Date, Genre, and whether it’s a promo, a purchase, or just something I downloaded from somewhere. I also make notes on Coverage: whether I include it in my Stereogum jazz column, review it for The Wire or DownBeat, write about the artist for Bandcamp Daily, or write about it here (or in the weekly email newsletter, which you should subscribe to if you don’t already).

All told, 1091 albums (box sets count as a single entry) landed here in 2022. Of those, the 100 (actually 101) that have given me the most pleasure this year are listed below, unranked, in alphabetical order. If I’ve written about a given album somewhere, or if Todd Manning‘s written about it for BA, I’ve provided a link. A lot of them are also part of my Bandcamp collection, so feel free to check that out, too.

So here you go: a list of the 100 best albums of 2022, all genres.

Abhorrent ExpanseGateways to Resplendence (Amalgam): improvised death metal from Minneapolis, reviewed by Todd Manning here

JD AllenAmericana Vol. 2 (Savant): a brilliant set of blues meditations from my favorite living/currently active tenor saxophonist, reviewed on Stereogum here

AnalepsyQuiescence (Miasma): one-man brutal death metal from Portugal

Horace AndyMidnight Rocker (On-U Sound): new music from the legendary reggae vocalist, produced by Adrian Sherwood

AntigamaWhiteout (Selfmadegod): Polish grindcore veterans come back blasting; reviewed here in July

Albert AylerRevelations: The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental Music): previously unheard recordings of two of the legendary free jazz saxophonist’s final concerts, covered on Bandcamp Daily here

The Bad PlusThe Bad Plus (Edition): once a piano trio, they’re now a sax-guitar-bass-drums quartet and rocking harder than ever; reviewed on Stereogum here

Binker & MosesFeeding the Machine (Gearbox): groove-based sax/drums duos, reviewed on Stereogum here

Black Sky GiantEnd of Days Pilgrimage (self-released): surprisingly trancelike one-man instrumental stoner metal from Argentina

Pierre BoulezComposer Conductor Enigma (Cherry Red): a box set of work by the French composer and advocate for modern classical music, discussed here

Peter Brötzmann/Keiji HainoThe Intellect Given Birth to Here (Eternity) is Too Young (Black Editions): a 4LP set of live rituals, reviewed on Stereogum here

The BugAbsent Riddim (Pressure): one concussive rhythm given to more than a dozen vocalists, including Justin BroadrickMoor MotherDälek and Jaimie Branch

BuñuelKillers Like Us (Profound Lore): third album by a heavy noise-rock project featuring Eugene Robinson of Oxbow on vocals; I reviewed this for The Wire

Johnny Chang/Keir GoGwilthope lies fallow (Another Timbre): violin duos, discussed here

Coco EmKilumi (InFiné): electronic music by a DJ/producer from Kenya, discussed here

The Comet Is ComingHyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impulse!): the latest from Shabaka Hutchings’ electro-jazz party band, reviewed on Stereogum here

Dead NeanderthalsMetal (Utech): grind meets Suicide in trance-doom catharsis, reviewed in the BA newsletter here

DemiricousChaotic Lethal (Post. Recordings): grimy post-thrash metal; I interviewed one of the bandmembers here

Whit Dickey QuartetRoot Perspectives (Tao Forms): one of the best free jazz drummers around; this is his second album of 2022, reviewed on Stereogum here

Billy DrummondValse Sinistre (Cellar Live): a great drummer’s first album as a leader in a quarter century, reviewed on Stereogum here

Early MoodsEarly Moods (RidingEasy): debut full-length by an all-Latin doom metal band from L.A.; RIYL Black SabbathCandlemassTrouble

EarthlessNight Parade of One Hundred Demons (Nuclear Blast): instrumental psychedelic stoner metal, played at extraordinary length; I reviewed this for The Wire

Ecstatic VisionElusive Mojo (Heavy Psych Sounds): instrumental stoner rock with wailing sax

Ezra CollectiveWhere I’m Meant to Be (Partisan): second full-length by a funky UK Afro-jazz band; reviewed on Stereogum here

Faceless BurialAt the Foothills of Deliration (Dark Descent): grimy, intricate death metal from Australia

Satoko FujiiHyaku: One Hundred Dreams (Libra): 100th release from a brilliant avant-jazz pianist; reviewed for The Wire

Tomas Fujiwara’s Triple DoubleMarch (Firehouse 12): double trio (two each of trumpet, guitar, and drums) out-jazz

Johnny GandelsmanThis is America (In A Circle): three CDs’ worth of solo violin compositions by Gandelsman, performed by a stunning array of musicians; reviewed here in July

GoatwhoreAngels Hung From the Arches of Heaven (Metal Blade): the first album I’ve ever liked from a New Orleans metal institution; part black metal, part death metal, part Motörhead-esque blast ’n’ roll

GolgothanLeech (Lacerated Enemy): brutal death metal with some surprisingly catchy riffs, from Louisiana

Grave InfestationPersecution of the Living (Invictus Productions): old-school death metal with plenty of guitar wank, from Canada

Cameron GravesLive From the Seven Spheres (Mack Avenue): live album by a fusion-meets-metal pianist; I covered this on Stereogum, and had Cameron on the podcast here

Muriel GrossmannUniversal Code (Dreamland): post-Coltrane, post-Pharoah Sanders spiritual jazz from an Austrian saxophonist based in Spain; reviewed on Stereogum here

Joanna GutowskaSaariaho: Works for Cello (Dux): like the title suggests, some brilliant music for between one and eight cellos, all performed by Gutowska, whom I interviewed in the newsletter here

Mary HalvorsonAmaryllis (Nonesuch): one of two new albums by the imaginative and exciting guitarist; covered on Stereogum here

Marquis HillNew Gospel Revisited (Edition): live reworking of an early album by an excellent Chicago trumpeter; covered on Stereogum here

I AMBeyond (Division 81): sax-drums duos of a spiritual nature; covered on Stereogum here

Susie Ibarra & Tashi DorjiMaster of Time (Astral Spirits): fantastic, meditative guitar-drums duos, reviewed for We Jazz magazine

ImmolationActs of God (Nuclear Blast): one of America’s greatest death metal bands is still at it; discussed here

Imperial TriumphantSpirit of Ecstasy (Century Media): epic, avant-garde black metal mixed with modern composition, plus a guest sax solo from Kenny G (yes, that one) that you will not laugh at

O.G. JiggThe Land Dictates the Lay of the Stone (Earth Memory Recordings): quiet, patient chamber music with occasional synth

Soweto KinchWhite Juju (LSO Live): a jazz/hip-hop work of theatrical agitprop, discussed in the BA newsletter last week

Kirk Knuffke TrioGravity Without Airs (Tao Forms): two CDs’ worth of cornet-piano-bass pieces that feel like avant-jazz chamber music; reviewed on Stereogum here

KokorokoCould We Be More (Brownswood): the long-awaited full-length debut from London’s finest Afrobeat-meets-jazz ensemble, reviewed on Stereogum here

KrisiunMortem Solis (Century Media): face-punching Brazilian death metal from one of the best bands to ever do it; reviewed in this newsletter here

Tomomi Kubo & Camila NebbiaPolycephaly (Tripticks Tapes): cloudy, disorienting duos for tenor sax and ondes Martenot, reviewed in this newsletter here

Klaus LangTehran Dust (Another Timbre): gradually building pieces for flute, accordion, cello and organ; discussed here

James Brandon Lewis QuartetMolecular Systematic Music Live (Intakt): a double disc of smokin’ hot liveage, reviewed on Stereogum here

LoopSonancy (Cooking Vinyl): comeback album from guitarist Robert Hampson’s pre-Main trance-psych group

MainlinerBurst Osaka 2022 (self-released): live recordings from the head-stomping Japanese psych-rock power trio; discussed here

Nduduzo MakhathiniIn the Spirit of Ntu (Blue Note): expansive spiritual jazz from South Africa; I interviewed Makhathini for Stereogum here

Mass WorshipPortal Tombs (Century Media): heavy, ugly music that’s as much noise-rock as metal; discussed here

Maule, s/t (Cruz del Sur): the blazing combination of Iron Maiden and Slayer you never knew you needed

Makaya McCravenIn These Times (Nonesuch/International Anthem): a brilliant work of collective improvisation, groove, and orchestration, plus after-the-fact post-production; reviewed on Stereogum here

MessaClose (Svart): atmospheric Italian doom metal with jazzy organ and flute; I reviewed this for The Wire

Misery IndexComplete Control (Century Media): punishing, politically engaged death-grind; basically, America’s Napalm Death

Tumi MogorosiGroup Theory: Black Music (Mushroom Hour Half Hour): second album as a leader by a killer South African drummer who’s also a philosopher (read his book DeAesthetic); reviewed on Stereogum here

Hedvig Mollestad & Trondheim Jazz OrchestraMaternity Beat (Rune Grammofon): one of jazz’s heaviest guitarists puts together a fascinatingly weird large-ensemble work; reviewed on Stereogum here

Moor MotherJazz Codes (Anti-): poetry meets jazz meets electronic music, with a ton of guests; I interviewed Moor Mother for Stereogum here

David MurraySeriana Promethea (Intakt): a roaring, surprisingly funky new trio with Hamid Drake on drums; covered on Stereogum here

Mythic SunshipLight/Flux (Tee Pee): heavy psychedelic instro-rock jams with loads of wailin’ sax

Qasim Naqvi/Wadada Leo Smith/Andrew CyrilleTwo Centuries (Red Hook): trumpet, electronics and drums from three masters, one a generation after the other two; reviewed on Stereogum here

Neptunian MaximalismFinis Gloriae Mundi (Utech): a monster live set from this Belgian art-doom-meets-free-jazz ritual ensemble; reviewed by Todd Manning here

Gard Nilssen’s Acoustic UnityElastic Wave (ECM): third studio album by a fantastic free-jazz-adjacent trio from Norway; reviewed on Stereogum here

Emeka Ogboh6°30’33.372”N 3°22’0.66”E (Danfotronics): dubby techno mixed with field recordings from a central bus station in Lagos becomes a vast, immersive, head-spinning audio experience; like nothing else you’ll hear on this list or anywhere else this year

OK:KOLiesu (We Jazz): third album by a Finnish jazz quartet who’ve perfected a kind of excitable but disciplined post-bop

ORDHemligheter på vägen (self-released): a drumless out-jazz quartet + vocals, led by pianist Karin Johansson; covered on Stereogum here

OrganectomyNail Below Nail (Unique Leader): Absolutely concussive brutal death metal from New Zealand

OrthodoxProceed (Alone): the full, original trio lineup of the amazing, exploratory Spanish doom crew is back together at last, and they’re making heavy rock again after several more jazz-oriented albums

Oxbow & Peter BrötzmannAn Eternal Reminder of Not Today: Live at Moers (Trost/Sleeping Giant Glossolalia): an amazing live collaboration from 2017; I reviewed it for The Wire and Todd Manning covered it here

Jeff Parker/Eric Revis/Nasheet WaitsEastside Romp (RogueArt): one of today’s most exciting jazz guitarists teams up with the rhythm section from avant-jazz collective trio Tarbaby; I interviewed Revis for Stereogum here

Aaron Parks/Matt Brewer/Eric HarlandVolume One & Volume Two (self-released): low-stakes piano trio music by three longtime friends, mixing originals and standards; covered on Stereogum here

Jeremy PeltSoundtrack (Savant): the latest album by a consistently underrated trumpeter (he’s widely praised, but he should be revered); covered on Stereogum here

Ivo PerelmanReed Rapture in Brooklyn (Mahakala Music): a dozen encounters between Perelman and fellow saxophonists, including Roscoe MitchellTim BerneJoe LovanoJames Carter and more; reviewed in detail in the newsletter here

PerfumePlasma (Universal Japan): the best work in a decade from the long-running Japanese electro-pop quartet (three vocalists and their producer); reviewed in the newsletter here

Tom Petty & the HeartbreakersLive at the Fillmore 1997 (Warner Music): like the title suggests; reviewed at length in the newsletter here

PhelimuncasiAma Gogela (Nyege Nyege Tapes): a vocal trio (twin brothers and a snarky female counterpart) from South Africa making gqom, which is like dark industrial hip-hop at techno tempos, with lyrics mostly in isiZulu

Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau/Christian McBride/Brian BladeLongGone (Nonesuch): the second reunion album from an all-star quartet who weren’t stars when they first worked together, reviewed on Stereogum here

Adam Rudolph & Bennie MaupinSymphonic Tone Poem for Brother Yusef (Strut): an electronic/organic soundscape from percussionist Rudolph with Maupin’s bass clarinet floating through

Cécile McLorin SalvantGhost Song (Nonesuch): an art-songy collection of sonic surprises from the smartest, most creative jazz vocalist around; covered on Stereogum here

SahgBorn Demon (Napalm): former doom metal purveyors from Norway go power metal, writing anthemic, fist-in-the-air, shout-the-chorus metal anthems

Brandon SeabrookIn the Swarm (Astral Spirits): a guitar/diddley-bow/drums power trio with Cooper-Moore and Gerald Cleaver; covered on Stereogum here

Matthew Shipp TrioWorld Construct (ESP-Disk’): the latest from Shipp, bassist Michael Bisio, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker; covered on Stereogum here

Linda SikhakhaneIsambulo (Ropeadope): spiritual jazz from a South African saxophonist; covered on Stereogum here

Wadada Leo SmithThe Emerald Duets (TUM): five CDs’ worth of stark, soul-piercing trumpet-drums duos — one each with Pheeroan akLaffAndrew Cyrille, and Han Bennink, and two with Jack DeJohnette

Tyshawn Sorey TrioMesmerism (7yeros): brilliant interpretations of standards featuring pianist Aaron Diehl

SoulflyTotem (Nuclear Blast): Ultra-heavy, grinding thrash from Sepultura founder Max Cavalera; reviewed here in August

StabbingExtirpated Mortal Process (Comatose Music): ultra-heavy brutal death metal from Texas; I reviewed this for The Wire, believe it or not

Matthew Stevens & Walter Smith IIIIn Common III (Whirlwind): third iteration of a quintet led by guitarist Stevens and saxophonist Smith, with pianist Kris Davis, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington; covered on Stereogum here

SumerlandsDreamkiller (Relapse): soaring traditional metal in the 1980s style, with some ’80s AOR hard rock thrown in; RIYRRRL (recommended if you really, really, really like) DioMercyful FateOzzy circa The Ultimate Sin, and/or Deep Purple’s 1980s reunion albums

Cecil TaylorThe Complete, Legendary, Live Return Concert At The Town Hall, NYC, November 4, 1973 (Oblivion): the title tells you exactly what this is; the band is Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, Sirone on bass, Andrew Cyrille on drums covered on Stereogum here

Chad Taylor TrioThe Reel (Astral Spirits): piano, sax and drums (no bass) led from the back but fundamentally collaborative; reviewed on Stereogum here

Lisa Ullén/Elsa Bergman/Anna LundSpace (Relative Pitch): out piano trio work from three members of saxophonist Anna Högberg’s Attack sextet; covered on Stereogum here

Eric WagnerIn the Lonely Light of Mourning (Cruz del Sur): an unintentionally posthumous (but completed to his satisfaction) solo album from the legendary Trouble vocalist; discussed here

RA Washington/Jah NadaIn Search of Our Father’s Gardens (Astral Spirits): a psychedelic spiritual jazz odyssey that uses the recording studio to its full potential; reviewed in the newsletter last week

WolfShadowland (Century Media): hard-charging, old-school metal; if you like Iron Maiden, if you like Mercyful Fate, you’ll like this

WormrotHiss (Earache): long-awaited and possibly final (their singer quit) album by a brilliant grind band from Singapore; reviewed here in July

WrithingOf Earth & Flesh (Everlasting Spew): a hard-charging blend of old-school death metal styles (some Immolation, some Morbid Angel, some early Gorguts) from Australia

Iannis XenakisElectroacoustic Works (Karlrecords): 5CD box of pieces composed between 1957 and 1992, newly mixed and, frankly, sonically overpowering at times — even if you’ve heard this music before, you’ve never heard it like this

Various ArtistsA Chant About The Beauty Of The Moon At Night: Hawaiian Steel Guitar Masters 1913-1921 (Magnificent Sounds): there are few sounds more beautiful than Hawaiian steel guitar music on a summer night

Thanks for riding with Burning Ambulance in 2022. See you next year…

One Comment on “Best Music Of 2022

  1. Pingback: 2022 Best of Lists from Around the Web: Part IV – Avant Music News

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