Brilliant contemporary non-pop composers

Over here I was asking about pop composers/musicians who are compose music that is genuinely brilliant and the product of musical genius. This post by **VCO3 ** inspired me to start a new thread asking for musicians who don’t write pop music, but are nevertheless gifted with real musical genius. Suggestions?

As in the other thread, I’m hoping to avoid the “Oh, I like X, Y and Z” posts. I’m asking posters who are knowledgeable about music to suggest some artists who are genuinely brilliant.

Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Over the course of 20 years, mutated from making innocuous synth-pop to what can only be described as neo-classical post-rock, working with tape loops and chamber ensembles while still singing over top of it all. Bonus points; kept the same band name the entire time.

Scott Walker - started as a teen idol in the sixties before becoming the new Bertolt Brecht, making strange, impressionistic post-music that’s more like a living painting or scary film than a “record.”

Where to start? Every part of the world has its “geniuses”. How about:

– Arvo Part: Estonian composer, mainly of haunting choral works
– Zakir Hussian: Indian tabla virtuoso
– Eliades Ochoa: Cuban guitarist and singer of great power and beauty
– Oscar Peterson: Canadian jazz pianist with amazing skills

(Are the last two still alive? I hope so.)

I feel more at home in this thread than the last one.

Phillip Glass, oh yes. He belongs here. Tom Waits too. Danny Elfman and Brian Eno. All musically very sound. All would fit the catagory of composer.

I will repeat my recommendation of Magnetic Fields and Neutral Milk Hotel, heck maybe even the New Pornographers (they all cross close to the line). I am tempted to include Blur but it would be closer to the bottom of my list. Radiohead belongs Modest Mouse probaly belongs. David Byrne should be on the list.

How far back is the cut off?

Is Bebop Jazz cool?

Cause then Miles, and Dizzy need to be here. Max Roach too.

Older Jazz?

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington? Benny Goodman?

When does it stop being contemporary?

I hadn’t really thought about it. Just to pick an arbitrary cut-off, I would say post-WWII, although when I posted this I had in mind people who are still alive and kicking or only recently deceased.

As opposed to the other thread, in which he received a misplaced (IMHO) call out, Frank Zappa needs to be nominated here. He would be easily at the top of my list.

Robert Fripp (although a lot of it is very mathematical)
Mike Keneally if only for The Universe Will Provide
Mike Oldfield at least for his first few albums
and a number of other proggers - Yes and early Genesis come to mind.
OK, so maybe I’m biased. :slight_smile:

I submit Pat Metheny and his frequent collaborator, Lyle Mays. I know of no two writers who can consistently toss out melodies of such quality. They also have a gift for writing unbelievably complex music that sounds simple.

Good examples: Are You Going With Me?; The First Circle: Minuano (Six Eight); To The End Of The World; Phase Dance; and The Way Up (a 68 minute piece - not for beginners!), all from the Pat Metheny Group catalog.

John Adams is the greatest of the minimalists, although on some days I’d say the same thing about Steve Reich. (I think of Philip Glass as pseudo-intellectual elevator music).

Scott Walker continues to scare and amaze me.

Diamanda Galas is reason enough for the existence of the planet.

Sir John Tavener