1. David Sylvian, Blemish (Samadhi Sound) The former pop icon reemerges as a convincing experimentalist, wrapping his sumptuous baritone around Derek Bailey's angular guitar and Christian Fennesz's electronic mulch.
2. Cul de Sac, Death of the Sun (Strange Attractors Audio House) Boston's psychedelic quintet slows it down, clears space for turntables and electronics, and offers a gorgeous meditation on loss and memory.
3. Yasunao Tone, Yasunao Tone (Asphodel) Fluxus veteran Tone brings turntablism into the digital realm, producing noisy bursts and spastic stutters that teeter between order and chaos.
4. Keith Rowe, Thomas Lehn, and Marcus Schmickler, Rabbit Run (Erstwhile) A thrilling battle of the machines (guitar, radio, computer) from Erstwhile, the world's finest purveyor of new improvised music.
5. William Basinski, The River (Raster-noton) The Marcel Proust of modern music, Basinski retrieves melodic fragments from layers of tape hiss, radio static, and mechanical darter, then lays them out in epic form.
6. So, So (Thrill Jockey) Markus Popp leaves Oval behind and hooks up with sweet-voiced Eriko Toyoda to produce a dazzlingly beautiful collision of lullabies and wanton digitalia.
7. Music from the Once Festival 1961-1966 (New World) Five COs and rich liner notes document this mid-western font of the post-Cagean experimental tradition.
8. Rechenzentrum, Director's Cut (Mille Plateaux) Prickly noise, spongy beats, and a collection of abstract videos constitute this CD/DVD set, the most satisfying release yet by Berlin's hippest electronic trio.
9. Rhythm & Sound, w/ the Artists (Asphodel) Silky voices drift over waterlogged riddims: sublime, minimalist reggae from this clandestine German duo.
10. Satoru Wono, Sonata for Sine Wave and White Noise (Sonore) A bit gimmicky in its take on classical form, but Wend manages to extract from his spare materials some wicked stripped-down funk.
1. Okkyung Lee and Martin Schutz (Tonic, New York, Mar. 23) An excellent improvisation, as two adventurous cellists in their first performance together dueled with swift bows in a cloud of rosin.
2. Butch Morris and Burnt Sugar, The Rites Conductions Inspired by Stravinsky's Le Sacre DU Printemps (Trugroid/Avantgroid) Greg Tate's band under Morris's baton. Seeing the maestro in a live "conduction" is like being in his brain--his thought process at once visible and audible.
3. Ryoji Ikeda, op. (Touch) Electronic minimalist Ikeda unplugs and composes for a string quartet. A sparse progression of movements, lyrical and cinematic.
4. DJ Olive, Bodega (The Agriculture) Sensuous beats take you for a walk through Brooklyn's corner stores; aromas abound. Little gems mixed by one of my favorite turntablists.
5. Alan Licht, A New York Minute (XI) Licht composes like the writer that he is. Ideas--simply stated and highly effective--emerge from a collage of everything from loops of raw guitar to radio weather reports.
6. tba, tba (max.E) A Thomas Brinkmann easy-listening release, more champagne pop and fizz than vinyl pop and dick.
7. Tim Barnes, Toshio Kajiwara, and Marina Rosenfeld, A Water's Wake (Locust) A crucial document by three respected young players from the New York improvisation scene.
8. Christof Migone, South Winds (Strange Attractors Audio House) An electronic homage to the legendary Petomane, "fart artist" of the Moulin Rouge.
9. Yoshimi and Yuka, Flower with No Color (Ipecac) Boredoms and Cibo Matte go fishing. A dreamlike psychedelic exotica trip through nature.
10. Tonic (New York) The best little club in New York for new and adventurous music.
1. Linda Thompson (Joe's Pub, New York, May 20) Sharing the stage with son Teddy, Thompson faltered and blossomed …