20 Best Avant Albums of 2017

The year's best in ambient, noise, out-jazz, experimental electronic and more

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Diamanda Galás, 'All the Way'

12. Diamanda Galás, 'All the Way'

One of the most visceral, transfixing live performers in any musical medium returns to paint the American songbook like Hieronymus Bosch. With an operatic vocal range, fireworks piano chops, and a new and thrilling fearlessness for long-held notes, Galás skywrites around songs popularized by Frank Sinatra ("All the Way"), B.B. King ("The Thrill Is Gone"), Johnny Paycheck ("Pardon Me I've Got Someone to Kill") and more. The highlight is a must-hear, nearly 11-minute take on nearly century old folk brooder "O Death," recorded in 2005. "When I finished that performance, there was blood all over the keyboard," she told Rolling Stone. "I couldn't imagine why. What I had done is I had broken my nails, all of them, when I was playing. And I never enjoyed a performance so much in my life."

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