The 2023 Polaris Music Prize long list came out last week. It’s Canada’s richest annual music award, honouring the best Canadian album of the year with a $50,000 prize. We have three jurors here at CKUA: hosts Amy van Keeken and Grant Stovel, and Production Services Supervisor Arianne Smith-Piquette.
We’d never ask them to reveal how they vote or which album they are rooting for, but we did ask them to choose one album from the long list that they think CKUA listeners will appreciate.
Néo-Romance by Alexandra Stréliski is Amy’s choice.
“This is a stunning collection, garnering lots of spins from me since its release. Stréliski’s playing is dynamic, confident, and tender. The compositions are full of beautiful melody, space, and unexpected chord changes. A delight for the brain and ear. The production on this album is top notch, a lovely muted, warm tone to the piano. Just the right amount of echo on certain tracks. The perfect album to buy on vinyl and play on long afternoons along with Satie, Debussy and those classic Windham Hill George Winston recordings.”
Release Spirit by Khotin is Grant’s choice.
“All forty of these beautiful records deserve to win the Polaris Prize, and I’m particularly jazzed about the five splendid albums by great Alberta artists: Ghostkeeper, Mariel Buckley, Khotin, Home Front, and Jairus Sharif. While I’m AWFUL at choosing favourites, I’d love to highlight one brilliant album that, to these ears, has flown waaaay too low under the radar up till now! Release Spirit is a sublime ‘dream sequence’ of a record from Edmonton musician/composer/producer Dylan Khotin-Foote’s ‘impressionistic electronic project’ Khotin. Just put on this ambient masterpiece, and I promise that you will soon find your life magically enriched.”
Badge Époque Ensemble by Clouds Of Joy is Arianne’s choice.
“This one has been on repeat since it came out. It’s a jazzy, hip hoppy, breezy little bop of a record.”