My chief regret of 2003 has been not hearing enough live contemporary classical and lights-out electroacoustic music in Seattle. Several 2003 releases remedy that regret, including Ramifications (Deutsche Grammophon), an excellent reissue containing György Ligeti's Melodien, an early 1970s orchestral agglomeration of microscopic melodies that simmer in an appealing sonic stew. Another composer rarely heard in Seattle is the fierce ultra-serialist Milton Babbitt. His new disc, Music of Milton Babbitt (Bridge), bristles with delightfully thorny chamber works and a marvelous piece for organ, "Manifold Music."

Earlier this year, I singled out Wobbly's Wild Why (Tigerbeat6), a plunderphonic sound collage of hiphop recordings pinched from the radio, as essential for anyone interested in avant electronics. One of Wobbly's forebears, plunderphonic progenitor John Oswald, has an intriguing must-hear new release, Aparenthesi (empreintes DIGITALes), which blends delicate sine tones, field recordings, and subtle prepared piano textures. An eloquently quiet disc, savor Aparenthesi on a lonely moonless night.

Fans of minimal music should also investigate Alvin Lucier's seminal work of the mid-1970s and '80s, Still and Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas (Lovely Music). By ingeniously coupling pure sine tones with solo acoustic instruments, Lucier creates eerie and unsettling works that suggest highly amplified chemical processes.

Given recent events, I also regret the scarcity of overtly political experimental music. I was disappointed by saxophonist-activist-composer Fred Ho's The Black Panther Suite (innova). This DVD coupled good odd-metered saxophone-driven jazz with historic 1960s footage of the Black Panthers but failed to make direct use of sonic material related to that famously vocal cadre of agitators. Phil Kline's Zippo Songs (Cantaloupe), however, eloquently hits the mark with "Three Rumsfeld Songs," fashioned from Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon briefings ("But there are also unknown unknowns..."). CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI