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Monday, March 20, 2017

Go Johnny, go!


R.I.P. for Chuck Berry...

Elbow cassette player

A cool project, maybe slightly nostalgic, but the idea behind this gizmo is worth following its future incarnation.

I like it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Mr. Sennheiser's cool dude...

Such a dude...

A dummy dude!

I love double-bass!

Bottesini rules, folks!

Listening to a 140 years old double-bass played by a true master, maestro Gergely Járdányi - who studied with great, late Ludwig Streicher - is such a blissful joy!

... and re-listening to the actual concert recording from Sound Devices 722, captured with Neumann USM69 in Blumlein-pattern is... well... audio zenith.

Thanking Tom for 722 and maestro Gergely Járdányi for his music and kindness.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Disc of the Day - Heinz Holliger - Siebengesang - Der Magische Tänzer

A Japanese pressing masterpiece...



Flea-market gems... from Hungary with love.

The King is naked!

Gyorgy Ranki?


His composing skill reminds me some movies soundtrack with a tad of Respighi and Bernard Hermann... let's not forget the like of another Hungarian composer, Miklos Rozsa, wrote for Hollywood truly remarkable OSTs.

Lovely disc and music, with a recording of seldom heard quality: on side one there are some great passages were unison bassoons, tuba and double-basses shake the building!

Hungaroton really knew its business!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mr. Sennheiser goes partying!

... women are truly a one-of-a-kind-breed;-)

My wife, after seeing the unattended vintage Neumann mike-boom and Sennheiser Dummy head at home, shortly after I finished recording, put on the blue head a nice feathers-adorned hat she used for a party during just-over carnival.

Must say the result is eye-pleasing... and the demonstration my wife (and most of women;-)) hate audio and related... and every attempt will be made to change any gears final destination - i.e. making music.

I love my wife;-)

P.S. - Mr. Sennheiser looks cool and elegant, exotic indeed.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Tandberg of Norway

Mysterious stuffs, folks...

I owned Tandberg's gears for most of my life: TL 5020, Studio Monitor, Tandberg 114/116-8 coaxial speakers... and TD20A, 3500 and 9200 XD reel to reels.

I recently bought for cheap a pair of Hi-Fi System 11 speakers... a truly unassuming, humble shoes-box sized speaker which I connected to my trusty Partridge 300B mono blocks, just out of curiosity.

The sound I enjoyed so much most of the day is so right... hard to believe: or my 300B amps are so incredibly good to make virtually everything to sound heavenly or... these speakers are amazing...

... not sure which of the above.

Hi-Fi is such a funny hobby: a cheap, unknown speaker is able to give more music of many hideously expensive piece of gear I'm aware of!

Funny... so funny I'm almost worried;-)

Friday, March 3, 2017

EMI/Pink Floyd's console for sale!

For sale... in NYC, soon...

At Bonham's

Glenn Jones & Matthew Azevedo's Waterworks on limited-edition vinyl

On new live album Waterworks, digital and acoustic experimentation bring sparkling new depths to Glenn Jones’ emotive guitar virtuoso.  Waterworks was recorded binaurally at the Waterworks Museum in Boston, MA on June 24, 2015 through 20 speakers.  Glenn Jones plays guitar and banjo and is joined by Matthew Azevedo on synthesizer, harmonium, soundscapes, and signal processing.
The LP includes an insert with an essay about the performance and free download card.

A former pumping station in Boston’s Chestnut Hill is not the first place you’d expect to encounter one of American Primitive Guitar’s finest exponents. But with shared reputations for meticulous execution, innovative engineering, and stories on tap, Glenn Jones’ attraction to the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum stands as an unassumingly natural fit.

“I discovered the place when I attended a performance there in 2013,” Jones reminisces. “Even though the hall didn’t appear to be particularly friendly to acoustic instruments, one of my first thoughts was, “How can I get in on this?!””

Recorded a month after the sessions for his 2016 album FleetingWaterworks captures Glenn Jones at the forefront of modern solo guitar playing. Combining a highly skilled fingerpicked style with mesmeric tunings and custom-crafted partial capos, Jones delivers an array of lyrical compositions that quietly regale past adventures and personal reflections with masterful proficiency.

 The Waterworks’ Great Engine Hall – depicted in the album artwork - is a unique setting for Glenn Jones’ intimate vignettes. Its lofty redbrick columns and vaulted ceiling makes for an intensely resonant space, whilst further acoustic considerations had to be made for the large amount of reflective machinery stationed in the room. Sumptuous glissandi seem to drip from every cavernous corner, whilst rhythmic bass lines gainfully slip across brass, steel and stone. Put on record, it makes for a consuming stereo experience.

To best navigate this space Jones turned to Matthew Azevedo – his mastering guru of fifteen years – for guidance. “What had been conceived as a solo show quickly turned into a collaboration,” Jones laughs. Whilst Jones’ untreated guitar and banjo take the forefront throughout Waterworks, Azevedo’s addition brings thrilling new depth to Jones’ ruminative compositions. Toying with the room’s unique acoustic, Azevedo unleashes an arsenal of field recordings, sonic manipulations and harmonium drones, through strategically placed speakers hidden in gangways high above the audience.

Whether it’s cacophonous crow caws bleeding into “Close to the Ground”, or the echoed schoolyard cries underpinning “Across the Tappan Zee,” Azevedo’s sonic additions frame both Glenn Jones and Modern Primitive Guitar music in a whole new light. When Azevedo’s synth onslaught swarms Jones’ sumptuous cover of John Fahey’s 1964 song “The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California,” it transports the genre to pummeling industrial territories as yet undiscovered.

Brilliantly captured through Ernst Karel’s immersive binaural (yes!) recording, Glenn Jones & Matthew Azevedo’s Waterworks closely approximates the experience of hearing Jones’ works performed on this almost unique of stages.

Read more/order here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Site of the Day - Riffstation, thanking Drone by Piers Faccini

... Piers is a personal fave of mine... and this site with play-it-along chording and parallel YouTube's video of his nice "Drone" is a cool, useful tool...


Marantz 7C is back...

Having some fine pieces of gears handy can be fun... giving a chance from time to time to a seldom heard in months preamp which served me loyally and flawlessly for many, many years has a one-of-a-kind fascination.

I undusted the faceplate and connected the old trusty Marantz 7C to the Lenco G88 and to the Meridian disk-player, feeding the Partridge 300B mono-blocks and Cabasse Dinghy 221.

The sound surprised me... after several years using Thomas Mayer 4-chassis preamp and passive preamps, the old 7C is very, very quick, slightly lesser on detailing, but owning a special strength, a dynamic drive which brings the 300Bs' romantic behaviour to another level of zestness and trueness.

Like having several shoes pairs makes you always perfectly fit for countryside, ceremony, work, leisure, sport or hiking... well, you cannot but enjoy the different approaches and the several aesthetics you can obtain with minimal, in-house gears-changes.

A very, very nice listen, today... Joel Grare was chez moi;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Voices from the past

There is something which most amazes me when listening to music: its ability to bring me to another era, place, mood so easily!

Its interactions with memory - both personal and DNA-related - appears as mysterious as they can be.

Something similar possibly pushed the Lomaxes' to explore the whole planet searching for weird, seldom heard music, languages, dialects: from Pigmei to Inuit to Borneo and Amazonas rain forests people, from Native Americans to people from Sardinia, Italy.

Thirsty and hungry of the different, curious about the other, always.

I so much enjoy these gems from somewhere else like I'd "enjoy" reading a technical handbook - i.e. sure enjoying more a novel but needing the handbook thick tome, as well... and the result is like sipping from the tap water of humankind dawn and knowledge, a time-machine affaire.

I'm quite partial and fond of some very definite titles in my discotheque: a three records-set on Harmonia Mundi France by Renè Clemencic and his Ensemble devoted to Troubadours, their travels in Europe and Middle East, the contaminations of different world and cultures colliding (the Crusades...).

These marvellous, sought after discs were given to me by a late friend of mine who didn't like and knew I was searching for them since a long time...

Such a gift...

... not only music, original instruments and the like... but voice... voices from another era!

The tales and gestures of Peire Vidal sung by Renè Zosso with his natural, raw voice in Occitane, Burgundy, Provencal dialects are an experience I'd wish to share with everyone passioned enough!

It's not easy listening, for sure... yet, like with '50s b/w movies (Frank Capra, I. Bergman, Fellini come to my mind) they own their very own pace and character, a slow languid, languishing disease which sort-of slow down my wrist watch and feed my soul.


I recently found an Hungaroton disc by Kecskes and his Enselmble owning same character...

... and I'm again so grateful to the men who took their time, spending a life to search and preserve this heritage.

The usual question: is it only music?



It's culture, folks.

Our history... much worth sharing.

... for our future... as there is not future without knowing the past, while living the present.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Abbey Road's alternate version

Maybe in an alternate world...

Lokum G-88 and Siggwan 12" with Signet 7LCa

Done... after the work-in-progress, I just made it;-)

Sure I'm very, v e r y slow with my own business... yet, nonetheless, I finished the Goldring G-88 idler-wheel turntable with James Grant's Siggwan Cocobolo arm from New Zealand and... thanking my pal Eckart, a pristine Signet 7 LCa moving magnet cartridge I got a couple years ago, after reading a review about this marvellous cartridge, previously unknown to me.

I doped the slate and bronze arm pod with a tight couple kilos lead shot-balls to further improve vibes taming... the Siggwan 12" arm is a beauty and it deserves every effort on my part to make it singing at its best!

Slow, I told you... would add incredibly, painfully slow, as I got the Siggwan from New Zealand about two years ago and, for several reason (being incurably busy is the first reason it comes to my mind...) I only opened and briefly handled to appreciate the building quality and... nothing!

I simply stored it on a shelf...

... like a good red wine.

... and time came, at last.

I did all my homework in setting up the wooden arm and also if I was previously planning to mount a Leonid Sinitsin-restored Lumiere DST, I someway wished for something different - i.e. an MM cartridge to go straight into Thomas Mayer Tango LCR Western electric 437A phono stage and Thomas Mayer line stage with Cunningham CX 310... shining uber alles! or as an alternative to the latter, the Serge Schmidlin's Silver Rock TVA... superb resolution with this very combo.

... I choose a seldom seen Signet's.

Has been such a wise, coo, choice that, after listening to a couple of discs, I finished with an Hungaroton's disc I recently wrote about, Turkish music.

So sweet, so smooth and detailed... natural... sweet? Turkish?


The well kept secret candy found in Turkey and all Arabic Mediterranean area...

Thus the name... Lokum.

Lenco is dead, welcome to Lokum G-88.

Dedicated to who claims the best MM cart isn't comparable to an average MC, without having never, ever personally experienced any good (Grace F9E, Signet 7LCa... without quoting my beloved Decca SC4E;-))

This Signet is simply up to par to a good moving-coil!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Elbphilarmonie concert hall in Hamburg

The newly opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany is a visually stunning structure from a design perspective, with its gorgeous wave-shaped facade, curved elevators, and its seemingly endless stairs. However, the focal point of the $843 million building is its one of a kind central auditorium designed specifically for a balanced sound throughout the concert hall.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Analog machism

... when long isn't enough... never!

Arm is 1,5 m... 150 cm... 1,500 mm... with a cool Fairchild turntable.

Silbatone's collection...

... as per Jean Hiraga's pixies, as published in VuMeter magazine...

Thanking Jean Veys and LencoHeaven's brothers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What type of records collector are you?

Thanking Joe Long for the following short, entertaining essay...
You don’t need me to tell you that vinyl is back. It’s everywhere. From Wal Mart to tax commercials and everywhere between. Everyone that you know is getting a turntable. I mean everyone. Once you’re over that, it’s time to think about what kind of record collector you are. Are you only interested in getting all your favorites or do you plan to devote your whole basement to your new hobby? Here are some of the record collector types I’ve observed in my short time collecting.
The Lifer: Lifers never stopped collecting vinyl and have a section of their homes dedicated to what they’ve accumulated. Lifers are the most skilled crate diggers on earth, able to smell a rare copy of The White Album a mile away. They schedule their lives around garage sales, flea markets, and Craigslist ads. They know what just about everything is worth, which gives them a leg up when shopping. They’ll find that gem in their buddy’s Grandma’s basement for $2 and sell it for $200. They love music, but they love the hunt even more. I’m not a Lifer, but they are fascinating to watch in the wild.
The Obsessive: Obsessive record collectors own just about everything they can get their hands on. This type of collector not only has more albums than they know what to do with, they can’t pass up a re-issue of an album they already own. They can’t pass up anything actually, and restraint is NOT buying albums each and every day. An obsessive’s collection is about 20–30% items they’ve yet to even unwrap. I’m not an obsessive, but I’m influenced by them. I think to myself, “well at least I don’t own THAT much, I can justify these purchases”. I love obsessive collectors, but don’t want to be one.
The Completist: I’m a bit of a completist. I have a handful of artists that I “need” to own every item from their catalogue, and maybe even every side project or guest appearance as well. For me, this dates back to sports card collecting as a kid and the need to complete the set for a season or my favorite team. Yes, I do need every release from Wilco, including re-issues that only vary in the color of wax they’re printed on.

The Audiophile: You know this guy. He’s got the best system around, and only listens and buys the most pristine pressings of every album. He’s also obsessed with who pressed an album and if it was mastered digitally or analog. (I’m caring about this more and more.) He’s able to pinpoint who played on what album and will lecture you on why 180 gram albums are overrated. And he probably has a stack of 78s to boot. I sorta want to be this guy, but have no self restraint.
The Casual: This is the normal collector. They buy up a handful of favorites when they start collecting, and add 3–5 titles per year, some new, some old. This person is also probably the most sane of the bunch. I pretend to be this person several times a year, but can rarely pull it off. Boring!
The Limited Edition Collector: There was a time when I was attempting to run for president of this group. This group of collectors buy whatever is “limited to” or “hand numbered” or “pressed on cotton candy splattered, translucent, 200 gram vinyl”. (Some of you just got excited.) Like completists, there is no consideration given to the amount of copies already owned of an album, as long as it’s a version they don’t already have. This is a sickness I’m slowly recovering from.
The Nostalgist: Nostalgists are coming out of the woodwork right now. They are buying their first record player ever, or getting back in the game after riding the CD wave for decades. Nostalgists only buy the hits, or their favorite albums from the past. They don’t care about colored vinyl or numbered copies, they just want that copy of Rumors to toss on the table whenever they feel the need.
Chances are, if you’re a collector, you’re a hybrid of a few of these. And there are plenty of other categories you could create as well to add to this list. What type of record collector are you?