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Friday, July 6, 2018

12 strings acoustic guitar & morphic fields - Maurizio Angeletti's new book

Maurizio changed my musical life, 35 years ago... a record - Window over the Stream - and a single piece - Out of the Game - were enough to make me sick about 12 strings acoustic guitar... forever.

Maurizio's records reviews on L'Ultimo Buscadero magazine about Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Peter Lang, Daniel Hecht, Alex De Grassi, William Ackerman and other superb guitar players opened my eyes and ears, further and further.

These records were quite difficult to be found at your local records store, so Carù Dischi in Gallarate and its mail service were extremely useful in these pre-WEB days.

Same as with analog photography, from ordering by phone to get the disc a couple of weeks were the norm... and the pleasure, after the wait, like looking at the pictures shot weeks before, was huge!

Maurizio wrote a seminal book, American Guitar, about his and my own heroes, not copy-catting infos around but visiting all of them, at their places, in the USA...

The effect of Maurizio Angeletti on me (and many other musicians friends I'm aware of) was incredible and, in 1983, I simply had to know him in person...

... same as when I spent three hours with the late Davey Graham in Camden Town, London or when I visited John Renbourn in Kingswear, Devon... it wasn't so difficult... a phone call and this alone usually worked!

... same happened with Maurizio... I arranged to take some lessons from him, at his house in Milan...

Every Saturday, for some months, I took my train bound to Milan with a cheap Ibanez jumbo to reach Maurizio and he shared licks and expression chatting and... I was like a sponge.


35 years after, I got an email from Maurizio, himself... out of the blue.


I wasn't 100% sure he remembered our previous, so far away connection... yet... Maurizio was announcing around the freshly issued 2-volumes book about his findings and thoughts on the weird, unique, difficult, seldom found 12 strings acoustic guitar... not a louder 6 strings guitar or an harpsichord, but as he wisely wrote in his foreword, a one of a kind, well-defined instrument.

I immediately ordered my copy which arrived in a few hours... it really was my perfect birthday present, which I gladly paid for, of course.

The book - in Italian only, but full of diagrams, TABs, pictures - is made of a thicker tome of 450+ pages of technical, musical and aesthetic in-deep and well-informed prose with its highlights about composing and interpretations and playing dynamics and a spiral-bound TABs only book of 30 transcriptions for 12 strings acoustic guitar, all arranged or composed by Maurizio, himself.

A goldmine more than a book... it will give - to me and to everyone into this elusive, yet wonderful world of the mighty 12 strings guitar - many years of enjoyment and musical pleasure.

The one of a kind Marco Cavedon 12 strings acoustic guitar used by Maurizio in early '80s.

Please, if interested, drop Maurizio himself a note at mangeletti12corde-AT-gmai-DOT-com

A quite recent pix of the Author.

You won't regret doing so and spending every single cent of the price-tag of this opus magna.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tandberg 114-116-8 Alnico Coaxial speakers

Repetita juvant, folks... I already talked about these lovely 1965 vintage Tandberg's speakers... their transparency and zestness put to shame many high regarded so-called hi-end speakers.

They were the top-of-the-line model back then.

I repeat myself showing such a lovely family picture: the truly ugly-named 114-116-8 and System 11 on Foundation Designer speakers-stands.

Beauties from a long-gone era.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy Birthday to the 12" disc...

Happy birthday to the LP record, turning 70 today.

LP developer Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records holds the initial LP launch catalog, while standing next to the same music on 78s. Picture taken on June 18, 1948 at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A young luthier came to town

When a young luthier, after getting his laurel at Cremona renown luthiery academy, opens his workshop in old downtown, well... I'm both moved and thrilled... church bells ring and music have one more chance top be spread as the most peaceful of human artefacts.

Best wishes to Giacomo for his new adventure... and, WOW!... compliments, indeed, for the nice classical guitar I had the pleasure to briefly taste, his first instrument, French polish finished and nice, mellow sound, full of harmonics.

Good luck!

Monday, June 11, 2018

When worlds collides in a musical way of beauty

My good friend Klaus Speth today hosted some Japanese and Thailandese pals at his place...

Klaus is a family-man and he loves his life and enjoys his music system and music... no Audio Fairs, no international meetings... he's a true master and to get a master you have to get his place... secluded, in the hills out of Koln...

These pixies represent a sort-of miracle: Klaus' system and Yuki, Moriyama's daughter in a nice, NICE shot taken by another Japanese pal, the maker of superb WE 13A replicas, Yasutoshi Sasamato-san.

Germany, Japan, Thailand, France... people come from different parts of the world, yet sharing same passion for music and beauty and friendship.

Love it...

... and yes: proud to know these nice people, all.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

June Flea-Market ephemeral joys

... only a glimpse of the 26 records I found... early morning, as usual, fresh air, black birds singing and only die-hard sellers and buyers, around...

 Japanese pressing

... was searching for this bastard for eons...

Japanese pressing 

 ... maybe the best piano recording I ever listened to: engineered by J.F. Pontefract in 1986

His Bobness best disc? Maybe... sure a PERFECT copy, 1st Japanese pressing.

Hoffnung Festival I, II & III on French Harmonia Mundi

Have you ever heard about Gerard Hoffnung?

He sure was an eccentric, cartoonist and amateur tuba player (...) and his sense of musical parody is... well: eccentric.

Found this morning at local flea-market the three volumes... well, also if not on sought-after Columbia 33CX... pressings, the music on these waxes is superb and the vinyl on French Harmonia Mundi is premium quality...

A very, very nice find and a live recordings at Royal Albert Hall in London - conducted by Malcolm Arnold, Norman del Mar and other great artists - whose quality is just a cherry on the cake.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Studer C37 trivia - a day in Regensdorf

2 Inches Records from Switzerland


... if the case, beside the 140 grams vinyl, you may get the reel-to-reel version...

No computer editing or... other weird, third-millenium technologies!

Anthony Bourdain passed away...

... and this is sad news!

Don't know why, but his food reportages and the seminal "Hell's Kitchen" really and deeply inspired and intrigued me... a sort-of food/quality/quest empathy.

Very, very sad as he - reportedly - committed suicide when in Strasbourg, France...

My humble condolences to his partner, Asia Argento, his family and close friends...

A lesser world it is...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Woodstock 2

An iconic 7,5 IPS reel to reel tape from my vault...

... a reel to reel relic, part of my musical DNA...

Monday, June 4, 2018



She attended the James Taylor concert at the Hollywood Bowl last night, sitting discreetly at the back of the Garden section wearing a ball cap and wrapped in warm clothing in a wheelchair.
Most people didn't notice her, some people wouldn't even recognize who she was if they did see her.
Joni Mitchell doesn't make music anymore.
That simple fact is sad enough, because at 74, had she not smoked fo...
r 61 years, she STILL might've sung her sweet and beautiful songs like"Both sides now", "Big Yellow Taxi" "Woodstock", ""Help me", and "A case of you" somewhere on some stage on some tour.
But it wasn't to be.
Her voice has been ravaged, and her life has been tormented with battles with polio, paranoia and her struggle with a rare and controversial disease called Morgellons
Joni Mitchell remains, to me, perhaps the greatest singer/artist/ songwriters of the 20th century...or at least one of the elite.

 Yet, she welcomes obscurity and shuns publicity after a near death stroke that many believed would be her final curtain.
Joni Mitchell has lived with much heartbreak...she abandoned her career for two years and 'cried for a year' after a bad marriage and giving her daughter away for adoption.
When she re-united with her daughter about a decade ago, Joni also became an instant grandparent..and the joy washed away so much sorrow and guilt.
Her friends visit her, and she still paints, brilliantly, but not with the frequency she once did.
Her artistry is so diverse and her work so varied on canvas and acrylic that she might've been an even more acclaimed artist as a painter or sculptor.
She grants no interviews, but remains a passionate environmentalist, speaking only publicly on that subject.
Last night she was escorted slowly and quietly in her wheelchair and few if any paid attention to her.
By any standard, this woman has led an amazing creative and productive life.
But there is still sadness in seeing her something like her own self portrait she painted that was inspired by her hero Van Gogh.
She is alone, but not lonely, quiet but not muted, challenged but not defeated.
There is a special place in my heart for Joni Mitchell and millions have that place too..
No doubt she visited with her former lover and friend James Taylor after the show...or before it, and she might've recalled old times, music, art, or just small talk.
Joni Mitchell is alive.
She's not what she was, but she is alive and trying to live a somewhat reclusive life free from pain, anguish, and illness.
Cherish her, remember her while she is here.
A Joni Mitchell public sighting is rare, like seeing some endangered species.
But her art and her music will outlive her and remain vibrant and alive for hundreds of years.
Hope you enjoyed the show Joni.
We certainly enjoyed yours.
Stay well

Sunday, June 3, 2018

... gimme more Bitches Brew!

... again... yes, my apologies!

From the estate of late Frank Sinatra Jr., this reel-to-teel, this very gem amazed me in more ways: the mixing differs from Columbia 2-discs set, the balance centres Miles' trumpet, rock-steady, between the speakers  and he can be heard inciting this or that musician, something simply not there on discs, edited or lowered in mixing.

I'm not that surprised, as also - for example - the superb CSN&Y 4 Ways Street's pre-recorded tape has several differences from its vinyl issue: Crosby's chatting before or after some tunes, some nasty stage larsen-hums which, far from being... nasty;-), adds trueness to the live experience.

I shot the whole tape, played on the little, mighty Tandberg 9200-XD and the sound was so enjoyable from first to last note... smooth, relaxed, dynamic, full-bodied.

A very, very intriguing listening experience, indeed... someway reminding me the Steven Wilson's re-mixing on classic King Crimsons' et al.

Long lives Miles... and reel to reel!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

R.I.P. Dave Wilson

The WAMM's maker, an accomplished designer and experimenter, an audiophile at his heart and a fond user and scholar of open reels, passed away a few days ago...

Rest in peace, Dsve and condolences to his family and friends...

4 tracks tape goodies

I seldom heard a better sound from JA's Surrealistic Pillow!

Tandberg 9200-XD, the best sounding 4 tracks reel to reel machine I'm aware of... 

... some 4-tracks tapes...

... and the old, trusty, reliable Revox A-77... an honest machine.

Baron Tim de Paravicini at Abbey Road Studio

Love this pix... 

TdP at Abbey Road's with his Mercedes van (V12 EAR - aka Esoteric Audio Research) parked near stairway...

Saturday, May 26, 2018

... as crow flies... with a surprise

... a ladder... and voilà... I got a different point of view of my studietto... and a HUGE surprise: I gave a try to my old, faithful, trusty, beloved, vintage Marantz 7C, a piece of gears I acquired about 30 years ago and always carefully kept in top-conditions... first time, ever with the current layout and most important, power amp - i.e. the Nuforce MCA-20 Stealth 8-channels Class D beast.

Humbly said: that's the (only) problem when owning too much gears;-)... you risk to someway loose the target and miss some interesting combination... lack of time, laziness, whatever... shit happens.

I never gave a try to the ol' Marantz in a few months... too busy in swapping Mayer vs. Kaneda/Le Solstice vs. the plethora of passive line stages vs. Hiragas'... my fault.

... and...

The sound is so vastly unique: modern and unexpectedly, it proved to be - to my surprise - a truly heavenly matching... a veritable click of enormous proportions, with whole Gotorama.

Sound is extremely quick, full-bodied and rich in texture and micro/macro detailing... harmonics are first rate: one of my reference disks - i.e. last Meredith Monks' on ECM -  presents some strange hums from strings recordings... it goes back and forth, only when strings are injected in voices recording... a very subtle "defect" I only seldom appreciated to same extent.

The 7C's resolutes the above with great naturalness... only an example, yet everything is so enjoyable... and sounds like brand-new.

This 50 years old preamp never ends to give me shivers and goosebumps... and surprising me for its quality and musicality.

Thanks to Sid Smith and Saul Marantz for giving to the world gears with a soul.