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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Feeling Miles, while I Sing the Body Electric




... sometimes it happens... I feel electric... 



I today realized that - randomly, yet every some months or so - I get massive loads of Miles' electric music on a daily basis: Filles de Kilimangiaro, In a Silent Way, Jack Johnson, On The Corner, Live/Evil and, of course, Bitches Brew goes and goes and goes, loop-like, in my player(s)... early morning, while driving my car, while working, having lunch or dinner and in the evening... this Miles' frenzy lasts some days, say two-three days, with extremely positive effects on my overall feeling.

I also get some theme-variations, changing the diet with the three double-disks of Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser's Yo Miles!



It's difficult to explain why I feel the need for this very kind of music and what it gives to me: I noticed that I play, like now it's going Jack Johnson Complete session 5-disks superb box-set, when I'm OK, feeling groovy and happy as I can be... but it works also when I'm down, tired, stressed, nervous...

Strange, uh?

Strange or not... music is now playing while silent TV screen shows Rocky, Sly vs. Apollo Creed fighting;-), so Jack Johnson's pretty appropriate!

Cannot say what Miles, John McLaughlin, Bernie Taupin, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Teo Macero (definitely YES!), Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Airto Moreira, Larry Young, Badal Roy and all these zillions tape reels endlessly spinning at Columbia studios in NYC did to create this supremely untiring, fluctuating, pulsating, ever-transforming and mutating, yet so appropriate for me, my life, my feeling.



It's feverish and quiet, and when low pitched, cool, da boss Miles' voice appears at the end of a piece you feel part of the game...

Miles was such a cool guy, proud of his heritage, loving tradition, but never caged... he loved Bird, Ornette, Sly Stone, Jimi... maybe thanking his young wife he got, in his forties, a new glimpse of youth and, not by chance, Bitches Brew sold more, MUCH more than his previous masterpieces.



Columbia wasn't recognizing the revolution going from the very beginning, a revolution not only Miles', but global, which was going on in jazz... so the above mentioned records weren't immediately recognized as the hugely important, amazing beauties they are.



A lesson: art isn't something to be caged in definitions, jazz soon incorporated RnB, rock, funky, ethnic and this saved jazz itself!



Miles was guilty of blending this and, most of all, making freedom of expression to blossom among his musical partners... he knew art, music, creativity cannot come but from freedom...stellar musicians from England, USA, Brasil, India, Austria, black, white, tanned... no way, no brainer... people melting together into an unique creature: Electric Man.



... so, YES, I got it: what electric Miles', more than his early milestones;-)  gives to me is a strong, unleashed, pure sense of freedom, a pulse, like a cosmic breathe coming from Earth itself, something deeply hinting to the mystery of creation, both artistic and, to a larger extent, Creation.

A priceless, heart-warming statement of freedom.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

John Martyn - Solid Air half-speed mastering out soon!







Recorded at Sound Techniques Studio in Chelsea during 1972, John Martyn’s seminal album Solid Air was released in February 1973.




Emotionally intense and hauntingly beautiful Solid Air encapsulates almost every musical genre with ease and accomplishment. The songs are exquisitely crafted fusions of blues, country, folk, jazz and rock, with dazzling guitar, musicianship and outstanding vocals.




1.What is ‘Half-Speed Mastering’? This is an elaborate process whereby the source is played back at half it’s normal speed and the turntable on the disc cutting lathe is running at 16 2/3 R.P.M. Because both the source and the cut were running at half their “normal” speeds everything plays back at the right speed when the record is played at home.
















2.What are the advantages of Half-Speed Mastering? The vinyl L.P. is an analogue sound carrier. Therefore the size and shape of the groove carrying the music is directly related to whatever the music is doing at any particular point. By reducing the speed by a factor of two the recording stylus has twice as long to carve the intricate groove into the master lacquer. Also, any difficult to cut high-frequency information becomes fairly easy to cut mid-range. The result is a record that is capable of extremely clean and un-forced high-frequency response as well as a detailed and solid stereo image.


3.Are there any disadvantages? Only two, having to listen to music at half-speed for hour after hour can be a little difficult at least until I get to hear back the resulting cut when it all becomes worthwhile. The other dis-advantage is an inability to do any de-essing. De-essing is a form of processing the signal whereby the “sss” and “t” sounds from the vocalist are controlled in order to avoid sibilance and distortion on playback. None of the tools I would ordinarily employ on a real-time cut work at half speed as the frequencies are wrong so the offending “sss” does not trigger the limiter and everything is moving so slowly there is no acceleration as such for the de-esser to look out for. This has always been the Achilles heel of half-speed cutting until now (see below).


4.What was the source for this record? This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the ¼” analogue masters. The tapes were re-played on an Ampex ATR-102 fitted with custom extended bass response playback heads. Only minimal sympathetic equalisation was applied to the transfer to keep everything as pure as possible. Also, as this was an analogue, vinyl only high quality release, I did not apply any digital limiting. This is added to almost all digital releases to make them appear to be loud and is responsible for “the loudness war” and in almost every case is anything but natural and pure sounding.


5.Why could you not cut it all analogue? The biggest variable when cutting from tape is the replay machine. Every individual roller in the tape’s path will have a direct effect on the quality of the audio emanating from the machine. In addition to this, there is the issue of the sub 30Hz low-frequency roll off on an advance head disc-cutting tape machine which in effect will come into play at 60 Hz when running at half speed. In addition to this, there are also some unpredictable frequency anomalies in the 35-38 Hz region with analogue tape that will double up at half speed. These are all problems if you want to hear as originally intended the lowest register of the bass end on a recording. There is also the lesser potential problem of tape weave that effectively increases at lower speeds and leads to less high frequency stability and the possibility of minor azimuth errors. Even if these problems could be overcome the master tapes for this album were encoded with Dolby A noise reduction. Dolby only ever made a very small quantity of half-speed enabled Dolby A cards, none of which are available to me. Although the technical team at Abbey Road are more than capable of modifying some spare Dolby A cards for half-speed use, to do so would require an intimate knowledge of the expansion circuit in the card which has never been made available outside of the Dolby Company. Finally, analogue tape becomes degraded with each pass over the replay heads. These tapes are getting old and it is no longer considered good practise to play and play and play precious old original masters for fear of damage and general wear and tear. Far better, then, to eliminate the variable of the reply machine, to decode the Dolby noise reduction correctly and to minimise wear of the master by capturing the music digitally at very high resolution using professional converters locked down with stable external word-clocks. To capture from an Ampex ATR-102 with extended bass heads is a far superior method in my opinion.


6.Are there any advantages to this working method? Yes, any problems with the tape can be treated far more accurately digitally than they could be by using traditional analogue techniques. For example de-essing. I can, by clever editing, target just the offending “sss” and leave intact the rest of the audio. Therefore high-hats, bright guitars and snare drums are not affected or reduced in impact. Using an analogue scatter-gun de-esser approach would also trigger the limiter in many parts of the audio that do not need to be worked on. The de-esser cannot tell a bright guitar from bright vocal and will smooth everything out leading to dull guitars or soft snare drums and weak hi-hats. Targeting the “sss” sounds in the vocal as I have done in this series is time consuming but is worthwhile in the pursuit of the very best possible sounding record. Also if there was any damage to the analogue tape (drop-outs and clicks for example) this can by and large be restored using modern digital methods in a way that is unobtrusive and this would be impossible using analogue methods. For the record, none of the albums in this series have been de-noised. Only clicks and drop-outs have been repaired.



Miles Showell- Mastering Engineer, Abbey Road




Available at Abbey Road Studios' online shop as a pre-order, to be released on next May 6th.




Enjoy and grab it, also if you already own an original, early '70s Island pressing!




A sure collector's item and a timeless gem.




P.S. - other great discs are going to be issued... check Abbey Road Studios' shop for more details and scheduled releases.



















Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stephen Hawking and Arvo Part go commercial?





No, not really... yet I was someway impressed - not disturbed or baffled - on both, as just I stopped at these pix...


Stephen Hawking aka The Villain


... and video...


... and at this one, as well...


Arvo Part aka The Audiophile


Both Jaguar and Estelon, cars and speakers makers, are upper class products and chapeau for their choices of public figures icons.


Nothing wrong...


Talking about Professor Hawking and Maestro Part: do you feel wrong or right their sort-of coming down to earth showing their interest for an automobile and a speaker?


Is an artist or the scientist still a man or being able to create and understanding Nature or the mysteries of Music make them supernatural creatures?


Their human nature makes them enjoying life and its facts or...?


Mumble-mode...


... mmmhhhh...






Old Man





... yes, folks... that old man... thanking Henry Diltz.




Neil Young at his Broken Arrow Ranch with the old man of "Old man take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you.." This was in 1971, a year before his album "Harvest" came out.

The real one and seldom seen.






The Right of Imperfection...







... in music, in life, in love... so human.


Some extracts:


"Faust was never about being professional or expert musicians" says Jean-Hervé Péron. "If it was worthwhile material it didn't seem to matter that it was captured on a little cassette deck or through a busted microphone: the imperfections created by marginal gear and equipment as well as the very character of the recording devices themselves became as integral an element of each piece as any instrument".


and


"When a record skips or pops or we hear the surface noise, we try very hard to make an abstraction of it so it doesn't disrupt the musical flow, I try to make people aware of these imperfections, and accept them as music. The recording is a sort of illusion, the scratch on the record is more real.".Christian Marclay. 

- See more at: http://preparedguitar.blogspot.it/2014/10/the-right-of-imperfection.html#sthash.mkW8zdoj.dpuf




C. Marclay's scratches as art no-cover disc...






Thanks for this enlightening review by Cindy Stern... concepts so well expressed which let me feeling as part of something.


The links and full-post should be read with Philip Jeck's Coda I as a soundtrack.








Monday, April 25, 2016

Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, John Peel and the backward No Pussyfooting on BBC Radio



Cool footage, with Brian Eno browsing John Peel records collection and chatting... about everything music, including that story about first airing of No Pussyfooting;-)






I like it.  



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Aliens!




... not Ripley or the BEAST... just the OST, but...




... vinyl fluid filled!!!


... and there are only 75 of them in the world.
Soundtrack specialists Mondo are to release a new version of James Horner’s Aliens soundtrack as part of “Alien Day” on 26th April. Having reissued the classic sci-fi score on vinyl last year in a number of variations, this new edition looks to be the most sought after of the lot, limited to just 75 liquid filled copies. Or as Mondo describe: “Pressed on ultra clear vinyl with Green “Xenomorph Blood” colored liquid inside.”

... just colored liquid or...?




Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chinquetti's libraries... the Mauritania books ghost-town




Such a nice place, where sand and desertification endanger an ancien heritage...








... ooooppssss... Amari RW-600 vs. AudioDesk Systeme disc cleaners



Made in Germany or Made in China?

Germany?

China!

A no brainer, in this globalized world, yet...






Who copy-catted who?



As a proud and satisfied owner and user of AudioDesk's since 2013, I nonetheless welcomes the Amari's for its nice price, as everyone deserve a cleaning machine without spending an arm and a leg...

... yet...


Mumble, mumble... who's who?


Friday, April 22, 2016

R.I.P.












Jimi in the West!







On Legacy records, here is the 2016 Records Store Day 2016 giveaway... Jimi and Experience in western appareils, at Warner Bros. studio... as seen on 1969 sampler disc original cover.








Here is, indeed, Jimi in the West!



... but above he's even more;-)

Seldom seen artwork... got my copy this morning at my physical shop: it's gorgeously mastered from original 2-tracks master-tapes by Bernie Grundman and it sounds AMAZING, also if someway outdated - i.e. a quite typical British '69s sound, slightly mid-rangey and bass-shy.

To make things even more clear: Jimi's Strato is someway too polite - i.e. isn't the spacey weapon heard at Woodstock I so much love.

Yet, the disc-cover and the included poster are worth the price.


Enjoy!







Thursday, April 21, 2016

Florian Fricke/Popol Vuh - Kailash





Just got it, from Belgium... sealed double-disc set with download code, three Florian's color pixies shot while in Tibet and DVD...

WOW!





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

78 rpm frenzy - John Fahey - Morning/Evening, not Night 10" double 78s on Ebay





Own these sought-after 10" 78 rpm waxes since they were issued, several years ago... due to the increasing interest about RIAA equalized, present days 78s (see recent Matt Valentine's on my Blog), here is a one of the kind, minty copy, only lacking the carton sleeve.














Grab them, folks... the stereo recording - a raga-like atmospheric, beautiful elucubration by the late John Fahey - recorded in a Salem, OR hotel room by Dean Blackwood, like some race records of many JF's beloved blues musicians - i.e. Robert Johnson comes to mind (see above) - is THE VERY BEST acoustic guitar you'll ever experience in yr. room... not by chance, the label is "Perfect 14404 A/D";-)










I repeat: just Perfect!













The Timbuktu, Mali's Hero of Culture





The Librarian Who Saved Timbuktu’s Cultural Treasures From al Qaeda



A middle-aged book collector in Mali helped keep the fabled city’s libraries, books and manuscripts safe from occupying jihadists. A true hero.



Thanking Joshua Hammer and Wall Street Journal... and Melody Fahey.



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MV + EE - Ultra limited art edition 10" mono 78 rpm disc









Hey, folks... one is still available!






MATT 'MV' VALENTINE ~ MOUNTAIN RAGA / CHERRY COCOLA RED ~ lathe-cut 78rpm 10inch (TIME-LAG HEX-2)
recorded in 2005, two long lost solo tracks. inner-space ragas & damaged blues, of 'the era' but seemingly pulled from an alternate cosmic past or primitive future, as MV is known to do so well… hand-cut mono 78rpm metal core acetate 10inch discs, with hand pasted full color hex labels. packaged in an insanely luxurious & deluxe massive art paper hard cover book-bound folio cover, with in-bound heavy wool felt pouch. each cover lovingly hand made by the wonderful patrick & amy borezo of radical readout press / autonomous battleship collective. limited numbered edition of 30 copies.

I repeat, only one left!

Grab it.


Fondly dedicated to the late, great Jack Rose...










Sunday, April 17, 2016

Miles Ahead, the movie...




Don Cheadle - Director - Actor " Miles Ahead" 

Playing Now in LA & NY - Coming Everywhere April 22, 2016

In the late 1970s, jazz superstar Miles Davis (Don Cheadle), during the height of his fame, disappears from public view. Holing up in his home alone, he endures chronic pain due to a deteriorating hip. The medication he takes to control the pain stifles his musical voice and causes hallucinations. Music reporter Dave Braden (Ewan McGregor) wants to know what’s going on and he somehow manages to get into Davis’ house. The two men form a friendship and embark on an adventure to get back a tape of Davis’s latest compositions, that was recently stolen.





Cannot stand in my shoes, waiting to watch at this movie... also if production had to - someway - compromise, hiring, better co-starring, a white actor - i.e. the ubiquitous, yet clever Ewan McGregor - to get the full industry financing support... reportedly said.


Mysteries, mysteries, mysteries... 




Deutsche Gramophone's wooden disc display-boxes




An old-world accessory, when quality was a fact: a wooden classy built box with an orange protective wool felt, to display a sought after DG's (or any other disc you're pleased with...) without any shame for the care shown about this (sort-of) time-waster passion: music!

;-))) 









Cool and seldom seen.

Thanking my pal Arnaldo for these humble, cute handicrafts...





Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The beauty and the beast - Garrardzilla!





The "beauty" is the overall beauty of our beloved 301... the "beast" is the bronze heavy platter and matching giant, oversized, heavy-duty bearing.














A combo born in heaven... and most important, such an audible improvement... no hypes, folks:
 only
two good ears;-) are needed to appreciate it!
'nuff said.




Monday, April 11, 2016

Apple Music or the Cupertino's way to music







Higher resolution and sampling, reportedly an overall better quality than iTunes...


Three months free trial, EUR 9,90/month and, since Sept. 2015, more than 11 millions users worldwide...








Worth exploring topic, folks... thanking my pal Arnaldo.







Sunday, April 10, 2016