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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Re-fueling a passion is salt to life and always different from time to time…  back from a journey, back to my daily job and habits is reassuring… my wife, guitars, books, computer and music.

Computer wasn’t really missed, as I had this...

I someway missed the latter - music, I mean - but thanking Bluetooth technology, while driving in South Africa and Namibia with my rented car(s), I enjoyed my iPhone/iTunes library, giving to the awesome landscapes the best of bespoke, personal soundtrack.

I only yesterday turned on my Gotorama, after about one month+…

My audio system is like my late dog, my beloved Chicco: when I was far from home for some weeks, when back home, I was really forward in hugging and handling him… but he was shy, distant, different, non-empathic… angry with me for leaving him and home and walks and peeing... only after some hours, often a full day, our relationship was back with all  the nuances and dynamics I so much loved.

Yesterday - just turned on - the Gotorama, Mayer preamp and Hiraga amps sounded otherly and coldish...  it was, of course, a matter of Class A amps needing to warm-up, but, like with my dog, the complex relationship among me, the listener, the system, including system and room matching, and the music as a dialogue needed a refresh.

Had a bunch of new discs, bought at the local flea-market… all the discs weren’t my cup of tea…  I swapped disc after disc after disc… nervously, unsatisfied.

The magic, the enamourement was back, after a while…

Cannot say if this happened when Hiragas’ were up to their ideal temperature or when – at last – a REALLY worthwhile disc of the bunch was played on Garrardzilla:  Andrew Poppy’s “The Beating of Wings” on ZTT (1985), a nice, NICE disc I bought pushed by my pal Franco Poti (i.e. you won’t regret).

The first track – I realized – was bearing a title “The Object is an hungry wolf” which made me thinking… hey, definitely yes!... “the object” – aka my Gotorama – indeed is “an hungry wolf”!

Audio and music is an hungry passion: like dating and being in love need care, dedication and a sort-of obsession, well, unashamed, same obsession is needed to deeply enjoy music, played and listened to.

When I’ll play again one of my guitars, I’m pretty sure my fingers will be rusty, slow… I need new enthusiasm to play again up to par.

Listening to Gotorama again is enamourement, rediscovery, enjoyment and pleasure… re-appreciating the system and room clicking as an unicum, again, is like enjoying a rose blossoming in slow motion.   

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lesotho Journey

... leaving today for Johannesburg... then, in a couple of days: Lesotho, thanking my pal Philippe who will lend to me one of his BMWs'...

I look forward to Milky Way astounding views while in the countryside and to broad landscapes... looking forward to admire whales, in Hermanus, near Cape Town, as well.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The last audio cassettes factory

Cassettes, compact cassettes, tapes running at 4,75 cm/s in cheap portable tape decks has been for me and millions people worldwide the second source of music... first usually being radio.

They humbly served as the cheapest way to share music, radio shows recordings, vinyl albums dubs, whatever among friends.

My Philips tape recorder was - with my Grundig radio - my personal musical goldmine when in my teens.


I used my Sony WM6D-C to record music at concerts... every concert: jazz, classical... whatever... with Sony stereo electret mike... and - later -  with Neumann U67s... obtaining an amazing quality, of course: I still cherishes these master-tapes.

My Nakamichi is still kept in working conditions and... well, you got it: I still love cassettes!

Going underground, me and many others, kept the cassettes party, the flame - I dare - alive.

Buying cassettes has recently been an Ebay chasing for N.O.S. batches... but... BUT now we know a factory still exists... yes!

Long live the humble cassettes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Homebuilt Hi End - where the boundaries simply doesn't exist!

This site is a long-term fave of mine and of several thousands audio lovers...

I simply find the creations shown among the most classy, unique, elegant ever... and everything isn't mass produced, but the fruit of care and dedication, cost- and time-no-object masterpieces.

Peter's PTP "Lenco"

I could kill for such a beauty using 304TL!

I quite often browse its pages and... every time I find some nuggets.

Glad to share for the few who aren't aware of Homebuilt!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Site of the Week... ahem: Month - Joe Boyd's

Cannot resist: Joe Boyd's site is a goldmine!

He quotes in the recently shared BBC interview he's podcasting his music of choice in alphabetical order... A and B are out... the remaining letters (and songs) will follow.

The site tells a HUGE load of trivia and iconic musical history.


Joe Boyd freewheeling on BBC Radio

The right man at the right place most of his life, from Aretha Franklin to Newport Folk Festival - the electric Bob Dylan evening, too - to bringing Muddy Waters to Bristol in early '60s to Whichseason, Fotheringay, Incredible String Band, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, among his most beloved studio work and production... and, and, and...  last but not least: White Bicycles, the book... a must!

Enjoy, as I did the interview... it's a very, very juicy half an hour interview, so rich and entertaining.

Thanks to BBC and to Joe Boyd!

RIP for Prof. Khaled al-Asaad from Syria

He loved "his" Palmyra more than his life and he was murdered for his goodwill in saving and preserving the ancient beauties of the unique city in the desert I was honored to visit and enjoy, years ago: so powerful place of beauty!

Condolences to his family and sure his name will never been forgotten.

History will find a way to explain all "this craziness", one day.

Hats and religions

Thanking JC and our chattings...

... and atheism, as a non religion? Don't we deserve a way to express our freedom of mind? Our goodwill and love for whole humankind? Not superseding others? Blaming on who's promising virgins a-plenty or honey and ambrosia rivers... only after life?

I choose, with JC's support, the beret...

... from now on, not only an utilitarian, everyday ordinary hat, but a statement!

Sure my own, forever.

Thanking Kongo Shokai Ltd, manufacturer of Deer Basques since 1928, in Japan.

Among the best...while supplies last.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Journey with Arvo Part - the movie

Dedicated to the great Estonian composer, followed for one year of his life by the director.

An homage to a genius and a poet.

Hic et nunc

... last Saturday morning, at the park...

... while practicing with my new Ricoh GXR's 24-85 lens.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Analog Street Art

Snippers or Nipper?

Pure audio and pup cruelty!

What's better?

The Tape Project

Open-reel renaissance, don't you?

After tons of shitty music recorded in superb sonics, on premium open-reel tape, here is "something"...

Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, from original 30 IPS master-tapes...


Toroidy from Poland

Worth browsing their site!

Monday, August 10, 2015

GZ Media in Lodenice - Czech vinyl village

... an extract from New York Times...

"But he was smart enough to keep a vinyl record factory here, a relic of the Communist era, through all those years when albums gave way to CDs and then to iTunes and streaming, and to be ready when vinyl suddenly got hot again.
And that is why this village of 1,800, nestled in a lush furl of the Bohemian hills, improbably finds itself a world leader in the production of vinyl albums."

Thanking New York Times and Rick Lyman.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Vinyl & Ashes - the extreme frontier for the die-hard record collector

... yes, for the die-hard record collector...

Want to preserve yourself after death but can’t afford to be cryogenically frozen? How about getting your ashes pressed to a custom-made vinyl LP? That’s exactly what the folks at And Vinyly are offering.
The company are giving mortality-aware music fans the chance to pick their own artwork, 24 minutes of audio and more for a lump sum of £3,000 for 30 copies of a custom-made record. An extra £500 will also buy a commission from National Portrait Gallery-featured British painter James Hague to design the artwork for you.
Other services the company offer are similar dead vinyl LPs for deceased pets, talks and music presentations at your funeral for £10,000 and even having your record distributed at various record shops worldwide (at an unspecified price).

THE ultimate Neil Young's masterpiece - Harvest (Reprise MS 2032 - 1972)

... you know "... moooore baaaaarn!"

Apparently, such a boring, decades old disc and topic... yet, I... dare, we never stop learning something new.

I always felt Neil's disc is a masterpiece, both musically and sonically...

It's airy, beefy, lively, dynamic and true to life... voices, guitars, low end... strings and ambience... everything is top notch.

Someone, more clever than me out there, found that the VERY top quality, sought after, superb sounding copies are - not by chance - showing an "LH" engraved in dead wax,  a "Steamboat" label and no WEA on label -  i.e. - Lee Hulko at Sterling Mastering made a true labour of love, or - better - just a careful, proudly-made job with artisanal skill and care... like it used to be.

When I recently read about the above mentioned collector's trivia, I immediately checked my "Harvest" three copies...

Two are on Harvest MS 2032, issued on 1972 LH Sterling with parchment cover and insert... Steamboat label and no WEA... first issues... sound is THE Sound you remember, the one in DNA...

Third copy (call me a lunatic...) is a European reissue (three colors label yellow, pale blue, white, don't remember more) and sound is somehow more zinghy and someway unnatural, ambience and sibilants are completely different from LH's... lesser.

Go and check your copies, folks...

LHs' are worth some pretty serious bucks, now,  but most important, they're worth your care and knowledge and your premium turntable, arm and cartridge analog combos.

Dig it!

... and enjoy a timeless classic.