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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gotorama à l'Eau de Cologne - Part 1


















... since few weeks ago, my supremely, embarassingly untechnical mind, if hearing someone talking about "FLAC", would have guessed a slang or American/English pronunciation of, say, "flock" or "flag" or something...

Reinhard, a friend from Koln, kept a flawed, ignorant me under his friendly, knowledged wing and truly flooded - sic... again: an obsession;-((( - me with ABSOLUTELY stunning emails, full of links and tips and suggestions.

This empathy-at-a-distance culminated in a meeting, as I recently - actually 'twas last weekend - I flew to Koln/Bonn Airport where another friend - Klaus, also a great, GREAT guy and a close Reinhard's friend - picked me up in the late, foggy German evening and cocooned and brought me to a bed for the night.

Next day, in a foggy morning in the hills, in a beautiful, quiet area west of Koeln, I woke up, as nervous as one hour before an exam, as... drums and fifes... I was after listening to, better, being in truest Gotorama ever!

Klaus picked me up at the hotel and after a short ride in the hills, we arrived at his place... ohhhh my... a beautiful house with a nice garden and smiles from a kid, a young lady and Klaus' wife... and, after a staircase (to Heaven?!?!;-))) I was in the room which so impressed me also on paper, when reading recent Jean Hiraga's report after visiting this VERY system and people, last June.

We were joined for a brunch in the afternoon by Reinhard... and chatting, laughing, sharing, listening to great music.

Well: I could stop here, as the human involvements of the meeting was the gift, the truest gem and my VERY own treasure... ah;-)!

... but, as I love sharing...

So... the room: an auditorium more than a "room"... built with greatest attention to details... from walls paint, raw and grainy to give a throughout reflections taming, to the inner roof, a masterpiece of wood and terracotta, tons of self-taming unparallel ceiling, reminding Rudy van Gelder's Englewood Cliffs, NJ studio... not by chance.

Klaus was - almost sure - the VERY first Goto's customer in Europe, back in 1978!

He spent months, almost two years, actually, ONLY to be accepted as a reputable, trusty party, by then sole Goto's agent "Royal Sound" (...); then followed handwritten (!!!) correspondence, telex (!!!!!!), translations, long stand-by and pondered waiting... then commercial agreements, and bill-of-lading, Hamburg's harbour and custom clearing... after all the above pioneeristic, old-timey, pre-WEB difficulties, yet rewarding relationship... finally a youngest Klaus was able to begin his adventure: the building of his Gotorama;-)

SG-160, SG-505, SG 370DX... then SG-38W and finally SG-146LD... with these ingredients and - literally - an MDF quantity worth a soccer field;-) and drawings and mods and rendering and fiddling and sweating under impressive sizes and weights and hair whitening in the meantime... finally the goal was reached: me witnessing Klaus' eyes and smile was another seldom seen human fact.

Happiness... Nirvana.

Klaus and myself, with great logistic - i.e. translating - support of Felix, his young son - simply get in touch at a very deep (high?!?) level, sharing and enjoying music... as money and business unrelated as breathing in the chilly morning air outside the auditorium.

"Spoonful" by Cream, "Magic Bus" by Who (Live at Leeds), "Tin Pan Alley" by Stevie Ray Vaughan, The O-Zone's percussions group on Klavier (superb!), my own discs - Petrucciani, Wheeler/Holland/Koonitz/Frisell, etc. - (BTW... hey, Klaus: I forgot Christina Pluhar's "Los Impossibles" disk among your disks, near the preamp...;-))), "Timeless" by John Abercrombie, Johnny Depp's "Pirates of Caribbean" soundtrack, Jaki Liebezeit & Burnt Friedman's "Secret Rhythms" (WOWOWOWOWOWWOWOW!)... a single classical guitar, a triangle kept their natural sizes, as Cream and Clapton's God-like "Black Beauty" ('58 Gibson Les Paul Custom with 3 x PAF pickups) and Jack Bruce's EB-4 hollow body bass were... simply sublime... WOW!

"Cream Live in Germany";-))) - Pure bliss!

Do you want more?

The "sound" is no brainer... so, will not talk audiophile lingo - i.e. soundstage, depth of image; let's talk about "music", always, ever... it's a system which delivers music, completely transparent and non-existing for the ear and listener, something so rare as the bulkiness and impressive appearance, also outstanding, could have been, in lesser hands, distracting, a monument to... stupidity and self-supponence... not THIS, the case, folks, as ONLY the great love and care and dedication, the humbleness in understanding "what" those expensive stuff - Goto and straight horns, actually sexiest;-) stuff, but also FLAC/(99,9999) jitter-free digital music, using handmade Doede Douma's 60 DAC having great merits, indeed, are, "truly" are - I mean - able to reach.

Hiraga-san, as a music lover and someone whose knowledge and direct experiencing the VERY best system worldwide is out of ANY doubt, agrees: it's VERY special and VERY seldom heard stuff, using an euphemism... BUT maybe "unique" is much more appropriate.

... and, humbly and lucky enough I was, myself too, being "here" to experience and judge (= enjoy) with my VERY own ears and musical sensitivity and taste, I agree.

It's M-U-S-I-(C) reached, at last... a possible task, indeed.

(... to be continued in "Part 2"...)

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