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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ravi Shankar and open-reel tape: music for the soul


Yesterday evening I had a short, yet amazingly satisfying listening session at my studietto... after some vinyl - John Fahey Vol. 3 on Takoma and Robert Pete Williams' throaty, raw blues - I felt the need to listen to some good 1/4 inches, 2 tracks tape... I turned "ON" the trusty Revox/De Parravicini's G-36 high-speed and celebrated the old ceremony of feeding spools, tightening the aluminium NAB adapters and listening to the 1Khz pilot-tone at the beginning of a master-dub I highly cherish: Concert for Sitar and Orchestra by Ravi Shankar with Andre Previn conducting, an EMI production.

I already wrote about this recording... it's a personal fave of mine... and - unsurprisingly - every re-re-listen is a brand-new experience... amazingly, that's it!

It's one of the tape I love most, and with Miles' Kind of Blue amd Sketches of Spain original Columbia Scotch 202 master-dub and Bill Evans' Riverside "Village Vanguard" master-dub, "this" is my truest musical treasure!

The Gotorama began to shine and diamonds and emeralds were pouring from the horns mouths... Class A, solid-state, triodes, RIAA, NAB, CCIR... all the above became empty terms, so supremely music unrelated, as music was flowing with an effortless quality, REALLY seldom heard.

Emotionally involving, moving... the 19 cm/s (7,5 ips) tape was spinning and running and playing and giving shivers and goose-bumps... yes, it was the first time I listened to this recording with multi-amped Gotorama, after my switching to full-solid-state, Class A Hiraga's... shamelessly, the difference from my previous listening habits with passive x-overs and single triode amplifying was dramatic: the sound was sort-of scaled down, good, sometimes excellent, BUT, considering what I heard yesterday evening... apparently (and surprisingly) there is always the possibility to improve!

The tape appears to be the most appreciated media for my ears and system as well... like if gears own their tastes and wishes!

Sounds absolutely "right" and proper the investement in audio to have Pandit Ravi Shankar in my studio for almost one hour... the sitar is crisp and rich of overtones, strings are luscious as they can be and sound under Previn's baton, like an huge "dilruba" from India; the percussions, tympani, drums and triangles (amazing) are "there" and - unfortunately - the (great, nonetheless...) EMI pressing of the VERY same music appears so... lesser.




In the quiet night, in dim-lights, the human-like looking old G-36 seems a gentle smiling face, and myself, I'm also smiling, silly, as I'm alone, BUT sincerely moved...

Happy?

... maybe...

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