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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hemiolia open-reel tapes - super gasoline for my audio system

Yesterday early morning I went to Giorgio Foschi's man-cave to pick up my restored, up-to-specs Studer B-62 and to check my Telefunken M15-A master-recorder... only a faulty fuse, fortunately.

After checking the two machines and loading my car with their heftiness, it was time to rock!

Giorgio gave to me an Hemiolia demo-tape, an RMG900 1/4 inch pancake fully stuffed of 1:1 tracks taken from some of the best Hemiolia master-tapes dubs...

I thanked the Master recordist and tech-head and headed back to home.

Yesterday afternoon, after puffing and sweating and some backache, I had the 56 kilos M15-A on the shelf, again... like the cute Studer B-62, waiting for its new cabinet.

This morning, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the tape on my Gotorama...


There is NOTHING... N O T H I N G  which compares with a (good) master-tape played on a properly, carefully aligned studio open-reel tape-machine, period!

I have some dozens master-tapes I personally recorded with premium stuffs - i.e. Neumann's mikes (U67, USM69, STC 4038) and some superb master-dubs (Previn/Shankar's on EMI, Miles' Kind of Blue, Bill Evans' Village Vanguard,  Thelonius Monk's) I bought decades ago at Irvington Music for some bucks... so, YES!  true, 100% guaranteed second generation tapes from the hey days, not those (shit happens!) CDs mastered on open-reel tape I'm aware of!!!

Years ago, when a reviewer was going short of adjectives and hypes, he ended invoking the "master-tape-like quality"... sometimes, their open-reel recorders experience was an Akai DB-4000 and a 9,5 cm/s tape... sometime not, of course...

Now, these days as we're appreciating a sort-of renaissance of 1/4" tapes... while myself and many friends around never stopped using and cherishing those behemoths, others recently shopped for premium Studer, Lyrec, Nagra, Stellavox, Telefunken and Revox, Technics, Otari, Teac, etc.

Tapes are expensive and tedious to be made... 1:1 is THE way to go, of course... and this is a lengthy and costly process.

The prize for the hassle is quality... supreme quality!

I admit I am VERY tired to continue to buy the same title on every new or "best" format-of-the-day... so, getting a master-dub of Stan Getz or Nat King Cole or Bill Evans or... OK, OK you got the idea... the usual audiophile titles we all own.

So, enters Hemiolia and their master-tapes... they're using very best quality studio gears, premium recordists and recording venues and... young musicians and new music.

This is not a saving-sake choice - i.e. these artists aren't "expensive" (royalties-sake) as the most famous ones... nope!

It's a much wiser, deeper choice: new music, new atmospheres, moods, new names are keeping the flame burning.

The fire of enthusiasm, interest, passion for music and audio: let's do not forget that The Beatles, Tim Buckley, Bert Jansch... virtually ALL the top musicians were young and unknown when they recorded their first, best records.

Flavio Boltro, Daniele Mencarelli, Davide Pannozzo, Trio Correntezza, Trio Lazzeri aren't hit makers... BUT sure they're top, classy, skilled musicians who got something truly rare: they were recorded AND issued on tape, not over-produced, getting respect from industry and sure getting the most careful attention from the listeners of their music.

Not bad, I'd say... cannot resist in remembering the surprise when I heard The Beatles' songs naked, without the George Martin's arrangements...

Listening to the Hemiolia's demo tape, what's immediately apparent is the freedom, the joy of music making among friends.

The artists aren't guinea-pigs in the producer hands, under heavy control... they breathe freely.

The sound of Hemiolia's master tapes?


I would end here...

I read somewhere the F1 super cars do not use conventional gasoline like our cars use... it's an highest purity, octanes, super-filtered, magic gasoline which allows these engines to reach 10K+ revs and 300+ kmh speeds.

Well, this morning my 15A's got the above mentioned "super gasoline"... ahem, super tape!

You cannot, REALLY cannot imagine the emotion of listening to an distorted, fuzzed, yet undistorted, sublime electric guitar by Davide Pannozzo Trio on Hoochie Coochie Man, from "A Portrait of Jimi Hendrix" tape: ambient retrieval is superb... dynamics... well... unbelievable, at least.

The sense of easiness, untamed strength is really of rare uniqueness!

Daniele Mencarelli double-bass on Il Monello from "Originals" is also superb... Trio Correnteza's Chega de Saudade is so eerie, poetic... but all the tracks has this... this... sense of beauty, unfiltered beauty and musical freedom.

This sure is the Zenith of my listening experience...

Humbly said, to my surprise, blah, blah...

Will shop for some full Hemiolia tapes, soon.

Cannot ride F1 races without this gasoline.... ahem, tapes!

Thanks, deepest thanks to Hemiolia's Claudio Valeri and Giorgio Foschi for Hemiolia (both) and for cocooning my tape-recorders (Giorgio alone;-))

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