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Saturday, December 16, 2017

ECM - Sounds and Silence Travels With Manfred Eicher (2011)



"Some people have invented products and concepts that have revolutionized the world. Some have devoted their lives to helping others, while some have conquered mountains and have built business empires. Others have given us insight into how we should live. But some have dazzled us with their genius and art, with ideas that spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes revolution. A genuine visionary, Manfred Eicher has certainly revolutionized the world of music through his ECM label, which has aimed since its inception at capturing the most beautiful sound next to silence. For 40 years, ECM, guided by Eicher's vision and aesthetics, has released some of the most important jazz, experimental, world and modern classical recordings.
Sounds and Silence is an intimate musical portrait of this legendary label owner and producer, whose presence is the common factor in the careers of not a few musical giants. Swiss filmmakers Norbert Wiedmer and Peter Guyer followed Eicher over a period of five years and the result is a sonic journey that captures the artistry of one of the most distinctive and celebrated producers of our time. A modern day Odysseus, in the film Eicher travels to several countries, where the music was created in its original and natural surroundings.
The main story doesn't exclusively center on the main protagonist, but through him we get to see how he works with people such as composer Arvo Part on a recording session in an orthodox church in Talin, Estonia; pianist Eleni Karaindrou's concert in Athens ( Elegy of the Uprooting); a recording session with saxophonist Jan Garbarek and viola player Kim Kashkashian; oud player Anouar Brahem in Tunisia ( Voyage du Sahar 2006); pianist Nik Bartsch ( Holon 2007); cellist Anja Lechner; and bandoneon player Dino Saluzzi ( Ojos Negros, 2007); saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi; and more. The film gives a rare glimpse of Eicher's creative process and his alchemical presence in the lives of the people he works with.
But the documentary isn't quite like any most other documentaries. Sounds and Silence is a composition of some of the ECM's most diverse and eclectic sounds, resulting in a musical canvas that stretches the imagination. It is less documentary than reverie, a series of elegiac episodes taken from the life and mind of a dedicated worker. Nothing in the movie is aggressively portrayed and nothing in it is intended to change lives forcefully. It uses slow cuts without showy montages or frantic edits, and the pictures move forward in long, serene takes with tight close-ups. Even the performances are shot differently. The result is a film that focuses completely on the playing. The musicians' empathic interaction is revelatory and both the documentary and the featured music are soothing, becalmed with that mellowness and ripeness that are ECM's trademarks.
At the heart of the film lies the art of listening. Eicher is a careful and detailed listener and always on the look out for special moments. He immerses himself in the music, he allows himself to be be moved and taken by the sheer power of it and—in the words of Nora Part, the wife of Arvo Part—he becomes the composer's companion in creation. Evidently, this restless nomad has a creative telepathy that evokes soulful performances from musicians, persuading them to rise to the challenge within. At the core of ECM's ethos are honesty, trust and human relationships. What has earned Eicher deep respect is the sincere musicality and spiritual depth in the recordings he has facilitated or produced. The effect is often mesmerizing and otherworldly but, as shown in the film, it can be fun and joyful too. Witness Eicher and Arvo Part dancing together on hearing the music, or Parts' blissful expression when he listens to the orchestra playing.
Sounds and Silence is a stirring, visually striking film. But by far the most powerful element is Eicher's clarity of vision and his sense of a high, pure beauty that results in heavenly music. When the music starts, this film becomes a vehicle of incantatory power."












For Western Electric die-hard fans only!



Lovely brass/enamel plaque...




Perfect as a gift for any WE fan!




Reed Muse 1C




An intriguing newly manufactured double-pulley belt-driven turntable...








Love the chassis and platter.

Made in Lithuania.




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wiener Garrardzilla









Der wunderbare analoge Plattenspieler!



Woodsong Audio - Chris Harban's workshop idler-wheels display





Impressive...





What I like more is the recessed Garrards' or Thorens' chassis/plinth and the care Chris infuse in all his creations... including taking the time to let finishes to mature and properly harden on a shelf, with no hurry... the way to go, indeed.

Please have a look at Chris' newly built Woodsong Audio site.

Enjoy.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Flea-market ephemeral musical-joys...



I simply love chasing for vinyls at flea-markets... as you never know whats in the bins... the prize - i.e. the gem - can be the next disc your fingers will touch... no Discogs or Ebay will give you same goose-bumps shivers!



Tippett's on mono EMI, with a great cover... and such a sought-after disc!



Benjamin Britten on Decca Wide Band... gorgeous music and sound!




Fritz Reiner's RCA Red Seal, Japanese pressing!





Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention on original Verve/MGM U.S. blue/silver label, very first pressing, with cut-out insert.












... what a find...  Messiaen on piano, an early Harmonia Mundi...




Killer sound on an obscure UK label.





... not only "La Fille Mal Garde"... another Lanchbery-directed nugget! A truly seldom seen disc.



... and just one, a solitary, one-and-only, cherry-picked silver disk, on Chesky... by David Chesky, playing a truly thunderous Bosendorfer Imperial 290 Grand Piano... a majestic recording. 




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Yerkes-Dodson Law








Our life is a quest for happiness.  We try to do things that would help us become happier. And pursuing “more” is a common approach because we believe that having more of something means more happiness: we usually seek more money, more assets, more friends or even more likes on social media.


“More” is also popular as a design approach because that’s what customers want: more quantities, more functionalities, more amenities, more decorations, and so on.


But interestingly, an increasing number of people are overwhelmed, stressed, and feeling distracted surrounded by so much “stuff.”  They are realizing that it’s easy to lose control when you sink into a heap of “more.” 


So the minimalist movement emerged: minimalists decided to give up excess belongings that caused stress and distraction. Decluttering follows the same path: it forces you to go through your belongings so that you ONLY own what “sparks joy”- what you can happily manage.


If it is true that more does not guarantee happiness, and can even cause stress, can we understand it scientifically? We could tap on to the Yerkes-Dodson Law.

The Yerkes-Dodson Law is an empirical theory between arousal and performance. As you can see in the black bell-curve above, the law maintains that our performance increases as we become physiologically and mentally aroused – or become alert and concentrated – but only up to a point.


When the level of arousal becomes too high, we feel increasingly stressed and anxious, and the quality of our performance decreases.






If you change the Y-axis from “performance” to “ability to feel happy,” and add a linear line of “the amount of belongings” (red line), you easily see what’s going on.


Applying the Yerkes-Dodson Law, we can establish a hypothesis that our ability to feel happiness is not limitless. There is an optimal point after which our happiness actually start diminishing, even if we keep increasing the amount of our belongings. 


And it’s something we all experience: you cannot stay with someone 24/7 no matter how much you love her/him, nor can you keep eating ice cream forever even if you are a big fan of Cherry Garcia (that’s me).  We’ve known that “moderation is the key,” even before the minimalist movement.

Zen, or the Buddhism in general, has been pursuing this “optimal point of arousal” for thousands of years. Whereas we almost automatically believed a liner correlation between happiness and the amount of belongings that could satisfy our desires, Buddhism knew that the relationship was a bell-curve with a plateau.


And it resolutely assumed that the highest point could be attained when we minimized the amount of external help, whether it was materials or relationships, to satisfy our desires.


Thanking this superb site for great inspiration in Zen, architecture, art and minimalism interactions... a true goldmine I'm in-debt with. 



Friday, December 1, 2017

Alvin Lucier - Illuminated by the Moon





Alvin Lucier is among America’s most important composers - a towering pilar intellect, creativity, and beauty realised through sound. In celebration of his 85th birthday, the Zurich based imprint Züricher Hochschule der Kunste offers one of the most stunning releases of the year, Illuminated by the Moon, a epic 4 LP + 1x CD Box set with an extensive 120 pages lavish book plenty of previously unseen images, dedicated to the composer and theorist’s work. 
Safe to say that this one’s aimed at the Lucier aficionados, but it’s a real eye-opener for anyone into the far reaches of experimental music and the sonic art. Given the cost and scale of the project it's unlikely these will ever get a re-press. Only 500 individually numbered copies have been made...so if you want one of these, it's now or never.

Alvin Lucier


Alvin Lucier

Illuminated by The Moon (4 LP box, Book, Cd)

Within the histories of avant-garde practice, there are two primary forms through which revolutions take hold - radical, paradigm breaking confrontations, exemplified by figures like John Cage, Ornette Coleman, Pierre Henry, and Cornelius Cardew, etc, and quieter, more intricate, discrete gestures, which, while arguably yielding greater effect and change, often find their initial passage into the world relatively unnoticed. Alvin Lucier is among the later, a composer whose efforts are steeped in such a profound and inward intelligence, and are so singular, that they have entirely reformed the terms through which we approach the possibilities presented within the sonic arts. He is among America’s most important composers - a towering pilar intellect, creativity, and beauty realised through sound. In celebration of his 85th birthday, the Zurich based imprint Züricher Hochschule der Kunste offers one of the most stunning releases of the year, Illuminated by the Moon, a 4 x LP + 1x CD box set, dedicated to the composer and theorist’s work. 
Alvin Lucier
Alvin Lucier is unlike any other figure within the history, as well as the contemporary landscape, of American experimental music. The change he unleashed is, in all probability, far greater, and will yield more impact and legacy, than those whose fame exceeds his own - a slow burn. Lucier belongs to a generation of composers who emerged during the early 1960’s, inheriting, but not beholden to a landscape in constant creative and conceptual flux, contending with the challenges put forth by predecessors like John Cage, while radical expanding the field. With David Behrman, Gordon Mumma and Robert Ashley, he founded the legendary collective the Sonic Arts Union in 1966, all the while sculpting a singular and unparalleled body of work, focused around acoustic phenomena and auditory perception, which included, among many others, the groundbreaking works Bird And Person Dyning, Music On A Long Thin Wire, and I Am Sitting In A Room, each quietly shifting the understanding of what music could be.
Alvin Lucier
Illuminated by the Moon,  ZHdK Records’ incredible collection, was recorded in October of 2016 at the Alvin Lucier 85th Birthday Festival at the Zurich University of the Arts. It gathers a remarkable range of of performances of works from Lucier’s life in music, from the iconic to the lesser known. It begins with wonderful stagings of I Am In A Sitting Room and Music For Solo Performer by the composer, before presenting the work Charles Curtis performed by the cellist for whom it was composed, and Double Rainbow, a recent work, performed by the incredible Joan La Barbara. Over the course of the set’s many discs, we encounter works ranging from Nothing Is Real (Strawberry Fields Forever), Braid, Two Circles, to Hanover, Step, Slide And Sustain, and One Arm Bandits, performed by Oren Ambarchi, Stephen O'Malley, and Gary Schmalzl, with further contributions by Charles Curtis and many others, including University students and faculty members involved in the celebrations of Lucier’s life and work. The collection, by offering an expanse of material otherwise unavailable in the composer’s discography, opens a rare window into the breadth and range of territory which he has approached, as well as into the unique humour which has quietly bubbled through his entire career. It is a singular recording event, the likes of which are unlikely to be repeated soon.
A worthy tribute to one of the last century’s most important composers, offering insight, recognition, and critical investigation, long overdue. ZHdK Records has done an astounding job, with the entire set lovingly produced. Including an extensive 120 pages lavish book, with numerous unseen images, while arguably aimed at Lucier aficionados, Illuminated by the Moon should be on everyone’s list.Alvin Lucier
Filled with revelation, this limited edition of 500 individually numbered copies, unlikely to ever be repressed, is unquestionably one of the most beautiful and important releases of the year. Grab it fast before it disappears for good.

ECM goes streaming!








ECM presents My Music with a special weekend offer
 
 
Dear friends of ECM,

ECM presents a special service for all customers who buy CDs or LPs through our webshop.
You will now find the My Music section in your account on www.ecmrecords.com where all of your purchased albums are stored and can be listened online - whenever you want, wherever you are, in CD-Quality (FLAC 16-bit).

Best wishes,
ECM Records
 

Start listening to your ECM music library on your pc or on the go on your mobile devices.

  • Log in to your Account
  • All of your purchases from ecmrecords.com are now available in your personal music library
  • Choose between FLAC CD-Quality (16-bit) or MP3-Quality (320kbs) in your Account Settings
 

One weekend to complete your ECM library with a discount of 25% on our entire available catalogue.

 
Place your order as usual and enter the Special Offer Code MYMUSIC at the checkout in order to receive the special prices on your whole shopping cart.
 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Healing sound - vibes, frequencies, Music & the Universe







  “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
― Nikola Tesla


The above should be enough for today and many todays to-come, folks... everything in Nature, from atoms to Supernovas have their own frequency.

When I look at my almost boiling water on the stove, every morning, waiting to have my green tea, what amazes and enthralls and hooks my attention is the mandala-like "vibe" on the hot water surface, this beautiful phenomenon is both a visual effect and a sound, as well.



It's the boiling water vibration... everything has several frequencies: the vibe of joy or fear, something which give a diffuse wave to our skin... 

The Universe is possibly vibrating - i.e. expanding - since eons and eons ago and so will to for eons and eons to come... until it will begin to retract itself... concentric waves endlessly spreading in the immensity of Zero Kelvin outer-space.

Tesla knew... like Dr. Anthony Holland, a composer, musician and scientist, searched for years about the cancer-cells of Leukemia and exposing these cells to a definite frequency, found that more than 60% of the bad cells were destroyed.

Unfortunately, no direct exposure of cancer-patients has already been scientely explored.  
   
When I'm seating in my studio, listening to some good music, I feel the music with my ears and body, as well.

What happens to my body when I'm soaked in music?

I barely know and understand what happens to my mind or soul...

I cannot imagine what sound, vibes make to my organism: is low end interacting with liver or kidney?

Please be sure I'm not saying I'm avidly listening to music or my playing my guitars to preserve my body and live forever...

... yet, it's absolutely true after an intense, good, pleasant listening session to my Gotorama of, say, a couple of hours, when I turn-off my audio system and go back home... well, I feel different, at least!



Not better, healed or immortal, an Highlander... be content enough to feel different -  i.e. less stressed, angry, nervous... more focused and feeling as a Whole.

Same sensation I have after a bare-foot walk on a looong sand beach: Music and Walking are true-to-life activities and soul-food.

Maybe one day - which I hope not too far to come - science will find that frequencies are healing and the way to effectively handle them... that Phythagora wasn't wrong with his 432 Hz theories.

That we can peacefully live in good health having a diet of Ravi Shankar and Bach and John Fahey's music.

Call me a dreamer or a visionary... always thinking and looking for a music-based, war-less world to-come.  

I just hope so, for posterity and future of humankind.



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Henry Flynt - You are my Everlovin'





Henry Flynt
You Are My Everlovin'

 
While Henry Flynt is widely know among fans of avant-garde music - the partial result of a series of reissues and archival releases which appeared around the outset of the millennium, he has never entirely received his due - cast as a secondary figure next to friends and peers like La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, Tony Conrad, Dick Higgins, and George Maciunas. The recording which makes up You Are My Everlovin was made in 1981, and it encounters Flynt at his stunning best - rendering a wild, powerful, improvised raga inspired work for violin, pulling equally from his experiences studying with Pandit Pran Nath, as from indigenous rural American folk music. It represents a pure image of Minimalism as it was conceived - democratic, adventurous, contentious, and creatively brilliant, reforming the understanding of history across its 45 minute length. 



 A writhing bath in tone, elevating our vision of Flynt’s contribution, with its seminal importance, to towering heightsAs essential and welcome as reissues come, Superior Viaduct’s edition comes with Flynt’s own explanatory liner notes. Many thanks to the label for bringing it back. This one won’t sit around for long.  He planted the seed for so much of what finds itself within our reverent gaze today.



Grab it before it’s gone.











Pauline Anna Strom - Trans-Millenia Music







Pauline Anna Strom,
Trans-Millenia Music (2Lp)

Within the communities surrounding ambient, electronic, and synthesis based music, Pauline Anna Strom holds a legendary status, yet remains almost completely unknown within the broader field. A fascinating outlier of the electronic counterculture, her music transcends simple categorization. Blind from birth and a self-described “loner and heretic”, she lost her sight due to complications resulting from a premature birth, activating an acute sensitivity to sound. While connected to the b road concerns of the New Age movement, few artists have sprung from such a singular philosophical ambition (as Laurie Spiegel and Midori Takada to name a few). Even when addressed through their sounds alone, Strom’s efforts far exceed the expected bounds - threaded with tension, drama, and as much darkness as light.
The first authorized overview of the enigmatic composer, Reiki master, spiritual counselor, and healer, Trans-Millenia Music draws its material from Strom’s seven impossibly rare private releases from the 80’s, bringing them the distinction and attention they deserve. Beautifully produced 2 LP, this is a true labor of love.

One of the most important archival releases of the year. This is ambient music and synthesis at unprecedented heights

Since launching six years ago, the ReRVNG series - a curatorial effort by the New York based imprint RVNG, has carved a singular place in the cultural landscape. Dedicated to highlighting remarkable, but overlooked gestures in sonic expression, its effect has been so wide sweeping that the names found within its catalog - Harald Grosskopf, Craig Leon, K. Leimer, Ariel Kalma, Anna Homler, etc, have emerged from the shadows, becoming familiar to most. After a year hiatus, much of which has been spent carefully assembling the release in our hands, the series returns with one of their most remarkable entries yet, an expansive survey of the work of Pauline Anna Strom.



Within the communities surrounding ambient, electronic, and synthesis based music, Pauline Anna Strom holds a legendary status, yet remains almost completely unknown within the broader field. A fascinating outlier of the electronic counterculture and New Age movement, her music transcends simple categorization. Blind from birth and a self-described “loner and heretic”, she lost her sight due to complications resulting from a premature birth, activating an acute sensitivity to sound. Following a move to San Fransisco, and encounters with early gestures in ambient electronic music during the mid 1970’s, she began composing meticulously crafted works, recording at home on a Tascam 4-track recorder and a small array of synthesizer, culminating as seven privately produced releases, which emerged between 1982 and 1988.

Strom’s work draws on a unique form of sonic spirituality, envisioning herself as a musical consort to time and the living incarnation of an all-embracing entity of music - inviting the listener to travel into the profound realm of the psyche, where time dissolves and people of the past and future may be found. While connected to the broad concerns of the New Age movement and contemporary works by Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, few artists have sprung from such a singular philosophical ambition. Even when addressed through their sounds alone, Strom’s efforts far exceed the expected bounds - threaded with tension, drama, and as much darkness as light. Across the four sides of Trans-Millenia Music, her inner world emerges as a mysterious, interlaced realm of synthesized tone. A rippling, shadowy landscape of organized sound, defined by stunning creative brilliance.

The first authorized overview of the enigmatic composer, Reiki master, spiritual counselor, and healer, Trans-Millenia Music draws its material from Strom’s seven impossibly rare private releases from the 80’s, bringing them the distinction and attention they deserve. This beautifully produced double LP set is the product of seven years of discussion, deliberation, and patience on the part of RVNG. A true labor of love. One of the most important archival releases of the year. This is ambient music and synthesis at unprecedented heights








Woman from Utopia - Bjork's last effort













The album is written by Björk with five of the 14 songs co-written by Arca and one of the songs co-written by Sarah Hopkins.
All of the songs except one is co-produced by Arca. One of the songs is co-produced by Rabit. Björk formed a twelve piece Icelandic female flute orchestra, which she arranged for and conducted.
She also wrote an arrangement for Hamrahlíðarkórinn, a choir conducted by Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir. The album was edited and structured by Björk on Protools. It was engineered by Bergur Þórisson, Bart Migal and Chris Elms.
It was mixed by Heba Kadry and Marta Salogni and mastered by Mandy Parnell.



Björk's new album Utopia is here!

Listen to the album Utopia:

Vinyl furniture







Here are some of the nicest cabinet I’ve seen in a long time, from Atocha Design of New York.






It's not cheap, but the quality looks great.




Reel-to-reel - Needing new heads?







Confirmed AM Belgium can supply original Studer heads: Hi Mu core (317) and Vitrovac core (318). 







Price is 525 euro per head(1/4”).


In-line and butterfly models are both available.