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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thorens TD 124 bearing replica




... ehm: not really only a replica, but a labor of love and a mechanical beauty, using premium materials and workmanship... the romantic act of improving the original, over its mass-production, budgeted criteria.




That's, in my humble opinion, more jewellery than industrial stuff, from same lathing-artist behind the mighty Garrardzilla's bespoke heavy-duty bearing.

Thanking Jaap for funding the project.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Keith Jarrett awarded at Venice Biennale



(ANSA) - Venice, February 20 - US jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has been given the "Venice Biennale Golden Lion" for career achievement. The American pianist and composer will receive the award at the 62nd Biennale Festival of Contemporary Music on September 29.




The Silver Lion goes to French-Argentinian musician Sebastian Rivas, among he most original artists of his generation.


    The awards were announced Tuesday by the Bienalle Foundation board under President Paolo Baratta.


    Jarrett's citation said: "An absolute musician, beloved by the public - with over four million recordings of the Köln Concert, considered his seminal work, sold around the world - Keith Jarrett will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music of the Biennale di Venezia on September 29th."





For this occasion, Keith Jarrett will perform one of his legendary improvisations on the piano, unique and unrepeatable events that have punctuated his career and contributed to redefining composition for the piano.


    "Unanimously acclaimed as one of the most important pianists in the area of improvisation and jazz music - reads the motivation - Keith Jarrett is an artist who has experimented with extraordinary talent and creativity in various musical genres including classical music, composing scores that are both refined and blistering at the same time. "His endless discography bears witness to a boundless art and a unique personality in the field of jazz, with an approach and signature style that are so personal as to make him a universal master in the history of music".



Well deserved.



   

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Gibson



Gibson guitar company is facing bankruptcy, according to a new report from the Dayton Daily News.
The company, which is behind one of the most iconic guitars in music history, the Les Paul, recently saw the departure of its chief financial offer, Bill Lawrence. His leaving is seen as a bad omen for the company “as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and $145 million in bank loans become due, if they aren’t refinanced by July.” Gibson also recently moved out of its Nashville warehouse, which it had called home for over three decades.


At the moment, company owner Henry Juskiewicz is attempting get things in order financially, “but is facing a battle with creditors over bad business decisions.” Gibson is hoping that its acquisitions of various electronic companies over the years will soon provide a much needed influx of funds.
Founded back in 1902 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Gibson is estimated to pull in $1 billion a year in revenues. The Les Paul, designed by the legendary guitarist himself, first went into production in 1952, and has since been used by musicians like Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley, Eric Clapton, Joe Perry, Bob Marley, and Slash. Other famous guitars from Gibson include the Firebird and the Flying V.
Update: An official statement from Gibson today assures that it is in the process of finding a solution to its bankruptcy problem. Gibson “has met all current obligations to the bondholders, is in the process of arranging a new credit facility to replace the bonds, and fully expects the bonds to be refinanced in the ordinary course of business,” it reads. “These bonds expire as all fixed income instruments do at the end of their term,” Juszkiewicz adds.


He also notes that the company has been working to monetize its assets. “We have been monetizing assets like stock holdings, real property and business segments that could not achieve the level of success we expected. By monetizing these assets, we can reduce debt and generate funds to contribute to business segments that are thriving. It is important to our business to get back to the financial success we had to achieve the best financial terms in the refinancing of our company.”

DAB+


DAB... plus... or minus? 

I gladly share the following text I got from Bent, a FB pal from Norway, about the fearful next-to-die FM radio:


"A question to you. You are above average interested in music and sound quality. What are your views on radio?

In Norway we almost don't have radio anymore. Our national broadcasters, both non commercial and commercial have closed FM transmission. Only Dab and Dab+ are available for Radio listening. I do not consider Dab as radio. It's just bad data transmission. Internet radio is of course an alternative, but that is so far, not for everyone. Only local radio stations are permitted to transmitt on FM.

I don't know how far Dab has come in Italy, but official sources tell us that Dab is close to breakthrough all over Europe. Unofficial sources not connected to the Dab-mafia, on the other hand, tell us a completely different story. As far as I have read, there is only test transmissions on Dab in Italy?


Denmark, Germany, England (Great Britain?) and Switzerland are well covered with Dab reaching all over the countries. Only Switzerland have decided to close down FM transmission. But not until 2024 I think. Denmark might do the same. Germany and England will not do the same, and only about 5% of German radio-listening is through Dab services. The rest is internet radio and of course the big majority listen to FM.


After FM transmission have closed down in Norway, several studies have shown us that more than 60% of the Norwegian population is negative to DAB and want FM back.
There are a few major reasons for this:
Every household has several FM sets. They all need to be replaced.
Radio coverage is much worse with Dab than FM.


Sound quality with Dab is terrible.
Only a few years before 5G is here, the Norwegian population will have to pay billions of euros to get a totally unnecessary Dab network.


I could go on all night...


So, how is your opinion? What do you think is the opinion of the average Italian radio listener? What do they know about Dab? What do you know about Dab?

The worldDab Forum is very active spreading fake news about how successful the Dab introduction has been in Norway. The truth is that it is nothing but a scandal!

This is what the European population needs to know! The truth straight from the Norwegian listeners, not by the Dab mafia.
The fact is now sadly, that Radio in Norway is controlled by NRK (the Norwegian equivalent to BBC), Swedish media giant MTG and German media gigant Bauer Media. MTG and Bauer Media have commercial rights for all commercial radio until the year 2032. Those three companies share 30-stations. Quantity is much more important than quality, so for example the classical station from NRK sadly transmit with only 80 kbps sound quality.

Be aware. Italy can be next on their list! 

Dab, the worst investment in history!

So, if you can help us spread the truth about Dab to all of your contacts all over the world. Ask them to spread the word? You would help radio listeners all over the world. Dab is just about commercial rights and money, and nothing about serving the public listeners.

The Norwegian population is furious!

Still the Dab "mafia" travels the world telling "the Norwegian success story of Dab". It could not be further from the truth!"

Food for thought, indeed... in Italy we still do have some FM, BUT the digital, WEB radio is coming strong, much strong in the low-quality/high profits men-in-suits' agenda... you'd bet it? as a BIG improvement in program offering.

Fu@#k off so-called progress!




DAB is, for now... hopefully for now, reportedly, only as test-airing...

Thanks to Bent for his insight... and let's beware, folks...

"They" are not after quality, but profit, period.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Honors to Manfred Eicher in ECM 50th anniversary



Hon FRAM Citation for Manfred Eicher, 12 February 2018, London

Under the terms of its Royal Charter of 1830, the Academy has the power to confer honours on distinguished musicians. The roll call of honorands reads like a musical directory of the last two centuries, including Mendelssohn, Liszt, Stravinsky, Casals, and from our own era Sir Simon Rattle, Placido Domingo, Martha Argerich and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Honorary Fellowship of the Academy is limited to 100 distinguished individuals who have rendered signal service to the music profession.

I have great pleasure in presenting Manfred Eicher, who is to receive Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music.





In the history of recorded music there have been very few producers who names alone immediately conjure up a particular aesthetic and sound. Manfred Eicher is one of this select company. Just as remarkably, he has personally produced the vast majority of the more than 1500 albums released by his own label, the Edition of Contemporary Musicor ECM.
Manfred studied classical double bass at the Academy of Music in Berlin, and in the 1960s he performed and recorded as a jazz bassist. In 1969 he started on his path as a producer with the foundation of ECM and the release of its first album: Free at Last by pianist Mal Waldron. 

In the 1970s his recordings quickly established the labels reputation for outstanding audio quality, carefully considered programming and a highly original vision of the ways in which design, typography, photography and original artwork could contribute to an integrated aesthetic experience for the listener.

ECMs output in the 1970s and 1980s included many of the most celebrated jazz recordings of the period, featuring artists such as Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jan Garbarek and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. It wasnt long before recognition came from the influential Downbeat magazine, with the first of many awards for Manfred as Producer of the Yearin 1976 and the accolade Label of the Yearfor ECM in 1980. With ECMs jazz credentials firmly established, Manfred introduced the New Seriesin 1984, dedicated largely to notated music, beginning with the release of Arvo Pärts Tabula Rasa.

Manfred has never felt constrained by notions of style and genre, or by conventional concepts of the mainstream and the peripheral. His advocacy of jazz musicians from Scandinavia as well as classical composers from former Soviet Bloc countries has revealed to us a panoply of remarkably original composers and performers whose music has enriched all our lives.
Manfred has also consistently championed the work of musicians here in the UK, including many current and former teachers, alumni, visiting professors and close friends of the Royal Academy of Music, some of whom are with us tonight. Through their ECM recordings Manfred has provided a creative outlet and wide exposure for musicians such as Norma Winstone, John Surman, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Evan Parker, the Hilliard Ensemble, and more recently pianists Django Bates and Kit Downes.

In addition to his many awards for his work as a producer, he has also been recognised in a wider sphere, including the award of the German Federal Cross of Merit in 2007 and the Cultural Prize of the Bayerische Landesstiftung in 2013. In 2012 the French Minister of Culture made Manfred a Chevalier de lOrdre des Arts et de Lettres.

With the imminent arrival of the fiftieth anniversary of ECM in 2019, it is an appropriate moment for us to acknowledge his extraordinary contributions to the cultural life of our time.

I have great pleasure in presenting Manfred Eicher to receive Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music.

Robbie Basho and Maurizio Angeletti




From the one and only Italian Tour with Maurizio Angeletti, my 12 strings guitar mentor and teacher in early '80s.. this very pix on the cover taken in Dolomites... near San Martino di Castrozza... Robbie wears a pale blue coat and a red wool beret.




Reportedly, he was in awe facing the mighty peaks around.





Please read Maurizio Angeletti's great, fond memories about those days.


I ordered my copy... the vinyl will be available end of the month.






Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Among the most elusive disc, ever...


Yes, among... in ancient music sure this David Munrow's disc is a truly remarkably superb wax and rare as it can be...



... even this 45 rpm edition of "Renaissance Suite", again by beloved, late David Munrow is more sought-after, yet...



... I've always been a huge, fanatic collector and scholar of Rene Clemencic and his musical so broad productions and heritage...

The disc on my lap is - maybe - the most sought-after and elusive of his discs:






How I'd wish to share with my closest friends the musical glory and out-of-this-world beauty of this disc... just an awesome listening experience.

... but - deeply missing the above pleasure - I invite you to search the web for it...

Enjoy.





P.S. - found for you the Harmonia Mundi's reissue... or this... grab it!


Monday, February 12, 2018

Sonic bliss



Last finds, from yesterday flea-market... only some of the gorgeous discs I acquired...



Seldom seen disc... original instruments and a recording 2D4. 





An historic organ, masterfully recorded by A. Charlin!



Severino Gazzelloni in Japan, 1981...


A seldom seen, sought-after Harmonia Mundi HM 1077, recorded by J.F. Pontefract... the master.








Sunday, February 11, 2018

Nimbus S.A.M. 45 rpm



Another golden pebble I stepped over...




Nimbus is a personal fave of yours truly... they know how to do it right!

I collected half a dozen of Meridian, EMI and Nimbus 45 rpm discs... they're pressings of seldom heard quality... yet, this very Nimbus' is a very, very good one: a winner!

Micro and macro dynamics are impressive, awesome, timbres true to life, smooth and natural... and the program is something which truly hits my very strings.

Big game, indeed, today...


Big game...



Today, at one of my flea-markets of choice, I found some sought-after nuggets...

This is the real thing - i.e. a Decca Ace of Diamonds GOS 558-559 two-records set... ALSO AN ENIGMA OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY, THIS WAS RECORDED IN BOTH MONO AND STEREO BY DECCA IN FEBRUARY 1957 AND RELEASED IN MONO IN THAT YEAR ON LXT 5336 - 7, BUT THE STEREO VERSION DID NOT APPEAR UNTIL 1968,  eleven years after the recording... Benjamin Britten's Prince of the Pagodas... yes, the sought-after T.A.S. list prized one... a marvellous disc and pressing (Side 1: ZAL 3537   Lacquer: 1G   Mother - Stamper: 1 - C             Side 2: ZAL 3538   Lacquer: 1G   Mother - Stamper: 1 - B             Side 3: ZAL 3539   Lacquer: 1G   Mother - Stamper: 1 - U             Side 4: ZAL 3540   Lacquer: 1G   Mother - Stamper: 1 - B).





WOW!





I "only" own the above London FFRR pressing with a less fancy cover art than the newly found Ace of Diamonds'... that's a one-of-a-kind disc... a true Super Disc, both musically and sonically... so, now I own two, but... how could I leave such a gem in a carton box, to keep dust and humidity... now it's in good hands... my own;-)





Friday, February 9, 2018

Giuseppe Mazzini's guitar




In the pix, Mimmo Peruffo - strings maker extraordinaire - and the genuine, one and only Giuseppe Mazzini's guitar, stringed with Mimmo's Aquila Gut & Silk strings...



Italian proudness... just ask Hopkinson Smith, Anouar Brahem, Paul O'Dette, Dhafer Youssef and many, many others around the world... Aquila's are the brand of choice!

100% hand-made in Italy, one by one.

Lutes, theorbos, classical guitars, viole da gamba, ukuleles... Aquila Corde Armoniche IS the maker for the top musician.

Giuseppe Mazzini

Thanking Mimmo for sharing the Mazzini's romantic guitar pix;-)

P.S. - FYI, the pix has been taken today in London.





Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gustave Courbet's



Bigots, beware...


... this is the real thing, period.

This is the way FB would like it to be...



... censoring, covering, hiding... blaming... 

Nonetheless... the "origin of life" cannot be changed or denied... same as reality.

Shame on FB's bigots and puritans.

Freedom & truth is the answer.



Blu-Spec disk mastering




While the audio industry is claiming (maybe wishing, too....) the death of compact-disc, I only recently appreciated the disk-mastering as a viable lower-fi storage and sharing media - for musicians I record - of the original, untamed, bulky 24Bit/192Khz recordings-files.



My pal and recording/editor partner Lo began a few days ago to master and burn the disks on a Blu-ray Burner (Pioneer BDR-XD05B) gizmo and...

The sound we get from the above, is something... and the final result is nothing short of  p u r e  magic:   so respectful of decay, harmonics, tone and details... simply not comparable with the average commercial, hyper-compressed and over-produced, spikes-free disks!

Why only a few commercial companies switched to such a cool way of handling music?



WOW!




DDP



What is a DDP file, and what are the advantages?
By Rob Stewart - JustMastering.com - Last updated August 7, 2017
DDP stands for “Disc Description Protocol”, a proprietary format developed by DCA, Inc. DDP files are used when sending music to a CD manufacturer (also used for DVD formats). DDP files allow you to set all of the parameters for the CD such as the exact gap between each song, the cross fades and other information. A DDP file allows the producer and mastering engineer to have complete control over all parameters for the CD, therefore it is recommended for critical applications when you have very specific artistic needs for the production.
In the early days of CD manufacturing, a CD audio “master” would be sent to the manufacturer, and they would create a glass master from that CD from which all of the copies would be made with. This approach is still used today in many situations. The advantage is that it’s simple. The disadvantage is that if your original CD master contains any data errors (which are quite common, just not easy to hear because the CD player “rebuilds” the damaged audio on playback using redundant information stored on the CD), those errors get included in the manufactured CDs as well. DDP files, on the other hand, have a significant amount of error correction built in which prevents any errors from making it to the final finished product.
Many CD manufacturers also accept regular audio files (typically WAV or AIF format), and there’s nothing wrong with using those to assemble the CD from, however, it’s important to note that unless you yourself can make time to meet with the manufacturer to set up the layout for the CD (gaps, any cross fades, pause marks etc.), the manufacturer will most likely use a default setting which may or may not meet your needs.
Important Note: To avoid misunderstandings and extra cost, I recommend checking with the disc manufacturer, or duplicator, to confirm if they can accept a DDP file, before you choose to use this file format for your project. Many disc duplicators are setup to duplicate finished media (for example, an Audio CD), versus taking a DDP file and making an Audio CD from it. If you send them a DDP file in that situation, you may end up with several hundred disc-copies of a DDP file! To be safe, always ask first.
How do you create a DDP file?
DDP files are fairly simple to create, you just need the right software. Please refer to the links page for some examples of DDP creator software available on the market, today. Making a DDP file is a lot like authoring a CD. You assemble your list of songs in the DDP creator software, and then setup any additional features that you need to include in the CD. After you have finished, you export the DDP file.
Can DDP help prevent errors in digital delivery formats such as iTunes?
While it is true that raw audio files can become corrupted when sent over the internet, DDP is designed specifically for use in CD manufacturing. If you are submitting your songs for music mastering, or to iTunes or other digital distribution services, I recommend zipping the files to an archive format (ZIP, RAR, TAR etc.) before sending it. If the zip file goes corrupt during transmission, it will not open, thus guaranteeing that you’ll know that your audio files are error free.
Questions and Answers
Question: What are the differences between DDP for a CD and a DDP for a DVD?
Answer: The DDP format allows you to create the entire specification for the master disc. For example with CD, you specify the number and order of all tracks for the disc, the gaps between tracks, pause points and any CD-text. For DVD, it is largely the same idea, except that you have a lot more options depending on what type of DVD you are creating (DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, DVD or HD-DVD ROM) and the types of media you are putting on the disc. To create a DDP image for DVD, you would use an authoring package that supports DDP V2.10 or higher. After you have assembled the DVD project, you would output that project as a DDP 2.10 format file. I found this article from Larry Jordan that explains an example scenario of creating a dual-layer video DVD DDP file using DVD Studio Pro.
Question: I have finished making a movie, and I am working with a media manufacturing company to master and manufacture a DVD. They are asking me to send a DDP file. I don’t own DVD Studio. How do I make a DDP from Final Cut Pro X or Apple Compressor 4.2?
Answer: While I am not a video specialist, I have done some research and based upon what I’ve found, you have two options:
1.​Best option I’ve found if you absolutely require DDP format: Burn a DVD-R from Final Cut Pro X or Apple Compressor, and then use a conversion utility such as Gear to create a DDP image file using the DVD-R copy (more information, here).
2.​Possible alternative (don’t use DDP): For whatever reason, DDP does not seem to have been widely adopted for Video disc formats (no support for Blu-ray, for example). Ask the manufacturer if they will accept an alternative format, in case they are only asking for DDP to avoid file corruption. If you export your DVD files, or a DVD IMG file from Final Cut Pro or Apple Compressor and then archive the file(s) using ZIP or RAR. These utilities offer built in error correction and will alert you to any problems when you open the archive.
Question: What is the best way to send a DDP file to a CD manufacturer?
Answer: I recommend asking the manufacturer you choose, because some will ask you to send them the DDP file on a CD, whereas others will accept electronic delivery. Electronic delivery is absolutely fine as long as the manufacturer will accept it, because the DDP format protects against the possibility of file corruption (it either opens or it doesn’t, so if it opens you can be assured there is no corruption).
Reminder: Always double check with the manufacturer that they will create an audio CD using your DDP source file. That is, you want them to create a batch of audio CDs, not a batch of CD ROMs with DDP files on them.
Question: My mastering engineer gave me a DDP file, instead of a mastered CD of our project. How do I listen to the DDP file? Do I need to purchase special software?
Answer: A DDP Player utility will allow you to play a DDP file on your computer, just like a virtual CD. You will be able to listen to your whole project, and view the meta data (i.e. CD Text). Before purchasing a DDP Player utility, I suggest asking the person who created your DDP file in case they can provide you with one.
More Information:
• DDP Specification (DCA Inc.)
• DDP Wiki
• Introduction to DDP (The Pro Audio Files)
• Gear Software DDP information



Saturday, February 3, 2018

Neumann USM-69 stereo mike



Neumann USM-69 is a truly lovely stereo microphone - among the best in my stable - and the one I use the most for its practical package.









Its sound with Sound Devices 722 2-tracks 24Bit/192Khz digital recorder is true-to-life and I'm recording quite often, say two times per week... such a pleasure!



The German microphone is sooo good and natural sounding that I strongly suspect the USM stands for Ultimate Superb Musicality;-)