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Thursday, March 31, 2011

... more ELODIS' "TGE" & Gotorama pixes... plus some food-for-thoughs for tech-heads;-)

... as a pix says more than one hundred words... attaching ALL these I'll be risking to become over-wordy;-))) - please apologize!
Thanks to Franz for pixes...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Introducing ELODIS' "TGE" or "Gotorama, the Shivers Machine"

After some months of drawing, chatting and several e-mails, a full weekend of measurements - both of my studio acoustic behaviour AND my (handy) amplifiers and ancillary gears - and, most of all, an impressive load of wood-working, screwing, veneering, measuring, cutting, glueing and sanding, Franz Hinterlehner delivered the freshly brewed ELODIS' "TGE" (... aehm...) bass enclosure: a true horn capable of true 109 db/W/m at 100 Hz/at the chosen positioning, to match my Goto's upper ways and capable of an outstanding 140+ db max. SPL (in room!!!)... something to REALLY (if needed or simply wished...) LITERALLY shake the whole building: a VERY musical way to committ suicide, if the case!

He arrived, after driving from his workshop based in a tiny 70-souls village at some 100 km from Wien for about 800 km to my hometown, bringing a full van worth of well padded, wheeled for transportation, painstackingly hand-crafted in Austria, front-loaded bass-horns AND an amazingly well-made - robust and airy enough to do not offend ears and eyes - holder made of aluminium bars, Teflon and Delignit's Modellholz... an impressive combo, truly and necessarily HUGE, as you cannot fool acoustic laws, but still keeping an extremely WAF high-ratio.

The unloading, uncrating and re-assemblying of the "TGE" bass-horns and horns holders was worth four strong people careful job for about three hours, followed by a couple more for Franz and myself in the studio aligning drivers and horns...

On last Saturday, quite late in the afternoon, after cabling and changing active crossover levels, we were ready (...) for turning ON the behemoth and return to what we all are for... music.

It's painful self-consciousness and banally true that after hardware and gears, we - Franz and myself, like a couple of friends who already tasted (new) Gotorama - begin with appreciating workmanship, impressiveness, details, BUT when music flows, virtually ALL - expenses included - vanishes and only Music should - actually and luckly it happens - remains!

Beside the stress involved in carefully and safely handling something weighting, ALL included - i.e. TGE bass-horns, holders and Goto horns and drivers - about 400 kilos per side (!), it's my VERY opinion as the "ship-owner" of TGE's, they're far more easy in the room than the (so approssimative, DIY looking) previous rig.

As per mr. Hinterlehner's wise suggestion, we used Teflon-made feet which easily allow to a single person to fine tune speakers position... furthermore and seldom seen in WEB's commonly showed horns systems, the drivers are physically aligned and tunable (thanks to Roman, Klaus and Reinhard's suggestions), sturdily mounted again using holder made of aluminium with cork and Teflon-made contact parts.

It's something reminding - please forgive me - a Leonardo da Vinci's drawing, it's shape and function, ALL carefully conceived and in-house built, with total control of every building step and best available materials - i.e. about one thousand high-torque steel screws to give needed strength internally, where Delignit's Modellholz was throughly used, with aluminium sub-chassis inbedded in plywood... impressive thinking that all, say ALL screws - inside the enclosure and for the doubled, external panels, sealing the sound-chamber - are torqued at proprietary nM-torque depending on the function and/or position of screw iteself, vibes-proof... the impressive operating-manual will include tons of technical informations and tips, something - again - seldom available in audio industry.

It may please everyone or be unpleasant and ugly looking for someone else, but me, the owner, I already "clicked" with the enormous capabilities of such a design... and, most of all, like it happened with Thomas Schick and Thomas Mayer, years ago, it's always and again, an already seen movie - i.e. people meeting first, sort-of joining (and enjoying) more the relationship than a given "product", but a common, yet personal vision, skill and taste... sharing with a common goal.

That's greatest merit of bespoke audio: man-made stuffs for men!

Franz Hinterlehner and his father Franz (Senior) in their tidy workshop, worked around this project for more than 1.000 hours, including MDF. 1:1 prototyping (...) and the results, let me say filterless and sincerely, is absolutely worth ANY money, everywhere, anytime. ELODIS' "TGE" bass horns, with Goto's stuffs to make (new) Gotorama, will possibly be my last speaker system... saying this after only few days, while I'll sure have to fiddle and fine-tune and improve positioning, cabling, crossover... BUT, hey!, thinking to beloved Japan and cool Shinkansen travelling, "I reached Hakata"!

Thanks to Franz for his skill, knowledge, dedication and friendship... I only hope the TGE's project will give to him the necessary feedback to begin a small, absolutely bespoke production able to reach more music lovers, goodwill people who knows how a grand-piano, a cello, a guitar or a flugelhorn sounds at a concert.

BTW... what about the shivers, folks?!?!

Well, quite amusingly, I felt sick as I was - during last Saturday first listening session in my studio - a victim of a quite worrying two minutes+ long goose-bumps and shivers attack... legs, arms, like a low-voltage underskin, a truly one-of-a-kind experience at home, as it's something absolutely unexpected, unwanted, automatic, and sure, a 120 percent sincere body-language expression... a primitive way to say: "WOW!" which I know sooooo well, BUT mostly, would say always, coming from live performances - i.e. last evening with Gidon Kremer's violin or Paolo Fresu's horn, Dave Holland's double-bass or Ralph Towner's 12 strings guitar, months ago... it's musical orgasm, bar none!

... and Franz - in Eames-mode - smiles...

Monday, March 28, 2011

WJAAS - Allen-Bradley's troops

A dream... or a carbon-nightmare?

Hasegawa-san's Zen touch to parts matching and the like... sure a VERY Japanese approach and vision!

I like it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Paul Motian is eighty!

Birthday greetings to Paul Motian, a relentlessly creative musician who has elevated the art of independence over the course of the last six decades.

A highly original drummer, Paul has helped change the course of jazz history several times, as a member of, successively, Bill Evans' great trio with Scott La Faro, Paul Bley’s proto-free trio (see ECM 1003), and the trio of Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden/Paul Motian (which, with the addition of Dewey Redman, was to become Jarrett’s great American Quartet).

Motian made his first ever “leader” date for ECM in 1972, “Conception Vessel” introducing his compositions to the world, with Jarrett and Haden as participating musicians. Haden and Motian can be heard together again on the forthcoming “Live at Birdland” disc with Lee Konitz and Brad Mehldau.

And, of course, Paul Motian has led many bands of his own through the years, the most celebrated being perhaps the trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, introduced on ECM in 1984 with the album “It Should Have Happened A Long Time Ago” and continuing its work in the 21st century with discs including “I Have The Room Above Her” and “Time And Time Again”. In 2009 Motian introduced a new trio, with Jason Moran and Chris Potter, on the critically-acclaimed “Lost In A Dream”.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eau de Cologne - another delayed, yet GREAT (musical) by-product of visiting Klaus and Reinhard

Yes, folks... since a superb weekend I spent on last November with Klaus and Reinhard and their respective Gotoramas of the many positiveness I brought home - i.e. friendship, audio and music related - I consider a disk to be a true highlight!

I still have in my braincells the so strong impression "La Bamba" by The O-Zone Percussion Group directed by Gary Olmstead on Klavier K 77017 gave to me at Klaus' place... a masterpiece of subterrean percussions, marimbas, guiros, congas and the like... something to put to shame "Dafos"!!!
All the disk is a true masterpiece and a true aural roller-coaster and a possible nightmare for any audio system... it hurts and shakes the buildings plinths... BUT it's one of the most impressive and enjoyable percussions recordings I'm aware of!

On Track 10 - "Jazz Variants" - a simple, almost (musically) banal tune, but a sonic dream - you and your audio rig will be possibly reaching your limits, as the speakers are digesting and returning to the listener an IMPRESSIVE quantity of different, extremely various percussive sounds and dynamics, from largest orchestral BIG drum, to tympanis to glockespiels and such a load is of orgasm-like quality!

I also enjoyed this disk while driving and... WOW... it's also impressive... a truly reference disk, absolutely unboring and... a must listening test for any audio system!

A must have, indeed... with many thanks to Klaus and Reinhard!

Van der Graaf Generator - The Book

Looking forward in attending to a VDGG's concert, on next April...

Abraham Maslow's hyerarchy of needs or Clayton Alderfer's ERG (Existence, Relatedness and Growth) or "What a Man can be, he must be"

Hyerarchies... pyramids... scientists, psychologists and assorted scholars, all tried to put in schemes what's in human soul - i.e. needs, wishes, priorities...

Every human being at every latitude has his/her priorities scale... and they're absolutely an expression of human uniqueness.

Ethic or not, spending BIG money on this or that can be opinable "a priori", but, also the latest, best expression of human DNA's built-in "freedom-fuel".

... and an humbly me - like many others far, FAR deeper and well informed than myself - find someway childish, too much "western oriented" and/or individualistic, when applied as a macro-system module, that hyerarchy.

What about a Bonpo from Lhasa, Tibet hyerarchy?

A final, maybe provoking, banalization? What looks weird to my wife;-), can be absolutely right for me... and vice-versa, of course!

... or, better living as cicadas or ants?

A no-brainer answer, pals...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Musical (forgotten) treasure - Jo-Ann Kelly

She was a swan in duckling feathers... I enjoyed, loved, followed and cherished Jo-Ann Kelly and her music for decades, now... I own many of her discs and sought-after collaborations with Tony McPhee, her bro Dave, Fred McDowell, Son House, Sam Mitchell, Pete Emery and many others.

She's a swan, because she's so gifted as a singer, you get the same SOOO deep surprise as when you listen - for the VERY first time - to, say, Skip James, Son House or Muddy Waters... unique, sincere, straight, market and technically unaffected and unpolished voices... well, how, HOW can such a gentle, UK-born, blonde hair cute, eye-glassed girl sing THIS way!!!???!!

She has most surprising blues voice and attitude who ever existed outside the plantations... she's Memphis Minnie re-born.

In the years, she collaborated with ALL the greats - she was also asked... pressed to join-in Canned Heat as a singer, which she declined - BUT, to my very own opinion, the true zenith of her craft and art is represented by her voice with self-accompaniement of her (Zemaitis) 12 strings acoustic guitar (like in J-A- K. on Open label or Do It! with Pete Emery) and, always with the mighty (Stella) twelve strings, then played by the late, great Sam Mitchell on Stefan Grossman's How To Play Blues Guitar Vol. 2 on Kicking Mule label, in Nic Kinsey's glorious analog beauty.

Also on Stefan Grossman's Country Blues Guitar are some gems, always sang by Jo-Ann, with Stefan or Mike Cooper on guitar... her voice is so bluesy, raw and rural, powerful and straight to listener heart to soon bring tears to the eyes.

My personal Jo-Ann's playlist would include - at least - 30 to 35 different tunes from ALL her records... I fortunately never took my time to do so, 'cause such an evenience would be, simply, TOO MUCH for my soul - i.e. listening all in a row to Mrs. Kelly's highest peaks, without the, sometimes, welcomed lesser tracks which sort-of are giving some breathe to the next superb one... and so on!

I strongly suggest everyone who's - unfortunately - unaware of Jo-Ann Kelly's art, to browse Stefan Wirz's superb site (see a.m. link...) and, at least, listen to Stefan's (or other WEB sources) sound-clips... loosing in - maybe - the best music ever played and recorded, period...

R.I.P., dear, so long-gone, yet unforgotten and deeply missed, Jo-Ann... hope and trust you'll be jamming with John (Fahey), Skip (James) and all your friends... there, above all... in the blue(s) sky.

I love you so...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

U.N. of M. - United Nations of Music

... while world as we know is collapsing like a playing-cards castle (Japan, Egypt, Lybia... French bombing Lybia... Yemen? ... who's next?!?! U.S.A.? Anyone else?!?!), I really feel someway comfy playing the cane in the wind - i.e. peacefully listening to some music in an autumn-like minus-two-days-to-Springtime Saturday afternoon instead of committing suicide...

Yes, I WELL know the syndrome... Rome is burning and Nero is playing his lyra or the like... or, maybe, as I always do when things get nasty, reckon to what Mom told me, maybe fifty years ago - "If people loves and listens to music, loves and cares for pets and flowers and nature, no more wars would happen!"

Who knows...

While reading last Mojo mag and listening to some good music in my studio - two hours two, enough to re-charge low batteries - I considered (silly & childish I am...) "things" and gears, electronic and mechanic stuffs coming from different Countries and so friendly... BROTHERLY playing, in the name of same goal... in the name of Music.

In my system, gears built and/or hand-made in UK, USA, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Austria, South Korea and music virtually coming from dozens different Countries are peacefully working "together"...

Why, in real life, this doesn't or so seldom happens?

Why is Music so supremely "superior" to every-day life?

Why in music, well... any author and musician, also most amateur-ish, doesn't "fight" with the very best?!?

Is it "religion" the truest, untold "enemy"?

I never heard of wars between Bach's lovers and Dvorak's fans, while...

... or is it "money" truest, BIGGER foe for humanity?

... and what's "richness"... is it wallet-related or a mind-game?

... like "time" is...

... and "happiness"?

Believe me: I could live with a transistor radio and a cheap guitar, maybe begging for a rice bowl... BUT not without freedom and music.

Peacefully, I imagine... dream about "wars" among koto, oud, sitar, guitar, charango, duduk... blues, jazz, opera and rock... and NO WINNERS!

... I told you I'm a silly, lunatic, romantic asshole.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Michelangelo Pistoletto's "Italics" at Palazzo Grassi in Venice

... or "The Judgement Horns"... like a beloved shape is, un-musically, shown to people... visual-art, shape & function, an hinting, provoking act...

... while people was asking about "what's for?", to my extremely biased, horn-lover eyes, it was something, somehow suggesting "how" to go for cheap DIY mid-low horns building;-)))

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WJAAS - Japan, audio & earthquake... show must go on!

Just received this e-mail from a friend from Yokohama-shi, Japan:

"Dear Stefano san,

Thank you very much for such a kind e-mail.

I also have a pain to hear that this disaster many attacked many
peoples and their lives in northeastern Japanese coasts.

I, my family, friends and colleagues are all fine!
On 11th, we had heavy quakes twice in Yokohama.
Fortunately, my house and office was safe, and there were no tsunami

My audio equipments are also safe.

Now, eastern Japan area is lack of electric power due to damage or in
maintenance of many power plants.
So from tomorrow, we will have sporadic power shutdown for 3-4
Therefore, our working activities shall be limited.

One anxious thing is, at a moment, a meltdown of atomic power plants in
Fukushima, where is 250km northward from Tokyo.

But, I believe that this crisis will be ceased by the effort of the
electric company.
Because, we (Japanese) have a technology to build extremely robust
power plants which resisted from huge earthquakes,
only huge tsunami were not considered when it was built.

Again, we are all fine. Japan will recover in near future!

PS, If you have an interest on this message, you may present this in
your blog as a message from a Japanese audiophile.



... I'm sure doing this, Kazumasa-san... sincerely hoping the destruction and suffering which already hit Japan sooo heavily will be not worstened by Fukushima plant troubles.

I find that "... my audio equipment is safe..." a true gem, hinting ALL the strength of a Man whose passion and dedication is as strong as life itself...

... and an optimist, always great Nihonjin approach: great people with - maybe - strongest national identity on the Planet...

I sincerely trust things will be very soon going better, for you all.

Thanks, of course, to Kazumasa-san and his great message... I feel MUCH better knowing you, family, friends ... and your fantastic audio/music system are safe!

Take care, pal: Haru no Kaze and Hanami with the sound and smell of cherry flowers in the springtime wind will arrive, as every year, with their healing power!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bergmann's Variations

Beautiful handicrafts from Denmark...

Idler, not idle...

Here are some pixes of the freshly hand-made and newly installed in my Garrard 301/Shindo combo idler-wheel... my friend Laurence did it... cleverly conceived and carefully machined in stainless-steel, using a proprietary O-ring in an "U" shaped rim... it adds still more control to the already impressive flywheel-effect of the heavier Shindo's platter and TTWeights Peripheral-ring vs. the original, all rubber idler-wheel...

Let's call it audibly improved "momentum" to the overall sound... as I noticed, using a carbon-fiber brush during disc playback - cartridge tip in the grooves - no apparent slowing-down is - now - noticeable... something which has, in real-life and music-sake, VERY impressive and positive effects in controlling micro-fluttering and, audibly, timbric coherence and real-life notes stability and decay.

I used (one of) my old reference recordings, Jimmy Giuffre 3 on ECM double vinyl... Steve Swallow's double-bass "E" open-string, is even more dramatically evolving and spreading, untamed and rock-steady, in the room, now extremely various from right fingers plucking to final, tiniest decay... very, very IMPRESSIVE!!!

Consider this humble, yet sensitive part to be one more step in audio and analog advancement... and a true, major achievement in vinyl reproduction (in my studio).

Bravo and thanks to Laurence!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Skirts for men? Yes!

... and definitely so... also if you're NOT Ewan McGregor or of Scottish ancestors and you hate tartan, wool skirts... denim "ütiliskirts" for spare-time work the same as freeing us from trousers slavery...


Jazz on Vinyl... Miles Davis - Kind of Blue... at the newstand!!!

Surprising, indeed... while buying the newpapers, this morning I noticed something weird, indeed... a vinyl copy of Kind of Blue...
Immediately purchased it... a gift, an obsession, whatever..

When at home, I noticed something even more impressive... Billie Holiday, Trane, Mingus, Bill Evans... these will be, at a doubled price-tag - EUR 15 instead of EUR 7,99 I paid today for the first issue - and, folks... on the carton/plastic blister, a Garrard 301 with a SME arm, not those shitty chinese USB players.

Renaissance, coolness, industry guiltiness and music lovers winning?!?!?

Don't know... and "BRAVO!" to De Agostini publisher.

... I like it!