Search this Blog


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ivan's Choice - The Cinematic Orchestra - In Motion Vol. 1

VOLUME ONE : New 2012 collaborative album of string quartet arrangements of "imaginary soundtracks", inspired by avant-garde filmmakers! Contributions by Austin Peralta ; Grey Reverend ; Dorian Concept ; Tom Chant and others.

Yin & Yang Music System or Arjuna's Arrow and the Perfect Imperfection

I’m NOT an audiophile!

A dangereous sentence, I know… still I honestly consider myself more a music lover who uses audio to reach a better appreciation and enjoyment of music.

Nothing new, indeed…

… but new is what happened, yesterday… my studio is - thanking 16th century building know-how - naturally air-conditioned with a room temperature of 25° Centigrade, also in these hot, 33-35° C days… as I learned, the best listening sessions happens with cold, dry weather and outside temp of, say, 10/15° C…

Yes, beside all pseudo-scientific or technical arguments and arguing, I felt in the last week or so, sort of “disaffected” from my Gotorama music system… something sure not weather-influenced;-)

By chance, I was mostly grooving on cool, old vinyls, “Blonde on Blonde” or “Bringing it all back home”, both gorgeous mono pressings, Traffic 1st disc (mono again), Bob Dylan’s (again) live at Brandeis University (mono, of course) and some Bukka White and Son House’s blues discs on Takoma and Columbia or Duffy Power's "Innovations" on Transatlantic label, again and again a mono wax with John McLaughlin, Danny Thompson, Terry Cox... yeah!

Yesterday I decided: disconnected Elodis’ TGE bass-horn and its Hiraga 30W from TacT’s - which I switched OFF - and returned to my previous, ALL analog rig – i.e. Thomas Mayer’s 4-ways crossover, also for low-end way and full Mayer's combo - i.e. the mighty four chassis pre-amp - first disc, after the above changes was Jonathan Wilson’s last masterpiece (love "Silver Moon" track!)… all, ALL four sides (!) and some Joe Pass trio… and Anja Garbarek white vinyl with Mark Hollis producing and arranging and Robert Wyatt’s voice… Bjork's "Biophilia" and Jefferson Airplane’s “Thirty seconds over Winterland”.

It was something quite strange and subtle, BUT nonetheless real… I found myself stopping reading and concentrating on music, looking at the clock which was - weirdly enough - moving in half-an-hour steps… and I found an happier and more relaxed me swinging and tapping hands on my leg and whistling and, yes, also singing unison with the artist…

I'm still shocked, as the aesthetic - i.e. the beauty of the "digitalized" system - is completely different from the 100% analog rig: I mean, the perceived psycho-acoustic musical experience happens at different levels...

It's like I'm experiencing "with-ears-only" (TacT in-place) and "with-my-five-senses"... less fatiguing, more physical, yet reaching, how can I say... heart, mind, soul, I dare... sooner, better, straight and unfiltered like Arjuna's arrow;-))) in Mahābhārata.

Reconsidered last listening sessions vs. yesterday evening… was quite nervous and uninvolved if not listening to viola da gamba or lute or ECM disks, NOT enjoying so much any rock or jazz or vocals, female or male…

An uninvolvement case, I’d call it… now I know it.

Being a straight, honest dude, I followed my thoughts and guts feeling and returned on my steps… for music love, as the nine-some cleverly designed digital pre-sets on my TacT RCS 2.2 XP are still in my system, only temporarily turned-off and not in-use, BUT my musical pleasure is far, FAR more important than listening to a (someway) cold sounding - on some music it was – but flat frequency response system.

… not by chance, last supremely enjoyable and pleasant and cool and… WOW! disc was the live by Jefferson Airplane at Winterland… “Feel so Good” was - de facto - the track I had a musical orgasm with, where the digital-free system was singing and elegant, pouring purest music, not audio, anymore… Jack Casady’s Alembic bass and Jorma’s electric guitar and voice, the audience… super-duper!

Music… no cables, no gears… only music... and clock stopping and time having a different "weight", again.

A four-way, multi-amped system singing like a wide-band single speaker… and me, myself and I feeling happy and funky…

… again… that sense of wobbling inadequacy and unfriendliness... wooosh: gone!

… a final consideration: this early morning I reached my studio in the fresh, zest air, re-connected TacT’s, etc. and had an half an hour tasting with some harpsichord and Bach’s organ, both vinyl - i.e. a Telefunken and an Astree… and I was in tears… a different level enjoyment, an airy, subtle pleasure…

Different yet the same from yesterday gutsy, macho, beefy gorgeousness… with no petulant, lazy self-inflicting wrong sound for a given music choice... my system, now I know, owns two souls: one "perfect" and another "perfectly imperfect".

So what?

Nothing… it’s life… honestly, it’s not schizophrenic-audio, but - yes - yin and yang… it’s bycicle and motorbike, motorboating or sailing, sex and making love… recording with a Revox G-36 and Neumann U67 tubes mike or with digital gears and B & K mikes… black and white, rain and sun…

Yin and yang…


Monday, July 23, 2012

Great Songs Dept. - Capt. Beefheart's "Human Totem Pole"

From last, freshly brewed "Bat Chain Puller" disk... do you remember on first, epic, mythical, seminal "Star Wars", when Han Solo is looking for Chewbacca and others for his spaceship crew?

Harrison Ford's character enters a pub where people... "people", i.e. octopus-like, dwarfs, aliens and freaks of every kind from everywhere in the galaxy is grooving on a weird musical combo playing a weird kind of music...

Strange, haunting...

Well, the above very scene accompanied most of my (musical) life... and sometimes, a disc, a music reminds me that human expression and inventiveness is, REALLY is, limitless and with no boundaries...

Musicians and artists of a special breed are needed...

The new old stock, recently issued for the VERY first time in its unfiltered, naked beauty after it was recorded by the late, still DEEEEPLY missed Don Van Vliet in 1974 is a masterpiece and a goldmine... it's the corner-stone of the building the Captain began with "Trout Mask Replica" and, most of all, "Lick my decals off, baby"... a true beauty, the highest peak, a companion to "Doc at the Radar Station".

A track, a piece like the "Human Totem Pole" is a weird, apparently crowdy and obscenely dissonant dialogue between two electric guitars, a growling voice and a bass guitar... the Captain was famous for whistling musical parts to his musicians, no music in written form from him... same as Gurdijeff and De Hartmann... whistle and piano, in this case.

The guitars are interwoving with a laid back, bluesy feeling, but the blues is nearer to above mentioned "Star Wars" pub than the Delta... the text, well, folks... it's... Wow...see here below.

The five or so minutes are longer, MUCH longer than the clock suggests... a low, very deep and modulating bass coming from that bass guitar is the zero-locator, and after some time tapping in the studio, the guitars begins and begins... and orgiastic, alien beauty...

David Grubbs, Tortoise, Gastr del Sol and many others... all owe to Capt. Beefheart a lot.

I love this record... it's beauty and weirdness and intriguing...

I love it.

Human Totem Pole

"The thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
The morning was distemper grey,
Of the thousandth and tenth day of the human totem pole.
The man at the bottom was smiling.
He had just finished his breakfast smiling.
It hadn't rained or manured for over two hours.
The man at the top was starving.
The pole was a horrible looking thing
With all of those eyes and ears
And waving hands for balance.
There was no way to get a copter in close
So everybody was starving together.
The man at the top had long ago given up
But didn't have nerve enough to climb down.
At night the pole would talk to itself and the chatter wasn't too good.
Obviously the pole didn't like itself, it wanted to walk!
It was the summer and it was hot
And balance wouldn't permit skinning to undergarments.
It was an integrated pole, it was taking on an reddish brown cast.
Exercise on the pole was isometric,
Kind of a flex and then balance
Then the highest would roll together,
The ears wiggle, hands balance.
There was a gurgling and googling heard
A tenth of the way up the pole.
Approaching was a small child
With statue of liberty doll."


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pierre Bensusan goes South Korea

Cool and sad, at same time... as a TV interview like this one will NEVER happen in my Country... aehm, country.

Music and its tools - Bob Dylan's Fender Stratocaster at 1965 Newport Folk Festival


This could be enough... a young, definitely hairy (...) Bob Dylan stepped Newport's festival with "that" Fender's electric guitar... and music changed...

... despite and also if Pete Seeger tried (or did it) to unplug amp mains-plug and Bob, bemused, retried it, after three electric songs, with his usual acoustic guitar and harmonica...

After decades into oblivion from that far July 25th, 1965, the Stratocaster reappeared in the hands of Dawn Peterson, the daughter of Victor Quinto, the aircraft pilot hired at the time by (Columbia's) Albert Grossman's management who specialized in rock stars taxing around, including His Bobness.

The guitar-in-its-case was forgotten in aircraft back seats and returning it to its owner was tempted several times, without results.

The Fender which was kept stored for decades in its flight case with a "Property of Ashes & Sand Inc." label - i.e. a small management company which Bob himself used at the time... as a plus, some handwritten (Dylan's songs) music-sheets were also found inside the case.

Everything seems compliant with stated Dylan's ownership or using at Newport, Fender's serial # - a 1964 vintage - included... BUT Bob's entourage and estate do not confirm (or NOT...)

Anyway, folks... that's it... I wish Mrs. Peterson she owns the real thing:-) as the axe could be worth USD 1,000,000.00 (or so...)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Beloved Chicco passed away yesterday, July 5th, 2012

A mantra: Chicco, Pippo, Chiccomio, Chicchetto, Chicchettin, Tato Pippo, Chicco Pippo, Pipetto, tesorin, animettamia, tatin, Chiccomiomiomio, Pipi, Tatomio, il mio cagnetto... the several names for beauty, gentleness, elegance, friendship, tenderness...

Only a dog, folks?!?!

Chicco has been my best friend, my blonde hair four-legs brother for the last eleven years... his limited vocabulary was used soooo well, poetically and effectively: his hugging at my hand, every, EVERY morning we spent together... his moving ears, his smile... yes!!!... he was a lesson of expression and feeling parsimony, straightness and sincere friendship and purest love poured between us every day I spent with him...

He was possibly suffering and not in good shape - always non lamenting, unfortunately - since before we, my wife, Chicco and myself were so in need of some vacation... when we arrived at the seaside, he wasn't eating at all, and also his sooo loved peeing and sniffing and always so elegant walking around wasn't anymore...

He vomited a couple of times and looked REALLY sick... he only looked at me with his eyes, not searching for my hand as he loved to do, our beloved physical contact we both loved so much... I sometimes held his padded arm in my hands for looong minutes, and he moved it slightly, like he was dreaming, of sniffing and walking at the park... so sweet, tender and complete, pure sense of happiness... last Monday we brought him at a clinic where the diagnosis was "heavy kidney disease"

I left him at the clinic in tears and visited him every day... Chicco was faaar more important than stupid sun-tanning...

Yesterday morning the mobile rang and the doctor told my wife Chicco was dead...

I shamelessly screamed and was in tears... we drove to the clinic and picked him up... he suffered and I wasn't there when he died...

I drove back home yesterday and buried him in our garden, between two trees... and drove back to my wife, a 2.200 km round trip in less than 24 hours...

Chicco has been my pal and we lived in symbiosis... I was sick without him and, I believe, vice-versa...

Someone out there will smile at my silliness... I LOVED HIM A LOT LIKE I WILL NEVER DO AGAIN IN THIS LIFE... his little, sweet heart stopped beating unison with me and my wife yesterday at about 8 A.M.

... only a dog?!?

No, my Chicco, my beloved little lamb, my pup... I'll miss him enormously... cannot stop being in tears.