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Friday, August 29, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fiddle, fiddle, fiddling... seeking for the core

Yes... for the sake of fiddling... when you're after audio, experimenting also weirdest or worst, wrongest thing on your audio system is salt to life and passion in the passion.

Yesterday, a lazy rainy saturday afternoon, pretty right for indoor activities, I ran something I was thinking since some days: kept the whole Gotorama and Mayer's preamp(s) and Hiragas' amps OFF...

Then disconnected the Goto S-150 and SG 570DX horn/drivers from their dedicated Hiraga Le Classe amp and connected straight into the superb, sought-after, yet humble 1,7W Luca Chiomenti's Scherzo integrated amp and...

Some words about Luca Chiomenti, an incredibly talented and skilled audio artisan and illuminated italian builder and designer from Naples, Italy.

He's one of the handful people on the planet who exactly knows how to obtain this or that sound from a transformers, a coil or a tube.

His masterfully built amps are a rare breed and highly praised among the better hearing music and audio scholars, in Italy and abroad... only caveat: Luca's amps aren't made in large quantities, so it's basically a word-of-mouth, legendary legacy of people owning his gears, mostly friends and friends-of-friends.

The late Kondo-san, Kang Su Park, Serge Schmidlin and Thomas Mayer are other illuminated I'm aware of who really knows how their gears really sounds and/or how to change any given parameters, like a composer uses minor or mayor modes or a painter uses darker or brilliant colors on the canvas.

Sure I'm not saying the above mentioned audio designers are the only making musical gears... but, VERY often, good audio is commonly considered when it's the most weighty, expensive, LED-blinking with pimp-like mirror brushed faceplates.

Music and music reproducing at home, well... let me say, is something different.

I listened to amazingly nice sounding piece of gears mounted on a shitty, raw plywood slab and superbly crafted and polished, sexy boxes so embarrassingly badly sounding...

Sometimes, same prototype, when made sexier, swapped from wood-mount to alu box, with binding posts instead of screws and best RCAs' on the market vs. hard-wired to the circuit... well, shit happens and all the effort to make a given amp or preamp better looking, makes it so, but lesser sounding.

See also here, Charles Altmann's BYOB... illuminating, as well.

Look at Audio Consulting's room... it seems and reminds a mad scientist's laboratory... but, hey, what you hear at Serge's isn't sound, anymore... it's music... MUSIC... M U S I C.

Are Serge or Luca lunatics who simply hate alu boxes and only praise for wood-only boxes?

... or do they hear and know how to listen to music... do they know when sound transforms into music?

How this happens?

Dunno... but it happens: if you're after listening to music, you should leave your ears and soul in open-mode, child-like attention... you've not to lie to yourself.

There is no need to lie, when you're ON and open.

Only this way your path, a music and knowledge path worth a life of dedication and satisfaction for also the tiniest advancement, is the path to be walked, in awe and supreme enjoyment.

You sure cannot measure listening pleasure but we all recognize it... and not every - let's call it - distortion is measured, but sure as hell... you can detect and hear it.

Shit happens...

The above reminds me when a new abyss creature or a butterfly or monkey or bird is discovered somewhere... usually the news are given with apparent surprise, almost an humankind offended surprise - i.e. hey, we have iPad/iPhone/Facebook, so we have technology and science... how, HOW dare Nature to hide something to us?!?!

Nature, Man and senses are supremely fractal... so, undigital and unclustered and free and wild and always surprising... fucking any caging and category and expertise.

The trick is to let ears to listen to.

Like Man likes freedom, He likes uniqueness... beautiful defects which becomes uniqueness... my wife beautiful nose, Uma Thurmann's beauty, not a surgery-nightmare created inflated lips or tits... unnatural, OMG homogenized perfection.

... and...

... what I'm saying is I'm listening to a 220-3.500 hz completely wrong narrow-band horn speakers pair,  116 db efficiency with a 1,7W PCL82 integrated amp, hand-built with hand-woven irons and what I hear is the very soul of anything I'm pleased to try... ECM, female, barytone woodwinds, guitars... I listen to piano felt, spring operated guitar amps reverbs, multi tracks opening of a mixer fader, mouthwatering lips... shoes on studio floor.... everything is here.

Hic et nunc.

Something that with my Gotorama is only - sometimes almost perfectly, sometimes not - hinted, here I'm - also if so limited in bandwidth - experiencing something supreme, which opens a new level of natural listening introspection and search and fiddling to obtain 30-20.000hz same rightness... same naked beauty.

Luca Chiomenti's Scherzo isn't an audio salon kind of gears... humble, a duckling... wooden frame and alu top, two triode-connected Mullard PCL 82 tubes...  hand/hard-wired and cheaply looking... but a musical stargate.

Sure other amps which so clearly states the boundary between sound and music do exist... as always, folks, I'm sharing my findings... I'm only a limited, fragile individual, so this is my first-hand experience.

I'm not after any sale of shark-oil or the like... no teachers or pupils, no business... it's a very private and personal path, as I told you.

Sharing here as something possible... being so surprised to be speechless and righteous to the last cells.


A very, very rewarding new window opened for yours truly: a new passive, bespoke 4 ways passive crossover, whatever...

Thanking Luca Chiomenti and Serge Schmidlin for the inspiration... and my dear pal Lo for being a lighthouse for yours truly.

... and lovingly thanking my Mom, for my ears and fractal curiosity (sic...) and humbleness and braveness.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Audio Federation

A great idea from Boulder, CO (USA), not simply a links list, but lively, daily updates from the world of Blogging and Webzines...

... a daily window on music & audio... pure fresh air.

Blog of The Week - Bart Wreck

Superb Blog, folks... a truly cool find...

... and an impossible pix...

Rare Wax Dept. - Captain Beefheart & Ry Cooder's interviews on Warner Bros. (Mono WB PRO 447)

This is REALLY a seldom seen, sought after piece of musical history, folks...

... mmmmhhhh... 

Bert Jansch & Heather Jansch - Living with the Legend, the book

Cool book from Bert's former, ex-wife Heather Jansch, nee Heather Rosemary Sewell... she painted the watercolors for Moonshine, Rosemary Lane and Birthday Blues albums covers.

An artist and here she shares some of the letters and unpublished photos of Bert and sheet music, all handwritten by the late, great, missing Bert Jansch.

Here is a nice little introducing video, "Chambertin", with Bert's playing and Heather introducing the book.

A must for every Bert Jansch lover and scholar.

BTW... yes, you're right: Heather is crazy about horses.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Music and its tools - John Renbourn's Scarth "S" acoustic guitar

I've been a scholar and follower and player of John Renbourn's music since my youth and, forty+ years later, I always find sooo nice playing his tunes...

John has been an inspiration for cohorts of acoustic guitar players, known and unknown, around the world, from Japan to South Africa.

My first records I bought in 1972 was Pentangle's Reflection, with the FANTASTIC cover and Brian Shuel's pixes... I loose my mind looking at Bert Jansch and John  Renbourn's guitars... fabled guitars, expensive, sought after.

I was playing a nylon strings Suzuki classical guitar... shortly after I was mounting Pyramid metal strings, because nylon meant Sr and Giuliani's studies and I was completely gone with acoustic guitars!

"Omie Wise" duet on Reflection captured my musical attention... Bert's guitar was OK, but John's solos  were so... so... weird!

Later, I bought everything they made, solo and with Pentangle... and always, on John's Sampler 1 and 2, with Dorris Henderson or Bert Jansch, I was looking at a strange guitar...

John's first on Transatlantic... again this clear finish guitar...

Only a few years ago I learned it was a Scarth, an English made acoustic, a tail piece guitar, John bought in very early '60s for 5 Pounds...

The sound was punchy, responsive, unique and nasal and throaty and powerful... only Guild D55 and the Franklin OM and Ralph Bown's played more John Renbourn's:-)

Anyway... a Scarth was made in the '30s and used for jazz bands as a rhythm guitar... all English made and woods...

For me, it remains eponymous to John...

Apparently, this was John's "road/outdoor guitar"...

From "Reflection" cover...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

George Lowden - forty years making SUPERB acoustic guitars

Best wishes, George!

Always enjoying my S-35 Rio!

J.C. Verdier strikes again! La Platine Verdier Magnum

Here is the beast in all its beauty and magnificience... an hefty 400 kilos turntable! Impressive!!!

Don't be fooled by the pix and size - arms are an EMT 997 Banana, an Origami and an Ortofon RMG 309, all 12 inchers... the disc is a 12",  as well... the platter is 50 cm diameter...  


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Roger Frisch - That's love for music: Violinist Plays During Brain Surgery To Help Surgeons Find Exactly What’s Causing Tremor!

Incredible... and moving.

Woodstock - it was 45 years ago

This year is 45th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, folks...

I still remember when, 40 years ago I bought the 2 records set with Jefferson Airplane's Eskimo Blue Day and CSN&Y, Guinevere and 4+20 and more and more... the three records-set was too expensive, so I bought the double...

WOW... it changed my life... when I got the three-records set, I still loved the double, as first love is never forgotten.

Then, the movie... saw it thrice in a row in a small cinema, with a friend... Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens, Canned Heat...

The world changed in the meantime and only very seldomly such a collective dream of freedom happened again...

Now - more than ever - money, bankers, lobbies and BIG profits for a small percentage of people fucked the dream...

Anyway, we have the memory of the event...

A treasure.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Lenco mat made in PaperStone

This is a preview, first pixes just after finishing... made by a friend for himself and for the Lenco's Community...

Good luck on this to Andrea... and looking for more coming.

Here are more pixes on Iacopo's Blog.

Cool the holes on surface... reminding to crop circles in Salisbury area...

... mmmhhhh...