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Saturday, February 27, 2016

A new pigment discovered by chance...

.... call me a romantic, but I love these kind of news...

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A brilliant new blue pigment – discovered serendipitously by Oregon State University chemists in 2009 – is now reaching the marketplace, where it will be used in a wide range of coatings and plastics.

A super-duper cobalt-blue... nice find.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Radio France's discotheque sale!

Radio France's 1,5 millions discs collection is for sale... well, part of it, yet...


ViVac RCS2 - Pristine record cleaner from England

Intriguing... and using the KMAL-like cotton wire to deeply clean the groove...


A D'Angelico Excel arch-top found in a Cadillac trunk...

You just never know what you’re going to find in the trunk of an old car. This gorgeous 1942 D’Angelico Excel arch top in the back of a 1963 Caddy!  It is currently owned by Jerry Duncan of Guitars on George music store in York PA.

On sale on Ebay... 15K bucks, maaaan!

Such a beauty... and a great, intriguing story, as well.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Soundscapes # 1, 2 & 3 on Soundcloud

Have a listen here, here and here... a bunch of low-fi extracts, iPhone home-recordings of a larger project called Loops in Faboola...


Friday, February 19, 2016

Decca vs. EMI: friends or foes?

A giveaway for us all... secrets-secrets... everything in the name of music.

"There the story might have ended, had Mike not noticed an article in a magazine called The Absolute Sound. Mike’s attention was drawn to a piece someone had written about Decca and its techniques, which he realized was not entirely accurate. “Of course, I had all these notes and thought, ‘Oh, that’s not right,’ so I sent them a letter correcting it and The Absolute Sound editor, Harry Pearson, replied and said, ‘Why don’t you write about Decca?’
“This led me to contacting former members of Decca staff: Jimmy Brown, Gordon Perry and a number of other staff who helped me understand how sessions worked, on the technical side. And Perry was especially helpful in terms of technique and turned out to be a goldmine of information from the inside; about things that were not often published.
“Of course, in those days the technique was a closely guarded secret and, in fact, there was a ‘no poaching’ agreement between EMI and Decca. It was an informal agreement which said that when a Decca or EMI technician was let go the other company would not hire them, because they had their own little secrets. That continued well into the ’70s and ’80s even though their studios were located within a mile of each other!
“For instance, in Kingsway Hall the microphone connectors for Decca were wired one way, that is to say either male or female, whereas EMI’s were the opposite. So even though they both had facilities there until the hall closed in ’84, they were entirely separate.
“Everybody had their own technique but Decca was pretty confident they were doing the best job with the techniques they had.”
Recording at Sofiensaal, Wien

Read more here.. while I visited Kingsway Hall in mid Nineties, and all the huge place - after climbing the large staircase - was mesmerized into smaller units, used for several, different activities, all not music-related, I still fondly remember the emotion when visiting Sofiensaal in Wien, about 15 years ago... a blue/red Decca logo truck was in the back yard and the old theatre windows were dusty and everything was like it used to be back in 1958 when Wagner's recordings were made... only abandoned like in a Tim Burton's movie, spider-webs and all.

The crew was - indeed - so kind to let me enter the hall for half an hour, while some rehearsal before the recording was going on... a lot of serious job and people, Neumann's mikes, booms and recorders, cables... my world.

I was in heaven...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Robbie Basho - the book

Thanking Kyle Fosburgh who had to unfortunately give up to the physical book project due to copyright hassles...

Here is the one and only hand-printed, hand-sewn and hard-covered in canvas and silver silk-screened title on cover, 12" x 10" book... a true, made in Italy;-) labor of love.

I'm quite proud of the final result.

That's serious horn!

... not used for music reproduction, but... would it be good down to... 1 hz, maybe;-)?!?!

Impressive, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Flea-market guitar nuggets

Rainy day and only a fraction of the vinyl-discs merchants usually present at the local flea-market... but... BUT... Nigel was here... not bringing the Deccas' WB I used to buy from him, years ago, for peanuts... yet, for two euros each...

... found this Konrad Ragossnig's Turnabout, a true Decca, actually... the German guitarist is a fantastic, underrated musician... I own maybe a dozen of his recordings and his sound and skill are really top quality... the sound of this disc is awesome... guitar size, quite difficult to be preserved, is perfect... a dry ambience with tons of details and music to par. A great find.

... and...

... the third disc of David Russell, the Scottish guitar player who I so much admired in the years... here, he's very young and already playing like a God his 1975 Ramirez... recorded in London, on Dec. 7th, 1978, the sound is very dynamic and all subtleties are well rendered and enjoyable.

The double-bass player, Dennis Milne, also Scottish, plays a seldom heard Amati from 1688!!!

... remember? Two euros each...

The Milne/Russell's disc I found today is THE best sounding double bass recording I own and, believe me, I own 100+ different waxes in my collection.

The Amati, always played with the bow, is superb, just perfect: playing is precise, sound is airy and the deeeeeeeeeep low-end and overtones of the esoteric, vintage double bass are mind-boggling: I only think the precious, centuries old instrument was really too much near to the concrete wall, as seen on the cover picture!

The heavenly matching between the two string instruments is really incredible and seldom experienced.

A true masterpiece, both sonically and musically.

I wish you to also find a copy of this disc: label is Pearl SHE 569, made in England in 1978.

The search will be worthwhile.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

It's International Radio Day!

What a filthier world would be without radio waves...

It's Guglielmo Marconi's visionary dream of sharing, culture, music, live concerts and more... or was N. Tesla?

I guess my first sound I heard almost 60 years ago was a voice or some song from my mom's radio... and it was huge, wood-made and with that blinking pulsating green magic eye... I loved reading store stations/cities names on the rear-lite screen and following the red index and listening to some strange, stranger languages, back then.

It was such a massage for my curiosity and fantasy for a younger me.

Will be fond forever... I could live without a TV-set, but not without a radio!

Long live the radio.


70 years ago, six Philly (aka Philadelphia) women became the world's first digital computer programmers...

Notice: the word "computer" is live and containing a link;-)... so lazy, today;-)))

Thanking Tyran Grillo...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Il n'y a pas de rose sans épines"

It was some months since my last live music exposure... last concert I attended was before Christmas, a Bach Cantatas concert in a church...

Music is always in my life, yet... it's quite shocking appreciating with almost virgin ears an harpsichord, a bassoon, a soprano singer and a recorder flute from about five meters in a nice medium reverberated auditorium.

I often use the word compass to describe the need for keeping the direction in the search for audio Valhalla, the Nirvana where no more needs or wishes are felt and only the ineffable beauty of music remains, still and pure.

Well, the above ideal needs a strong discipline and goodwill... yesterday was raining cats & dogs and going to the concert wasn't easy... much easier would have been seating in my warm music room and enjoying (reproduced) music.

... but: "Il n'y a pas de rose sans épines".

The cheapest and truest method is enjoying live music, of course.

All the times, I'm impressed by the beauty and uniqueness of tones, yes, tones more than highs, mids and lows... the harmonics and silky high pitched notes from flute or female soprano voice... the ringings and decay of the harpsichord and the way the instruments blend together and reach the audience.

This makes me to think to the great wide-band speakers I own and appreciate: the Siemens KL307, the Coral, the Philips 9710, the Jordan Watts, the Cabasse Dinghy... they're absolutely not comparable with Gotorama's nuances, yet their limited pluses are so music friendly.

The tones, the spirit, the essence of instruments and musical meaning so here alive must be preserved and respected and cherished... and reached!

... more than those fabled 20hz or 22khz...

Tone and timbre are all, as their intervowing and interaction gives that mysterious stuff... music.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

AudioNirvana - Myles B. Astor's new Blog and Forum

"Every Blog and forum have a different energy, largely determined by the founder and early, prolific posters".

I agree, so go, browse and enjoy, as I did...

Best wishes to Myles' AudioNirvana Blog and Forum...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Brian Eno's Scape

The App of the Month, folks... downloaded it yesterday and I'm tripping into beautiful soundscapes (yes...)...

Connected my iPad to AER Acousticube and began improvising and interacting with the music coming from the gears with some atmospheric guitar and fuzz... something which is both made by me - as the programmer and guitar player - and self-generating...  ever changing and moving.

Also downloaded Air, Bloom and Trope... all Opal's apps very cool, cheaper but not lesser than Scape, indeed.

Thanks to Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.

I'm impressed!

The Hateful Eight and the 1870 Martin acoustic guitar

... a sad story: an unfortunate mishappen or... purest Tarantino's pulp?

Amidst all the violence in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film “The Hateful Eight” is the scene in which John Ruth, played by Kurt Russell, grabs a guitar from Daisy Domergue, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, and smashes it, eliciting horror.

 My pal Lo walking along the impressive screen at the 70mm Arcadia movie theatre in Melzo, Italy.

 The good  ol' 1870 Martin guitar (or its copy)... few moments before being crashed!

 The guitar's last singing, before being crashed... not so strangely, as I'm listening now to the OST, the song and crash were left both on movie and soundtrack, as well... a memento imperituro;-)

“What was supposed to happen was we were supposed to go up to that point, cut and trade guitars and smash the double,” explains the film’s Academy Award-winning sound mixer Mark Ulano, as quoted in “Well, somehow that didn’t get communicated to Kurt, so when you see that happen on the frame, Jennifer’s reaction is genuine.”
Classical guitars in the Martin Museum
Classical guitars in the Martin Museum.
Photo by Edward Blake.

The victim was an authentic Martin from the 1870s, on loan from the Martin Guitar Museum, Ulano said, and everyone was pretty freaked out when they realized what happened. “Tarantino was in a corner of the room with a funny curl on his lips, because he got something out of it with the performance,” Ulano added...
Really too bad as the poor guitar is in a desperate unrepairable status.

Will have my 70mm "The Hateful Eight" in 70mm gloriousness on next Saturday...

Thanking The Reverb Tank and Chris McMahon...

P.S. - thanking my friend Lo, re-re-reading the several reviews on the Web, the guitar-crashing was filmed thrice and the misunderstanding which caused the crashing of three guitars (and the faulty feedback and communication between troupe crew, director and actors)  was why also the original vintage Martin's was destroyed... to be honest, when I was watching the movie in gorgeous 70 mm, and already aware of the mishappen, I had a gut-feeling the guitar shown on the screen wasn't that guitar! A scoop;-)... as a scholar and collector of vintage acoustic guitars, I noticed the body of the guitar strummed by Daisy had a tad too deep sides/body, something which wasn't compatible with a parlor guitar from the 1870... so, unfortunately, I dare affirming the guitar crashed in the movie isn't the Martin's... if I'm wrong, please correct me.


Happy 67th birthday to 7" vinyl disc

The first 45 rpm disc, Texarkana Baby by country-and-western singer Eddy Arnold, was issued by RCA in the US on 31 March 1949. 

It was made of green vinyl, as part of an early attempt to colour-code singles according to the genre of music they featured. Others included red for classical music and yellow for children’s songs. 
Happy birthday!

Alan Blumlein lives!

... yes, folks... the great, late Mr. Blumlein, who invented maybe the most striking miking pattern, ever, is here heard talking and walking to - sort of - test the imaging of the miking itself.

Worth a fond, grateful listen and a further exploration of the superb BBC sound library world...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Elusive Mellotron

So much joy it gave to Prog and our early musical 70s... Beatles, King Crismson, Moody Blues, Yes and many more...

You’ll learn quite a bit more about the “rash breaking out all over pop music”, as narrated by Rick Wakeman.

Thanking Rick Wakeman...

OMA Imperia 4 ways system

Nice effort from Jonathan Weiss' OMA.

Using the mighty Cogent 1428 mid-low drivers.