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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Disk of the Month - Meredith Monk " Atlas" (ECM 1491/92 - 1992)

Brand new to my ears... and to many out there, I suspect...

Owning everything Mrs. Meredith Monk recorded, I didn't own this one, a double CD-set recorded at Power Station Studios in NYC on June 1992, under the production of Manfred Eicher and re-mixed by Jan-Erik Kongshaug at Talent Studio in Oslo.

I just acquired it and...

The opera, a strange art-form for Meredith, was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera in 1991 and it's a words and music soundtrack to Alexandra David-Neel's "Magic and Mystery in Tibet" book and her travels in early '900.

It sounds really strange listening to some words in Mrs. Monk's singing, usually chanting and howling and whistling like a whale...

Like on "Book of Days", the music is strongly, deeply linked to visual and images...

Please read Tyran Grillo's always enriching essay about this disk.

On my part, I humbly suggest you to find and buy these disks also for their HUGE, H U G E sonic merits: please listen to it from the beginning, BUT pay attention to disk 2... it's an incredible achievment, suggesting Benjamin Britten's operas, where strings and brasses and percussions and voices are used in a seldom heard way.

Like Picasso was sure able to paint imitating Rubens or Van Gogh or Dalì's styles, but he choose to destructure women and things, M. Monk sounds unique and different, a path-setter, a scout to hidden places instead of singing straight belcanto... like Alexandra David-Neel and her companions explored hidden monasteries and met mystics and bonpos in Tibet.

Sonically, soundstage is broad, mean:  b  r  o  a  d   and the voices are carved in space between speakers and beyond, in width and depth.

A masterpiece I strongly invite you to explore, as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jefferson Airplane - Crown of Creation safety-copy tape

A fake, an elegant one or a genuine, time-capsule kept item?


The labels are too new-looking, everything looks too pristine...


Thanking my pal Tom;.-)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Keith Jarrett's "A Multitude of Angels" 4 disks-set on ECM

Recorded in 1996 in Italy... 

Disc 1 (Modena)
  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Danny Boy
Disc 2 (Ferrara)
  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Encore
Disc 3 (Torino)
  1. Part I
  2. Part II
Disc 4 (Genova)
  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Encore
  4. Over The Rainbow
A Multitude of Angels is a 4-CD set of recordings from a series of solo concerts in Italy in October 1996, documenting the conclusion of Keith Jarrett’s experiments with long-form improvisation in performances from Modena, Ferrara, Turin, and Genoa.
“These were the last concerts I played having no breaks within each set,” Keith Jarrett explains in his liner notes. “The arc of the music is characteristically comprehensive: jazz is ever present here, alongside my deep closeness with classical music (modern and ancient, Ives and Bach).”
It will apparently be released on November 4 in Germany and on November 18 in the US.

Nirvana's Nevermind 25th anniversary

Twenty-five years separate these pictures...

The world changed... the model is the same;-)

Also the USD bill is missing... inflation?

Irv Teibel's Environmental recordings

"Humans Don't Like Silence Very Much"

Nearly half a century after its first release, "The Psychologically Ultimate Seashore" seems a little washed up. The environments series has been out of print for years, its spot at the Harvard Coop filled by neck pillows and disposable earplugs. Teibel's Syntonic Records homepage, only accessible through the Internet Archive, is a fossil of the early web, with its grainy waterfall image and acid-pink background. Dog-eared copies in used record stores look like what they are: 70s relics, bubbling over with dead slang and trippy fonts. 

The man who sold the ocean...  

First of all, as Teibel sinks into something like obscurity, science is finally catching up. Over the past couple of decades, researchers have been trying to pin down whether and how well a good dose of outdoor audio actually works for the mind—and so far, evidence suggests there's something to it. "There’s a lot of discussion about different types of music, and what is calming for one person may not be for for another person," says Jonas Braasch, an acoustician at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "But nature sounds—people seem to agree that they all like it."
... read more here...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Girardengo - the most beautiful bike I ever seen!

Today I possibly saw the most beautiful bicycle ever!

It's a vintage Girardengo, a famous italian cyclist whose workshop made these wonderful bikes after ending his racing career: 1948 Campagnolo gears, wooden rim wheels, Brooks seat... look at the details: the reversed brake levers, the finger bell, everything is so, so... perfect!

Spurcycle Bell from USA

The vintage anti-punctures device... against stings while riding. So cute.

The pale yellow frame it's original Girardengo... so classy!

A true beauty!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tecnotrafo's new music room is ready and singing!

My friend Lorenzo Sironi's showroom at Tecnotrafo is now singing, folks!

Here are more details...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Reel to reel galore - Tandberg 3500X and David Crosby's "If I could only remember my name" on tape

Compared to the mighty Telefunken M15A it seems a boy, but sure it's not a toy!

Ladies and gentlemen,  let me introduce the humble Tandberg 3500X Cross Field 4 tracks, three speeds open reel.

Thanking this little, unassuming Made in Norway machine, once an expensive personal fave and a dream to own in my youth, now (sometimes) cheaply available - I decided to undust the 200+ original reel-to-reels I collected over the years giving them all a spin...

... and surprise-surprise...

These 4-tracks 7" humble plastic reels - 99% Ampex tapes fortunately not needing baking/oven rescue like the more recently produced Ampex' - sounds really, truly amazing!

It's not a matter of 15 IPS vs. 7,5 IPS or the most extended frequency response wins... also if the latter  sure is lesser on paper, most of these tapes sound marvellously!

I already owned the 7,5 IPS 4 tracks tape, plus a promo, white label first pressing and a four discs, single sided 45 RPM edition, and all sound great, I dare among the ten best records ever made, sonically and musically... are the above an obsessive redundancy? Nope! They're just knowledge, trying to reach the untamed power contained in these recordings is the goal.

The Steve Barncard's  engineered 30 IPS 2 inches master-tapes were lovingly and cleverly transferred to vinyl, so why searching for a 7,5 inches 4 tracks pre-recorded tapes?

Because the RIAA -  maybe, who knows? - compressed the untamed 22 khz +/- 1 db  of the 2" master-tape?

Just curious... the master tape is a tape, just to say, like the pre-recorded tape, doesn't it?

It's so good I simply had to acquire another copy, actually a sealed copy of David Crosby's first seminal album on Atlantic... and...

When I gave a listen to the Atlantic/Ampex' Crosby tape I simply smiled.

I knew it... it already happened with The Weavers at Carnegie Hall or with The Doors' Strange Days: reel to reel is the new vinyl, folks.

Apparently, all the far too common audiophile lingo and hypes get trashed in few moments... with a reel to reel tape, with the best ones, of course, you loose that sense of reproduced music and you happen to begin to sing along with the music.

Sound is full bodied and soundstage is sooooo wide, dynamics are just the best you ever listened to, period!

Vocals are a tape plus: sibilants, breathing, everything is natural and life-like.

I really cannot think in terms of detailing, imaging, etc. but you can only enjoy th music as a whole, an experience.

Like it should be as per artist, producer, sound engineer and label's truest, deepest, sincere wishes...

Listening to these old tapes makes the word "audiophile" to sound weird and empty: someway idiotic.

Talking for me, myself and I, folks... I'm not, absolutely not judging the world;-)

... yet: I so much enjoy being a plain, straight music lover!

HEAVY stuff, indeed: Music is Love;-)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A new shop's in town - HiFiRecord in Padua, Italy

When a shop like this opens, any serious, passionate music lover and records collector should party and cheers, folks!

After randomly browsing the bins, I immediately realized the absolute gems you can find here: Hat Hut and Moers from Switzerland, Soul Note from Italy, Pablo from USA and many many more...

The first time I was here, I had the SAME emotion as when I entered at Academy Books and Records store in NYC, back in early '90s or at Rasputin's in Berkeley, California in early '90s, as well.

Yes, it's this good!

A shop is a shop, of course... but the difference is who's making the stock and my pal Mirco Sarto, the owner, is an incredibly knowledged jazz expert and he truly knows how to make his customers happy to empty their wallets;-)

If you happen to live too far from beautiful Padua... just browse the DiscoGS virtual marketplace and... enjoy shopping online, at your convenience!

 Mirco Sarto

hifi – audio – dischi 33/45 giri – cd
Via Marin 25/27
35122 Padova
Mobile 328.7236872

First pressings, Japanese pressings, jazz, free jazz are a specialty! Sought after collectibles are accordingly priced but cheaper good stuffs are in spades... everything is in pristine conditions, carefully cleaned with AudioDesk Systeme vinyl cleaning machine.

Let's support our brick shops against the big companies... same as it's a joy to shop at a small, family owned greengrocer or fishmonger or bakery.

There is more soul doing so!

Dearly thanking my pal Franco Poti for sharing this goldmine of a shop I wasn't aware of.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Serge Schmidlin's Audio Consulting or Audio Consulting's Serge Schmidlin?

... as I really don't know where the man and his company blends to a single unit.

Beside the empathy and friendship with Serge Schmidlin, as a simple matter of intellectual and soul clicking between two human beings, there is something more which makes me every year like a swallow in fall, to fly or jump - as the Alps' passing through - i.e. via Mont Blanc's tunnel - to Commugny, near Geneve, Vaud, Switzerland.

Also if our meetings last only some hours, the long wave of inspiration and reciprocal teaching/learning is something which goes and goes... an imprinting which usually changes something in me as an individual and a music and audio scholar...

Not bad for a short journey - i.e. less than 5 hours drive from home, don't you?

People sometimes spend enormous amounts of money only to get a fraction of what I usually bring home from Serge's in terms of sheer enjoyment and knowledge and experience!




No, folks... it's only care for details and sincere interest and untamed passion for searching and trial & error and curiosity, which, YES!, doesn't kill the cat;-)

Every time I visited Serge's place and listened to his system, with Meteor's Phono and Line stages and crazy, superb direct driven turntable and MIPA power amp and Rubanoid's speakers, I always, SAY,  always felt the improvements going on in music rendition: from multiamping to mono amping, bass Rubanoids' so resonance-free sounding, and seldom heard depth of image and detailing...

The turntable and its seismic base, laboratory-grade standard... using a Miyajima bamboo cantilever MC cartridge!

Meteor Line Passive AVC in black... coming soon, just stay tuned;-)

Few hours ago I experienced THE sound everyone should be able to listen to in his music room... lively, effortlessly, untiring, quick and smooth...

The overtones and harmonics in acoustic instruments are so, sooo.. natural!

Then, like usually, as also choosing the discs as a listening program to a session is an art in itself, things go and go and go...

Music and chatting, sharing and enjoying music and sound and everything in between.

... and some trivia: like the Laurindo Almeida/Ray Brown direct-to-disc on Jeton, where I immediately heard an incredible wow&flutter sound which made my head to turn to Serge in search of a reason for the guitar sounding drunken-like and the double-bass as played by a newbie, not the veteran Ray Brown... he smiled, and explained to me the reprint of this disc was made from an original pressing... played on a Clearaudio gigantic belt driven turntable...

The awesomely flawed re-pressing...

The original direct-to-disc, flawlessly and nicely sounding...

The wow & flutter champion... a legend!

Embarassing performance, we ended laughing about the choice of using a belt driven design instead of an idler-wheel or a direct drive turntable!

At Serge's place, also little mistakes turn into knowledge and experience: during a listening of the 2 records set of Kavi Alexander's Water Lily "Confluence of the Rivers" by Ry Cooder and V.M. Bhatt, on superb 45 rpm vinyl, after re-setting his battery-fed power amp protection, he forgot to also re-set the battery PSU, so we listened for some minutes on heavy cap filtering option, usually disconnected during critical listenings...

Sound was OK, yet... when Mr. Schmidlin corrected the above and repeated from the first groove the listening, everything was so different and better...

Sound and music were breathing, again and the sense of trueness was back, with no doubts, at all.

Peter, Paul & Mary, Dean Martin, some XIIIth Century music, an obscure Swiss music disc sung in Bernese dialect, both audiophile and simply good records were shining and just reaching our souls through the ears, as it should be.

Too bad if this quality costs... but... BUT... who well spends, less spends... let's consider how much money we spent on audio since everyone's beginning...

That's why everyone should only trust his own ears: listening only to the best and then choosing, on own budget and tastes...

The lesson, the real one is: don't trust in me or in other WEB gurus or magazines... play an instrument ,  go to concerts and improve your hearing skills... then buy depending on your wallet depth and don't regret if you could end enjoying more a cheaper audio system than a million worth one.

Just play the actor role, not the catering best-boy... don't think too much, just use your ears, first... there is no better suggestion.

Thanking Serge for hosting and making my (too short) Swiss' journey a bliss... and the return trip already looking forward to the next visit.

May he never loose his attitude and good will in tweaking and experimenting and sharing his findings .