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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Captain in Mojave desert by Anton Corbijn 💫


Possibly the most widely seen photo of Don Van Vliet, from the 1980 Mojave desert shoot with Anton Corbijn. Anton commented on this photo in 1993: 'When I met Beefheart on an NME assignment in September 1980, I didn’t know much about him at all. I met him at the County Museum of Art in LA and suggested photographing him in the desert, where he’d just come from. He said yes rather reluctantly, and we drove for two-and-a-half hours. It helped that I could pronounce his name properly. Once we’d found the spot to do the pictures, he took off his hat for one shot only and then put it back on, saying, "My wife’s not gonna like this".' 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Michael Hoenig and Manuel Göttsching - Early Water (1995)


The only collaboration between German electronic superstars, sound designers and score composers Michael Hoenig (also Agitation Free) and Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel / Ashra). In 1976 Michael Hoenig had a brief collaboration with Ash Ra Tempel's Manuel Göttsching in Berlin; A 48-minute recording of one of the sessions, which was released in 1995 under the title "Early Water" on Bernd Kistenmacher's Musique Intemporelle label.

The album was deleted and unavailable for a long time. Now, finally, a re-issue of "Early Water" will be available again.

Michael Hoenig still remembers: "While I had been working on the "Departure From The Northern Wasteland" album, Manuel Göttsching had asked me if I would team up with him for some concerts in France, since his group had just gone through one of its hibernation periods. We rehearsed in my place for three or four weeks. One evening we got a call regarding some missing guarantee, which ultimately led to the decision to cancel the tour. Just for fun, we played one of the planned sets for a last time. Even though I do not recall pressing a record button, somebody recently dug up a Revox tape of that very set. After performing some digital sonic archaeology on it, it was just released under the very appropriate title Early Water."

And Manuel Göttsching adds: "Unfortunately, some of the concert dates were not confirmed in time and we had to cancel the complete tour just on the day before we wanted to leave for France. On that evening, nevertheless, we recorded our last rehearsal “just in case”. It turned out as a flowing harmonic piece, reflecting much of the optimistic air of 1976. Michael made his 'departure' to Los Angeles in the early 1980ies. When we met again in November 1994 I proposed to release this old track of ours. Michael took the original tape to Los Angeles, lovingly restored it and – well, here is it again.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Analogtechnik’s Ice Age cartridge


I’ve been a loyal follower (and satisfied paying customer) of Daniel Kim Dong Bum and his handmade creations from the beginning of his Analogtechnik’s adventure 💫

His skills are awesome and his dedication as a musician (he’s a pro operatic singer) and a precision artisan are out-of-this-world.

… but I already sang the merits of the Man and the Artisan… what’s new to share with you?

I got my very own Ice Age DST15 with fossil (mammoth) ivory cantilever and meteorite magnets: this is the pimped, hot-rod, full-Monty, top-of-the-line handmade cartridge just close to the VERY top-liner - i.e. - the ultra-limited edition DST17, the Queen of Unobtanium. 

Daniel infused in my cartridge all his considerable knowledge and care in finely tuning all the parts which makes this cartridge to be what it is: a statement or the ultimate phono transducer for the discerning music lover.

A musical instrument more than a piece of gear.

Before getting my Ice Age’s I already appreciated some pictures of the building steps which Daniel shared with me and I really looked forward in mounting on 13” The Peak arm.

The ivory cantilever 💫

Today I felt it was time - thanking the rainy day - to open the double carton box which protected the cartridge from road abuses and I finally handled the hefty headshell and mounted and fiddled with VTF and VTA and…

… the arm-lift slowly descended to hit the first grooves of an Enja’s Dollar Brand disc and…

Norma Winston sounded unbelievable 💫

I knew this record quite well, both for his great music and recording AND for a quite “unfriendly” piano tone, ringing like a toy-piano… sure not a Bösendorfer’s…

At first notes I slightly tuned the VTA “on-the-fly” with the always useful Fidelity Research B-60 VTA arm-base to better catch and at same time tame this idiosyncratic piano character…

The brand-new Ice Age’s obeyed to my fine-tuning and after a few minutes I was captured into this “Grande Bellezza”💫

I enjoyed Dollar Brand, then calmly yet feverish I swapped to Bill Frisell, then to a Windham live, then… some Ian Carr’s Nucleus… then…

I wasn’t listening to my vinyl discs for awhile so (maybe) I got a bit of Stendhal’s Syndrome as everything sounded pellucid and gorgeous and lively and true to life, almost painfully true to life.

Considering that my previous Analogtechnik’s was a La Scala DST15 not a cheap, lesser Chinese mass-produced cartridge, nonetheless, listening to the Ice Age, proved to be a journey into myself, into my musical memory and DNA: my conclusion was simple… I’ve been experiencing my very personal idealization of “music at home” made real, almost tangible.

Relaxed yet lively, beefy, organic yet airy and detailed and transparent… I’d risk to become pathetic in my plea about the merits of this cartridges from outer space: I consider myself a sincere, unbiased and straightforward music scholar, always happy to learn more and more… but when experiencing such a level of refinement in audio art, words sound dull and not sufficient to express the inner joy and pleasure while listening to my Gotorama in such a full bloom.

I’d sincerely wish Daniel get crazy and will give away his magical handicrafts for peanuts, but - keeping feet on the ground as it won’t happen - do as I did: stop collecting tin-soldiers and those boring stamps, quit your local pub, stop smoking, get sober, save here and there and your Ice Age will be easily available and will please your ears and soul for years to come.

Kudos to Daniel Kim Dong Bum for this unique achievement which I’m so much enjoying.

My deepest thanks goes also to my pal Misho Myronov for his amazing Wooden Phonostage which still sits on the throne with its amazing retrieval capabilities and to late, always missed Tim de Paravicini for his The Head SUT without whose gears music would be much lesser in my Studietto.


“Music is the best” (Frank Zappa)


Man Ray


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Sir Paul McCartney and his Garrrard 401


This picture circulated for years (I remember seeing it on a Mojo magazine, long time ago)… yet: if a Garrard is good for Macca, it’s good for all 💫🥇💫

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Tools of the trade - Neil Young’s Gibson Les Paul


Neil Young’s Les Paul with Bigsby tremolo was used, whether solo or with Crazy Horse, aka “Old Black and is a Les Paul Gold Top he first acquired in 1969.

There are a couple of different explanations as to how Young first acquired Old Black. Some say he exchanged an Orange Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins with sometime Buffalo Springfield collaborator, Jim Messina. 

Others claim the exchange was with Buffalo Springfield bandmate, Stephen Stills, and was for the Gretsch White Falcon that Young had played up to that point. Young still plays a White Falcon occasionally, though whether it's the same one or not, we don't know.

The guitar itself is a 1953 Gold Top, named because of the amateur paint job given to it to cover its original gold finish by a previous owner. In 1972, Young fitted a mini-humbucker from  a Gibson Firebird, in the bridge position. His Wikipedia entry describes it as 'severely microphonic… considered a crucial component of Young's sound.'


Carla Bley in Cartoonia 💫


Seldom seen Island records cassettes: Nick Drake and King Crimson 💫


The two cassettes are for sale for a steep £ 375 each 😏

Monday, February 19, 2024

John Renbourn’s cover location


Watching the spy thriller “Slow Horses” starring Gary Oldman and Kristin Scott Thomas on Apple TV today, I spotted this film location. It’s the steps leading to the Duke of York column. It runs between the Mall and Waterloo Place. So what? you say.

 Well it's also the location of the second John Renbourn - Another Monday LP sleeve photo from 1966.

Thanks to Stuart Penney for the above.