Acoustic Sounds

"Don't throw your love away, No, no, no, no, Don't throw your love away, For you might need it someday". Lyrics from a song first recorded by The Orlons but later made popular by The Searchers. Good advice then and now.I'm not exactly "late to the fair" on this classic Coltrane album. I bought it new when it was first released January, 1965. A kid in my Cornell University, University Halls 3 dorm said "just get it" and so I... Read More

Comments: 30
Iconoclast by Belden cables

Occasionally, more than one reviewer writing for the same publication is interested in the same gear. More rarely, two writers will intentionally receive the same component in order to involve more than one set of ears.This situation was similar, but slightly different—like the sound of different brands of audio cables. While reviewing Treehaus Audio speakers, Rich Pinto of Treehouse hipped me to a cable brand he likes and uses—Iconoclast Cables by Belden. I called... Read More

Comments: 3

Spring, drummer Tony Williams’ 1965 album on Blue Note, his second release as a leader, is a baffling recording. It’s a masterpiece. It reveals new angles, unlocks new mysteries on each listening. But beats me how or why it works.Williams (who, at the time, went by “Anthony Williams”) is credited with composing all five tracks, but except for one of them, “Love Song,” which has the structure and grace of a song, it’s hard to detect just what parts of what we hear were... Read More

Comments: 4

Van Morrison grew up listening to American blues and soul music courtesy of his father, a Belfast shipyard worker with excellent musical taste. No surprise that he moved to America and probably not because The Shadows of Knight's version of "Gloria" became a bigger hit in the USA than did his own version with "Them" released by U.K. Decca in 1964 as the "B" side of "Baby Please Don't Go". In 1965 with the American... Read More

Comments: 10

Here are notes on a selection from my favorite books on the history of recording technology, the history of the record business, and the interactions between recording technology, the record business, and the art of music. One example of what I mean by all that is, in the late 1920s, piezoelectric “crystal” microphones supplanted carbon microphones for radio broadcasting. Crystal microphones had a better signal-to-noise ratio than carbon microphones. Therefore, the... Read More

Comments: 7
Ornette Coleman 'Genesis Of Genius' vinyl box set review

Last year, Craft Recordings released Genesis Of Genius, a vinyl or CD box set of Ornette Coleman’s two albums for Contemporary Records. The box is now discounted at multiple outlets and since Craft’s Acoustic Sounds series is reissuing the LPs individually, it’s still worth reviewing.Ornette Coleman, born and raised in Fort Worth, was controversial from the start. A working saxophonist (tenor, then a plastic alto after three men smashed his tenor sax following a show)... Read More

Comments: 2

When the new batch of Deutsche Grammophon Original Source records arrived from the label for review, fellow Tracking Angle writer Mark Ward alerted me that I was on deck. And while I can’t hope to match his tour deforce review outlining the first four titles in this series, I have been eager to put into words my thoughts on the ongoing results of this monumental undertaking.While I didn’t formally review the first four titles, I did listen to all of them, and they... Read More

Comments: 28

Tracking Angle writers Mark Ward and Michael Johnson sit down to discuss their collecting history with the storied German label, and the advent of the new "Original Source" series cut by Emil Berliner Studios. Filmed in late July, look for the follow up to this conversation in Michael's review of the second batch of Original Source titles. . Read More

Comments: 4
MoFi MasterPhono

Put yourself in the shoes of an audio designer like industry veteran Peter Madnick. You are tasked with creating a phono preamplifier at a given price point. In the case of the MoFi MasterPhono phono preamplifer, around $6000. That puts it not at the “luxury” level, but well above “entry level.” Absent price constraints a designer can offer high sonic performance and a generous feature menu, but as the price drops, the higher becomes the tension between features and... Read More

Comments: 14

If you read Fred Kaplan's review of Jason Moran's From the Dancehall to the Battlefield you may have been sufficiently intrigued to order the Bandcamp download Moran uploaded for purchase this past New Year's Day. I was and I did and glad to have done it. Moran just announced a limited to 300 copies double LP $39.99 vinyl edition available now for pre-order, to be shipped early September. ● 2 LPs ● 180 Gram Vinyl Pressing ● Direct Metal Mastering ● Full... Read More

Comments: 4
Evenings at the Village Gate John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy

Every few years, it seems, someone discovers another stack of long-lost tapes from a long-forgotten John Coltrane session and puts them out on CD, LP, or both. The resulting albums garner lavish praise and sell very well, but, really, they’re deep disappointments, textbook cases of hype—the allure of the new, the unknown, the never-before-heard-until-now! The first of the recent excavations, in 2018, was Both Directions at Once, a 1963 date at Rudy Van Gelder’s... Read More

Comments: 5
Electricity Upgrade For Audio

I used to have major ground noise issues and other problems with my electrical service that I tried to solve as most audio enthusiasts do, with power conditioners and dedicated lines. Those produced some improvements, but there still were issues. The proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" was the installation of an auxiliary whole house generator and its transfer switch, that when power goes out, removes the house from the grid and connects it... Read More

Comments: 11
Something in the Air by Marc Fisher

Here are notes on a selection from my favorite books on the history of recording technology, the history of the record business, and the interactions between recording technology, the record business, and the art of music. One example of what I mean by all that is, in the late 1920s, piezoelectric “crystal” microphones supplanted carbon microphones for radio broadcasting. Crystal microphones had a better signal-to-noise ratio than carbon microphones. Therefore, the... Read More

Comments: 0
Bestial Mouths

After almost a decade under its belt, Bestial Mouths is still a shape-shifting collective. What started as a group with numerous lineup changes became a vehicle for vocalist Lynette Cerezo to express her lyrics of personal trauma and tribulations. Alongside instrumentalists Brant Showers and Matthew Tucker, Bestial Mouths displays a sound that brings together the gothic elements of post-punk giants Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, and Depeche Mode with some... Read More

Comments: 0
Rhino's High Fidelity Series Releases "His Band and The Street Choir" and "Word of Mouth"

Rhino's next two releases in the "High Fidelity" series were announced yesterday. They are Van Morrison's "His Band and the Street Choir" and Jaco Pastorius's "Word of Mouth". Both are available today exclusively at Rhino.com and internationally at select WMG stores. Each release is limited to 5,000 individually numbered copies and priced at $39.98.As with the previous two superb sounding reissues from The Cars and John... Read More

Comments: 4

Online used record seller AudioPhileUSA offers a few accessories on its website including Mobile Fidelity Original Master Sleeve, but until now, the company, which was founded in the U.K. decades ago by online record selling pioneer John Turton, who brought it to America before selling it to the current owner Mark Hoover, didn't offer record cleaning accessories. That's now changed with the introduction of the GrooveWasher record cleaner line.While the basic... Read More

Comments: 10