Acoustic Sounds
Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums

In March 1957, Sonny Rollins was 26 and one of the hot young tenor saxophone players (matched only by his friend John Coltrane) when he went out to L.A. with the Max Roach quartet and, one night, in his off hours, stepped into a warehouse that doubled as a studio for Contemporary Records and laid down the tracks of Way Out West. (I mean “off hours” literally; the only time he and his bandmates could get together, in between club gigs and other recording sessions, was... Read More

Comments: 4
Blue Note Classic Series September, 2023

Blue Note Records announces the next run of titles in the Classic Vinyl Reissue Series, presenting 180g all-analog vinyl reissues of some of the most iconic masterpieces of the Blue Note catalog by jazz legends including Art Blakey, Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, and others. Don Was and Cem Kurosman curate, Kevin Gray masters directly from the original analog master tapes Optimal presses and the price is right! Newly announced... Read More

Comments: 3
The King's Singers

In our occasional series of unusual but noteworthy records, this 1975 collection of works specially written for the brilliant vocal sextet of the King's Singers - still going strong after over 50 years - remains one of their most adventurous outings. Captured in vintage EMI analogue sound, the works recorded cover a multitude of both traditional and more experimental vocal techniques by top composers of the era, all performed at the highest level. If you think "a cappella" singing begins with the Barden Bellas, prepare to be surprised by this time capsule of vocal virtuosity.

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Comments: 1
VMP's There's A Riot Going On

Many classic albums are lauded as “singular” and “groundbreaking,” but after a while don’t really sound like it, because everyone afterwards did it, or we realize that someone lesser-known did it six months earlier. Yet 52 years later, Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On remains as singular and confounding as ever; nothing remotely like it existed before, and nothing since has done exactly what it does. It remains impenetrable and unique: while its elements have scattered throughout popular and underground music since, Sly Stone's early 1970s work operates in a manner that’s impossible to plagiarize because exactly what makes it work is much harder to pinpoint.

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Comments: 4

The less than enthusiastic review I gave to the UHQR reissue of Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" produced some nasty and totally unfair comments aimed not at me, but at Analogue Productions and Acoustic Sounds that I think need addressing now, not later. All of the UHQRs shown in the photo got great reviews on this site from me or from Fred Kaplan. Why? Because they elevated the sound of those recordings to above what either of us heard on any other... Read More

Comments: 30
Michell Gyro SE

The last time I checked in on a Michell turntable was back in 2000 with a review of the GyroDec SE. It's time for another review don't you think? This time it's the Gyro SE. The basic design strategy remains the same (though the original's Pabst A.C. motor has been replaced with a D.C. motor), so the big questions are: has the company maintained the high quality of the one reviewed twenty three years ago? And does the performance still hold up when... Read More

Comments: 10
Rhino Reds

LOS ANGELES – To celebrate Rhino’s 45th Anniversary, the label iaunches Rhino Reds, a new series of limited-edition reissues pressed on custom “Rhino Red” vinyl. Over the next few months, Rhino will release classic albums and rarities from its vast music archive, showcasing records by key artists from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Each complete reissue will feature a bonus 7-inch, both pressed on translucent “Rhino Red” vinyl, based on the PMS color used in Rhino’s logo.To... Read More

Comments: 4

A manufacturer arrived the other day to install a costly turntable that I won't identify here. We played some records and you can be sure it sounded really fine. I could probably write the review after that first listening session but of course I won't. Then I went into my utility room and played a record we'd just played, on the Michell Gyro SE (the review will shortly be published). He couldn't see the turntable nor did I identify it. But he... Read More

Comments: 5
The B-Side The Death of Tin Pan Alley

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: 10
Pretzel Logic UHQR

A perfect black and white frozen New York City cover for an album released February of 1974 when winters there were still really cold and "pretzles" (sic) were 15 cents. The master tape images in the fold out containing Donald Fagen's notes show that the mixes were finalized on February 5th, lacquers cut at The Mastering Lab on the 6th and the record released for sale on the 20th. That's a pretty fast turnaround! Speaking of fast, compared to the... Read More

Comments: 48

Montreal – July 26, 2023 – Focal Naim North America is excited to announce the addition of the highly reputable brand AVIDHIFI to its North America distribution network. With the incorporation of AVIDHIFI, Focal Naim North America adds a lineup of high-end turntables made in England to its current audio partners. “Focal Naim North America is proud to distribute AVIDHIFI with its exceptional build quality and outstanding sonic performance,” said Roman Vet, VP Marketing... Read More

Comments: 4

When we listen, what are we really hearing? Are we transfixed on the mastering, the quality of the vinyl, the hardware we’re using? Or, perhaps we are merely listening to the sound and skill that the musicians are creating as a group? The truth is we’re listening to all of those things, but there is one element that we often tend to forget about and it reminds me of the old adage, if a tree falls in the woods - and there’s no one there to witness the event - does it... Read More

Comments: 0

As I’ve noted a few times in this space, Jason Moran is the most versatile, virtuosic jazz pianist on the scene. Around the turn of the decade, as player and composer, he focused on elegiac melodies, deceptively simple in form, rich in harmonies and textures, stirring, even spiritual, in their quest. Some tracks on this album from that period, The Sound Will Tell You, resemble movie music (but deep movie music); two of them were written for the HBO adaptation of... Read More

Comments: 1
Making Vinyl, Minneapolis

During the past decade, consumer demand for vinyl outpaced pressing capacity, resulting in delays of as much as 10 months. But that changed in the past year when existing players on both sides of the Atlantic dramatically expanded volume capabilities by adding machinery, and new plants became operational. Moderator Eric Astor, whose Furnace Record Pressing recently sold a majority ownership stake to Metallica, discusses the topic with pressing newcomer Connie Comeau, COO of The ADS Group/Copycats Media, and two indie label execs jazz specialist Zev Feldman, and Andrew Rossiter, of reissue label Org Music.

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Comments: 0
KLAUDIO Headquarters

Michael had such a good time interviewing Peter at the Seattle Audio Fest, he got himself invited to the Koolance warehouse where he saw all of Peter's vintage and replica vintage audio gear along with a few new KLAUDiO products. Also interesting was seeing Peter's "real" business, which involves industrial water management and cooling systems. Mr. Cheon has 200+ products he's designed in his line, many of which are patented. This is a short,... Read More

Comments: 2
Nina Simone You've Got to Learn

July 21, 2023 (New York, NY) – Today marks the Verve Records/UMG release of You’ve Got To Learn, a previously-unreleased recording of Nina Simone’s performance at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival. The album arrives as part of the “Happy Birthday Miss Simone” campaign, a year-long celebration of Simone’s 90th birthday. Listen to the album HERE. You’ve Got To Learn is a major find for Simone’s fans. The album includes Simone’s first-ever recording of “Music For Lovers”... Read More

Comments: 1