Acoustic Sounds
Sasha Matson's "Molto Molto"

Sasha Matson first came to the attention of many audiophiles with his 1993 Audioquest release "i-5/Steel Cords" (Audioquest AQ-LP 1013), which includes the most unusual "Works For Pedal Steel Guitar, Harp and Strings" and i-5" a paen to Interstate Highway 5, the road that in the late 1980s brought Matson from Berkeley to Los Angeles (the composer will probably tell me "paen" is the wrong word for his tribute, but that's okay).... Read More

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The album cover of Balmorhea album Pendant World on Deutsche Grammophon

Subtlety is a delicate art form. Too little, and one runs the risk of being too obvious, clunky, or blatant. Too much, and no one gets the joke, takes the hint, or catches the drift. Finding the right amount of subtlety makes comedy funnier and mysteries more intriguing; it can also lead to music that is full of the magic that leaves the listener wanting to hear more. Performing and recording together since 2007, Balmorhea has often explored the auditory world of... Read More

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Roger Waters The Lockdown Sessions

Despite the accusations of antisemitism for his support of Palestine and his stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine being “not unprovoked,” there is still no denying Roger Waters’ timeless influence in all avenues of the performing arts. Best known for being a founding member of progressive rock giants Pink Floyd and a profitable touring artist, Waters has always struck a certain chord with his thematic lyrics pertaining to adult life, society and isolation. Those... Read More

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Starting a Jamaican Music Collection Part 3b—The Deejays. The Start of Rap?

In "Starting a Jamaican Music Collection Part 3a—The Deejays. The Start of Rap?" we covered four deejays—Sir Lord Comic, Count Machuki, King Stitt and U-Roy. We also posed the question "Did the deejays in Jamaica start the musical genre known as rap?" Let's dive right into this question and also highlight five more first wave deejays.It must have been startling in the late 1960's to hear rhyming, fast talking, and jive laced lyrics all... Read More

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Några at High End Munich 2023

At High End Munich 2023 Nagra once again produced a "Meet the Experts" feature and invited a group of industry experts, including Matthias Bode, editor the German magazine STEREO, Impex Records founder Abey Fonn, Wilson Audio Specialties' Direct or Sales (and award-winning recording engineer) Peter McGrath, and me to spin records throughout the show for an hour long slot.The system, featuring Nagra's 70th Anniversary Reference turntable and... Read More

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Dorothy Ashby With Strings Attached 1957-1965

In his Downbeat review of jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby's 1965 release "The Fantastic Jazz Harp of Dorothy Ashby" (Atlantic 1447), "K.D." wrote : "Flighty" has Miss Ashby gliding in a Wes Montgomery-like style of octave approach. But it's obviously very much her own creation." K.D. compares bassist Richard Davis to Segovia. What a well-written, perceptive and interesting review, I thought to myself. Then I looked in the box... Read More

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The Fabulous Phonograph

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.

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Following "Making Vinyl" in Minneapolis, which was the best-attended most significant of these events (though the one at Hansa Studios in Berlin was the most exciting) and attended by 500 industry people from around the world, I took a short Uber ride from downtown Minneapolis to Audio Research inMaple Grove.Managing Director Dave Gordon took me on an "after hours" tour of the factory you're sure to enjoy. The company moved to this somewhat... Read More

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Vashti Bunyan, Terry Callier

Vashti Bunyans's Just Another Diamond Day (1970) and Terry Callier's The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier (1965) are classic, collectible folk records from artists who never got their deserved attention. Both have been reissued by The Electric Recording Company, makers of limited and very expensive reissues of often quite rare recordings.

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Solti Das Rheingold DECCA Vinyl Reissue

Frequently cited as "the greatest recording ever made", Decca's first studio recording of Wagner's seminal masterpiece remains a lodestar in the annals of the recording industry, over 60 years since the first sessions took place in Vienna in 1958. Part 3 goes over the different versions that have been issued - on vinyl, CD and SACD - including the brand new 2022 remastering on vinyl and digital. Then I conduct a detailed listening comparison and make some recommendations. Plus a breakdown of some other recordings of the Ring, and a survey of non-vocal, purely orchestral records of music from the Ring on vinyl and CD.

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KLAUDIO Turntable

Pacific Audio Fest organizers released this teaser today. At the show KLAUDIO will debut it's new turntable featuring the company's pivoted tangential tracking tonearm, which features a number of interesting set-up innovations.Price was not announced. I'd planned on attending the show, which was really great last year but too much travel in May and early June made yet another trip problematic so it's a no go this year. It should be a really good... Read More

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Hana Umami Blue

The new $2,500 Hana Blue moving coil cartridge is the talk of the town and looks to fill the gap between the company's highly regarded Hana ML and flagship Hana Umami Red.

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Culshaw

Frequently cited as "the greatest recording ever made", Decca's first studio recording of Wagner's seminal masterpiece remains a lodestar in the annals of the recording industry, over 60 years since the first sessions took place in Vienna in 1958. Part 2 of this in-depth look into the making of this historic set of records begins with Decca's struggles to record a complete cycle "live" at Bayreuth in 1955, an experience that paved the way for the eventual studio recording in Vienna three years later. You'll discover how producer John Culshaw assembled a crack team of Decca's sound engineers to tackle a myriad of practical, technical and aesthetic challenges, while conductor Georg Solti marshaled the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and an unmatched cast of singers into creating a true classic of the gramophone.

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Jerry's Records

I'm in Pittsburgh, PA visiting nearby Iron Mountain where Universal Music Group archives much of its recorded tapes and other assets. Amazing video coming soon. While I was there I visited Jerry's Records, a famous Pittsburgh used record store recommended to me by my colleague Jacob Heilbrunn. Here's some just shot video. Read More

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Iron Mountain Vault

I spent today at Iron Mountain Entertainment Services where Universal Music Group archives much of its music assets. It was a day filled with open eyed wonder at the richness of the tape and video archives, at how the material is being catalogued and at the Iron Mountain facility itself, which should be labeled the 8th wonder of the world. Video coverage coming soon!Can you see that black rectangle at the back of the room? That's another equally large room filled... Read More

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Solti's "Ring Cycle"

Frequently cited as "the greatest recording ever made", Decca's first studio recording of Wagner's seminal masterpiece remains a lodestar in the annals of the recording industry, over 60 years since the first sessions took place in Vienna in 1958. Recently reissued in a brand new remastering on vinyl and CD/SACD, we take a look at the work's pivotal place in not only classical music but also popular culture, discuss the making of this set, and assess the sound quality of its many incarnations. Part 1 covers the history of opera up to the "Ring"; the cycle's creation, and how it radically changed not only opera and classical music, but also theatre and popular culture in the 20th century and beyond.

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