Acoustic Sounds

Recorded in 1966 and released in January of 1967 The Doors' debut album, powered by the edited single "Light My Fire" reached #2 on the Billboard charts, while the single was the "summer of love"'s #1 hit. If you were alive then you heard the single that summer wherever you went—blaring from jukeboxes and car radios. When you bought the album you heard a long extended "Light My Fire" that for many listeners was as uncomfortably... Read More

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It’s been over a month since drummer and pop songwriter extraordinaire Yukihiro Takahashi passed away at age 70, though acknowledging it still feels weird. It wasn’t unexpected—he was treated for brain tumors, and related pneumonia caught him in the end—but for 50 years, Takahashi never really slowed down and always seemed focus on what was next. Between his solo material, his work in Yellow Magic Orchestra and Sketch Show, other gigs like the Sadistic Mika Band, or... Read More

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Being inside a hotel for three days is not exactly the Sun and Fun in Winter that most make it out to be. No matter. This year I experienced an embarrassment of riches in the form of many impressive high-end systems - and managed to leave the hotel for some Tampa exploration.I started the days with trips to local coffee shops to quell my jonesing for top-flight espresso. I had some serious lattes and a nice cafe Cubano near the hotel. Saturday morning was all about... Read More

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How do you know a reissue is a sonic success? There's no checklist but I've been playing an original pressing since it was first released and occasionally the Mobile Fidelity Anadisc 200 reissue, so when the stylus dropped onto "Jamming" (I always first play side 2) I wasn't expecting any major surprises.The opening drum flourish indicated a new level of transparency and clarity, which was nice to hear but the percussive jingle after Marley... Read More

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I tip my hat to reviewers that do complete audio show coverage. The time/effort it takes to cover an entire show is enormous. Frankly, I am not that guy. Hey, you have to know your limitations. What I do want to share with you are some notable rooms that captured my attention and beckoned me to listen to the music rather than the equipment. Here are those rooms in no particular order.

 

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Often it's a cry for attention or money when a veteran jazz artist releases a Christmas album or one of Beatles covers. Brad Mehldau's latest, an album of the latter with Bowie's meloncholic "Life on Mars" serving as a sort of denouement (or encore, as this is a live album recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris), is neither of those. Mehldau, 52, has been covering rock music without apology almost from the beginning of his recording career. His... Read More

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February 22nd, 2023

Tour Michael's Room in 4K Recently shot video!

By: Michael Fremer

A videographer visited recently to produce this 4K room tour showing my current audio system, including some new products under review, and some records and accessories.There's a similar room tour video shot years ago that's gotten 848,000 views. That sounds encouraging and most comments are positive but I think some people viewed it for the same reason they watch plane crash videos. Some of the comments express a variety of emotions including outrage at the... Read More

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Fast on the approach to 70, where do we find Robyn Hitchcock these days? For a start…lyrically opening his parlour door to “The Shuffle Man” – the spirit of disorder inhabits the kickoff track to his latest album. “He's sort of the cheeky face of Destiny really,” Hitchcock explained over the line from London. “Certainly in times like 2020.”Which is when the ethos of Shufflemania – his 22nd long player, partially came together. The turmoil of lockdown, as it turns... Read More

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It has become customary for many film music old-schoolers like myself to lament the current propensity for the “Zimmerization” of movie scores: ie., the devolving of a film’s soundtrack into endless drum-circles and synthesized loops, harmonic stasis, motivic repetition, all of which have become the hallmarks of Hans Zimmer’s work of the last 20 years or so.Obviously this is a vast over-simplification, and not entirely fair to Zimmer himself, but his protégés and... Read More

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February 18th, 2023

Rich Record Store Day 4/22 Offerings! here are some "must haves"

By: Michael Fremer

This year's RSD offerings are many, varied and of great interest whatever your musical tastes. The lead image shows the Craft offerings that includes the first American mono reissue of "Chet" by Chet Baker, Jonathan Richman's country record "Jonathan Goes Country" from 1990, Travis's "The Invisible Band Live", and others. Here are some great ones. At the bottom is a link to the Record Store Day listing of all titles. From... Read More

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February 17th, 2023

Capital Audio Fest 2022 Video Part 1 Better late than never

By: Michael Fremer

Last November's Capital Audio Fest coverage appears here more than two months late. Very sorry about that. Fortunately, this kind of coverage doesn't date—at least not in two months—so please enjoy. Part 2 will soon post. The show was well supported by manufacturers, retailers and the usual dreamers and hobbyists as well as by a large group of used record dealers. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. What started out as a small, kind of intimate annual... Read More

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Timerette is an automatic stylus timer that works even if you forget to start it, because when the platter starts to spin. Timerette starts counting.

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"Wish", by English gothic rock band The Cure, was released just three months before I was born in 1992, and while this album might coincide with the beginning of my time on this earth, for The Cure, "Wish" was the bookend on a fruitful period of pop dominance in the late 80s. The band that once assembled barren, bleak post-punk landscapes on albums like "Faith" and "Pornography" had, by 1985, with the release of "Head on... Read More

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Front cover of the LP “Diablo” by Gabe Gurnsey

Gabe Gurnsey is the former drummer of “post-industrial” band Factory Floor, but on the late 2022 LP “Diablo” he has teamed up with vocalist and girlfriend Tilly Morris to produce an electronic opus to dancing and lust. This release comes from Phantasy Records, run by English DJ Erol Alkan. Phantasy is also home to electronic producer and DJ Daniel Avery, and house and techno artists such as Fort Romeau and Red Axes. There is a strong flavour of 1980s electronic pop to... Read More

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I have yet to give up on solid-state components for HiFi systems entirely; however, my love affair with vacuum tube circuitry is stronger than ever. While auditioning the latest iteration to the top-line Rhythm 1.3 linestage from Delaware-based Backert Labs, I got a sense of the same unmistakable mojo I feel when listening to recordings played on other well-designed and constructed tube gear.In my years as a professional listener in music production and as an... Read More

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Beck, Crosby, Verlaine and today Burt Bacharach. He was 94. No one reading this needs a list of his memorable, hummable tunes sung by The Shirelles, Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, The Beatles, Burt and Elvis Costello. Burt and Hal David channeled through their songs a woman's world as few if any male songwriters managed.This is a sad but appropriate time to re-publish this interview that first appeared in The Absolute Sound that I conducted by phone with Burt... Read More

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