_REAL PEOPLE — REAL MUSIC
Actually it’s a slogan of legendary pirate AM broadcasting joint of 60th-s — the Radio Caroline ship. In their attempts to avoid taxes, authorities and censorship, they had set up a giant aerial and used to get away from Britain territorial sea arias to go on air (portable radios were so common that times just like iPhones nowadays) shooting the latest hits of thriving rock-music.
A legend and style.
Once upon a time the rebel ship sank in the storm. This event obviously could be called the most romantic Flood House in the world of music.
The Caroline theme and nostalgic selection of those roaring years are still heard from several Internet Radio stations.
In our case it’s a list and brief \sometimes frightening underground, just in case, 18+\ descriptions of musical fragments which WE USE NECESSERILY IN OUR DEVICES DESIGNING AND TESTING PROCESS.
And this is all about what exactly we try to here and feel, what we are striving to achieve in our devices’ sound — unlike normal people and true music experts.
No any audiophile chat about frightening soundstage depth, scene, timbre pureness, bass nature and, in general, micro- and macro-dynamics. Tarim is still unaware about all these things and he’s sure that they are mainly defined as an absence of money at the current moment and tipically through the whole life.
And nevertheless he took it and started creating this opus.
At the current stage it represents a long, endlessly updated scroll that lists without any regimentation the albums of various genres and ratings widely differing from each other.
_SATIE. 3 GYMNOPEDIES — 6 GNOSSIENNES. PIANO WORKS. ANNE QUEFFELEC
Eric Satie is a genius of primitivism. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel considered him a guru. Impressionist who discovered a genial simplicity. One of the most frequently performed authors. Among countless versions of performances Anne Quefflec play was chosen — for magnificent quietness of pauses, the rhythm which is impossible to imitate, wearily dosed sexuality
Try to recognize:
— melancholy steps upon the November fallen leaves when the light is still not dimmed away completely
— the feeling \like in the sleep\ that it could be played easily with one finger
— velvet silence between the sounds which often dominates over them
— aloofness: the composer sometimes didn’t respond to the letters for years, went on alcohol, played piano in cabaret.
Imagine: at the gate of sunrise the waiters are cleaning the tables, dancing girls finally taking their corsets off, the light is dim yellow. A big wineglass of cognac in front of piano player — all the problems are gone for long time, feeling of warmth like in passed childhood, the music is being composed effortlessly.
_MARIANNE FAITHFULL — STAR CLUB \COMPILATION\ + MARIANNE FAITHFULL — SECRET LIFE
The guy wearing square shaped glasses is Kohn Dunbar, the former husband of the singer, the gallery owner and the person who introduced Yoko Ono to John Lennon. But the real hero for the young creature undoubtedly happened to be Mick Jagger. Stereotypical scenario: who’s that chick with big tits and such a silly nickname — «faithful» — You’ve brought over? — No, that’s her last name reflecting the story about Mars chocolate bar and how people in love and no one else can use it — Paul McCartney in «Yesterday» — incredibly sunny.
Second stage — Broken English. The heroine years. Her image — wild bitch wearing gray cloak. Ostentatiously hoarse emigrant language in her hit sparkling with morbid light.
And in the age of her 50. Love in the Afternoon. Foggy evening, lights along the river, long awaited call — damn it, where’re my shoes? — Husband and kids? I’ll call You back at night...
Try to hear: the whole lifespan, three voices, three époques in London atmosphere.
_THE MANY SIDES OF TOSHIKO. 1957
First of all, appreciate \and not for the last time\ how did they record back that times. Golden midst: vacuum tube technologies already had achieved their top perfection, transistors weren’t commonly used yet, no any high end was known — amplification just was done right, that’s all.
In 1954 young Toshiko already having played with Oscar Peterson managed to leave Japan, enter the Berkley college and acquire her unrepeatable violent style.
Listen carefully to, say, The Man I Love and Bag’s Groove and imagine HER STRONG JAPANESE FINGERS just like Sada Abe’s from Nagisa Osima’s movie «In the Realm of the Senses» who choked her lover in orgasm.
_PINK FLOYD. ATOM HEARTH MOTHER. 1970
I must say that first I heard this album on vinyl in Australian quadraphonic version. Many sounds were different there.
Out of this three dimensional splendor IF track has kept the deepest impression in digital version.
If I were a swan, I’d be gone.
If I were a train, I’d be late.
And if I were a good man, I’d talk with you more often than I do.
Try to hear the space: say, the room with all the windows wide open into June garden \almost like in the previous album Ummagumma\, the sunlight spots on the floor, sitting on the floor with guitar in hand and singing. Tranquility.
The hell with correct spaciousness. Everything is heard from everywhere. Singing in exciting contrast to Waters’ manner, lips touching the microphone.
_GUSTAV MAHLER. 6.SYMPHONIE. HERBERT VON KARAJAN. 1975
The 6th’ premiere took place in 1906 in Essen, where the frightening German cannons were made. «Krupp produced only cannons, Mahler — only symphonies» — was said. It starts like a sound of attack, timpani are keeping the pace of marching.
Love is marching army.
Andante yields some relaxation, but hidden percussion troop is still around.
March rhythm comes back in final.
In the end the music is supposed to die silently, but all in the sadden comes fortissimo — as if the steel door is shut.
The listeners should be jumping up in their armchairs.
And all this is created at the terrible life period of composer: daughter’s death, unemployment, heart disease.
Plus Karajan’s wild expression.
Try to accept this stream from very beginning through the end. Speed, senses, transitions. With the speakers of wild dynamics You’ll understand why do we need massive copper heat dissipaters.
_JOHNNY CASH, WILLIE NELSON. 1998.
Cash is a knock-out on the edge of country music and rockabilly.
His pal Willie Nelson is a real truth seeker and country music rebirth protagonist in the best traditions of Lonely Star. He could achieve more if he wouldn’t always have a dose and a gun in his pocket as well as problems with tax department.
Together they are nothing but explosive. A powder keg.
Try to hear how this energy travels between the speakers in the waves of infra bass like wind. And on the top of that: difference in vocal timbre and temperament.
One of the best live recordings of such a music not crippled by processing.
_DEEP PURPLE. ONTARIO MOTOR SPEEDWAY. 1974
Know what’s a similarity between automobile tire and 365 condoms? — IN BOTH CASES IT WAS A GOOD YEAR! This particular tire advertizing was painted upon the zeppelin flying above Ontario arena during a concert in 1974.
One could hardly come up with better sign for that year.
The super group performance started from scandal \off course, that was Richie...\. Then came up the broken camera, burning tube amplifier, guitar smashed against the wall, helicopter escape.
Must say that initially the group of Mark III consist \with young Coverdale and Hews\ was radiating such a family couple spirit: so old gentleman who was not short of temperament at all married a young girl. The strongest eruption of such a sense felt on Mistreated — actually a kind of mockery on black blues full of genuine Purple masculine sexism.
Amazing! This recording (very likely bootleg) according to standard audiophile canons is awfully made. Yet it’s great that any idea of trying to make it better never came to nobody’s head. One of good gear virtues is ability of reading and translating sincerely enough even technically non-perfect movements.
Try to feel in very first chords of Burn all the energy and the mood of satisfaction when they finally managed to get on stage at sunset after the whole mess was settled down.
Or — trailing silence above the crowd during the quiet guitar passage on Mistreated...
And 40 years passed since then they are still wondering across Russia with concerts?
_NATALIE DESSAY. VOCALISES. 1998
Precious Natalie Dessay \coloratura soprano\ continuously represents «the two in one»: an actress and a singer. In fact back in her younger times she was in ballet, studied actor art, and then the opera on it’s own has discovered her. Obviously this is why she is sudden, hot and hard to recognized in opera performances, let it be provocative Kleopatra (like in Laurent Pelly’s version) or Fly in fabulous Offenbach’s grotesque.
Yet she’s completely in concerts. She confessed that Mariinsky Theatre orchestra is a Rolls-Roys, and she’s not quite accustomed to Rolls-Royses.
The record of «Vocalises» stands much higher than representative cars. It’s not just a performance, but filigreed perfection itself. And this is exactly what should be the main feeling this record inspires. Ideally — the same easiness and tremble \not just a likeness!\ as when You hear the opera singing right in front of You in a good company \even not on stage!\.
Her Russian in Alyabiev’s Nightingale is perfect, although a Russian sentences like «Goremyshneye menya» are still way too hard to pronounce \and, very likely, comprehend\ for French genius.
_LE BAL. ETTORE SCOLA. SOUNDTRACK. 1983-2001.
In our realm the soundtracks are considered to be a special genre, for the music is being created and recorded in quite different way here.
Ettore Scola is known to be unrivaled expert of travelling in time. In the whole range of his films the heroes are living their lives through right before our eyes inevitably overlapping with the music and movie stories of their time.
Le Bal is a pinnacle of this style. The same actors are dancing in Paris dancing-hall of 30-s through 80-s of 20th century, reincarnating every time in different picturesque characters.
The listener is supposed to feel that this all is not just a game, but a real thing instead.
_ROLLING STONES. LET IT BLEED. 1969 + GRAND FUNK. SURVIVAL. 1971
Rock music of the past used to possess it’s special kind of power, for it held the hand upon the pulse of time. As we
knew, sometimes it was frightening. And they sang their songs about that with simple texts and such a music which
gets deep under the skin even nowadays.
— The storm approaches — It threatens my life — a war at shot distance — the fire gets close — war, children, war — sister — love at the kiss distance.
Got to feel this terror and vibration. Background vocals — Merry Clayton. She was invited to recording session unexpectedly. Note: somewhere in the middle of the record her voice begins trembling. After the session an abortion occurred — someone ran away from the terror.
Grand Funk performs this cover with their killer masterly means — solo bass, all the rest have to follow on.
Have to say that mediocre electronics, let alone audiophile gear, merely choke here and cry «help»! Actually this roar is enlightened by virtuoso nuances on the dirty background, and that’s why one gets extremely strong kick out of it.
Check: dial the volume up so that it still does not sound too loud and everything is seems to be under control, but all in the sudden You realize that You can’t hear Your own voice.
_JULLIARD STRING QUARTET. J.BRAHMS. STRING QUARTETS. OP51, OP67
There are things in the world associated with prestige, exception and success in future life. Julliard school is one of the things of this sort. It was found by the beginning of XX century by Maecenas, the best world teachers used to work there and still do. There are some surprising schools: say, Rachmaninoff school ones found the Russian Grand Piano class.
The School String Quartet was found in 1946 in the status of Permanently Invited Quartet \who on Earth would refuse to be permanently invited to somewhere in New-York for something around $ 200 000 a year?\
Implicit virtuoso musicians. Their play creates the feeling of well managed breath which seems to outstrip the music flow.
Quite interesting is that having tried so many electronic components I heard a really shocking playback of this release only ones with legendary Swiss darTZeel \just look at the price tag!\, though generally I’m not totally delighted by this machine. Yet multiple other choices \pretty expensive as well\ sometimes prove to be quite questionable.
String quartets \especially of this level\ in non-live performance are blown off quite easily, becoming constrained and monotonous.
Looks like Flood has manage to establish a good relationship with Brahms.
Anyway this is a good way to set a spectacular comparison with some other component, especially with triode audiophile amplifier in endless class A.
_RYAN ADAMS. HEARTBREAKER. 2000.
Recommended by Hi-Fi Choice magazine. These guys just get a kick out of hopeless depression because of parting with the chick this release is full of. I would offer to wait till 9th track 1:22 moment when they hit the strings and kick the drum. You’ll get the soul stress, especially at 3 in the morning and with the bottle of red wine.
Possibly because at this time \if I’m not busy\ I usually drink stronger stuff, I would disagree. Looks like the boy tries to fool me. It’s enough to play, say, track 12: Lucy — my girl, Lucy — my sweet... Durable American sound with British accent.
It will instantly show what Your gear is worth.
_DEAD MAN WALKING. SOUNDTRACK. 1995.
The ominous sentence «Dead man walking» is said to follow the passage of fated prisoner to electric chair in American jails.
This film is actually about a nun who tries to gain confidence of the maniac condemned to death penalty.
The movie soundtrack is magnificent: Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Patty Smith — the whole list is on the cover.
Irreplaceable testing material showing if Your equipment is able to highlight the faces from such a gallery and expose the particular actor both in coarse and minute details. So often the shining boxes with formally excellent features and utter accuracy just picture everything the same way. Like pained faceless pretenders at the beauty contest.
Pay attention to track 5 — the duo of Eddy Wedder and Nusrat Fatekh Ali Khan. Deliberately coarsened sounds, different singing styles and different approaches to the theme by two singers. Got to feel this play.
_JOHN COLTRANE. BLUE TRAIN. 1957-2003.
There used to be a tradition at legendary Blue Note jazz studio: to start sessions on 3-4 in the morning. The best time
to pull the musicians warmed up by music, alcohol or even something more serious, out of club sessions and record them this way for eternity.
Try to hear this condition — a mix of hot nonchalance and mega-professionalism \recommended tracks are 1 and 4\
on this in every respect blue album. And, damn it, appreciate the work of genial sound engineer Rudy van Gelder. If
everybody could do the same today, no any high end equipment would be needed at all.
_GORAN BREGOVIC. SILENCE OF THE BALKANS. 1997
Balkan maestro has always been highly respected in Russia. The concert in Mossovet theater where I broke in waving press card, is clearly hard to forget. The hall was seized by Moscow residing Serbs came over with their strikingly beautiful women. Ovation \after the audience was well warmed up\ lasted till three in the morning. These were the years of triumph, withal after release of Shereau’s Quin Margot film soundtrack in which the Paternoster in Serbian sounded above the pile of corpses after Massacre of St. Bartholomew.
Alas, these tears passed away, and now the composer seems to be happy enough playing the role of very good pub entertainer mastering endless Gipsy theme \the bears and champagne in Balkan style\.
Greece’ 1977 was completely different. A big band consisted of classic, electrical and real ethnic instruments players, light voices.
By some magic chance this record did not undergo the vandal mixing \ the license copy is shown on the picture, the genuine one is the way better\.
If You have the big time speakers, play EDERLEZ \6\ real loud — with good chance the music push will be transferred into infrasound wave of medium level which will make You seat down and feel the heartbeat and slight mailfunction of vestibular apparatus.
If after that You still want to go on taking part in it \I fell asleep drunk and woke up drunk\, then tracks 8 and 10 are recommended. This is very important to perceive and used to slip away for the long time.
_SUNFLOWERS. MASHA AND OLEG DROBINSKY. EL RAYO DORADO DEL SOL. 2006
Moscow street musicians — inappreciable source of sonic truth . Unfortunately, there is not so many of them. The real ones are found in real countries. Remaining are half sleeping ones with the girl with hat in her hands for money walking back and fro.
All the more interesting is such a miracle as Oleg and Masha. Custom wind instruments with the name of their author engraved and unthinkable variety of drums. Street is only part of their scene.
The album was recorded in the studio, but it bears unlimited expanse. The sound as is \not texture, just how You heard and memorized it\. Just listen: Masha is not just hitting the drums, but beats a hell out of them instead.
_JOSEF HAYDN. ANIMA ETERNA. SYMPHONIE №45
The essence of this symphony is in the manner it’s performed: with burning candles fixed to musicians’ music stands; after formally traditional final the extra slow part follows, and during playing this part musicians one by one stop playing, distinguish the candles and leave the scene. Winds departure first. In the string group double basses leave, then cellos, altos and second violins. Only two leading violins complete the symphony (Haydn himself used to play one of these parties), and after having finished they blow down the candles and leave after the rest of ensemble.
Try to hear this exodus, to feel the sound space reduction without any monotony. Comprehend that music is going away and the darkness impends \which is important part of sound\.
_VANILLA FUDGE. First album of the group, 1967
Time of totally wild freedom. The year of love summer. Flowering of psychedelic rock. Black and white television easily perceived musicians sometimes in inadequate chemical condition. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozzlnNRpHO4. BANG BANG — out-of-limit version of Sonny and Cher hit recorded in 1968 at the Beat Club.
Try to be amazed by that rightness with which the sound engineers of the past managed to reproduce visual emotions in MERE SOUND. The picture in Your head has to become color one only from this disc. Full power to imagination!
_WEATHER REPORT. HEAVY WEATHER
One of the most musically beautiful releases of legendary team of jazz-rock flowering époque. Yes, exactly beautiful. Can’t find another term which might describe their filigreed approach. Plain melody unexpectedly starts to sparkle with magic facets, while the romance is getting together with utmost playing skill. The higher quality equipment is used to play this record, the more previously unheard layers are revealed.
Take a dip into the limitless tranquility of A REMARK YOU MADE and try to completely forget for six minutes this track lasts about routine fuss. Also note that the last HAVONA track is recorded in completely different manner compared with the rest of the disc.
_HOROWITZ. RACHMANINOV & LISZT
I would take just one and only legend out of many incredible ones about him, and it says that Horowitz has an ability of making his piano sound without even touching the keys.
This record \especially Liszt works\ is full of romance. And this is despite the fact that genial Maestro sometimes was in deep depression for years thinking that people are coming to listen
to his playing instead of listening to the music. His «Obermann Valley» was inspired by the cult Senacour’s novel. There is a real tonal notation: it starts with e-moll
(reflection of «decadence» Senacour’s novel epigraph), continues on in indifferently neutral C-dur (reflection of «willing» epigraph from Byron, so far only in form
of notional dreams), the middle culmination hunting is expressed by intense changes of tonality (reflection of idea of ceasing the answers to eternal questions from nature which causes mental
confusion and wildlife storm), which ends with monophony phrase symbolizing the vanity of just undertaken efforts and return to the useless thoughts of novel hero.
And all this is sometimes desperately quiet. And kind of depressive in it’s own way. Your gear should not sound pelting and boring. The music piles up and almost vanishes. Almost without breath. Try, as Horowitz said, not to listen to the artist at all.
_WARPAINT. EXQUISITE CORPSE. 2009
Magnificent California hags in Hindi style. This one is from their early recordings. You get incredible thrill from their not so professional, but wildly vivid performance which is recorded almost sloppy way, but almost like in 60-s. Guitars and drums are almost eating each other.
On mediocre devices this sincerity gets crumpled into obscure substance while actually it is what one has to breath with. Also one should be able to recognize the male drummer on BILLY HOLIDAY unlike the other tracks.
_MODERN JAZZ QUARTET – LARRY YOUNG. SOFTLY AS IN A MORNING SUNRICE
Just don’t know what to say. This is jazz. Enjoy ABSOLUTLY DIFFERENT vision on the piece performed through the prism of vibraphone and electric organ. Your gear should rejoice for recognition along with You.
I hope this is not so tricky for understanding.
_DJ KRUSH. CODE4109
Also known as Isi Hideaki, ex-yakuza and vanguard terrorist. Honestly, his later works contain more commercial diversity. On the contrary, in earlier ones he’s almost walking on the ceiling.
This album is from 2000. I would suggest to take attention to Coffee Talk \a rapidity of reaction on recondite passages\ and especially on Kemuri \one can guess El Condor Pasa theme in the spate of sounds\. Feels like a flight on delta plane in the company of migrant birds above Mediterranean sea.
_CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL. GREEN RIVER.
An absolutely foolish contrivance: in case of doubt «Does it sound decent at all?» after long lasting crazy experiments quickly put Green River and Bad Mood Rising on. The system will prove to be whether alive or not alive.
_SAMUEL BARBER. CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN & ORCHESTRA. OP.14. YOEL LEVI ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Michel Houellebecq. Description of awaiting hall for unfortunate ones having chosen euthanasia — voluntary departure from life. " From the speakers fixed below the ceiling background music was flowing, sad, off course, but worthy — this description would fit, — apparebtly, something after Barber’s works".
What would You hear? Something opposite, filled with strength of life ? I don’t know which option would be the right one...
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