Music and Recording Features

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Larry Archibald Posted: Aug 14, 2007 Published: Nov 14, 1992 0 comments
I sometimes do crazy things to experience live music. In my late teens I met a woman—a friend of a friend of my girlfriend—who was a flautist attending the Mannes School of Music in New York City. She was a classic New Yorker, from a classic New York family. Though apparently demure and retiring, she had fearlessly ridden the city subways since childhood, taking the Broadway line at any hour of day or night (her stop was Dyckman Street, above 200th). All of her parents' money and energy, such as it was, had gone into their daughter's musical career, and I was so inspired by this level of focus and devotion that I hitchhiked from Boston to New York and back in order to attend her first concert, a performance of the two Mozart flute concerti. My presence was remarked upon as the act of a true friend, but I was the beneficiary: It was a great concert, and a good start to a life of experiencing the "call" of live music.
Bob Katz Posted: Dec 07, 1994 0 comments
For a while, I've been hearing rumors that the record-club editions of popular compact discs differ from the original versions produced by the record companies. I've met listeners who claim their club versions are compressed in dynamics, and some have reduced bass. Perhaps the clubs, in their infinite wisdom, think the typical member has a lower-class stereo system (in fact, the opposite may be true). Maybe these lower classes could benefit from some judicious dynamic compression, equalization, and digital remastering.
George Reisch Posted: May 07, 2006 Published: Jan 07, 2000 0 comments
Two scientists are racing for the good of all mankind—both of them working side by side, so determined, locked in heated battle for the cure that is the prize. It's so dangerous, but they're driven—theirs is to win, if it kills them. They're just human, with wives and children.
Jason Victor Serinus Posted: May 19, 2012 17 comments
If any single voice was synonymous with the flowering of the LP era, it was that of German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The great artist's death at his home in Bavaria on Friday, May 18, 10 days short of his 87th birthday, sets the final seal on an age in which art song, oratorio, and opera received equal respect from record companies and the listening public.

Equally adept at all three disciplines, Fischer-Dieskau became perhaps the most recorded baritone in history. There was a period in which nary a month went by without another LP from Fischer-Dieskau on which he sang either solo or in ensemble. Even today, when so many recordings have gone out of print, and large number of LPs have never been remastered for CD, arkivmusic.com lists no less than 490 titles that include Fischer-Dieskau's voice. The most recent release, a four-SACD remastered compilation of some of the monaural Schubert lieder (art song) recordings he made with pianists Gerald Moore and Karl Engel early in his career, became available on the website on May 8. Its 39 performances are but a fraction of the Schubert recordings he made in his five decades before the microphone.

Richard Lehnert Posted: Apr 26, 2010 Published: Dec 26, 1994 0 comments
The Incredible String Band
Hannibal HNCD 4437 (CD only). TT: 45:15
The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion
Hannibal HNCD 4438 (CD only). TT: 50:06
The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Hannibal HNCD 4421 (CD only). TT: 50:12
Wee Tam & the Big Huge
Hannibal HNCD 4802 (2 CDs only). TT: 87:49
Changing Horses
Hannibal HNCD 4439 (CD only). TT: 50:24
I Looked Up
Hannibal HNCD 4440 (CD only). TT: 41:30
All above: Joe Boyd, prod.; John Wood, eng. AAD.
Robert Baird Posted: Oct 10, 1999 0 comments
As January 1, 2000 approaches, and the MP3 whirlpool continues to swirl, one simple fact has made me feel as if I'm stuck at the starting line of the entire download controversy: The sound quality of MP3 has yet to improve above that of the average radio broadcast. Until that changes, I'm merely curious—as opposed to being in the I-want-to-know-it-all-now frenzy that is my usual m.o. when to comes to anything that promises music you can't get anywhere else.
Lewis Lipnick Posted: Jan 21, 1987 0 comments
Ask most professional symphony musicians for their views concerning recording sessions, and you might be greeted with seemingly nonchalant and cavalier responses. You will probably be told that although recording can be quite lucrative, it is almost always an exercise in futility. If you press further, and inquire as to why these "artists" display such negative attitudes, they would treat you to both a lecture concerning the shortcomings and gross musical distortions usually involved in the recording process, and to a tirade on the incompetence and arrogance of many recording engineers and producers. And once you have opened this can of worms, you will undoubtedly be told about the frustrations of having to deal with inaccurate and distorted representations of their art at the hands of the musically inept.
Robert Baird Posted: Dec 24, 2013 Published: Jan 01, 2014 8 comments
Party like a rock star!

Or not.

Damned rock stars! Those useless black voids of overweening ego who spend their days wallowing in unfulfilling, sybaritic cycles of mass adoration, endless wealth, and meaningless sex with hard bodies—what do they add to the greater good, to the advancement of human understanding, to the furtherance of art? In most cases, the answer is: Nothing. Zip, zilch, zot.

John Atkinson Posted: Nov 19, 1994 0 comments
"What's that noise?" Bob Harley and I looked at each other in puzzlement. We thought we'd debugged the heck out of the recording setup, but there, audible in the headphones above the sound of Robert Silverman softly stroking the piano keys in the second Scherzo of Schumann's "Concerto Without Orchestra" sonata, was an intermittent crackling sound. It was almost as if the God of Vinyl was making sure there would be sufficient surface noise on our live recording to endow it with the Official Seal of Audiophile Approval. Bob tiptoed out of the vestry where we'd set up our temporary control room and peeked through a window into the church, where a rapt audience was sitting as appropriately quiet as church mice.
Richard Lehnert Posted: Nov 13, 2012 Published: Jan 01, 1998 3 comments
A few conductors have perhaps equaled Georg Solti in their conducting of Richard Wagner's baton-breaking Der Ring des Nibelungen—Karl Böhm, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert Keilberth, and Reginald Goodall have all had coherent visions of the work which they were able to translate effectively to disc. But no one has ever equaled what Solti, producer John Culshaw, and what looks increasingly like a hitherto unsuspected golden age of Wagner singers, together accomplished: what is still the recording art's crowning achievement.
John Atkinson Posted: Feb 28, 1990 0 comments
The end of two audiophiles' friendship:
Robert Baird Posted: May 05, 2000 0 comments
No artist in the history of sound recordings has a more confused recorded legacy than Elvis Presley. Thanks to several generations' worth of ruthless avarice by his label, the constant machinations and eventual fire sale by his manager, Col. Tom Parker, and his own pathetic sloth, due in part by a 20-year addiction to prescription drugs, Elvis's recorded catalog is an absolute disaster: cut and pasted, issued and reissued as both budget and full-priced collections, exploited beyond all recognition. Keeping track of Elvis's catalog is one of, if not the most, labyrinthine discography in rock 'n' roll history. When all the foreign issues and reissues of his work are taken into account, it is, (speaking from recent experience) an endeavor which severely tasks the human capacity for tedium.
Wes Phillips Posted: Nov 12, 2006 Published: Dec 12, 2006 0 comments
Wes Phillips on the Sessions
One of the enduring myths of audiophilia is that of the recording as a true and honest picture of a musical event—a sonic "snapshot" that captures a unique moment of time the way a photograph captures the light of a day long since past.
Robert Baird Posted: Apr 10, 2015 0 comments
He is easily among the most accomplished and influential slide-guitar players ever to put a ring of glass or metal around his finger. In 1977, on the golden record carried by the space probe Voyager, alongside the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony 5 and recordings of "footsteps, heartbeat, and laughter," his greatest song, "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" went off to represent humanity to the stars.
Robert Baird Posted: Apr 15, 2015 0 comments
Violet- and orchid-colored LED banks shimmer across the room. Green and pink spots radiate out and back. A steady stream of beats and keyboards from other electronica luminaries rumbles out of the speakers. Let's dance! Or maybe just listen?

Onstage, Dan Deacon is busy tweaking his gear. Out on the floor, the audience is oddly antsy. To fight the waiting, one woman hangs on her boyfriend. Clumps of hipsters conviviate. Very strong drinks (a sponsorship deal?) flow for seven bucks a pop. Anticipation thickens. Impatience turns to pacing. Young men make solo air grooves.

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