Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 24, 2011 0 comments
Wednesday, May 25 (yikes, that's tomorrow!), 5–9pm: Stereo Exchange (627 Broadway, Manhattan) will host a “Music Matters” event with Stereophile’s Michael Fremer.

Peachtree Audio, BelCanto, Amarra, Wisdom Audio, Simaudio, Transparent Audio, Meridian, and Vienna Acoustics will demonstrate their equipment. Learn how to get great sound from the digital devices you already own. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. (Who can ask for anything more?)

This is definitely going to be a fun evening, and I hope to see you there!

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 11, 2011 19 comments
I’d like to give you a tour of my listening room. Please excuse the mess. I’ve been evaluating cables.

Because all the new LPs had started to take over the apartment, I was forced to do some rearranging. Over the last couple of weekends, I’ve managed to shape some order into my listening room. And order is very important to me. When my home is messy, my soul feels messy; and, when my soul feels messy, I become grouchy, lethargic, and I can’t get anything done.

A couple of other things have inspired this post. First, recent visits to friends’ warm and lovely apartments had me feeling like I’d neglected my own home. I want to invite these friends over, but, before I do, I have to feel sure that my home would feel comfortable and inviting, would speak from the walls, would have stories to share. Second, this recent post on Michael Lavorgna’s Twittering Machines was extremely fascinating and fun.

So, let me show you around.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 10, 2011 3 comments
On Friday night, we raced over to the bamboo-walled, lava-lit, animal-printed freak show that is Otto’s Shrunken Head on East 14th Street, between Avenues A and B, where John Atkinson would join pianist Bob Reina, drummer Mark Flynn, bassist Chris Jones, and trumpeter Liam Sillery for two sets of fully improvised, often beautiful soundscapes.

I’ve never seen John Atkinson move the way he moved on Friday night.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 10, 2011 22 comments
Henry Rollins: Audiophile. In a blog for the LA Weekly, Henry Rollins describes the pleasure of listening to music through his Wilson Audio Sophia 3 loudspeakers. Photo: Maura Lanahan.

It’s tough being an audiophile. Tell someone you like high-quality sound and they might look at you like you’re an alien. We forget that hi-fi used to be the coolest endeavor in town. Look at black-and-white advertisements from decades ago and you’ll see handsome men, surrounded by enormous loudspeakers, massive tube amplifiers, LPs tossed about like useless clothes and knotted bed sheets, gorgeous women wanting and waiting for more. But, somehow, over time and with changes to our priorities and lifestyles, the idea of listening to music on the hi-fi has gone from sexy to sexless—a hobby limited to the soft and balding, the smelly and unkempt, the hopelessly lonesome and woefully inept. Plus: For most people, “audiophile” is just way too close to “pedophile.”

What’s a guy to do?

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 09, 2011 2 comments
Dear weblog,
On Friday, we managed to successfully release to pre-press the final pieces of our July 2011 issue; and it was only three weeks ago that we finished shipping our June issue. On top of the pressure of such a short production cycle, we also felt the effects of attending, over the course of just two weeks, both the Salon Son et Image in Montreal and Axpona in Atlanta. It’s been a busy and exhausting month. On the positive side, it seems that the economy is taking a turn for the better. We see this in the sudden spring of hi-fi shows, but also in the increasing size of our print issues: 140 pages for May 2011 vs 116 for May 2010; 156 pages for June 2011 vs 132 for June 2010; 140 pages for July 2011 vs 124 for July 2010.

These trends, it seems, will continue.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: May 04, 2011 22 comments
Sunday, May 1, marked John Atkinson’s 25th anniversary as editor of Stereophile—an outstanding and admirable accomplishment, and one increasingly rare in this fast-paced, ever-changing modern world.

John celebrated in typical fashion: He didn’t mention the achievement to anyone, but kept his head down, eyes buried in a great pile of ink-stained proofs, as we raced to ship our July 2011 issue to pre-press. Such effort and diligence should come as no surprise: It was John who transformed Stereophile, once a rough and rogue ’zine abiding by no particular publishing schedule, into the professional, dependable, influential magazine it is today.

I can’t imagine anyone working as hard or as purposefully as my boss, John Atkinson. Each day is an honor. The man sets a high and excellent example: I want to be just like him.

Congratulations, John! Enjoy that beer tonight. Or, uh, that tutti-frutti martini thing, whichever you prefer. After 25 years of service, I guess you’re allowed to drink whatever you want.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 26, 2011 2 comments
My review of Helado Negro’s Canta Lechuza will appear in our June issue, and the album hits stores on May 10th, but you can listen to the hazy, languorous tunes right now on NPR’s First Listen. Helado Negro (Roberto Carlos Lange, son of Ecuadorian immigrants) is interested in sound, texture, color, rhythm, and you can hear all of that stuff swirling around and bubbling about in Canta Lechuza.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 25, 2011 6 comments
The May 2011 issue of Stereophile is now on newsstands. I’m sorry: I don’t remember anything about the making of this issue. It seems like it happened a million years ago. It must have been traumatic. (I do remember making meatloaf. That was a lot of work, too.) But I can tell you what’s inside this issue.

Let’s take a look:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 22, 2011 6 comments
Recent open house events at Innovative Audio Video Showrooms have been outstanding: well-attended by curious and passionate audiophiles; featuring beautiful, high-quality gear; showcasing excellent music played back on vinyl, disc, and via computer; and with several industry leaders on hand to provide demonstrations and feed interesting discussion.

(The last time I visited Innovative for one of these events, I stayed far too long and walked out into a man-eating ice storm that nearly shattered my soul, but, even then, it was still worth attending the event.)

So, I’m definitely looking forward to next Wednesday’s event, in honor of Dan D’Agostino and his new Momentum monoblock power amplifiers. Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about D’Agostino and his latest product, while enjoying music in a special environment. Members of Innovative’s staff are friendly, intelligent, knowledgeable, and eager to share their eclectic tastes in music and gear.

Refreshments will be provided, the weather should be decent, it should be a good time. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your place: (212) 634-4444 or info@iavny.com.

Innovative Audio Video is located at 150 East 58th Street, New York, NY. I hope to see you there.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 13, 2011 9 comments
Oh, damn: Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 16th, and I won’t be able to participate. I’ll be in Atlanta, covering Axpona, but, if you’re free, you should definitely make a trip to your local independent record store and enjoy the festivities. As we all know, many record stores have shut their doors in recent years—for proof, take a look at this collection of sad and beautiful images—but, as some of the larger chains have faded away, many smaller shops have opened up, catering to specific tastes and genres of music, making the experience of record shopping even more personal, friendly, and satisfying.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 08, 2011 0 comments
The elegant, languorous video for Wild Beasts’ “Albatross,” the first single from the band’s upcoming album, Smother, is filled with images that are like Wild Beasts’ music: surreal, delicate, physical, painful, and, at times, painfully lovely.

With its gentle dance rhythms, memorable melodies, and heavy, overcast skies, Wild Beasts’ 2009 album, Two Dancers, which was nominated for 2010’s prestigious Mercury Prize, continues to find a place near the front of my vinyl stacks. The girls like it, too.

Smother promises to fall even closer to my heart. From the press release:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 07, 2011 0 comments
Kristen is hot. I mean, seriously: smoking, sizzling, flame-broiling, momma-said-knock-you-out, one-hundred-and-fifty-five-degrees-in-the-shade, incomprehensibly, unavoidably, uncomfortably hot. Yow! But, excuse me, that’s not what I meant to write about.

Let me start again.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 07, 2011 3 comments
In support of National Autism Awareness Month, McIntosh Laboratory and songwriter/producer J. Ralph have come together to create a spectacular new album, the original motion picture soundtrack to Academy Award winning director Gerardine Wurzburg’s Wretches & Jabberers. The feature-length documentary, in theaters now, follows the paths of two men with autism, Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher, as they travel around the world determined to increase autism awareness and refine our ideas of intelligence.

From the film’s dedicated web site:

Growing up, Thresher and Bissonnette were presumed “retarded” and excluded from normal schooling. With limited speech, they both faced lives of social isolation in mental institutions or adult disability centers. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. Their world tour message is that the same possibility exists for others like themselves.

Yesterday evening, I met with composer J. Ralph and McIntosh’s Global VP of Sales and Marketing, Linda Passaro, for an intimate listening session.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 04, 2011 2 comments
You might remember the American Express Plum Card advertisement that featured hi-fi and vinyl retailer Music Direct. The ad, which ran on mainstream television for several months, did a good job of introducing hi-fi and vinyl to a wider audience.

The new ad puts greater emphasis on Jim Davis’s passion for music, vinyl, gear, and sound, and describes the growth of his company, Music Direct. Notice that the pretty Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 loudspeakers, reviewed by me in our April issue and by Bob Reina in a future issue, are given good airtime.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Apr 01, 2011 0 comments
This one goes out to a very special lady. You know who you are.

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