Stephen Mejias

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Dec 18, 2012 9 comments
Back in August, we told you about the proposed $150 Orbit turntable from upstart U-Turn Audio. The company is now moving closer to making their dream a reality. And, if they can keep their promise of high-performance sound and construction, that reality will likely be a dream-come-true for many young and budget-minded music lovers.

U-Turn Audio is funding their project through Kickstarter and hopes to raise $60,000 by Monday, January 21, 2013. As I write, 90 backers have pledged $15,666. (Is that a multiple of 33.3?)

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Dec 10, 2012 30 comments
Helm's Impossible Symmetry—one of my favorite records of 2012.

In the January 2013 issue of Stereophile, I list my 15 favorite records of the year (p.53). Here is an expanded, slightly more detailed list.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Nov 30, 2012 2 comments
On the morning of November 7, about a week after Sandy hit our area, the people behind Headphone Commute, a website devoted to the appreciation of music and high-quality sound, reached out to their favorite artists and asked if they’d like to donate tracks for a compilation, the entire proceeds of which would go to Doctors Without Borders and The Humane Society, in an effort to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

By midday, Headphone Commute had received confirmations from 10 artists, included among them acclaimed pianist Nils Frahm. Over the next several days, more artists eagerly offered contributions. Today, the roster of musicians reads like a “Who’s Who” in the worlds of modern classical, ambient electronic, and experimental music: Olafur Arnalds, Black Swan, Peter Broderick, Celer, Dakota Suite, Lawrence English, Hauschka, Ezekiel Honig, Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Scanner, Valgeir Sigurdsson, and dozens more.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Nov 09, 2012 2 comments
Over at AnalogPlanet, Michael Fremer has kept us up to date on the highly anticipated remastered Beatles LPs. While the reemergence of the Beatles catalog on vinyl is exciting news for many music lovers, audiophiles are most curious about how these new editions will sound.

Get ready to find out.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Nov 06, 2012 9 comments
After two full weeks away from the office—Hurricane Sandy followed us from Puerto Rico to New Jersey—it was especially nice to get back in here and be greeted by the Stereophile Recommended Components Collector’s Edition.

Isn’t it beautiful?

For me, every one of its 180 pages represents blinding pain and seemingly endless suffering. But, for you, dear reader, we hope the Recommended Components Collector’s Edition will represent nothing but pure pleasure and joy.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 20, 2012 0 comments
Every time I see High Water Sounds’ Jeffrey Catalano, he introduces me to another outstanding piece of music (or three) that I need to own immediately. During RMAF 2012, one of those pieces was The Architecture of Loss, by Icelandic composer and founder of the excellent Bedroom Community label, Valgeir Sigurdsson.
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Stephen Mejias Posted: Oct 09, 2012 3 comments
Stephen Price, Editor at Stash Media (“the world’s largest library of animation, VFX, and motion design”), directed me to this video for Hauschka’s “Radar,” the lead track from the excellent Salon des Amateurs.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 19, 2012 6 comments
I’m sort of a jerk (stubborn, old-fashioned, anti-social, fiercely independent) and have managed, for my entire adult life, to survive without the Internet in my home. I realize that that will someday have to change—probably sooner than later—as I relinquish my autonomous life for one shared with another person. (And her two cats.)

For many people, the Internet means access to email, social networking sites, weblogs, forums, countless apps and other crap. For me, the Internet will inevitably mean Computer Audio.

And when the time comes for me to dive into Computer Audio, I’ll rely on Michael Lavorgna’s AudioStream to lead the way.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 14, 2012 0 comments
The D'Agostino Master Systems Analog Preamplifier, first seen at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Photo: John Atkinson

Wednesday, September 19, 6–9pm: Innovative Audio Video (150 East 58th Street, New York) will hold a “Meet the Innovators” event, featuring Dan D’Agostino, who will introduce and demonstrate the new D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Momentum Analog preamplifier. Refreshments will be served. Space is limited. RSVP: (212) 634-4444 or info@iavny.com.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 14, 2012 0 comments
We all know that good beer and good music make a beautiful couple, so it should come as no big surprise that craft brewer Stillwater Artisanal Ales is partnering with independent artists to create a new line of beers. The first of Stillwater’s Sensory Series is inspired by “In the End is the Beginning,” the closing track from Lower Dens’ recently released Nootropics.

Says Brian Strumke, Stillwater owner and brew master:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 14, 2012 0 comments
Michael Lavorgna reports on Philip Jeck and Ted Riederer’s performance, last night, at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, in Brooklyn. Jeck sat at a table, with access to a small keyboard and a few simple turntables. Meanwhile, Riederer played guitar and sang, sending his signals through various effects pedals, looping them and transferring them directly to lathe-cut vinyl. Upon the completion of a side, Riederer would hand the newly created record to an unsuspecting Jeck. In turn, Jeck, with a smile, would place the record upon a turntable and play along. It continued like that for some time.

Like ML, I was captivated by the total experience: the dim lighting, the attentive crowd, the lulling sounds, the rich scents, the soft feel of old floorboards and torn carpeting—it all worked to transfix and transport.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 11, 2012 7 comments
I'll have more to say about Dan Deacon's America, both here and in the pages of Stereophile, but, for now, I'll just quickly say that I like it—a LOT.

Full of major chords and glorious crescendos, littered with screeching electronic noise and dressed up with sweeping violins, America is bold, ambitious, arrogant, pretentious, and really beautiful.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 07, 2012 2 comments
As I mention in last month’s “Entry Level,” September 5th would have been John Cage’s 100th birthday, and celebrations of all shapes and sizes are taking place around the world. Fans of Cage’s music are especially lucky: several exciting new releases are now available.

Here are just a few:

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments

My review of Flying Lotus' fourth full-length album, Until the Quiet Comes, is scheduled to appear in our November issue, but this short film, directed by Kahlil Joseph, does a fine job of depicting the record.

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Stephen Mejias Posted: Sep 05, 2012 4 comments
I will not pretend to understand the concept behind The Ganzfeld EP, electronic duo Matmos’ upcoming release, but I will simply say that I dig it, deeply. From the press release, because I can’t say it any better:

The EP and the album [The Marriage of True Minds, available early 2013] have the same conceptual basis: telepathy.

Telepathy!

For the past four years the band have been conducting parapsychological experiments based upon the classic Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment, but with a twist: instead of sending and receiving simple graphic patterns, test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. During videotaped psychic experiments conducted at home in Baltimore and at Oxford University, test subjects were asked to describe out loud anything they saw or heard within their minds as Drew attempted transmission. The resulting transcripts became a kind of score that was then used by Matmos to generate music. If a subject hummed something, that became a melody; passing visual images suggested arrangement ideas, instruments, or raw materials for a collage; if a subject described an action, then the band members had to act that out and make music out of the noises generated in the process of the re-enactment.

The result, to which I am now listening and which is in turn driving me crazy, is perhaps the greatest work I’ve heard from Matmos—and that’s saying a lot, as Matmos generally blows my mind.

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