Forum member, dbowker, gave me the heads-up on this special Record Store Day LP. With This LP Crashes Hard Drives, ten of my favorite hard-core crate-digging specialist labels came together to release one hell of a deluxe, limited-edition, gatefold masterpiecejust one of the many reasons to raise our voices and rejoice for Record Store Day. The awesome package includes a CD sampler, zines, catalogs, stickers, and posters from all participating labels.
I started with Loudon Wainwright's Unrequited. Though the front cover shows Wainwright looking positively pained, a tear streaming down his forlorn face, the back cover is a completely different story: all shits and giggles, which perfectly complements the live nature of the album's second side. Who knows what Loudon was crying about? Maybe he simply preferred live performances over studio work. I share the feeling.
John Vanderslice’s seventh studio album, White Wilderness, marked by the enchanting, fluid maneuvers of the Magik*Magik Orchestra, was released last Tuesday. The entire albumnine twisting, coiling songs, spanning 31 minuteswas recorded in just three days, but sounds as purposeful and carefully conceived as a special gift.
Meanwhile, Vanderslice has another gift up his sleeve:
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.
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.
Truth is: I know diddly-squat about Frank Zappa. I've heard this and that, of course, and all I've heard has always been intriguing, but, for no good reason, I've just never taken the time to dive into Zappa's world. Perhaps it's because his world seems so enormous and wild and foreign. His world is full of barking pumpkins and utility muffins and Sprechstimme and other things I can neither imagine nor pronounce. I mean, even his name is strange. Like an exclamation, like a shot of electricity. Zappa! Say it three times, and something bad might happen. Zappa! Zappa! (No, don't!)
A second, smaller Innovative Audio room held a system made of Wilson Audio’s Sasha W/P loudspeakers ($27,900/pair); Lamm M1.2 Reference hybrid monoblocks ($24, 190/pair); VTL TL-7.5 Series III Reference preamplifier ($20,000) and TP-6.5 Signature phono preamp ($10,500 with moving-coil step-up transformer); Spiral Groove SG2 turntable ($21,000, with Centroid tonearm) and Lyra Kleos MC cartridge ($3000); Transparent cables, power conditioning, and AC cords; and Finite Element Pagode racks and supports.
They're opening a Starbucks and a Duane Reade directly across from the Grove Street PATH station, where I catch the train to work each morning. This will certainly bring more people to my growing neighborhood. This morning, the train was so crowded that I couldn't read my book, Murakami's colorful Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. So, instead, I did what I always do when there's no room to read: