Music and Recording Features

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Richard Lehnert  |  Apr 26, 2010  |  First 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  |  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  |  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.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 03, 2019  |  2 comments
Ours is an era where bargain anthologies from the greatest artists, ensembles, and composers on record compete with new issues of unusual repertoire and transcriptions. One among many that have caught my mind and ear is Alex Klein and Philip Bush’s recording of Twentieth Century Oboe Sonatas.
Robert Baird  |  Dec 24, 2013  |  First 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.

Thomas Conrad  |  Mar 11, 2021  |  5 comments
Full Disclosure: All jazz writers fantasize about owning a jazz label. These fantasies persist even in our post-CD, download era, when the record industry as we knew it has been laid to waste. It is reasonable to speculate that, as a reader of this magazine and therefore a music junkie, you may have had an entrepreneurial record label fantasy or two of your own. For us, it should be interesting to hear from Mark Feldman, because he actually did it. In fact, he did it twice.
Robert Baird  |  Oct 24, 2017  |  12 comments
While it may elicit shakes of the head, nasty, distasteful looks, or vociferous yawps about its being nothing more than a load of warmed-over psychedelic pandering, the time may have come to listen again to Their Satanic Majesties Request, the much-maligned 1967 album by the Rolling Stones—and perhaps think of it in a slightly more humane light. Few records from that or any other era have been as widely savaged. It's easy to make the argument that any record with such a pretentious title deserves to be ridiculed. The music itself is scattered and feels unfinished in spots. Then there's that cover image.
John Atkinson  |  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  |  Nov 13, 2012  |  First 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  |  Jul 03, 2018  |  First Published: May 01, 1981  |  40 comments
The author demonstrating stereo microphone techniques at an English audio show in 1981.

For most people the terms hi-fi and stereo are synonymous, and yet it is clear that there is still a great deal of confusion over what the word "stereo" actually means. There isn't even a consensus of opinion amongst producers of records, designers of hi-fi equipment, audio critics and music lovers as to the purpose of stereo, and considering that the arguments show no sign of diminishing in intensity, it is instructive to realise that 1981 sees both the 100th anniversary of Clement Ader's first stereo experiments and the 50th anniversary of Alan Blumlein's classic patent on stereo.

Robert Baird  |  Mar 07, 2017  |  0 comments
One is a well-established reissue label, known the world over for its completist black boxes filled with beautifully remastered jazz recordings from the 1930s through the 1960s.

The other is a new label that records only new jazz, released in elaborate packages that include a poem and original artwork, not to mention transparent 180gm pressings, tying into the newly fashionable idea of a vinyl lifestyle.

In both cases, hope truly springs eternal.

Robert Baird  |  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.
Sasha Matson  |  Nov 05, 2020  |  2 comments
Marty Krystall is a musician's musician, highly regarded and known to his peers in the LA music world as a triple-threat wind player equally adept at jazz, classical, and in the studio. He is also an audiophile, a recording engineer, and a record company owner, having created the K2B2 label with bassist and colleague Buell Neidlinger in 1979.
Wes Phillips, John Atkinson  |  Nov 12, 2006  |  First 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.

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