Sasha Matson

Sasha Matson  |  Sep 17, 2019  |  7 comments
In Alfred Hitchcock's great film Vertigo, filmed in San Francisco in 1957, the protagonist, Scottie, played by James Stewart, becomes obsessed with Madeleine, played by Kim Novak. Scottie, a retired detective, suffers from a disabling case of acrophobia, which becomes a critical if tenuous plot point.
Sasha Matson  |  Jul 02, 2019  |  0 comments
American composer John Adams and I first met in the late 1970s, when I became one of his composition students at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. My recollections from those days endure as near-cinematic images: John lugging his homemade synthesizer—he called it "the Studebaker"—down the hall prior to meeting me at his office; an early performance, at Mills College in Oakland, of Adams's Shaker Loops (footnote 1) for string septet; sitting with Adams during rehearsals for the 1981 premiere of his choral symphony Harmonium (footnote 2), with Edo De Waart and the San Francisco Symphony.
Sasha Matson  |  May 02, 2019  |  3 comments
Don Was is a music lover. Looking at his extensive discography as a record producer and musician, one is struck by the variety of artists he's worked with: from Iggy Pop to the B-52's, from Roy Orbison to Elton John, with over half a dozen stops along the way as producer for a little band called the Rolling Stones. In 2017, Was produced Gregg Allman's final studio album, Southern Blood (Rounder 610005). And when you include all the music he's had a hand in since 2012, when he became president of Blue Note Records, you're talking about one busy little red hen helping to bake a lot of bread.
Sasha Matson  |  Apr 19, 2019  |  20 comments
It hit me not long ago: I need more Mac in my life! I promptly purchased the current production version of McIntosh Laboratory's time-honored MC275 tubed amplifier, to mate to the Mac C2300 tubed preamplifier I already owned. The recently reinvigorated debate in these pages comparing solid-state and single-ended tube designs got me to thinking. One thing led to another, and voilà! McIntosh's latest solid-state stereo amplifier, the MC462 Quad Balanced ($9000), arrived, bolted to a shipping pallet and encased in two big, heavy, nested boxes. All that packaging weighs 33 lb—the amp inside weighs 115 lb. If you want to lift it onto a rack, you'll need two people, a serious handcart, and a strong, deep shelf.
Sasha Matson  |  Jan 15, 2019  |  31 comments
The Beatles: The Beatles—50th Anniversary Edition
Apple B0028831-01 (2 LPs). 1968/2018. George Martin, orig. prod.; Geoff Emerick, orig. eng.; Giles Martin, reissue prod., remix; Sam Okell, reissue eng., remix; Miles Showell, mastering. ADA. TT: 93:27
Performance *****
Sonics *****

The Beatles, aka the "White Album," was first released on November 22, 1968. On November 9, 2018, in honor of that event, Apple Corps Limited issued the new 50th Anniversary Edition. My comments here refer to listening to the two-LP edition of the newly remixed The Beatles, pressed for Apple by Quality Record Pressings. Also included in three other varying editions are 27 of what are now known as the Esher Demos, 50 out-takes and alternate takes, and a 5.1-channel hi-rez surround mix on BD.

Sasha Matson  |  Dec 27, 2018  |  3 comments
Autumn in New York—watching Central Park change colors. Also time to catch the Bill Charlap Trio during their annual residency at the Village Vanguard: Charlap at the piano, Peter Washington on bass, and Kenny Washington at the drums in the Church of Jazz, the room the Bill Evans Trio called home in the 1960s and '70s. Exploring the great traditions of jazz and American song has become a Charlap trademark.
Sasha Matson  |  Nov 11, 2018  |  7 comments
"We want the Beatles! We want the Beatles!" the packs of teenage girls screamed as they chased Herb Reichert down the halls of the Park Lane Hotel, grabbing for his still-ample hair. Stereophile's Fab Four—Ken Micallef, Jim Austin, Herb Reichert, and myself—hit the halls early for the first day of the New York Audio Show.
Sasha Matson  |  Sep 04, 2018  |  2 comments
There are the Grammys, and then there's the supermarket. Both are marks of achievement and permanence in popular recorded music. Having just begun writing this piece, I walked into the Price Chopper Supermarket in Cooperstown, New York, and what do I hear? Rita Coolidge, and the refrain from her 1977 recording of "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher." Now that's a hook—a high mark on the tree of pop.
Sasha Matson  |  Apr 09, 2018  |  8 comments
There I was, at my son Peter's thirtieth birthday party at Black Flamingo in Brooklyn, staring at a large. floorstanding speaker cabinet. Then it hit me—young people are gathering in groups to listen and dance to high-quality music playback. Just like we used to do!
Sasha Matson  |  Dec 15, 2016  |  0 comments
Recordings and playback gear are two different sides of the hi-fi coin, and while many people have made careers creating one or the other, far fewer have made significant contributions to both. Joe Harley is one of those few. A longtime principal with the influential high-end audio manufacturer AudioQuest, he also continues to expand the discography of highly regarded recordings he has produced or helped to remaster, of both new and historically significant music.

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