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Friday, April 29, 2011

Trains


I love trains... I always did.

My grandfather was in "Ferrovie dello Stato" (Italian Railways), as my uncle Ettore: my grandmother brought me several times, as a child, to visit the big exchanging rails cabin, all those lights and the trains from Germany and Austria with logs and the snow...

I never forgot these afternoons, with the smell of spruce and resin and... snow passing in front of me.

Trains... I heard when a kid, from my bed, before sleeping... I still hear them now - in the distance - when air is cold and "thinner".

Last morning, during my daily, early morning Chicco (the dog) peeing walk - at about 6,30 A.M. - I sort-of had an illumination: I very often walk in the park, BUT only seldomly I hear a train noise, whistling and wheels and rails and all...

... and it happened, that VERY morning: a train, maybe a couple of kilometers from me as crow flies, it was crystal clear, real, like it was only few meters from me... like an acoustic, aural mirage.

Air quality? Humidity? Wind, maybe... or my own (improved) attention? Lesser traffic in town, outside the park?

... all the above and...

Sorry, I don't know, exactly...

What I know for sure is "what" and "how" I'm currently listening in my studio: the quality of musical experience, which sounds to my ears nothing short of amazing.

A sense of freshness, aurally comparable to looking at a mountain landscape in a June, sunny, chilly morning... the visual experience of colours, near and far details, and overall beauty of the scene as a whole, is GREATLY enhanced by birds chirping, trees leaves noise in the light wind, and ALL and everything, simply "make sense".

Ever surprising, zest-like, pure music flows from my speakers... things didn't changed, apparently... all gears are where they were and should be, on the shelves... but, nonetheless, like last morning, I "hear the train" like never before...

Also in my studio: the air quality, the humidity, my attention... again, don't know!

It's a reality, for me and for my friends who already experienced this... yes, I dare: perfection.

...............

Saying "Hello!" to Klaus' young grandson - the only kid I'm aware of who is able to walk inside a bass-horn! - for teaching to me a lot;-) about "Thomas the Tank Engine", his beloved cartoon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life after conTACTing Elodis' Franz Hinterlehner...


About one month after the delivery and room installation of Elodis' TGE in my studio, Franz Hinterlehner kindly paid a new visit to yours truly for first "true" fine tuning session.

He drove the usual 1600 km, back and forth, from his hometown, near Wien, with the usual impressive load of goodies... computer, Class A measurement mike, cables, his SUPER two chassis, multi-channel amp and PSU (see his site) and... his own black TACT RCS 2.2 XP (pre-amp) room-corrector.

We used my own A & E analog 1st order crossover and, after careful measuring of input pulse frequencies, the TACT - with Franz's skill and knowledge - at about 1,20 A.M. last Easter sunday we ended with 7 slightly different pre-sets, ALL optimized for my room, system, gears and listening position... and - as a plus - we "now" know exactly efficiency and distorsion figures of ALL Goto's drivers!

Bespoke? MUCH more, folks... my system possibly reached the - VERY high - limits of my Goto's and of my ears and sensitivity, which, not surprisingly, were not working at their best with Goto's quite superficial (un)technical "suggestions" - i.e. connect and listen.

... (not kidding)... a shame, as many - me included - are/were down-using below true, possible performances, these superb drivers...

I finally understood, at my VERY low, maybe slow;-) pace, how much a musically trained, technically gifted and trained, yet still a music lover in his soul like Franz Hinterlehner is can do for anyone motivated enough to walk the whole path - i.e. the search for the maximum obtainable musical satisfaction in a given room with any music of choice.

Once more I learned that opinions are like dicks - i.e. everyone has his own... what's most important is directly experiencing more and more, hear this and that, travelling, both virtually and in person, and chatting and reading a lot... then hire "The Best" you know and - together - reach the goal.

I feel pitiful about those who - still victims of magazines and forums - follow the "dominant male" of the moment, who, destructively, NEVER, ever for the sake of pleasure and/or audio art advancement, put on the pedestal this or that (industrial) product... an herd which changes his mind every few months, people who compulsively purchase several piece of gears per year and re-sold, still always deeply unsatisfied.

... yes, me too, I was in the herd, only few years ago and "my" own "dominant male" to follow were, alternatively, named Eugenio, Lorenzo, Mauro... they also taught to me something, but, they were, sort-of "audio personal shopping advisors", same Rodeo Drive-like consultants who supports with their hintings an hyper-busy, wealthy community who simply have not the time to use Ebay or the shopping-mall... but if a personal-shopping advisor can suggest about a sofa cloth, a tent or a home-furniture, having to deal with ears and music and ALL the meaningful soul-related stuff... well, I didn't need a personal advisor, in the past as I do not need it, now.

Sure I needed Franz a lot, someone whose technical approach wasn't distracting from the REAL goal - music and musical satisfaction - and, most of all, able to filter through his technically oriented mind the needs of me, myself and I the listener and music lover, the lunatic details freak and the one "I know how a real (acoustic) guitar sounds";-)

He, patient and untired, measured for hours and took graphs and explained to me things and facts and... at the end, what he obtained is VERY close to the perfect sound, the ideal, the mother and father of sound - including maximum undistorted S.P.L. available in my studio, with a sense of smoothness and easiness seldom heard everywhere, still balanced and beautiful, never boring or fatiguing.

...conTACT... con-TACT (transl. - with TACT...) first contact with TACT RCS 2.2 XP was... oh, oh... a digital machine, a... aaaarghhh... a room corrector - i.e. an equalizer... a veiling, harmonically and imaging destructive machine, an expensive toy for rich, deaf audiophiles.



Reviews on WEB were a mixed bag of "WOW!" and "I hate it!"... so, the perfect product to - once again - "knowing" more about people and good or bad-will and attitude(s)... I'm 150 percent sure the "haters" party or never or badly listened to a system using a poorly tuned TACT's, maybe at some (ex) hotel-(music)room at exhibitions around!

Myself, possibly buying it brand-new, I would have sure misused, played with it, instead of being able to squeeze from this powerful tool the best, as it can do... for his kindness, knowledge, dedication and skills, Franz Hinterlehner should be MANDATORILY hired and knew by everyone with "our" passion, period!

Expensive... no, absolutely not and comparing to possible decades-long sell&buy&re-sell practice, a TRUE bargain.

I never met someone like him: we can rock and play invisible "air-guitars" for hours, BUT when it's time to measure and calculate and bend TACT room-tailoring capabilities to my tastes, he become deadly-serious in few moments, 'til finishing the job, also the most boring and annoying.

The results, folks?

Room modes were corrected, and music simply, flawlessly kept ALL its merits, and no sound bleaching, dynamic flattening, image reducing in size and precision and worstening of timbres trueness happened.

No redundant sound or overall results also entering with superb Thomas Mayer's 801A/437A preamp(s) to manage the analog - tape and vinyl - sources: this, as also Franz pointed out, the merit of Thomas Mayer's great workmanship and design and Dave Slagle's TVC, which will also be used in next - hopefully final;-) - Mayer's project.... more to come;-)

... the last scene: me singing with a gospel-like baritone voice in a wooden, white country church, at late afternoon mass: "... I've nooooo mooooore wisheeees, my Loooooord!"

Curtains.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pierre Bensusan


COMMUNIQUÉ DU 19 AVRIL 2011

Les concerts de Pierre prévus du 21 au 24 avril à Paris, au Théâtre Essaïon sont annulés pour des raisons médicales sérieuses mais pas alarmantes. Les médeciens sont à pied d'œuvre pour résoudre ce problème. Les personnes qui auraient réservé sont invitées à se rapprocher de leur point de vente pour remboursement.
Merci pour votre compréhension et à très bientôt,
Jacques Panis / Manager

I sincerely wish to Pierre ALL the very best for his good health and a fast recovery!

Musicians and stage behaviours, habits and trivia


I hate smiling musicians... rock, folk, not an issue with bluesmen;-), classical... pianists, violinists, guitar players... I could shot a (smiling) piano-player.

What the hell pushes a (sadly) famous new-age-ish italian piano player to ALWAYS smile like an illuminated Bodhisattva, while going up and down the keyboard?

Maybe the wages coming from his (automotive) advertising campaigns...

This quite silly, outrageously false pose and attitude is plagueing modern music, as I repeat, playing is tremendously serious stuff... and on MTV or theaters worldwide, you see those lobotomized (false) happy zombies... moving their heads like dummy bears at the zoo.

Jokes (...) apart, like a doctor is taught about how to deal with illness and death, a musician is taught on how to perform, deal with audience and its dynamics... how many times to bow and if and when, depending on hand-clapping density, give an encore or more.

... but, playing, I wish to underline, is a difficult and time-consuming process and path and the most rewarding act for a musicians is when the most terrible pieces are played like the easiest tune on earth... I remember Paul Badura-Skoda, Hopkinson Smith or Mtislav Rostropovitsh while performing: they were like on a different universe, in direct relationship with Bach's Himself... yes, sometimes suffering, puffing, BUT still quietly dealing with technique and skill and art as the highest of human things, serious as death itself.

... BUT never, ever showing a false, forced, studied and tried at the mirror, "Happy Smile"!

The naked, supremely intense and straight-as-an-arrow beauty of Music was and is WELL enough to enlighten any stage, theater and audience worldwide.

World needs more (unsmiling) Miles and his music and less (too much smiling and hairy) A. and his hyper-sugar-fingerbuster/keyboard gym muzak...

... ah!

"The" nightmare


Eggs and asparagus... and some stress accumulated in the past weeks/months about on going audio projects and deeeeep hauling and fiddling, as always searching for further improvements (aehm... not always so;-)) with my audio system.

This explosive mix, i.e. good (heavy) food for dinner AND audio induced stress... BOOOOOM! I had the "mother of the audio nightmares"... imagine... I dreamt I came from somewhere and was back home, well, not really "home", BUT music and audio home, my studietto.

Tried to open the door, BUT it was already open... and ALL my gears and stuffs and records and Elodis'/Goto speakers were dismantled and boxed: all stuffed and piled on walls perimeter... something was utterly, supremely wrong, also for a lysergic-food hinted nightmare... I didn't recognize my speakers... GOSH!

They were upside down, the horns holders-frame separated from bass-horn... on top of the.... TGE's bottom;-) were some chairs...




... nothing was - indeed - damaged by mishandling... only, whole situation was quite weird, like I was dead and my wife had to deal with the bulky system I had/have, so hired someone, audio unaware at best, to free the studio or the like...

Dead or not, sure I wasn't there - in the dream - to direct and assist hauling and dismantling and crating...

A very out-of-the-body, alternate, parallel life experience... like someone returning from a deep-coma after looking at the tunnel end, after passing away... maybe also the recent Hieronymus Bosch's exhibition I saw in Venice played its role and, with eggs and asparagus, did it... maybe I'm only a stressed lunatic... maybe...



... I'll better enjoy this food for lunch...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

... let's support our local record shop, folks...


... yes, I know... Amazon is cheaper, on Ebay you find sought-after, long-gone stuffs, on GEMM sometimes a collector item comes out of the blue for peanuts... sometimes;-)

... but your record-pusher is an human being like you are and suggests and hints and knows your tastes... sometimes he also accepts your down-payments and postponed settlements, if the case;-)))

It's pure bargaining vs. a relationship...

Yours truly do a mix... say 10% (Amazon), 30% (Ebay), 30% flea-markets and specialty fairs and 30%... at Ivan's, of course!

He's guilty (with beloved Mojo mag) of my being (someway) updated about trends and new productions and artists.

So... let's preserve, respect and cherish our record-shops... world would be a poorer place without'em!

News from Andrejs Staltmanis... his "Flüstertü​te" project or Audio Design Award 2011?





Thanks for sharing, Andrejs, and congrats for the truly SUPERB handicraft... I'm sure the sound is to par the look and workmanship level.

Bravo.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

SONGS FOR JAPAN... everything is better than nothing



Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. John Lennon “Imagine”
2. U2 “Walk On”
3. Bob Dylan “Shelter From The Storm”
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Around The World”
5. Lady Gaga “Born This Way”
6. Beyonce “Irreplaceable”
7. Bruno Mars “Talking To The Moon”
8. Katy Perry “Firework”
9. Rihanna “Only Girl (In The World)”
10. Justin Timberlake “Like I Love You”
11. Eminem “Love The Way You Lie”
12. Bruce Springsteen “Human Touch”
13. Josh Groban “Awake”
14. Keith Urban “Better Life”
15. Black Eyed Peas “One Tribe”
16. Pink “Sober”
17. Cee Lo Green “It’s Ok”
Disc: 2
1. Lady Antebellum “I Run To You”
2. Bon Jovi “What Do You Got”
3. Foo Fighters “My Hero”
4. REM “Man On The Moon”
5. Nicki Minaj “Save Me”
6. Sade “By Your Side”
7. Michael Buble “Hold On”
8. Justin Bieber “Pray”
9. Adele “Make You Feel My Love”
10. Enya “If I Could Be Where You Are”
11. Elton John “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”
12. John Mayer “Waiting On The World To Change”
13. Queen “Teo Torriate (Let Us Cling Together)”
14. Kings Of Leon “Use Somebody”
15. Sting “Fragile”
16. Leona Lewis “Better In Time”
17. Ne-Yo “One In A Million”
18. Shakira “Whenever Wherever”
19. Norah Jones “Sunrise”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bob Dylan's early girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, passed away...



... and an handsome, forever young lady, the one which the world saw on Freewheelin' - i.e. Bob Dylan's second disc and who introduced a young His Bobness to French poets and who respected His friendship with a friendly, silent "No comment!" for decades... this lady died on last February 24th... not famous like a rock-star, BUT iconic, nonetheless, with her relaxed and unassuming beauty.

Perfectly normal...




She was ONLY a woman... and Bob dedicated to her some of his earliest (masterpiece) songs...

... and she will never die, really...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Astral body, soul and music


... was thinking about last evening concert... Towner and Fresu... I, once more time, found myself strangely unconnected to my flesh & bones body...

Like during my deepest, most satisfying listening sessions at my studio, when it seems I'm loosing my body, I found an absolutely confortable me in pure-soul mode;-) - i.e. I was aware my friend Daniele, my neighbour in second row seats next to me, was quite nervously changing his position - several and several times - during the one hour and a half long concert, while myself I was so deepened in music and its nuances, which, simply, I left my whole body still, in a very relaxed-mode, when I recognized this quite uncommon behaviour and status, I felt so easy and peaceful, I simply unattended the "legs/arms/hands" check-up, and remained in a (sort-of) spirit-only mode for loooong, beautiful minutes... maybe it happened several times, during the concert, BUT I only clearly remember this feather-light sensation when I get the consciousness of what was going on... it was a completely automatic self-switching to this... how to call it... Nirvana.

... my VERY first time at a concert, ever... again, must say: "Music: powerful stuff!"

Horn (speakers) and (flugel) horn




Yesterday evening I attended to a rare, superb performance by Ralph Towner and Paolo Fresu, classical and baritone nylon strung guitars and trumpet and flugelhorn... it happened at Sala dei Giganti al Liviano, an huge ancient, historic venue once a part of Carraresi royal-palace, back in 1300, when Padua was, like Venice, a city of merchants and travellers... with both Saint Anthony's church and Galileo Galilei and his telescope... the University and the church, sacred and revolutionary, at same time...

It's my hometown and I love it...

... same also seemed to feel the two musicians, in Sala dei Giganti... everytime I attended to a concert at Sala dei Giganti, ALL, bar none, musicians were loosing themselves looking at those giants (giganti) on the walls frescos... huge warriors in army, and an atmosphere to par.

La Monte Young & marian Zazeela, Terry Riley, Oregon, Charlemagne Palestine, Kujiken brothers, Gustav Leonhard, Hopkinson Smith and several, several others... all fell in love with this very, magic place...

... and Towner and Fresu were not exception... the concert was introducing the last musicians effort on ECM, "Chiaroscuro", which I already briefly talked about in a previous post...

Great, angular, yet poetic music... it seems that Towner, who now lives in Palermo, Italy, and Fresu, italian from Sardinia, both NOW share a definite Mediterranean flavour... a singing quality also to most nervous compositions... also the timeless stantards by Bill Evans and Miles' like Blue in Green are given an "italian treatment"...

... BUT, I'm not here to chronicle the concert;-)))

In "Chiaroscuro" disk on ECM, the duo is recorded very lively, with the usual ECM's sound: details 2die4, and extremely broad sonic palette and dynamics...

This very disk was one of the first listenings with my new TGE/Gotorama's and I was impressed by the superb sound of Fresu's flugelhorn... it was violent sounding, almost hurting, sometimes, while others it was mellow and smooth, having a breathing-like quality.

Despite it wasn't the first time I saw Fresu playing alive, I noticed he was - how can I say - using the stage wooden floor like an equalizer: while - as always - playing seated, he was bowing a lot, almost touching with instrument brass-bell the floor, giving a floating, different character to the sound depending on the distance from the floor itself.

After the concert I asked to him about this habit - i.e. as he was also using it in the studio... and YES, he was... in the ECM's minimalist approach, the sound engineer isn't heavily equalizing or correcting things, pan-potting or others gimnicks, and it's always musician task to expressively - someway - change the sound.

I was in front of the duo, second-row, at about 5 meters from the instruments placed on a 20 cm. high stage, and I blissfully appreciated the music and the sound, as well... I used my aural memory to remember the sound in my studio, and, folks... the shouting superb quality and power of the flugelhorn (and of the trumpet...) TRULY belongs to an outdoor instrument;-) more than a concert, indoor one!

The beefy, rich, thick sounds of Fresu's instrument were so similar in trueness to the reproduced sound in my system... and I understood "why" Fresu's flugelhorn sounded - at times - so hurting, also at home as alive, depending he was playing straight to the mike or the audience, or "playing with the floor";-) - and, shamelessly, a (silly) part of me, smiled in a Buddha-like way...

... maybe my (very own) quest for "M-U-S-I-C", after maybe having reached in the years a bold "M-U...", recently became a "M-U-S..."!?!

Cannot say... BUT sure I enjoyed the concert a lot...

Friday, April 1, 2011

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


£££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
£££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
££££££££££££££££££££££
$$$$$$$$$
£$$$£
$£$
...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

2011 April Fool's... great joke from Flag Counter's folks... please check;-)))



Got a new flag... clever!



;-)

Gotorama: what's behind a (maybe silly, jokingly given, old-timey) nickname


Maybe I was wrong, folks, as - you'll not believe - I always tried to keep an as serious and understated profile as possible, in audio and life, as well.

Am I shy?!?

... sure I'm worried about being over-wordy, excessively jubilant or redundant and - drums and fifes in the background - using self-statements - i.e. I own the best audio system in the world or I can hear 26.000 hz flat... well, definitely being this NOT the case, I got anyway some time to think about the reason of my quest and the actual degree of satisfaction, pros and cons, and related trivia.

I mean... not many are keeping a Blog, a diary, about their being VW Golf owners, talking to the world about washing their car, lubricating it, paying yearly taxes and insurance or their gasoline of choice... same for skates, bikes, motorbikes... ALL the above and other topics, YES, sometimes the above are the core and topic for (short) discussions among aficionados and users, but is much more intriguing reading (and talking about) a motorbike off-road trip to Tunisia's desert than an essay about a throttle cable, etc. etc. etc.

In my limited experience and knowledge, ONLY audio and music own that "misteriousness" of an indissoluble and apparently fighting duality, an endlessly flowing, fluctuating relationship between shape and function, hardware and software, using and ownership, peace and violence, strength and delicacy, angryness and satisfaction, friends and enemies, analog and digital, music and gears...

Like soccer, where different teams and fans are able to riot and destroy and kill, audio buffs are able to offend and any critic to any given piece of gear or audio system is like being called s.o.b. or motherf...;-)

Critics are - IMO - for-free food for thoughts and best fuel to be pushed toward right direction, period!

Not always easy to digest, a friend hinting or criticizing, is, sometimes, unconfortable to deal with - i.e. "Hey, I spent a lot of money... it cannot sound wrong!" or the like... but, like in investements or health care, better hearing more bells, before deciding this or that... much better (humbly) considering all and every voice.

Bells... like Reinhard righteously suggested, few hours ago... let's think about Church... everybody knows it, but, nonetheless, everyday, everytime, bell-towers ring their bells... to count hours, yes, apparently so... BUT, to a larger, deeper extent, Church reminds you about Its existence... ah!

... so, here I am, Reinhard;-) - not shy, yet aware of the uniqueness of our common passion, music and audio, audio and music, and proudly saying it...

I could - but I'll do not - talk about sacrificies in buying this or that, the hopes and deluges... or give a list of gears... I did something like that in Steve Clarke's The Analog Dept. site, like many others did in this superb Web place... but, again, it's not what I'm for...

Gotorama... when I nicknamed my system this way, it was very natural doing so, as I so STRONGLY felt I reached in years of changes, parts swapping, fiddling around, something being anymore a bunch of gears on shelves, BUT a new breed, a whole, electric/electronic and mechanic new "creature"!

I felt the whole combo was like a growing living "thing", able to feel humidity, and mains (electric) quality, so sensitive... repaying several and several times the cost in money and time with several, endless, infinitely-long moments of musical bliss.

Names... make no or little sense... SchickGarrardLumiereMayerHinterlehnerGotoSG160370DX570TelefunkenRevoxStuder... only names which could be xxxxxxxxxxxxhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjzzzz...

What's most important to me is "that" uncanny, seldom heard capability to embarassingly follow me and my choices, so supremely and humbly human, with highs and lows, and, always, say ALWAYS, after any change in gears, still firmly remaining "Gotorama", my very own music and shivers maker, the extension and follow-up of my very self, the most authentic me.

It sometimes sounds good, sometimes ONLY average and seldomly it's REALLY excellent, depending on the care I put into it and the mood - i.e. also choosing the "perfect" music for any moment plays a role and it's quite difficult, per se and part of the game: like being in open-chakra mode 24/24, 7/7, 365/365.

Needing for a final to something necessarily open-ending... as a late, minimalist Frank Zappa once wrote - "Music is best"... so right and easy... and - I add - every effort to better enjoy it is purest of pure, giving a sense to being alive... like looking at Nature and Its beauties... and to the Stars, in awe.