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Monday, December 31, 2012

Panzer Kong vs. Garrardzilla



... I apologize for my silliness on posts titles, folks... yet, I love experimenting on materials and aethetics solutions for my beloved turntable(s), bearings, platters, arms and plinths... it's passion in the passion and added pleasure... so being deadly serious isn't that necessary.

During 2012 I developed the bronze platter, a big improvement vs. the stock, original, strobo or strobo-less, extruded aluminium alloy platter.

After visiting Serge Schmidlin, on last September, I listened to his battery-operated turntable, using a plywood platter and the sound was, also considering the ancillary equipment and the whole turntable... well, I felt and heard a great sense of smoothness and "rightness" from discs I know VERY well...

My fiddling around the concept of a (generic) plywood platter was already in the making,  but I choose to purchase a Delignit's Panzerholz 330 mm disc (a VERY expensive material, indeed) - as,  after listening at Serge's I hadn't more doubts - and only few hours after being back home, I brought the disc to the machinist workshop... to became after careful lathing and bronze insert for added precision and bearing matching... a Panzer Kong platter: here is the finished look and finish, enamelled outside and natural underside, mirror polished on inner rim for smoothest idler-wheel running.

I've been asked if I hear differences among platters... well, YES, definitely!

Is Panzerholz better than bronze?












What's better?

It depends on tastes and what you're looking for,  as for different timbres in musical instruments are salt-to-life - i.e. different nuances in violins and all stringed instruments are so well-known to be lapalissian...

Same different behaviour happens in our audio systems and we're all aware of this... someone prefere a cold sound, others a warm, forgiving, romantic, whatever sound... I'm more into natural and detailed.

Incredibly, a 13 kilos bronze platter sounds quite similar to a 3,5 kilos Panzerholz platter and both sound - you'd bet it - so different from original alu alloy platter, which seems to lack - after direct comparison - that slam, ooomph and guts, and the greatly improved decay...

Sounds stupid?



Vibes taming can be reached in several different and sometimes contrasting ways... lightness, honeycomb-like materials, super heavy mass, different materials taming each others, but also the dominant material vibration frequency is PARAMOUNT...

In audio literature, always highly hyped, you often finds "3 hz frequency isolation" or something... BUT, every material - like also every luthier is well aware of, has its own resonance and definite frequency; in audio, resonance is as important as isolation!

So, it's not only a matter of isolating - say - a turntable from subway or lorries, BUT, more and more, reaching a sort-of  a "friendly frequencies matching" among different parts of a turntable.

The above is valid for almost any part of an audio system... or of a musical instrument: let's think about an acoustic guitar, the same AAA grade spruce soundboard sounds VERY different if the body, back and sides are made out of maple, mahoganny or Brazilian or Indian rosewood... tuning machines on a solid or slotted peghead also sounds different, a neck truss-rod made of graphite, aluminium rod T or square shaped sounds VERY different, to do NOT name body shapes and sizes.

Same is for a turntable... a plywood or a slate plinth sound VERY different, and it's not ONLY a matter of vibes taming, but of matching resonances and obtaining the most fluid and natural to the ear overall sound...

Same as it happens while cooking... blah, blah, blah...

Different theories are advocating heavy mass, period... I found - not alone, of course - that (let's call it) a pleasant, almost "musical" feeling while tapping, knocking a slab of this or that... works.

A lead sheet doesn't play nicely, yet, some lead can do.

A spruce platter... a lead platter... a rubber platter... maybe, who knows, never...

I remain open-minded and positive... in my limited experience, the Panzerholz platter for the 301/401 sounds really pleasant, deadly silent background of a different "colour" from bronze or stock platter... silence and pauses sounds more woolly (as warm, not dead), rich, beefier than stock platter.

Yesterday I went to New Year's Eve concert at "Teatro La Fenice" in Venice and the sound of the orchestra was reminding Panzerholz platter... yes, I'm a lunatic, I know...

The violins, violas, cellos and double-basses were very romantic and the flutes, piccolo, horns and percussions were extremely lively (...), also from the "pigeons nest" balcony seats I enjoyed.







The Delignit's plywood detailing is less exagerated vs. bronze very "severe",  incredible retrieval capabilities... yet, acoustic instruments and classical string quartets, acoustic guitars and voices are amazing with Panzeholz.

Electric jazz and rock may sounds too "polite" and "sweet",  yet dynamics are here, always surprising like it was surprising hearing the tympanis and large drum and triangle and gong,  yesterday... Sir Gardiner conducting Verdi, Rossini and Tchaikovski.

So what?

A bronze platter is like a Martin '29 00-45 Brazilian Rosewood/Adirondack and a Panzerholz platter is like a '60s Gibson J-200... what's better?

Rich and mellow, the first vs. mellow and rich, the latter... both gorgeous.

I enjoyed the tasting a lot... and cherish both platters a lot.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dictaphone - Poems from a Rooftop


DICTAPHONE 






Underneath the rage, there is a disturbing sense of calm, an overwhelming sadness that fails to show its true colors; once ground shaking emotions have been vanquished and deemed to live in the sub-terrain, palpable to some yet utterly nonexistent to most. This, in very simplistic terms, is the more prevalent feeling I have gotten from people during my time in Iran so far, the sense of being overpowered yet fully knowing that it’s only a matter of time, until all hell breaks loose. The “Green Movement” which found itself at a loss when fighting the powers that be, is gone, but only momentarily; it’s merely a matter of time. Dictaphone’s third album “Poems from a Rooftop”, which gets its name from the above-mentioned movement’s call for people to shout their dissatisfaction from their rooftops after the highly controversial elections in 2009, represents this sense of lurking anger and disdain in magnificent fashion. It is sadness which you can snap your fingers to, a testament to the trio’s grip on mood and texture and a gripping experience from start to finish.



GREAT music and an amazing recording to par... the vinyl extra-limited (350 pieces, only... and already out-of-print, but CD and download are still available...) pressing is awesome, with super quiet surfaces and hand-made cover.
Gorgeous.

Thanking Thomas Schick... it's one of 2012 musical highlights:-)




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Shameless


I believe in caos and chance... entelechy...  ἐντελέχεια... yes!

... or the most perfect form of perfection, as it's self-contained... not "pushed" or hyped or stressed...  the best and only self-perfection:-)

Yesterday I received a small envelope from Bruxelles... the artist who played and recorded one of the disks Jean Hiraga brought with him during our Kolner gathering at Klaus' place - only a few weeks ago - sent it to me...

Jason Van Gulick, the percussionist behind this one-of-a-kind extremely limited edition, home-cooked disk is a genius... I got # 48/60: the disk title is, would you bet it, "Entelechy".

He quotes - with his flawless playing - Gamelan, Tibetan and Chinese traditions, a la Lou Harrison and Colin Mcphee, yet, he sounds like an early Stomu Yamashta, and he's eerie and heavy, crashing cymbals and big drums, using hands and sticks and mallets.



Strange indeed, once more time, after remembering the listening of this SO nice disk at Klaus', I noticed a whole load of hidden details in the background of music... birds (the recording was held in May in Bruxelles...) and assorted little background noises.

All these details SIMPLY weren't previously audible, during my first auditioning of this fine music.

(...)


Shamelessly... YES,  proudly, yet respectfully selfconscious and feeling NO embarassed while comparing Gotorama to Klauscope... sincerely, as music always is also "naked truth",  I strongly felt the HUGE merits of what I created in my listening room, after some years of hard work and fiddling and spending time and money: also on Jason's disk heaviest passages, with BIG drums, metal "thunder" sheets and cymbals climaxes, I do not loose control or feel pain at the ears or feel the need to get worried about (audible) distorsions or any system crisis and stress and still keeping a detailing 2die4... not only (beloved) birds chirping on this very disk, also the hum of a guitar tube amplifier before an electric guitar solo or the twang of an amp spring reverb on "The Alps 3rd"... or the hands brushing a drum leather, again on Jason's... and more and more... if all the above is "here" I find it "right" to hear and enjoy it... am I wrong?

I - shamelessly - enjoy "what" a system "truly" is: as I already pointed it out, not gears on shelves in a room,  BUT a "system"... all the above embedded in each others, indissolubly... where all complexness is digested and forgotten, and only a Zen-like, simple distillate remains.

Music.

I'm not aware of other "systems" around... performing this way, as a "whole"... and this whole is MUCH more than the sum of single parts.

I told you: on this end of 2012... I'm shameless:-) for being aware of ἐντελέχεια when I find it.



Thanking Jason for great playing and superb recording and Jean for his always great musical tastes and suggestions.

... and kudos and deep bows to everyone, friends and artisans, who contributed with yours truly in creating... this... THIS...

Entelechy.




Friday, December 28, 2012

The Perfect Gift Dept. - Clack!









.. mmmhhh... was thinking: could it be used - yes, talking about the egg "dome" - as a "bio", 100% natural diaphragm for a, say, 1,5" mid-driver... so after "woofer" and "tweeter"... "egger"?

Thanking Jean...









Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Voice of the Eagle - The Enigma of Robbie Basho" - a movie by Liam Barker




Upcoming, at last: a documentary/movie about Robbie Basho...




Hoping for something...







Audiopax Maggiore M100 from Brasil - six monos in a single chassis...





... hey, it vaguely looks like my own "project", the Thomas Mayer's Triamp:-)))






My own triamp - if really built and not only a drawing or a bunch of irons and tubes, as above - would have used 45 DHT for improved clarity and harmonic richness... yet a VERY limited power device, only for 105db+ speakers.

So clever who built it: it's always nice see that an idea can become real... too bad the designer of this nice amp - Eduardo de Lima - recently passed away... using brass for the chassis was OK... using KT 88... maybe an opinable choice,  yet mainstream audio asks for this...

I had a couple of emails swapping with this late gentleman in the past... he was very passionate and skilled and sure he WELL knew his craft.







Power is 16 W for six channels... sounds really cool and intriguing for multiamping... solid state Class A for bass, of course...

... mmmmhhhh...



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Filippo La Mantia, oste & cuoco




... which means - innkeeper and chef...








A must... his recipes are pure 100% Sicily at its best and his "Oranges Pesto"... WOW!


It's my Christmas' gift to you all:-)


Ohhh, no problem... no thanking needed... you're welcome:-)




Monday, December 24, 2012

Garrardzilla 301 - a new wolf in sheep's clothing!



Beware!!!



Another Garrardzilla is in town, folks;-)





Ray's solid chassis, massive plywood round plinth (cool and seldom seen!), 13,5 kilos bronze platter, bespoke bearing and clamp... also using and enjoying the exotic, sought-after NHK's original DL-103 cartridge!

What a combo! Superb, indeed!

My compliments to the clever and lucky owner:-)



The Perfect Gift Dept. - Les Percussions de Strasbourg's 50th Anniversary 15CD boxset




Fifty years in the life of an ensemble is exceptional, if not unique. 'Les Percussions de Strasbourg' has become a name, a label: one of French excellence.
Les Percussions de Strasbourg is the history of a group of musicians that has enjoyed exemplary success, inventors of a tradition, and behind a half-century of musical premieres. The attraction of the greatest composers of our time for this group of six percussionists has allowed for creating, in a few decades, a repertoire that has already taken its place in the history of written music (Xenakis, Amy, Mâche, Dufourt, Grisey, Levinas, Manoury, Matalon…)







This limited-edition 15-CD boxed set brings together some of the most important milestones in this fifty-year adventure. It offers testimony in sound with a varied panorama of works written at the group's behest and defended in the foremost venues the world over. From historic recordings of Messiaen and Boulez to the most recent creations, here in world premiere recordings (On space by Juan Pampin, Ondoyant et divers by Edmund Campion and Les Arpenteurs de François Paris), the 50th Anniversary Edition allows for taking a new look at the repertoire by paying homage to the founders, as well as to those who have urged on the group, and also putting into perspective the second generation of Les Percussions de Strasbourg, whilst also tracing tomorrow's perspective lines. Numerous Philips recordings, previously unreleased on CD, complete this portrait of an historical ensemble.

Rare photos from the group's archives illustrate the sleeves within the box, and the booklet offers an fascinating interview of individuals who embody the group today – Jean-Paul Bernard, its artistic director, and Olaf Tzschoppe –, as well as accounts by eminent artists of percussion.

CD 1
MESSIAEN
Sept Haïkaï
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum
Couleurs de la Cité Céleste
Yvonne Loriod, piano
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Orchestre du Domaine Musical / Pierre Boulez

CD 2
BOULEZ
Le Marteau sans maître
Jeanne Deroubaix, contralto / Severino Gazzelloni, flute / Georges van Gucht, xylorimba
Claude Ricou, vibraphone / Jean Batigne, percussion / Anton Stingl, guitar / Serge Collot, alto
Pierre Boulez
AMY
Cycle
MANOURY
Le Livre des Claviers
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 3
HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI
Jeux 6
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
BOUCOURECHLIEV
Archipel 3
Georges Pludermacher, piano
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 4
VARESE
Ionisation
CHAVEZ
Tambuco
Toccata
CAGE
First construction (in metal)
CAMPION
Ondoyant et Divers

CD 5
STIBILJ
Epervier de ta faiblesse, Domine
Claude Petitpierre, recite
SILVESTROV
Mystères
François Hébral (flûte alto)
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
DENISOV
Nuages Noires
Georges van Gucht, vibraphone
Apparitions et disparitions
Christian Hamouy, Vincent Vergnais
Rayons des étoiles lointaines dans l'espace courbé
Keiko Nakamura, Guillaume Blaise, Jean-Paul Bernard
KABELAC
Huit Inventions, op. 45
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 6
SEROCKI
Continuum
APERGHIS
Kryptogramma
XENAKIS
Persephassa
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 7
SCHAT
Signalement
Jean Hème, Robert Quattrochi, Léon Vienne (contrabasses)
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
PUIG
Provisoires agglomérats
Claude Petitpierre recite, Karen Fenn (contralto)
Chorale expérimentale de Paris
Bande magnétique réalisée par Luc Perini dans le Studio du Groupe de Recherches Musicales de l’O.R.T.F.
Jean-Pierre Drouet (darabouka)
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
DENISOV
Concerto Piccolo
Claude Delangle, saxophones
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 8
SCHERCHEN
Shen
SHINOHARA
Alternances
OHANA
Quatre études chorégraphiques
LOUVIER
Candrakâla
Shima
TAIÏRA
Hiérophonie V
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 9
DUFOURT
Erewhon
Sombre journée
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 10
MONNET
Bibilolo
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 11

CD 12
GRISEY
Le Noir de l’Etoile
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 13
PAMPIN
On space
D’ADAMO
Die Runde Zahl
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
MATALON
Le Scorpion
Dimitri Vassilakis, piano
Les Percussions de Strasbourg

CD 14
MÂCHE
Maraé
Aera
Khnoum
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Le printemps du serpent
Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Ju Percussion Group de Taïwan

CD 15
RACOT
Subgestuel
LEVINAS
Voûtes
PARIS
Les Arpenteurs
Les Percussions de Strasbourg


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Above the Tree/Musica da Cucina [Split-Brigadisco/Musica Per Organi Caldi 2010]



A title-less disc,  a "split" - i.e. two artists sharing same disc, yet separate in composing and overall feeling - recorded live at Castello Medievale in Itri (Latina), Italy...








One side is by "Above the Tree" aka Marco Bernacchia and the other side is by "Musica da Cucina" aka Fabio Bonelli... loops, acoustic guitars, both plucked and slide, ambient noises, small percussions, pans and assorted kitchen-ware stuffs and a very nice, lively recording.




The Rocco Lombardi's nice artwork and insert completes a nice, NICE record - a vinyl copy, actually - which I enjoyed this afternoon.

Worth a listen.




Ho, hooo, hooooo...




Ho, hooo, hooooo!






I wish everyone a Merry Christmas!







Younger Chicco




Found a pix of beloved Chicco,  possibly dating 12 years ago or so, when he was younger and foolish:-)))

I noticed "that" look of love - always deeeep, deeeeeeep, straight like an arrow, straight to my VERY soul - was already "there", from the very beginning of our meeting and melting together...




ALWAYS missing you a lot,  every day, dear pup... my Chicco!


... and, yes, Iris, you were right: Christmas' time is making the void worst than ever...







Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Santa...





... I changed my mind... could I have, instead of the brand new KMAL/Keith Monks, Loricraft or VPI's disc-washing machine I previously asked for, "this"... right "THIS"?!?!




Please, ohhh, Santa... please... PLEASE!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Suicide Shop




Last Patrice Leconte's digital/cartoon movie - his second ever - is REALLY a beauty...  hinting to some Tim Burton's dark vision,  Edward Gorey's gothic cartoons and, at a distance, some Roland Topor's dadaism and lysergic vein.





Poetic.




Steven Wilson's “The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories)”... out soon!










The new album by Steven Wilson and band “The Raven that Refused to Sing (and other stories)” will be released on Kscope on 25th February. The album was written between January-July and recorded in Los Angeles in September with Steven’s current band line up of Guthrie Govan – lead guitar, Nick Beggs – bass guitar, Marco Minnemann – drums, Adam Holzman – keyboards, Theo Travis – saxophone / flute and engineered by legendary producer/engineer Alan Parsons.


Nice cover art.... and sure, it will be brand-new music.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Olafur... who?!?!




Arnalds, folks...


Not only Bjork, Sugarcubes, Emiliana Torrini and Sigur Ros coming from Iceland!


Cool and worth a listen....







The above - i.e.  "And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness" (2010) is what I like... and the only I own.


Try it.






The Perfect Gift




Audiophiles, oenophiles... any "xxxphiles" has their tricks and secrets and "necessories"...


Here is "the" perfect gift for any serious wine lover...



... and no:-)... NOT only for the above $$$$ myth:-)))






Every sought-after wine will be kept at its best, safe and sound after opening for days, if needed or simply wished...


I just asked Santa for this...




Monday, December 17, 2012

David Sylvian's Wandermude





Can't stand in my shoes...





... hoping for "something else" vs. "Manafon":-)))








Thursday, December 13, 2012

Eau de Cologne Winter 2012








Yes... it happened again... gathering at Klaus' place is like being back to an harbour after a storm... meeting old and new friends: Klaus and Moni, Reinhard, Bernd, Thomas, Jean, James, Doede and Shinichi.

We arrived from Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia (via Bonn) and Italy to meet each other, swap ideas, impressions and enjoy Klaus' one-of-a-kind awesome music system... definitely having good time and living "audio" as "pleasure machine"...  

... you already know: five ways, all Goto Unit drivers, no turntable and no tubes... only digital, disks and Flac/downloads... so ALL wrong?

NO!

Music is passing in all its glory...

Thomas Schick, Jean Hiraga and myself spent long hours talking and speculating on the matter... virtually all the Hi-end dogmas aren't followed... yet, the dynamics, clarity and overall beauty is so "here"...

Klaus, the owner of this incredible system was also very satisfied as, for the very first time, Shinichi Tanaka-san - i.e. the man who cares about commercial aspects of Goto Unit in Japan and a long time user and lover of these high efficiency drivers and horns - was visiting him in Germany.

I chatted with him and saw his face during listening sessions which lasted about 12 hours... yes...



I saw surprise and satisfaction... a mixed feeling like: "Hey, I sell these stuffs, so I shouldn't be surprised listening to ALL... "this"!" or the like...

Yet, all people, Thomas Schick, myself, Doede Douma, ALL the people at the gathering were deeply involved in the uniqueness of the event, sound and emotions.



Doede's "tiramisu" cake... 


... and "sweet" DDDAC!







Shinichi, Klaus and Jean



Thomas Schick and "Klauscope"





Jan (Klaus' grandson) inside bass horn... when I first visited Klaus in 2010, he was able to REALLY go deeper inside the horn... now he's taller.



Is it Klaus' "the" best audio system in the world?

I don't know... yet, of the several audio system which I listened to in forty years of passion... well, sure it's the one which gives more emotion on orchestral and rock... yes, my own Gotorama's better resolution and detailing is also "something",  Serge Schmidlin's Rubanoides and full-battery operated system is also in same vein...  special on low level details and complex harmonics... yet, "Klauscope"(tm) is incredibly able, without using digital crossovering and time-delay, to perform true-to-life and 1:1 vs. - say - The Who Live at Leeds, my own Malcolm Arnold's Polka on Lyrita SRCS 109 or Cream's Spoonful alive... or subterranean "Taiko" drums on Jean's Ondekoza's disk or the Mauricio Kagel's or Les Percussion de Strasbourg's super disks (I'm chasing hard for them all, dear Jean:-)))




... some of Jean's disks...



























Again, as I wrote some time ago and I shared with Thomas, it's when you're able to listen to "Undistorted Distorsion" following fuzz electric guitars, granite-like bass, airy voices and no blurring... and all this makes... Music!







                                                                                                      



I wish to thank Klaus, Reinhard, Thomas and his mighty "Lencomobile" (a true pleasure and honour introducing you to the Kolner bunch and spending some time together, Thomas...),  Jean (I really enjoyed the train journey in the snowy landscape to Koln, Jean... and all the chatting - with Thomas Schick, quietly drinking beer or having breakfast - and the load of informations given and the books you showed and recommended to me... you're REALLY my sensei-san and a living treasure, an example for everyone: you're among the greats and after decades of audio and music you still enjoy this passion, sharing your knowledge and first-hand experiences with everyone you recognize sincerely passionate as yourself... thanks, sincerely!) and Moni for great hosting and hospitality and Shinichi for... being there.



The almost complete bunch (1)...

and

(2)



and "The Canvas" by Moni







A new dawn... more music and less gears, folks...