LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 03, 2022  |  27 comments
The Southern California retro-band Calling Cadence signed to Hi-Res Records recently released an eponymously titled debut album recorded, mixed and mastered "the way they used to" make albums: recorded and mixed to analog tape and mastered by Kevin Gray from the analog master tape, and pressed at RTI on 180g vinyl. The cover image of an 8-track tape helps seal the retro-deal as does the music.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 03, 2022  |  18 comments
When the CD of this release arrived months ago, I looked at it and figured it was an Armstrong compilation and so put it aside. Nothing on the "jewel" case gave any indication that it was anything but and there was no accompanying press blurb.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 29, 2022  |  21 comments
SME debuted a new "Flagship" turntable at an event held March 25th, 2022 at the company's Steyning, West Sussex U.K. headquarters and in the legendary listening room of the company's founder, the late Alastair Robertson-Aikman. When I asked CEO Stuart McNeilis if yet another factory tour was necessary, he said "you be the judge". The answer was "yes" as new owner Ajay Shirke has made considerable investments in SME including new CNC machines, a brand new state of the art plating facility and a new tolerance measuring system that produces even greater machining tolerances than the already legendary SME precision.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 25, 2022  |  49 comments
The original British pressing of Are You Experienced? (Track 612 001) was a tepid looking and sounding monophonic affair and despite the label’s name, the jacket didn’t list the tracks, nor did the front offer the band’s name.

Malachi Lui  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  52 comments
Mere months after his patience-testing yet rewarding opus Donda, Kanye West is back with its lazily titled sequel, Donda 2. Don’t expect to find it on streaming platforms or in record stores, however. The artist now legally known as Ye instead independently released it exclusively on the $200 Stem Player, a proprietary, Yeezy Tech- and Kano-developed device that allows users tactile interaction with his last three albums (more about that later). Most of Donda 2’s media coverage centers around the Stem Player situation, how everyone thinks Kanye is “crazy” to so highly value his art by making everyone pay $200 for it. Yet, Donda 2 itself doesn’t cost $200; it’s a free download accessible only via the $200 Stem Player, meaning he doesn’t technically have to pay anyone royalties or sample clearances. Kanye would tell you he’s winning, except it’s his own game designed to eliminate any threat of competition. (Either way, Billboard ruled the album ineligible to chart. Kanye’s decision to keep Donda 2 off streaming is immensely respectable, though I wish he also put out a more convenient $20 CD or tape.)

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  14 comments
Blue Note today announced the next series of affordable Classic Vinyl 180g, all-analog reissues mastered by Kevin Gray using the original master tapes plated and pressed at Optimal in Germany. The records come in standard packaging to keep the costs down. Blue Note president Don Was and Cem Kurosman curate.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Mar 20, 2022  |  5 comments
Grammy award winning Yarlung Records out of Los Angeles California has been releasing classical music albums on CD, LP, and R2R tape since as far back as 2006, but they had somehow managed to escape my radar. Better late than never, as they possess all the ingredients necessary to delight readers of this website; including a dedication to minimalist analog recording techniques, and the curation of the finest up-and-coming classical talent working today. This label is run by people (primarily producer and engineer Bob Attiyeh) who care deeply about classical music, and are connected to first rate performers, particularly those who orbit the many concert halls of the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to running a record label, Yarlung also has an associated nonprofit called Yarlung Artists which focuses on getting promising new artists started on their touring career.

Nathan Zeller  |  Mar 20, 2022  |  1 comments
The ‘60s fostered a music-driven cultural revolution nobody anticipated. From John Coltrane’s Giant Steps to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, history’s most iconic albums saw artists leaving timeless and influential musical blueprints. However, calling the ‘60s “influential” shows only a limited understanding; rivalries were fierce, and competition defined the decade. Neither The Beach Boys nor Brian Wilson could escape the competitive climate.

Nicholas Coleman  |  Mar 20, 2022  |  6 comments
Radiohead has re-released two of its most experimental and critically acclaimed albums, Kid A and Amnesiac remastered at half speed from the original digital files for phenomenal fidelity, in a set that includes another record of previously unreleased material from those sessions. The transfer conveys a slightly new listening experience for fans, and unique aspects are brought out in the music, making it feel like listening to an old friend for the first time.

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