LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  2 comments

MF: You seem like the kind of person who looks around and sees what’s bother you in music—things that are not being done—and you do them. I mean, that’s how you got started in music, essentially. So who’s out there now that’s lying fallow that need to be re-cultivated? Don’t say Yoko Ono.

RR: There are a couple, but I can’t talk about it yet. A couple that I think could really be special.

MF: Have you approached any of them?

RR: A couple.

MF: Well they’ve seen what you’ve done so I can’t imagine it will be as difficult as it might have been getting to Johnny Cash. How about Neil Diamond as a person to do a record with?

RR: He’s one of my favorite artists of all time. Incredible.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Note: due to current website technical limitations, accompanying photos can be found in the “gallery” section, accessible near the bottom of the home page.

Last fall, I was invited to visit the Hornslet speaker cabinet manufacturing facility in Denmark. The company builds high-tech boxes for Audio Physic, Linn, Dali, Naim, Aerial Acoustics and a number of other companies. Take a look at a map and you’ll see that Denmark is but a short distance from both Hamburg and Hanover, Germany, home of the big Universal Music tape vault and the Emil Berliner studio. I’ll be in the neighborhood, I figured, so why not swing by on my way to Denmark?

I’d made contact with Gunther Buskies, senior product manager in charge of vinyl reissues at Universal, who worked out of Hamburg, and he offered to drive me to Hanover so I could visit the facility and talk with veteran LP mastering engineer Willem Makkee. Makkee cuts the Universal LP reissues as well as the Warner Music (Europe) series, and most of the Speakers Corner vinyl.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Arriving at the Universal facility in Hanover, I was confronted by a large, multi-storied modern facility. I had been led to believe that the site was the original home of Berliner, but in fact, that was elsewhere in Hanover, and instead a small section of the mastering facility’s first floor had been turned into a small museum showcasing artifacts from among Berliner’s effects. Among them was Berliner’s original flat disc gramophone, early plated lacquers and finished discs, his original “Nipper” drawings, other Berliner designed playback devices, and some photos of the inventors. It was thrilling to see the first flat disc playback device “in the flesh.”

Photos lined the walls and corridors: photos highlighting the rich recording heritage of Deutsche Gramophone and other labels now under the Universal umbrella. There were pictures of recording sessions from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, featuring Herbert Von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic while a team of recording engineers and technicians in an adjacent control room oversaw the capture to analog tape. There were shots of Karl Bohm, Leonard Bernstein, Seji Osawa, and other luminaries of a bygone era, exuding a gravity, importance and grandeur that people no longer seem to possess anywhere on the planet. That goes for musicians, politicians, you name it. And if you don’t sense it in everyday life, you surely would walking down that corridor taking in those black and white photos.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

This interview with George Martin was conducted in July of1998 and was originally intended for The Tracking Angle. Unfortunately, we ceased publication before it could be run. It appeared later in Art Dudley’s wonderful Listener magazine, also sadly defunct. Martin was in New York on a media tour publicizing In My Life his farewell production. It wasn’t particularly well received in the press, but it was what Martin wished to do, and that was good enough for him and for me. Meeting Martin was a memorable experience that I shall never forget.

The hotel door cracks open and you're startled to see Sir George Martin has answered your knock, looking just as you've seen him in the photographs, only taller and even more imposing. He welcomes you sincerely, in a polished voice that's soothing yet terribly aristocratic and proper sounding.

Foolishly, involuntarily, (and you hope surreptitiously) your eyes momentarily lose contact with Martin's to dart around the room looking for those other familiar faces always in the photos. You lock onto Martin's eyes, which say to you, "Don't worry. We're used to it. You're not the only one who's looked."

Frank Doris  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

I Love the Music of Esquivel: So Zu Me!

Esquivel: Other Voices, Other Sounds/Four Corners of the World
Bar/None AHAON-090

Esquivel: Exploring New Sounds in Stereo/Strings Aflame
Bar/None AHAON-091

Esquivel: Infinity in Sound, Volume 1/Infinity in Sound, Volume 2
Bar/None AHAON-003

(1 and 2) Produced by Johnny Camacho, (3) produced by Neely Plumb
Reissue Supervision: Paul Williams for House of Hits Productions, Ltd. Digital transfers by Mike Hartrey
Digitally remastered by dbs Digital, Hoboken, NJ

This whole Cocktail Nation, Space Age Bachelor Pad Music revival thing strikes me with extreme bemusement. All of a sudden, a new generation discovers and decides that what was once unhip is now the coolest—whether martinis, leopard skin, kitschy Fifties furniture—or the "easy listening" instrumental music popular at the dawn of the Stereo Age.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  4 comments

MF: For the most part, you chose the material; it was only a few people who…

Martin: Pretty well, pretty well. I mean the idea of Vanessa Mae doing "Because": The idea of a mini violin concerto came first, and I had to find someone to play it.

MF: But she put so much into that. Sometimes that kind of thing doesn’t work—when you try to “classical-ify” something. But that was very good.

So aside from the Beatles, who were the most memorable artists that you’ve produced? Any standouts?

Martin: Any other artists? Well, I’ve been so lucky to produce so many people. It’s difficult to name one. It’s like saying, what’s your favorite track? Obviously, Peter Sellers comes pretty high on that list. We worked very well together.

Dr. Flamboid S. Squeeziasky  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Patricia Barber’s familiar, well-loved live album Companion (so designated because Barber conceived of it as a “companion” to her previous studio album Modern Cool) —long available on180g vinyl and CD—is now out on a superb sounding hybrid SACD mastered via Mobile Fidelity’s Gain 2™ system. Three evenings worth of performances at Chicago’s famed Green Mill nightspot captured to high resolution digital by famed jazz engineer Jim Anderson were distilled down by Ms. Barber to create the original album. For this issue she’s allowed Mo-Fi to add the bonus track “You Are My Sunshine,” but all involved decided against a revisionist multi-channel remix, so 2 channels are all you get, which for many will be enough and for the real diehards is one too many.

 |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Four producers, four colossal egos, and four radically different mindsets combined to produce an artistically schizophrenic, creative mess of an album. The addition of Young, brought a much needed electric shock to the folk group setting of the original CSN album, but for those of us old enough to remember Stills and Young in the far more daring and compelling Buffalo Springfield, CSN was predictable, pretentious and packaged and adding Young for the second round didn’t change things all that much.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Recorded live in the studio in four days, this collaborative effort produced by singer/songwriter Joe Henry attempts to revive the career of one of the great, though under-appreciated ‘60s soul singers, who has spent the past few decades in church and in relative pop-music obscurity. Back in the 1960’s in the heyday of soul, Burke, who has always straddled the secular/sanctified line, had a series of big hits on Atlantic, including “Cry to Me,” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,” (co-written by Burke and producer Bert Berns) both of which were covered by The Rolling Stones.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 01, 2004  |  0 comments

Who producer Kit Lambert flew to New York Spring of 1969 to supervise the mastering of Tommy for American Decca’s 2 LP release (Decca 7205). With the lacquers cut, Lambert declared the results a “masterpiece” and celebrated by incinerating the tapes. So the oft-repeated story goes. Fortunately, it’s not a true story, for during the tape research for this special edition, the original 2 track master tape was discovered in a storage vault. That leads one to wonder what Mobile Fidelity used a few years ago for its “Original Master Recording” gold CD issue, but why cry over spilt polycarbonate and gold sputtering when this superb edition is now available?

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