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Randy Wells Posted: Sep 22, 2012 8 comments
When Diamond Life burst onto the scene in 1984/1985 it provided a calm oasis. This was not post-punk or techno-pop. This was an album of lush and lovely music with smooth jazz moods and world beat underpinnings. Superficially cool, the Latin tempos trapped in the grooves simmered with a passion just waiting to explode.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 21, 2012 36 comments
After a delay of a few years, due to the meticulousness of all involved, The Beatles catalog will finally be reissued in the format in which it's meant to be heard and has always sounded best: vinyl.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 20, 2012 1 comments
Imagine a hard bop jam session featuring three tenor sax greats: Johnny Griffin, Hank Mobley and John Coltrane. Add Lee Morgan on trumpet and propel them with the rhythm section of Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bas and Art Blakey on drums.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 18, 2012 11 comments
While effective isolation from both air and ground borne vibrational energy is important throughout the audio playback chain, it is essential for vinyl playback. It can be built into a turntable in the form of spring or "O" ring suspensions but current thinking downplays that in favor of separate isolation stands rather than incorporating it into the turntable itself.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 13, 2012 18 comments
Does it matter that the rattle and phlegm in Bob Dylan's voice makes it sound as if your midrange driver has blown? No. Hell no. In fact, despite the ragged vocals and 50 years since his debut, this is Dylan's best album in quite some time.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 10, 2012 11 comments
Back in 2005 I reviewed what was then the $1500 Jasmine LP-2 MM/MC phono preamplier. It was a two box unit with an umbilical between the power supply and the signal path circuitry. The 70dB gain MC input was commendably quiet and the unit sounded pretty good but I couldn’t justify the performance for the price.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 07, 2012 10 comments
Bob Dylan cracks himself up performing some of these songs. Producer Tom Wilson must have gotten it, but recording engineers Roy Halee and Fred Catero might have been ready to stop the tape. After all, this was staid, but still pre-corporate Columbia Records. It was “straight” and at that point Halee was more experienced recording Percy Faith than Bob.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 04, 2012 0 comments
Unauthorized bio-docs are among the most difficult to pull off. You don't have the cooperation of the subject and that usually keeps those close away as well. Yet, despite some glaring defects, this two and a half hour look at Mr. Eno's incredibly productive period between 1971 and 1977 inexplicably titled "The Man Who Fell To Earth" offers many worthwhile moments.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 04, 2012 5 comments
Brian Eno's early influences include John Cage, Steve Reich and other minimalists. He was more art than rocker. In 1971 when he joined forces with Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music he was more a knob twiddler than a musician. He worked saxophonist Andy Mackay's VCS3 synthesizer and along with a pair of Revox A77s provided the electronic sounds and "tape treatments" that on the group's first two albums, helped create Roxy Music's unique sound.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 04, 2012 8 comments
The great Mexican-American roots-rocker Alejandro Escovedo is back with yet another great, hard rocking yet deeply thoughtful album, his second with veteran producer Tony Visconti. Visconti goes all the way back to David Bowie's epic The Man Who Sold the World and if you hear echoes of that album on some tracks here, like the haunting background voices on "Sally Was a Cop", the album's most powerful song, it's not a coincidence.


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