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Malachi Lui  |  Jan 23, 2020  |  83 comments
For this list, there is no introductory statement that won’t come across as overly self-absorbed and politically bitter, so I’ll just indulge: despite barely being 4 years old at its beginning, I acknowledge that the 2010’s were a complete mess. Disastrous elections, racism, religious and regional intolerance, war, and climate change all contributed to our current feeling of impending doom, yet music remained brilliant. As it’s now “best albums of the decade” list season, to retain our reputation as an excellent music criticism website that doesn’t blindly overrate Vampire Weekend, of course we’re joining the action! Each of our two regular writers will post their top 50 albums of the decade lists, potentially followed by an AnalogPlanet team list with annotations. Before the main top 50 list however, there are several honorable mentions that, for one reason or another, aren’t in an AOTD conversation but are nonetheless enjoyable. Below are the honorable mentions listed in order of how their representing songs appear in the attached Tidal, Spotify, and YouTube playlists (sorry, Apple Music users and Endless fans):

Malachi Lui  |  Jan 07, 2020  |  35 comments
I honestly suck at keeping up on new music. Sure, I’m shoving out another mostly negative Review Explosion every three weeks when some artist past their prime pushes out another hour of dreck (or when Earl releases a stupidly annoying, half-baked 15 minute “album”) but I still don’t feel that I spend enough time covering what actually matters. As in, what’s actually good and worth talking about. Unfortunately, one music critic with their own taste and near-daily spins of IGOR can only do so much; no matter how hard I work, there are always a dozen supposedly great albums that I’ve fallen behind on even hearing.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 03, 2020  |  11 comments
Bob George The Archive of Contemporary Music's founder and director was scheduled to participate in a "Making Vinyl Hollywood" panel discussion I moderated last fall, so to prep for it I called Mr. George and proposed a visit to the Archive during which we'd discuss his participation. As you'll see in the video, by the time I visited last September I'd forgotten the reason for the visit!

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 30, 2019  |  22 comments
(This year, contributing editor Malachi Lui launches an annual segment covering the year’s 10 worst albums. And boy, are there some bad ones this year. Now let’s dive into The Year-End Garbage Can…)

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  6 comments
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an AnalogPlanet playlist, mostly since I’ve busied myself with many other projects. But because it’s the holiday season, it’s only appropriate to bring, with a selection of my Christmas favorites, some holiday fun on here. There’s a mix of the normal picks (Nat “King” Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas) and some seasonal tracks from a couple of my favorite artists (Tyler’s “Lights On,” the White Stripes’ “Candy Cane Children,” and the David Bowie/Bing Crosby collab) as well as some “how did anybody let this happen?!?!?!” Christmas songs (Dylan’s “Must Be Santa” and Eilert Pilarm’s rendition of “Blue Christmas”). Below are Tidal, Spotify, and YouTube playlists (sorry, Apple Music users) followed by commentary on each song. (Note: David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy” isn’t on the Tidal playlist. The record label made every effort to delete the song’s original version from streaming services in favor of the far inferior “modernized” London Symphony Orchestra-overdubbed version.)

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 22, 2019  |  3 comments
Last Spring when analogPlanet editor Michael Fremer visited analogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui at his Portland, Oregon home, the two visited record stores, interviewed Discogs founder Kevin Lewandowski, shot a not yet published video at Cascade Record Pressing and toured Woodblock Chocolate Manufactory, which as you will see resembles in some ways a record pressing plant.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 21, 2019  |  78 comments
For as long as I’ve reviewed high-performance audio equipment, I’ve repeatedly iterated that to bring young people into the hobby, audio manufacturers need to make excellent, affordable, and convenient products. If a product fails any one of those criteria, hundreds of potential audio enthusiasts are turned away and save for a few outliers, hi-fi continues to be a hobby for old, mostly white men.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 04, 2019  |  67 comments
GZ Media, located in Lodenice, Czech Republic ("GZ" stands for Gramofonové Závody [Gramophone Record Factory]), founded in 1951, is the world's largest vinyl record manufacturer. In 2015 GZ produced 65,000 records a day! Today they press even more.

Malachi Lui  |  Oct 02, 2019  |  84 comments
Bad music. We generally try to avoid it, but some is so awful that we just can’t help but listen and laugh. Typically, artists who are self-indulgent, high out of their minds, trying to be profound, and/or unaware of their skill (or drug consumption) limits create the worst music. For my monthly AnalogPlanet playlist feature, I’ve compiled for your pleasure a list of the worst music in the history of mankind. Since some of this music is only available on certain streaming platforms, I’ve included underneath each individual song or album a streaming link. It’s also worth noting the list’s strategic structure: as you keep reading the music gets worse. Read at your own risk, but if you’re willing to subject yourself to the final entry (what I believe to be the absolute worst album ever created by anybody), I guarantee you will have a good laugh. Anyway, let’s get your suffering over with and begin the proceedings right away…

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 17, 2019  |  4 comments
Turbenthal, Switzerland based HiFiction precision-manufactures Thales tangential tracking pivoted pick up arms, battery powered turntables and most recently acquired and now manufactures in-house EMT phono cartridges and a new MC step up transformer.

This was designer Micha Huber's original tangential pivoted arm design, Fremer described in his review as looking like "a tonearm balanced on the end of a seal's nose. (Photo: Michael Fremer)

Malachi Lui  |  Aug 06, 2019  |  31 comments
Have you been wondering what music I’ve been listening to lately? Probably not, but I’m telling you anyway! And maybe now that I’ve brought it up, you genuinely would like to know what AnalogPlanet contributing editor Malachi Lui currently spins in heavy rotation. Below are embedded playlists from Tidal, Spotify, and YouTube along with comments on the songs and/or mini-reviews of their associated albums that I unfortunately don’t have enough time to extensively cover.

Malachi Lui  |  Jul 24, 2019  |  26 comments
In my review of the $359/pair < a href=https://www.analogplanet.com/content/vanatoos-transparent-zero-speakers-offer-great-convenience-satisfying-desktop-sound>Vanatoo Transparent Zero desktop speakers, I noted that while playing Kanye West’s “I Am A God,” the active speaker produced a high-pitched whistle/screech noise. After we published the review, Vanatoo co-founder Gary Gesellchen suggested that instead of the cause being a design flaw, the noise was an artifact of an air leak due to loose screws. He recommended sealing the air passages by taking off the active speaker’s handle and tightening the screws all the way in.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2019  |  17 comments
If you search Stereophile's website under darTZeel founder Hervé Delétraz's name you'll find his multi-part "DIY" story posted in 2000. Since his "DIY" days, Mr. Delétraz has gone on to design and manufacture a series of sonically stunning and visually distinctive high performance darTZeel audio products.

Caleb Attaway  |  Jul 16, 2019  |  18 comments
Meet our newest reviewer, 17 year old Caleb Attaway. Caleb lives northwest of Atlanta, Georgia and is going into his senior year of high school at Living Science Home Studies, Inc., which is half home school and half private school. In the future Caleb will review records and new audio gear.

Malachi Lui  |  Jul 10, 2019  |  2 comments
Today’s budding audiophiles have more introductory options than ever. Available and (fairly) affordable are introductory turntable systems, great headphones, headphone amps, DACs, and… desktop speakers?

Enter the minds of Vanatoo, the company founded by experienced audio enthusiasts Gary Gesellchen and Rick Kernen. Gesellchen’s background includes decades of speaker designing and building, while Kernen has worked for over 35 years in micro-processing. Their speakers are aimed at those who “care about music, want something that sounds good, and also understand that they shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice convenience for quality,” Gesellchen told me in an email exchange. Vanatoo’s speakers though intended for desktops, can also be used in home theaters as well as in full room stereo systems.

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