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Michael Fremer  |  Apr 30, 2004  |  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  |  Dec 31, 2003  |  0 comments

This article originally appeared in the final edition of Art Dudley’s Listener magazine, before the Rolling Stones catalog had been reissued, but after the promo sampler had been distributed. The SACD catalog has been out now for some time and it's been a phenomenal success.

Now of course we have the Stones LPs cut from the DSD masters and judging by website visitor’s emails, those who have bought some of these LPs agree that they sound great. Not as good as original DECCAs, but damn good. I just borrowed a Mo-Fi Stones box and will do the obligatory comparison ASAP.

How the material made it from original analog tape to DSD master is included in the Listener article.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2003  |  2 comments

Right to the point: no, the 11 new ABKCO limited edition 180g vinyl Rolling Stones reissues ( already available in Europe) do not quite measure up to UK DECCA originals, but who expected that? The tapes are between 35 and 40 years old and the superlative DECCA playback/cutting/plating/pressing chain is long gone. If you have the DECCA originals you’re not shopping for these anyway.

Sure, in an ideal world we’d prefer to have had albums like Beggar’s Banquet, Let It Bleed and Aftermath cut to lacquer directly from the original tapes, but they weren’t. Instead, the final DSD masters created by Bob Ludwig referencing original UK Decca, and US London LPs were used.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 01, 2003  |  1 comments

He didn't play an instrument and he didn't sing, but Brian Eno was in the band, and the band was Roxy Music. So what exactly did Eno (full name Brian Peter George St. John de Baptiste de la Salle Eno-wouldn't you shorten it?) do for Roxy Music, which he co-founded in London with Bryan Ferry back in 1972? Listen to Stranded the first Eno-free Roxy album and you'll hear something missing. Or, listen to pre-Eno U2 albums, and then to The Unforgettable Fire the first Eno produced U2 album, and you'll hear something added.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 01, 2003  |  0 comments

A year after Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) and world's apart from it, Eno released what many consider to be his most innovative and evocative album, Another Green World. It took two months to produce-twice as long as each of the previous two albums. Though synthesizer based, the album sounds organic and almost leafy. The set of mostly short, prehistoric and tropical sounding instrumental collages marked a distinct turning point for Eno, a change that would eventually come to dominate his solo recorded efforts and profoundly affect his collaborations with other.

Before recording began, Eno and artist Peter Schmidt created a deck of cards that they called "Oblique Strategies". The cards, each of which contained a specific instruction, were like a more sophisticated version of the old "Magic Eight Ball,” which only answered "yes" or "no". The cards were more about exploring possibilities and choosing directions. Eno used them to help guide him in the production of the record.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 03, 2003  |  1 comments

Late breaking news (11/6): an individual who works for CBS News has emailed Musicangle to plead his network's case. The individual claims that CBS head and "staunch Democrat" Les Moonves pulled the series not because of pressure but because after having seen the rough cuts, he decided he was not getting the movie he'd ordered, and that it was not sufficiently strong to be aired during the crucial November sweeps (ratings). "This is business, baby," our correspondent avers. We'll take him at his word, though given how much crap ends up on the networks, the reason is still suspect.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 02, 2003  |  1 comments

Rush Limbaugh, the Republican Party shill and pathological liar who is addicted to blaming Bill Clinton for everything that he thinks has gone wrong in America, showed his hand on ESPN last week by claiming that Philadelphia Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb has been given "preferential treatment," by the press because he is black and that his performance on the field is "overrated."

Blowhard Limbaugh was supposedly fired (he was allowed to resign), though the ratings that night were ESPN's highest for a game in that time slot, proving while a large number of Americans are also idiots, even more took the time to bitch-slap Disney, which owns ESPN, into reality.

Elliot Kallen  |  Sep 30, 2003  |  0 comments

Editor's note: The album covers accompanying this survey appear separately in our "photo gallery" which can be accessed near the bottom of the home page. We are proud to have Elliot Kallen's byline appear on musicangle.com

(This is a survey of the recorded output of saxophonist Charles Lloyd, from his first appearance on record with the Chico Hamilton band to his present work on the ECM label as leader. As such, it's not a detailed listing of every single date he's done, merely my personal choices for content, interest, or historical context. I've used the framework of an interview with Lloyd to flesh out some of the circumstances and musical environments that helped produce the albums. In other words, if I've left out one of your favorite Lloyd sessions...get over it.)—EK

In the middle 1960's, Charles Lloyd's jazz group was a bona fide phenomenon. Audiences connected with their vibrant blending of jazz improvisation and propulsive rock rhythms. They were the first jazz group booked into the premiere rock palace of the day, the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. They brought their heady concoction of musical freedom to virtually every corner of the globe, and were received as avatars in the process. Critics were often divided, but the audiences, mostly composed of younger people, were immediately drawn to the band's sound. An album recorded live at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Forest Flower, sold like a rock album.

Steve Taylor  |  Sep 30, 2003  |  0 comments

Editor's Note: I am pleased to post this new piece by one of The Tracking Angle's most fearless and original writers, Steve Taylor. When he wrote for The Tracking Angle, Taylor almost always covered lesser known groups and composers. Taylor managed to convey the color, emotional content and meaning of unfamiliar, and often difficult music with great clarity and infectious enthusiasm. With this overview of the composer Kaikhosru Sorabji, Taylor picks up where he left off. We are fortunate to have him back, and hope you agree.

As with the Charles Lloyd piece, because of technical limitations, images of the pianist Michael Habermann and available album cover art will be found in the "Photo Gallery," accessible at the bottom left hand side of the home page.—MF

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 30, 2003  |  0 comments
65 year old former "stoner comic" Tommy Chong was sentenced to 9 months in the Federal slammer and forced to fork over 120,000 dollars by a foolish, mean-spirited Federal judge in Pittsburgh, PA yesterday, convicted of selling so-called "drug paraphernalia" over the Internet.
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 30, 2003  |  0 comments

Beginning with his eponymous 1970 debut, and continuing throughout eleven Warner Brothers solo albums, Ry Cooder has demonstrated that in addition to being an extraordinary folk/blues guitarist- particularly on bottleneck, and a serviceable, though hardly distinguished vocalist, he is also a high caliber musicologist and A&R man. While Cooder’s specialty has been mining the more obscure tributaries of the rich vein of American music deposited during the Great Depression, he has also unearthed musical riches from around the world, particularly the Caribbean and Mexico.

His solo albums are sprinkled with unknown and out-of-the-way delights like Dickey Doo's "Teardrops Will Fall" and the calypso "F.D.R. In Trinidad"- as well as some better known songs like "One Meat Ball", Woody Guthrie’s "Vigilante Man" Huddie Ledbetter's "Teardrops Will Fall", The Drifter’s 1954 hit "Money Honey", and Johnny Cash’s "Hey Porter".

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 30, 2003  |  0 comments

Michael Fremer picks favorites from the rich Joe Boyd discography

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 09, 2003  |  0 comments
NOTE:

This review has been reprinted in its entirety from The Absolute Shower with not one word censored or deleted. The Absolute Shower is the journal of High End Hygiene and reports its findings on hygienic devices and anti-bacterial sources without fear or favor from any large pharmaceutical conglomerate. Its aquatic evaluations take place in real shower stalls, hence, cleanliness is the measure of reference.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 31, 2002  |  0 comments

Hush Puppies are hip again among celebs. They were sofar out, it was inevitable they'd come back in. Not on my feet or yours- we'd probably just get laughed at- but seen on the right feet? Next day everyone's wearing them. Strange how that works: if everyone's wearing Doc Maartens, what's the boldest thing you could put on your feet instead? Hush Puppies, of course!

I don't know what Van Dyke parks on his feet today, but back in 1967 when he posed for the cover of his epic debut album Song Cycle (Warner Brothers WB 1727) he was wearing Hush Puppies. While many music critics raved about, even respected the album, the public at large wasn't suede by either it, or his shoes. Dreams are stillborn in Hollywood.

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