Vinyl Reports: Don't Believe the Hype

(“Hype: to promote or publicize something intensively, often exaggerating its importance or benefits.” We all succumb to hype, either from others’ high recommendations or our own excitement and anticipation. Once something falls short of those expectations, we rush to denounce it as “overhyped;” not necessarily bad, but underwhelming for however much we expect. Today’s Vinyl Reports feature centers around such overhyped records.)

Miles Davis - Miles In Tokyo: Miles Davis Live In Concert

Get On Down/Sony GET-51279 LP (RSD Black Friday 2019 limited black vinyl - red vinyl now widely available)

Produced by: Kiyoshi Itoh (original recordings), Slade Anderson (reissue)
Engineered by: Unknown
Mixed by: Unknown
Mastered by: Mark Wilder (digital - unlisted), Nashville Record Productions engineer (vinyl)

Music: 8
Sound: 6

At the top of my RSD Black Friday 2019 “priorities list” was the new Miles In Tokyo reissue, advertised as the LP’s first North American vinyl release. Recorded on July 14, 1964 at Tokyo’s Kohseinenken Hall and originally released in 1969, this live LP documents the short-lived lineup of Miles Davis, Sam Rivers (on tenor), Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. Davis soon after kicked Rivers out supposedly due to an understandable stylistic clash, but once I saw the lineup, I knew I had to own this record. Miles In Tokyo is a well-recorded selection - mostly of standards, plus a faster take on “So What.” Though not top-tier Miles, it’s fascinating to hear this transitional period, right before the Second Great Quintet.

The reissue’s sound quality, however, immensely disappoints. Get On Down, a label established in 2010, specializes in licensing hip-hop and R&B titles, occasionally dipping their toes into jazz and blues. Their reissues garner many negative reviews, but I bought their Miles In Tokyo anyway. Once home from RSD Black Friday (for which I queued early outside Music Millennium), I excitedly spun the record only to hear that it’s CD-sourced. Mark Wilder’s 2005 CD mastering (which I’m 99.9% sure is the source) is good for a CD, but on vinyl sounds flat and blurry; the cymbals sound almost like white noise. The album’s audiophile potential is sensed but Get On Down’s pressing doesn’t get you “there.” Fortunately, the (seemingly) United pressing is good, and the jacket an acceptable attempt at customer deception (the photo scans are grainy, but there’s an OBI strip, so it must be good!). Rather than pay $27.99 for this lazy reissue, learn from my error and save your money for a Japanese original.

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Masterpieces By Ellington

Analogue Productions/Columbia ML/APJ 4418 2x45rpm 200g LP

Produced by: N/A
Engineered by: Fred Plaut and Harold Chapman
Mixed by: Fred Plaut and Harold Chapman
Mastered by: Ryan K Smith at Sterling Sound

Music: 8
Sound: 8

Here’s a second opinion on the much-lauded Analogue Productions Masterpieces By Ellington: because of its immeasurable audiophile hype (rapturous applause at worldwide listening events!), I picked it up, expecting an 11/10 sounding record. To me, it underwhelms. Recorded in 1951 on one of the first (obviously mono) Ampex 200 tape decks, the sound is shockingly great for its time, with solid imaging and lush texture. However, the instrumental density buries a few things and the bass is occasionally ill-defined. Amazing for 1951 and that time’s associated sonic obstacles? Yes. But is it, as some claim, one of the best sounding recordings ever? No. Still, I can see why many love this album, and for them this pressing is highly recommended.

Radiohead - In Rainbows

_Xurbia _Xendless Limited _X_X001 special edition discbox (2x45rpm LP, main album CD, bonus tracks CD, and art booklet)

Produced by: Nigel Godrich
Engineered by: Nigel Godrich, Richard Woodcraft, Hugo Nicolson, and Dan Grech-Marguerat
Mixed by: Nigel Godrich
Mastered by: Bob Ludwig (digital), unknown (vinyl)

Music: 10
Sound: 9

How long have you waited to buy a record? For nearly three years, I sought the special discbox edition of In Rainbows, culminating in a New Year’s Eve Discogs order. What a perfect way to end a decade!

In about late 2016, I started exploring Radiohead’s discography. A Moon Shaped Pool dropped a few months prior, and was all the critical rage. I borrowed an AMSP CD from my then-local NJ library. Mind fucking blown. I vividly remember “Daydreaming”’s bass testing the limits of my Panasonic home theater system’s subwoofer, and basking in that album following stressful 5th grade days. In October 2016, my grandma came to visit from the Midwest and as a gift took me record shopping (really one of the only gift types that I’ve actually enjoyed since I started collecting). I tried to buy the A Moon Shaped Pool double LP (shoutout Scotti’s Record Shop in Summit, NJ; to me that store occupies a special place), but my mom snatched it away. Turns out, my parents already got me the beautiful special edition AMSP for Christmas that year.

After I took in AMSP, I went through most other Radiohead albums. I especially loved Kid A and In Rainbows, and for the latter wanted the discbox. Housed in a greyscale slipcase, the deluxe discbox consists of the double 45rpm main album LP, its CD equivalent, an outtakes CD, and two art booklets. The AMSP special edition impressed me so much that of course I needed the In Rainbows set. The barrier? Prices at the time hovered at $150 for a near mint set, a price likely trying to capitalize on new AMSP fans and then out of my reach. My mom’s friend (who also obsessively collects records) said the set wasn’t worth that much, yet I started to save up anyway. After a few weeks, I decided to first let prices cool down. That took 32 months.

Around 4:25 PM each day, I get the automated Discogs wantlist emails, alerting me to new listings of my most desired LPs. I recently discontinued those to avoid Record Collector Wallet Drain Syndrome, but the email came on New Year’s Eve, showing a $100 listing for a NM In Rainbows discbox from LA store Freakbeat Records. I couldn’t have completed the purchase faster. It arrived 10 days later, with some seam splits on the tip-on gatefold (which inside the slipcase holds the contents); Freakbeat quickly and kindly resolved the issue. The adventure finally concluded.

Yet, was it worth it? The LPs’ sound quality is its most often cited outstanding characteristic, with many discbox owners highlighting it as among the top few “demo discs” in their somewhat large collections. While the sound quality is very good, it’s still not absolutely amazing. In Rainbows is a dry recording without the most dynamic mastering; while some elements stand out in certain song sections, I didn’t find it to be the most engaging audiophile listening experience. Despite those issues, the double 45 sounds very good and is likely the best In Rainbows out there, considering fans now possess the chopped master tape. That leaves me wondering, though: how is Radiohead going to sell a future 20th anniversary In Rainbows deluxe box? By remixing the album! Only 7 more years of waiting!

The packaging, while nice, isn’t as extravagant as it seems online. With the slipcase attached, the set measures roughly 13” square. The inner cover, an oversized tip-on gatefold, holds the LPs in each pocket with inside compartments for the brief 11” square booklet, the two CDs, and the glued-in half-size lyrics booklet. The manufacture of everything (Holland’s Record Industry pressed the LPs, the CDs were made somewhere in Europe, and the UK’s Clear Sound + Vision handled the packaging) is still top-notch and when taken care of will outlive many of us. All of the [Stanley] Donwood and Tchock [Thom Yorke] art (in the printed elements as well as the enhanced bonus CD) well serves the album though doesn’t add anything profound. Overall, the discbox provides enough value for $100, but don’t pay more than that.

Harry Belafonte - Jump Up Calypso

RCA Living Stereo 2S/1S LP

Produced by: Bob Bollard
Engineered by: Bob Simpson
Mixed by: Unknown
Mastered by: Unknown

Music: 1
Sound: 5

While rummaging through a Goodwill (during the AnalogPlanet Portland 2019 “convention”), MF and I found a 2S/1S pressing of Harry Belafonte’s Jump Up Calypso. All I knew about Belafonte was that he made cheesy 50’s music that audiophiles seem to love, but Michael generously bought me the $2-3 record. Later that night, we hosted a neighbor, a digital audiophile who years ago perhaps mistakenly dumped his vinyl. “Play that Belafonte record,” Michael directed me. I was indifferent to it: after all, it’s music from before my time that many of that time would claim I don’t “get.”

What I do understand, though, is the distinction between good and bad music. A couple months ago, by myself I finally tried listening to Jump Up Calypso. A professional writer’s job is to put their thoughts into words, but words do little to describe how appalled I was that people actually tolerate this music, much less listen for pleasure. What record companies formulated in the 50’s and pre-Beatles 60’s to be as inoffensive as possible is now offensive in how inoffensive it is. It’s not just the Cornballs & Cheeseballs Factory having an “everything must go” closing sale; it’s the Cornballs & Cheeseballs Factory exploding into a miles-wide mess. If an artist today submitted to their record label anything close in quality to this album, the label would put them in a mental institution (which is saying a lot considering the industry’s disregard for artists’ wellbeing). And the audiophile appeal of Belafonte? The record didn’t even sound that good - even by 1961 standards, it’s drowned out in reverb, with no horn detail or bass articulation.

Is it even fair to judge such an old, dated album by today’s musical and sonic standards? Considering that we now have instant access to that era’s music (of which I’ve immersed myself in specific, less commercially successful genres), it is. And even through that time period’s lens, it still sucks. The only fair way to critique music is to find what it tries to do, and what it actually does. What does Jump Up Calypso try to do? Nothing. What does it actually do? Absolutely nothing.

With Mikey’s understanding, I tried to sell this LP to Music Millennium, along with a box full of my unwanted records and CDs. Understandably, they kindly rejected this one. Back to Goodwill!

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, record collector, music lover, and highly opinionated sneaker enthusiast. Follow him on twitter: @MalachiLui.)

Michael Fremer's picture
Of course I would never censor Mr. Lui's writing and he's free to write whatever he wishes and fully express his opinions and for that matter on these pages his bladder, which he had done. However, I was surprised to find that he was too disinterested to find out anything else about the great Harry Belafonte other than that he made "cheesy 50s music that audiophiles seem to love". Of course everyone loved/loves Belafonte, not just audiophiles. That's why his Carnegie Hall album (10/10 music and sound) sold huge numbers when first released and the reissues still sell wildly well. I'm hoping Mr. Lui will take some time to learn about Belafonte's legacy by reading this: As for his assessment of the Ellington, at least he didn't say the Duke's music was "cheesy", but his description of the sound indicates he'll need a better system when he moves out of the house, which judging by my discussions with his parents, for them can't come soon enough! (lol).
MalachiLui's picture

belafonte at carnagie hall obviously sold MASSIVE numbers (for the time) when first released, and audiophile reissues of his work still sell a lot today. however, how many non-audiophiles under the age of 50 are buying those reissues? if there's sufficient sales reach data to prove me wrong on that, i'm happy to see it but so far i see no evidence.

avb4u's picture

As regards your question of " many non-audiophiles under the age of 50 are buying those reissues?" I would posit that number to be at least 10 times the number of those OVER 50 who are ponying up for the sonic torture of Tyler the Creator. And I'm sure that suits you just fine.

rdh79730's picture
jazz's picture

I have and love the Belafonte Carnegie record for its sound, atmosphere and a few tracks, but I’m with you, the rest of even this record is cheesy and all others in particular.

And I fully agree to your finding about the Ellington. I have several fantastic Ellington records and had high hopes for this one due to the hype. I then found it inferior in music and sound compared to others, just as your rating.

DODGE's picture

Mr. Fremer is absolutely spot on in his comments about Malachi Lui concerning Harry Belafonte. Mr. Belafonte is a renaissance man in many fields. Just this week (8th) TCM aired two of his film masterpieces, the film noir ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959) & the sci-fi/political THE WORLD, THE FLESH AND THE DEVIL(1959). Maybe Malachi's opinion would've been different with a more well rounded exposure to Mr Belafonte. Anyway, strong opinions come naturally to teenagers. Give Malachi credit for putting it out there. I'm just glad that my dubious teenager ramblings weren't published for all to see.

AnalogJ's picture

You might remember fellow reviewer, Richard Foster. He was part of an online group called Phonogram.

A bunch of us from the group convened in Toronto, as several members lived up there. I knew an album called Ellington Uptown. Had played it in my quite decent system.

But nothing prepared me for hearing it in Richard Foster's system, one which approached the 6-figure value. Included in it was a Lyra Helikon Mono, a dedicated $2000 mono cartridge.

One of the albums played was a '50s pressing of Ellington Uptown. I was blown away. I could "see" the layers of the band, and almost the placement of each member, full-size. And this was a mono recording. It was astonishing.

I bring this up because it will, indeed, be a much finer system than what you currently own, Mr. Lui. That's just the way it is. It's why there is a difference between a system that makes enjoyable music, and one that can be used as a reference for reviewing.

redchaser's picture

When I read Michael's reply. While reading Mr Lui's review of Duke Ellington, the first thing that entered my mind was recently seeing the rave review Michael gave it, and wondering how that would play out. The Ellington and Jump up Calypso are both still high on my list of "need to acquire" as I have more often than not found myself agreeing with Michael's assessments of material, Mr. Lui's, not so much.

OldschoolE's picture

And what is more rich about this is that Mr. Lui is the same person who complained about anyone not liking the music he likes in a previous article!

Ok, I may not be a fan of Harry Belefonte enough to go out and buy one of his LPs, but he made fun music in my opinion and I do happen to have a couple of tracks by him that I won't be giving up any time soon.

The lesson yet to be learned by Mr. Lui is that music is subjective and speaks to people in personal ways. We all resonate with different music. It is not one size fits all. I tried in the past to explain this to Mr. Lui and it was like talking to a wall. Perhaps, he will learn as he ages, that is usually what happens with all of us, does it not? We all used to be where Mr. Lui is, so explanation and time will usually do the job.

MalachiLui's picture

please provide a link to that article where i "complained about anyone not liking the music [i] like."

OldschoolE's picture

It was the whole thing about My not having any interest in Kayne.

MalachiLui's picture

my argument was about the fact that you choose to criticize and disregard "the kardashian guy"'s work despite having not listened to it. you can't criticize or disregard an artist's work if you haven't made an effort to, at bare minimum, understand what he's trying to do even if you don't like it. not understanding (or not trying to understand) something is different from not liking it, or me "criticizing you for not liking it."

OldschoolE's picture

And you did the same with Harry Belefonte before listening to the LP. The point is that in the case of Kayne, you got all worked up and defensive because I know who he is and do not care for his style of music and what have you. I also spent energy trying to explain to you that it was wasteful for you to get that way and everyone is different in what they resonate with, which is something you are just now maybe starting to learn.
The other point here is that it is not a problem that you don't like Harry Belafonte, even with the excuse of him and the style of music being before your time. that is perfectly ok! I know people your age and younger that happen to be into the music their parents listened to for some reason and others don't care for music before their time and the reason is exactly that they just can't relate to it. Nothing wrong with that. It works in the reverse as well. As a mid-life person, I can't relate to much of today's music and artist's such as Kayne, Taylor Swift, etc. There are artists from my time I won't give the time of day to because I do not agree with or relate to what they are saying such as Ted Nudgent for example. It doesn't help me or the world to spend years trying to listen to those artists and relate. It is like trying to learn something you will never use in life, like trying to learn car repair because you want to be an eye doctor.
When I was young I too used to get all worked up over anyone not liking one of my favorite artists and such, but I learned to relax and just enjoy and that not everyone likes the same thing.
Even today, for example, I enjoy Jethro Tull, but most audiophiles hate Jethro Tull, but when asked why, they have no answer. You may or may not know who that artist is, maybe you have never heard any of the songs and you may or may not like that style of music or maybe you can't relate that artist. One of my favorites is Rush, but many don't care for their music. Maybe because the person happens to not like prog-rock or can't grasp the lyrics or whatever it is, ok, no big deal.
I like classical music, my favorite composers are Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov. A lot of people (especially young folks) can't stand classical music for whatever reason. It is not my job to make anyone like it. Perhaps they will get curious some day and perhaps never. I can't stand opera with singing (I love opera scores though), some folks don't understand how I can not like Opera.

I think I have made my point overly clear. Relax Malachi, just enjoy! Otherwise, you will burn out and that is not fun.

MalachiLui's picture

comparing kanye to ted nugent literally invalidated your ENTIRE statement. i also don't understand why you need to write a fucking essay every single time but yknow what, you do you. if ranting for hours every month in a comments section brings you immense pleasure, i can't stop you.

i'm chill, and have no plan to burn out, but i'm not gonna let blatant misunderstandings/misinformation run thru the comments section. that's why i'm typing this rn.

p.s. kanye is the most relatable artist of all time and if you disagree then you're not an actual human with feelings.

OldschoolE's picture

You are mistaken and projecting and I'm not willing to stoop to your level, sorry. Have a good one dude.

MalachiLui's picture

that you're a spam bot.

HiFiMark's picture

Obnoxious kid.
I'm out. Will not be clicking on a Malachi post ever again.
One day, hopefully, you will turn in to a reasonable adult.

HiFiMark's picture

to pull the plug on Malachi IMHO. There is such a thing as rushing a promising protege too quickly.

MalachiLui's picture

how did anyone even take that comment so seriously, like how can you not understand sarcasm vs a real statement.

samman's picture

Using profanity will result in readers not taking you writing seriously, and will result in giving your critics "proof" of your immaturity and lack of experience. Be polite. Be professional.

It is indeed difficult to relate to music that has little to no relevance to your current life. And it goes both ways. I recall my dad and uncle holding my copy of Black Sabbath's Paranoid when I was about 13, laughing their rear ends off over the song names. I guess I couldn't blame them--Fairies wear boots, Rat Salad, etc. lol. I also recall laughing at that singer named Sinatra. My friends and I wouldn't be caught dead listening to a Sinatra album. But as I grew, I came to appreciate that voice! How smooth and seductive it was. Only time and maturity brought me to that realization.

Anyway, ease up on the aggressive language and try to understand that we all will be somewhat protective of our musical heros. Just as you are with Tyler and Kanye.

MalachiLui's picture

it's safe to say that i'm not a sex-addicted superstar rapper chugging hennessy yet "yeezus" is still an insanely relatable album. try explaining that.

samman's picture

How would I know why you find a "sex addicted superstar rapper drinking Hennessy appealing? Maybe for the same reason I found many of my musical rock sex addicted icons appealing. I wanted to be like them when I was a teenager. Women, money and freedom. You're no different. Which is why you relate to that music. All I'm saying is that it takes time to "relate" in today's world to something like Sinatra's Only the Lonely or Belafonte. Classical music is like that as well. Based on recommendations, many from Mr. Fremer, I sat and listened until I finally understood the beauty in music that was initially NOT in my "wheelhouse."

MalachiLui's picture

do you realize that sex addiction and alcoholism is unhealthy and unappealing behavior? what makes yeezus so relatable is that kanye overcoming these issues is so universally human. have you perhaps ever tried listening to yeezus and hearing it for yourself instead of me explaining all of it to you?

samman's picture

Your answers to me and others continues to be laden with arrogance and rudeness. At least you didn't use profanity, so I guess my words were not entirely lost upon you. I'm not attacking you at all, yet you reply to me like a father chastising a child. I am not a child and you are far from mature. You write like some anonymous poster in a chat room. You have been given a great opportunity by Mr. Fremer, yet you talk to me like I'm one of your teenage friends in the school hallway. All I was attempting to communicate is that musical appreciation comes with experience and time. Yes, it does work both ways, and through my sons I have come to listen to and appreciate some modern rap music, as well as my exploration into classical music I once thought worthless. You have a lot to learn. Start by being respectful to those of us who were listening to music decades before you were born.

Robcos02330's picture

You are a model of patience.

tnargs's picture

He still hasn't stooped to the level that Fremer has done in replying to me, including profanity. He still hasn't dropped *that* low.

Michael Fremer's picture
To what comment of yours did I respond with profanity?
tnargs's picture

Not sure, but you opened with "Your post reeks of arrogance and foolishness", and closed with "Jesus you are a boring irrational fool."

Not going over that again. My point is that people are being unkind to today's columnist for his tone, and referring to you as "Mr Fremer" in tones of high regard in that respect, by way of contrast.

I think Mr Lui could be cut a little more slack: we are all opinionated, and capable of emotional lapses. It's a passion, right?


samman's picture

I referred to Fremer in that way because I was addressing a teenager. I was brought up differently than you. As a teenager, whenever I addressed an adult, it was always "Mr." or "Mrs." Obviously, you are bothered because I showed respect to "Mr. Fremer." Sorry, but Michael has earned it!

MhtLion's picture

Sorry but Belafonte will be forgotten in 10 years. I personally don't think anyone needs to read about him anymore.

Duke86fan's picture

I think part of the major issue when it comes to artists like Belafonte or even Duke Ellington is that there is kind of a stigma against how immature and chintzy some of it can be, maybe its an age thing seeing as a 21 year old used to indie rock and experimental pop and it's easy for me to dismiss music from the 50's up until say 1962. (literally just picked a random year in the early 60s)

I have tried to listen to Ellington Masterpieces and maybe it's just personal bias from my dad or just not liking big band jazz but i just couldn't stand how slow and simple and schmaltzy it seemed to be... that is honestly what I think is the issue with me finding good audiophile issues, that most focus on old jazz and classical that aren't my taste.

melody maker's picture
isaacrivera's picture

But! (There is always one, isn't there?) Fremer had given the AP reissue of Ellington's Masterpieces an 11/11. (Have I even seen another 11/11 in AnalogPlanet?) Given the disparity in equipment between Mr. Fremer's and Lui's systems, and, given that based on Fremer's advise I bought the record and in my not-too-shabby system I can confirm his descriptions of both the music and sound, I have to say, Malachi flubbed this one!

By the way, many people whose's systems, LP collections and acuity of hearing and listening I admire, confidently state, the 50s are the golden era of music recording. And many extremely good contemporary recordings (and cuttings) are made with restored equipment of the era. So I would also revise the "...the sound is shockingly great for its time..." statement. I have many ordinary original pressings from the 50s that sound as good as the best produced today.

Nevertheless, it is refreshing to read candid, uncensored opinions, whatever they are, and he is entitled to dislike 50s Big Band.

arcman67's picture

The Ellington album is excellent. Both sonically and musically. One of the best purchases I made within the last year. I also stream the LP from time to time as well and it still amazes me. Great sounding recordings will shine regardless of format.

arcman67's picture

Of course, I'm taking into account the era in which the recordings were made.

Chemguy's picture

...the difference between good and bad music, does he? Jump Up Calypso is bad music is it? A 1 out of 10, you say?


Anton D's picture

How would you rate the Radiohead, Tame Impala, Justin Bieber, and Dos Monos albums?

Looking for some comparisons.

avanti1960's picture

is my favorite album of the past 13 years. solid. music 10? hail yeah !

Anton D's picture

1) That is a stone cold great price on that Radiohead set.

2) Regarding the Belafonte albums, including that infernal live album: I always felt like Belafonte's take on the music was a simulacrum of Calypso. I'm aligned with Malachi, those records sound like Disneyland's animatronic take on Calypso.

3) The Ellington album is 9/9, for me.

(I'm being iconoclastic, of course, but those albums are mundane to my ear.)


Roy Martin's picture


PeterPani's picture

you are absolut right. Belafonte is a monument. And he can sing and touch your hearth. But his Calypso I never understood. Maybe because I am European and too far away in time and place from this kind of music.
Miles in Tokyo - I got the Japanese pressing and would it rate 9,5 in music and 8 in sound.
The Masterpieces: that music did not age very well in my opinion. It is for the satisfied audiophile a kind of Golden Cut. This music is somehow in every music today, so the originals are outdated.

In Rainbows 10/10. No question.
Best Radiohead to me: I might be Wrong on vinyl.

But anyway. If records like Masterpieces or Calypso have such a strong following - there are reasons for it. Sometimes it is worth to dig deeper. But you never know, when.

vinyl listener's picture

not found a clean copy of the belafonte,
love the 33rpm of the ellington.

jrmvinyl's picture

We all have different tastes. Malachi explains how and why he reacts to the different music. That is what a good review entails. Good work - no snarky comments. Keep it up

kelossus's picture

At first I was a little annoyed by the strong opinions above but after a second read it was quite entertaining. I can't help but read between the lines convincing myself there is subtle digs at someone or the community in general.

I guarantee Malachi one day you will be old and won't be able to fathom the lack of respect for albums you hold dear. I had not listened to Jump Up Calypso and played a few tracks after reading your review. I am closer to your age then most and I can understand why you did not enjoy the record but I felt you came across as a little too dismissive. Still I liked your honest opinion even if it was somewhat frustrating to read.

You are a brilliant writer not just for your age but in general. Very interested to see how your opinions change as you continue to grow and mature.

xtcfan80's picture

I too love the 33rpm of the Ellington (my favorite artist to collect) I even have a French CD (gasp!) of Masterpieces that sounds great. Maybe someday the young man will get into lots of stuff that irritates him now. A dealer friend I buy from was selling at RMAF a few years ago. I was flipping through his lounge sections and mentioned that I doubted my sanity as I was starting to collect lounge LPs as some were so bad they are good. His comment has stuck with me. "Don't apologize for collecting lounge; it's nothing to be ashamed of" “You should feel free to collect anything you enjoy for any reason”….

xtcfan80's picture

Speaking of Duke. If you don't have already get this one. Music- 12 and Sound -8. Moving tribute to Strays by his "family" who worked with him and loved him. Their deep affection for Billy comes through in every note.

robert r dawson's picture

are fantastic. Being agreeable with readership is not the point of reviewing. To the issue of ML's parents dreaming of his departure, there appears to be plenty of room at the Fremer estate. Having had the pleasure myself three times over, I get a Grinch-grin thinking of that possibility.

robert r dawson's picture

sharing a home with a teenager

MalachiLui's picture

yall get really creepy sometimes

PeterPani's picture

The audiophile readers of Analogplanet are in majority middle-aged white men. I think, the both of you, Mikey and Lui, per accident stumbled into an unusual experimental situation here on Analogplanet. Is there another website, where a teenager tells his views to a mature interested readership? That is really uncommon. And all of us should value this possibility, we have to thank for Mikey and Lui and our common love of music. Do not let us spoil this fantastic opportunity!

robert r dawson's picture

...outa the gutter.

Michael Fremer's picture
What you innocently meant...
Michael Fremer's picture
I didn't think your comment made you sound like a pedo.... I knew what you meant...
robert r dawson's picture


jstrube's picture

I would rather jam knives under my fingernails than listen to Radiohead... And I am of the age that worships them...

Martin's picture

It is a great sounding record, on 33 or - even better - at 45.
having them both. And a good system to play them on.
Not just me either, other people I've had over and played the 45 for love it.

Martin's picture

I always find it a great sign that someone, anyone is willing to write what he thinks.
Something that tends to fade with age. Or dependence on an employers paycheck.
@ML: Independence of income = Freedom.

Manimaldoug's picture

I’m not a superduper audiophile type but I have the Ellington Masterpieces mono with the blue cover and
This thing nearly brought me to tears the first time I heard it on my system, are we talking only the re issue
Or the recording in general? Also if you listen to indigo on some excellent edibles and a glass or two of wine
I promise you too will be in tears:)
I accidentally picked up the Calypso once and sailed it to the nearest tree ( not really)

fork's picture

The original XL Recordings pressing of In Rainbows is at least a 9 on sound IMO and it's still available new for about $25.

Intermediate Listener's picture

Just listened again to the Ellington on my fairly modest system and it sounds terrific, up there with the very best, certainly among the very best mono. Streamed the Belafonte and have to agree that unlike some 50s pop it doesn’t age very well. For some artists from that era that do, check out Ken Micallef’s recent “Mellow Moods” video. But still recognize this record is from early in Belafonte’s career. He went on to better things, won a Grammy lifetime achievement award and Kennedy Center honors, and became a leading figure in the civil rights movement.

Mark Evans's picture

and will forward a copy to my sister-in-law to read and ask her to trade her box of not so good sounding vintage Ellington six eye Columbias and Belafonte RCA LSPs for one superb sounding Radiohead LP. I think would be an equitable transaction.

jaybee's picture

Okay Belafonte fans, please calm down. That was just a hook to grab your attention. I actually don't have an informed opinion about Harry Belafonte's style of music making. I have none of his recordings, and if I have even heard his music before, it was one of those chance encounters wherein I had no idea who or what I was listening to (but if that happened, I evidently was not so impressed by the music or performance that I felt compelled to learn more). In some respects, I am sympathetic to Malachi's comically emphatic pan of Belafonte's Calypso because, well, it meshes perfectly with a pre-existing bias of mine, which has so far steered me clear of any impulse to purchase a Harry Belafonte album, for much the same reasons that I have thus far avoided the recorded output of the Weavers. But this purposeful avoidance, void of any basis in experience, is irrational. So, hats off to Malachi for trying. Honestly, I should do the same. My musical preferences steer me most often in the direction of jazz, which comprises roughly two-thirds of my collection; the remaining one-third is "everything else."

Now then, what about that deliberately inflammatory subject line? What in the world am I really up to? Well, does anyone here remember Corey Greenberg, the young firebrand who years ago was a regular contributor to Stereophile? Like many other readers, I welcomed Corey's contributions to the pages of Stereophile and enjoyed his style of reviewing. He reveled in stirring things up and delighted in injecting a measure of fun, if not mischief, into the proceedings. I assume that John Atkinson (Stereophile Editor in Chief) understood that this was the type of output he could expect from Corey, and calculated that this would be a successful formula to attract and cultivate a following amongst the younger generation of newcomers to our hobby, and to Stereophile magazine. Many readers, including myself, seemed to enjoy this fresh approach and relished the entertainment. But eventually, I think for some readers it just got out of control. I do not have privileged information about what might have transpired behind the scenes at Stereophile, but it seems plausible that Corey eventually drove that train right off the rails (further comments below).

Personally, I thought Corey was one of the coolest writers in the magazine, until one day while reading Corey's latest equipment review, I came upon this line: "Ana Caram SUCKS!" It just so happens that I like most Brazilian jazz, and on occasion I enjoy listening to a variety of Brazilian jazz vocalists, including Ana Caram, Leny Andrade, Rosa Passos, and others. Corey made no secret that his idea of worthwhile and praiseworthy music was found in recordings by the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Elvis Presley (and the like), so it is not surprising that he had no appreciation for Ana Caram's artistry. Fine, to each his own (me: Fabulous Thunderbirds - thumbs up!; Elvis - meh). But from that moment onward, my assessment of Corey Greenberg shifted: cool dude, yes, but sometimes immature jackass. 'Nuf said.

Evidently, I was not the only reader with such feelings. Although Corey often received appreciative responses from his readership in the Letters to the Editor, it was not all laudatory. In that latter category, the most memorable for me was a letter from none other than Arnie Nudell, creator of the Infinity IRS V loudspeaker, and later Genesis Loudspeakers. I don't remember now the exact context in which Arnie Nudell's ire was raised, but I suppose it might have been provoked by a review of a Genesis loudspeaker that Corey had a hand in. In any event, the most scathing and memorable line in Mr. Nudell's letter is one in which he likened Corey Greenberg to Bevis and Butthead - criticism that was pointed, yet measured (it was clear that Arnie was seething), and I think also well-deserved.

Sometime later (not sure how long), Corey Greenberg left Stereophile magazine. If I remember correctly, I believe he launched a new business pedaling men's shaving supplies. I love the irony and justice in that transition - from bad boy audio reviewer to a man on a quest for a shave as smooth as a baby's bottom!

So, Malachi, back to that album from Harry Belafonte, Jump Up Calypso. Not good, huh? Common dude, don't hold back on us, tell us what you really think. I am super intrigued now. In fact, I think I will have to buy a copy and learn all about this stinker first hand.

Malachi and Micheal, keep up the great work, and thank you!!!

Michael Fremer's picture
When I retire (if ever) I will tell the entire Corey saga. You won't believe the words but fortunately I have the pictures! I'll leave it at that... My hope is that Malachi never goes the Corey Greenberg route though he's starting to show signs...I hope he maintains the great Corey parts and tosses the rest...
robert r dawson's picture

a pictures worth a thousand words...but in this case, the words will suffice. C'mon, throw us a crumb

jamesgarvin's picture

But at least I can look forward to hearing the full Corey saga if your retirement ever occurs. I'm thinking an illicit romantic liaison with a large pair of Arnie Nudell's favorite IRS Series V Speakers while Arnie Nudell was at the office.

jazz's picture

I once more fully agree with your findings!

The more surprising that Elusivedisc advertises the Ellington with your 11/11 rating.

jazz's picture

I once more fully agree with your findings!

The more surprising that Elusivedisc advertises the Ellington with your 11/11 rating.

xtcfan80's picture

Why would it be surprising elusivedisc used Mikie's 11/ 11 review to help sell the Masterpieces LP? Mike is an Analog expert and elusivedisc is in business to sell records....

jazz's picture

sorry, I didn’t mean I wonder that Elusivedisc uses his review for marketing, but that Michael seems to have given a 11/11 for a record which in his current Observation is a 8/8...or am I on the wrong path?

Michael Fremer's picture
The 8/8 was Malachi Lui's rating!
jazz's picture

then this time I was with Malachi!

arcman67's picture
mess_of_blues's picture

It can be tough for a younger generation to appreciate cultural media several generations before their time (although I think Malachi has an above-average understanding for someone his age). I was that way too - couldn't stand old movies, for example. That was until I took a History of Film course as an undergraduate student. We slogged through the early Lumiere brothers' shorts, which still is chore even today. However, that persistence paid off because by the time we got to German Expressionism from the 1920's, I was floored at how good silent film was. It helped, of course, that we were given proper context about the artistic influences of films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. By the time we hit Buster Keaton, and his genius for real-time set pieces that don't exist anymore, I was a convert to silent films. The course ended with late '70's films (this was the mid-80's); these were good, but by the time we got there, it felt like all the groundbreaking stuff was already done.

Music is similar, I find. If you want to appreciate the Duke or Belafonte, start with stuff a generation earlier and work your way up. You'll be floored at how much of an innovator he was.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. Enjoyed the review.

ChrisM's picture

"Don't believe the hype" is a fantastic song from Public Enemy (1988).
Otherwise what I see here is the killing of the father, and the poor Duke with his Masterpieces which is a truly masterpiece is the unfortunate excuse to make this murder ;-)
Ellington Masterpieces (Analogue Productions) was on the top of MF's 100 Recommended All-Analog LP Reissues Worth Owning, so the attack is pretty clear ;-))
ML's Ego is strong enough to need Public for his childish mischief, well mister "Professional Writer" please note that we won't be your Enemy ;-)
Lot's of fun to read the "Professional Writer" work and the comments, thank you
and sleep well ;-)

shawnwes's picture

Some people can appreciate all types of foods. Some only like Chef Boyardee. While not trying to equate young Malachi's musical depth is shoe sole deep it'll be quite a while before he develops the musical maturity that comes with experience and mellowing of age. Just because you can string a few paragraphs together doesn't make you an influencer.

He's still a kid so we'll give him a pass but a kid shouldn't be writing for an audience that for the most part doesn't agree with him. If he were the current editor of Analog Planet how long before he'd alienated most of the current subscribers?

Not everyone gets Belafonte. I do but can forgive that you don't get him. The music is from another time but so is Ellington. A score of 1 though shows childish immaturity. However, not getting an Ellington work of art is something else and can't be easily shrugged off.

Michael's given you a chance that most youth never get in their lives. I hope you don't screw it up.

MalachiLui's picture

so you're saying that to enjoy certain types of music, you need to be older? some people's preferences do change/expand with age, but not liking a certain style makes my criticism invalid???

then you write "if he were the current editor of analogplanet how long before he'd alienate most of the current readers?" well i might piss off the older crowd but i'd simultaneously bring in new readers.

"a score of 1/10 shows childish immaturity" ok but i gave a 0/10 to the last GFOTY project and you didn't say shit. what's the difference here?

"not getting an ellington work of art is something else and can't be easily shrugged off" BRUH I GAVE IT AN 8/10 that's a POSITIVE score. there are albums that i really like and listen to regularly ("be here now," "cherry bomb," "anti," "after hours," etc) that i'd put somewhere in the 8/10 range. do i think that "masterpieces by ellington" is overrated? YES. but is it at all bad? NO.

Pretzel Logic's picture

so you're saying that to enjoy certain types of music, you need to be older? some people's preferences do change/expand with age, but not liking a certain style makes my criticism invalid???

then you write "if he were the current editor of analogplanet how long before he'd alienate most of the current readers?" well i might piss off the older crowd but i'd simultaneously bring in new readers.

"a score of 1/10 shows childish immaturity" ok but i gave a 0/10 to the last GFOTY project and you didn't say shit. what's the difference here?

"not getting an ellington work of art is something else and can't be easily shrugged off" BRUH I GAVE IT AN 8/10 that's a POSITIVE score. there are albums that i really like and listen to regularly ("be here now," "cherry bomb," "anti," "after hours," etc) that i'd put somewhere in the 8/10 range. do i think that "masterpieces by ellington" is overrated? YES. but is it at all bad? NO.

shawnwes's picture

You're mistaken. Mostly I don't find it that interesting.

MalachiLui's picture

you obviously read THIS feature, and if you read it closely enough you'll see that i enjoy "masterpieces by ellington," just not as much as others. i scored it 8/10, 80%, 4 stars of 5. that's pretty good imo.

audiotom's picture

Let your article stand... your feelings and perceptions, others will disagree with it and frankly with this article you really lost credibility with your lack of insight or experience. Perhaps you should have chosen 3 of those albums more in line with your taste and knowledge.

A wise journalist does not jump in and defend himself or attack his respondents.

Observe, take note, most importantly learn and move on.

jamesgarvin's picture

He shouldn't be writing for an audience who disagrees with him, and should be writing for an audience who generally agrees with him? How much fun would that be - as a writer or a reader? Not much, I venture.

Duke86fan's picture

"a kid shouldn't be writing for an audience that for the most part doesn't agree with him"....

this sounds very echochambery tbh. so do you not want to hear a different impression than what is commonly stated in the audiophile community. I currently appreciate Lui's style because it seems like he is talking to the younger more approaching audiophile, giving more attention to mainstream and indie music a lot of younger listeners are enjoying. and to someone like me (a 21 year old budget audiophile more into experimental music and hip hop than the classical and jazz most commonly associated with audiophiles), its very nice to have a perspective that fits me, I mean he doesn't like a Belafonte album and gave a positive score to Masterpieces instead of a perfect score, the anger about that seems a lot like hype culture, sure your preference is more towards Ellington but i can understand why people might not think its a perfect album (specifically how slow and wholesome it sounds compared to more modern music)

melody maker's picture

Great points. I'm not a fan of the profanity and venom, but expressing well-thought-out opinions contrary to the majority readership is great!

Hate to veer the conversation away from music, but I will for just one sentence: getting news opinions only from your own left or right echo chamber is a big chunk of what has our political sphere so harshly divided these days. Listen and to other opinions once in a while, and try to understand why people think that way (beyond "they must be idiots"). And do it in the aesthetic realm too...

shawnwes's picture

For every opinion you have there's going to be someone who doesn't agree with you. We disagree on the two albums mentioned.

avanti1960's picture

a guy asks the clerk manning the Acoustic Sounds tables "which record sound like they're playing in the room?
The clerk hands him "Masterpieces". So I pick one up for myself. Disappointed was my initial reaction, dated sounding and OK sonics but nothing noteworthy. I never play it...Hype- yes. And so it goes....

xtcfan80's picture

Ok...1. Acoustic Sounds does not employ any "clerks" only music lovers/audiophiles
2. Really? An album recorded in the early 50s sounds dated? What are you calling modern or up-to-date? Bay-once?? Or Cane-East?? Or speaking of hype, The Strokes???

MalachiLui's picture

i mean, early 50s blues albums don't sound that dated, maybe cuz the genre hasn't evolved that much but it's not like "wow this is so dated that i don't wanna listen to it"

DaK's picture

Hey Malachi, I really like you're reviews they are lighter and less anal than most other "audiophile" reviews on the internet! I always wanted to buy the In Rainbows 45 rpm set as well, but I always wondered if it would be worth the money. So thank you for clearing that up! Still hoping for a proper standalone 45 rpm reissue. And btw I never knew what to make of Belafonte too. I mean sure that man can sing but he still is singing songs that mostly just don't fit in these times (I think they did not age well, or weren't that fresh right from the start). The most songs he sings seem like some weird musical/children's song/revue mashup. Keep these reviews coming, stay safe and healthy!

Mile High Music's picture

So lovely to read your comments AnalogJ on the Phonogram group's gathering in Toronto so many years ago. I was there too - the tall English guy from New York who was a complete newbie to high end audio and I had just joined the group about two weeks before. Our gathering especially sticks in my mind too for the revelatory, stunning system and listening session Richard Foster kindly gave at his house. Yes, hearing so much detail and clarity in each musical performance - especially those I had heard before - was a milestone audio first for me. In fact, it has been THE sonic experience I have aspired to emulate as my resources and system have slowly evolved. Perhaps you may recall more of what was in Richards system? Thank you very much either way and no biggie if you do not. I still treasure the free classical LP Richard handed to me as I left as he was generously giving a free LP to everyone on their way out. :-)

HiFiMark's picture

This column motivated me to pull out Masterpieces to which I haven't listened since flipping my listening room and moving to Shindo separates with ZU's and a VPI-EMT-Auditorium SUT front end.
I have my own rating system for sound quality:
Blue Dot: acceptable / fine
Silver Dot: good
2 Silver Dots: very good
Gold Dot: excellent
2 Gold Dots: among the very best
My take on Masterpieces? Sold gold dot on my system... Piano sound is a bit lacking.
This really is an incredible recording - and not just "for its time."
Malachi needs a lot more seasoning as a reviewer and as a human being - what kid doesn't!?
That said, I am so very glad the lad has picked up on this hobby and is already at the vanguard of carrying it forward for the next generation. Confident, a good communicator, and one who understands the joy, and cultural value, of preserving and advancing the unique art form that is music on LP.
Oh, and as the phono section of my Shindo continues to warm up, the Duke might be moving into 2 Gold Dot territory... The horns are extraordinary.

Lazer's picture

I really wish all of us old people will stop telling ML that he just needs to grow up. It’s an ad hominem argument that by definition is illogical. Please, can we all just accept younger(different) point of views without resorting to illogical responses?

kelossus's picture

You're off the mark.

No one is asking him to change his opinion. I think what rubbed me, and others the wrong way was the dismissive nature of the Harry Belafonte review. I don't like the record but to out right say it's garbage and baffling that people listen to it is arrogant.

I feel the same way about the Tyler the Creator album Malachi holds so dear. IMO it's absolute garbage but I don't dismiss that people enjoy it. I am not that much older then Malachi in the grand scheme of things so it's not like "I don't get it".

Anton D's picture

So, what music/sound rating would you give the Tyler The Creator album?

I'm trying to see where people land regarding the albums in common that we are discussing.

I'd give the Belafonte a 2 for sound: the backing band sounds like AM radio and the treble glare is bothersome. No low end to speak of. (And I think Belafonte is a lovely human who has actually made the world a better place.)

For "music," I will give it a 4, slightly below average. It's a rehash of the same type of sound he produced previously and he sounds mechanical and calculating in his delivery. His affectation of an accent on the vocals sounds inauthentic. Like I said above, like an animatronic performance at Epcot's Jamaica Pavilion. It sounds canned. There are a good number of albums from the era where performers are cashing in on previously popular material. This album seems like it was a 'five year grind' away from the Banana Boat song he was still trying to use to sell records. It's sonic nostalgia for "5 years ago" 1961! There are Elvis and Sinatra albums that simple tread water, as well, and I love both performers dearly, but they made some sub-average recordings, as well. Perhaps I carry a slight bias away from people who can't write their own material and when they make a misstep like "Jump Up Calypso" it becomes more glaring because all they had to do was choose their material, not write it! If it weren't for nostalgia, I would honestly be incredulous if anybody was enjoying this record. This album approaches a Mairzy Doats level of insipidness, but Jump Up Calypso does this without a wink or a nod regarding it's musical mendacity. (Again, I love Belafonte and appreciate the work he has done to improve the world with energy and effort beyond what 99.9% of other people do,)

So, 2/4 for me. Not 'garbage,' but genuinely a 'toss off' recording.

Disclaimer: I only mean to be chatting about music and how we criticize it, no evil or troll intent!

kelossus's picture

I can't give a sound rating as I would never pay money for the album to be able to play it on my stereo.

Music would be a 1/10. For me the music is an absolute mess and I can't see the talent in it. People obviously like it and I respect their opinions but it's not for me.

Anton D's picture

It's fine, Malachi likes Belafonte to the same extent you like Tyler.

" absolute mess and I can't see the talent in it" sounds a lot like calling it garbage.

Also fine. One man's garbage is another man's Tyler/Belafonte!

I love the degree of variety of music that Malachi takes on, I expect a range from grace to garbage, so to speak.

Cheers, fellow vinyl nut!!

lap's picture

I normally don't feel the need to comment on an audio review whether it be equipment or music. After all it is just an opinion on what someone else hears.I say something sounds great,you say something sounds terrible.I say something is beautiful,you say something is ugly. Great....but I had to pipe in when I read the headline and then to my
astonishment "Masterpieces by Ellington" was included.Wow!Not to brag about how big my...uh "system" is like some often do,but just for reference,let's just say it's would be considered audiophile quality (again,an opinion)Not only do I have the 45 reissue but the 33 and also a 15 ips safety master of this "Masterpiece" and "in my opinion" the reissue,especially the 45 is everything it is hyped up to be.

Oh well,I will still enjoy and respect this recording in spite of the "review" as one of the best in my collection.

Now,if you want to argue about giving the music an 8......

Analogico's picture

right when the band offered the album as a "pay what you want" downloa. If I remember correctly I payed $87 shipping included. I didn't own a TT then but I still thought a CD was better than an MP3 download. After a few years I bought a TT and, not knowing what I was doing, I damaged side A of the LP trying to clean it with a pressured air can (the ones used to clean a computer's keyboard). A few years later I bought a discounted boxset with the LPs in M- condition and the package with some damage.

I totally agree with the review. The sound is great, the drums in "15 Steps" raise the hair on the back of my neck every time I play it. The 45 RPM version of In Rainbows is the record I play when somebody asks if an LP sounds better than the CD, which is, of course, very manipulative but worth it if only for the look in their faces!

If I didn't have the boxset I would probably be happy with the XL Recordings 33RPM reissue, they are very good specially compared to the original Capitol issues of other Radiohead albums.

Babysharks's picture

Having spent this last half hour reading through all of the above comments, I regret that I didn't use that time just listening to the running leaf blower across the street.

Anton D's picture

How could you tell there was a leaf blower?

Robcos02330's picture

For audiophiles. You are so young, you clearly don’t know what you don’t know. Stick to listening to Charlie XCX in your bedroom and leave the audiophile reviews of the adult music for the adults.

Also, take criticism like a professional or start writing childish reviews on your own blog.

Michael Fremer's picture
I have told Mr. Lui that myself. The only people deserving serious abuse here are the anti-vinyl trolls who come here to incite and insult.
Robcos02330's picture

I SHOULD add, when you first introduced this promising young man to us, I was blown away. I was excited to see how and what he would review. So this is all very disappointing to see. For myself, I take blame for NOT expecting his age to show through. That’s on me and not in any way his fault. He will grow, and hopefully learn from all this.

PS: it was YOUR wonderful recommendation of the AP Ellington Masterpieces that firmly solidified my newfound obsession of all things Ellington-I had just recently watched Ken Burns Jazz-and it was my first exposure to a whole new world of music. Then came your review-and Ellington Masterpieces. I’m now a jazz fanatic. Gobbling up all eras.

So....I couldn’t have disagreed more with his take......

I’ve babbled enough. Wish you both a safe and music filled spring/summer.

cundare's picture

(Sorry for the lengthy posting, but they don't let me out that often, ya know)

I once had a professor who said that the way that a composer thinks about his work is more important than the work itself. It's obvious that Mr. Lui and his mostly old-white-guy critics disagree so profoundly because in each case at least one of them doesn't understand an artist's musical language. You can't hear what an artist is expressing if you're still struggling with the language that the artist is using to express himself.

Belafonte is a great singer, capable of brilliantly nuanced expression. But he generally worked in a genre that would by modern standards be considered "cheesy." Similarly, with notable exceptions (like the brilliant "Runaway"), all I hear in Kanye is angry post-rapper whining. But I understand that I'm likely missing much of Kanye's genius because I listen to so little of that type of music. I don't have the context to place his work in perspective & until I start listening to more of Kanye's contemporaries and influences, all I'm gonna hear on his records is the sound of a foreign musical language.

When I was young, I periodically enriched myself by picking an artist or musician that was generally respected, but which I could not comprehend -- Piet Mondrian, Henri Rousseau, Olivier Messiaen, etc. I would then devour everything I could find about the artist, and then studied their original works in great detail. It was a contrarian, self-challenging attitude, but those little projects certainly did enrich my life. 50 years later, I still get immense pleasure from a Mondrian painting. His primary work, for me, is no longer a meaningless set of perpendicular lines.

Malachi, if you're interested in growing your already prodigious critical skills, I highly recommend a similar approach. Before reviewing the next Artie Shaw reissue (just an example), do some reading, research, and listening to learn the language of 40s big-band music, and then judge the recording within that context. It'll give your review that much more depth and credibilty, but most importantly, it could open up a whole new type of music for you to explore and enjoy.

Just a suggestion, offered in good faith. Greatness takes work and I believe the effort you expend learning to understand the standards by which an artist like Belafonte should be evaluated will help you reach your true potential. You're already a very good craftsman -- but I think you can be much more than that.

Don L ("cundare")

MalachiLui's picture also in many ways insulting. and guess what? that's what half of our comments section is usually made of. pure ignorance from ppl who can't even be bothered to be corrected or learn.

Robcos02330's picture

“that's what half of our comments section is usually made of. pure ignorance from ppl who can't even be bothered to be corrected or learn.”


You don’t know what you don’t know. I’m sorry you don’t understand this. Be well. You won’t have to worry about myself responding anymore. Please don’t carry this atititude into your professional life when you’re older. It won’t serve you well.

MalachiLui's picture
MalachiLui's picture
Ritmoman's picture

Just listened to Yeezus on youtube, I liked it! Not what I usually listen too but the urgency overall and the intense electronic tones, percussion etc mixed with different vocal lines is very powerful. I read the comments for each cut and many were "finally" getting the artistry and relevance. Repeatedly saying it was underrated and ahead of its time. So many sacred cows in the audiophile world! Thanks for turning me on to Yeezus and dont let the rank and file get you down!! Music is many deep oceans full of strange and wonderful fish!!

bdp24's picture

I stopped reading about 1/5th way down the page (I try to avoid confrontation), but the part I did read brings to mind an expression I remember hearing my mother utter: "Ah, the arrogance of youth". Michael, I know you get a kick out of this kid, but he may not be appropriate for an adult readership. It's great that he's an audiophile, though ;-)

jdchisom1's picture

Michael, I've always respected and enjoyed your writing and views. I've got you "ranked" with J Gordon Holt, John Atkinson, Harry Pierson and Robert Harley and the other "Greats." I quote you to my wife and kids as a source of wisdom and levity.

Yes, I'm a middle-aged "white guy." I've been reading and been addicted to audio since I was 17; I'm now 60. I allow room for other's opinions and views. These can broaden our world view. But sadly all too often, as a group started in the 70's sang, "arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand."

When we see an arrogant man (or boy) spewing forth boundless tripe, he is only revealing the depth of his shallowness and profane level of boundless ignorance. We can all hope, Mr. Lui will grow and feel regret over the foolishness of his youth, but it's not looking good.

His writing lacks quality and civility. At this time, he is not really ready to write for any journal, most especially this one. He appears to have little or no education. Wherever he's from, it's not "our neck of the woods." His opinions are expressed with rudeness and crude insults; i.e, 'if you don't like Kanye, you have no human feeling.'

I will not do, as others do when they hear stupidity beyond comprehension, say they're canceling their subscription. I will not harm myself because of someone else's stupidity. BUT, I will NOT read any piece connected to Mr. Lui. Life is too short to spend any of it with foolish people.

Dear Michael, you've given Mr. Lui an opportunity he does not even comprehend, appreciate or even respect. We're NOT the audience he seeks. Analogue Planet/Stereophile will only harm its' circulation with a "writer" that offends 98% or more of its' readers.

Bkhuna's picture

"If an artist today submitted to their record label anything close in quality to this album, the label would put them in a mental institution"...

Take a look at today's pop charts and rethink that statement.

MalachiLui's picture

most chart records are just meh, not as glaringly awful but not that good. tho there are some actually good artists on the chart who seriously do need help.

ViciAudio's picture

Obviously not audiophile grade, that's not the point of the album, but for what it is and considering the desired "sound aesthetics" by the band/producer, it sounds amazing and definitely much less dynamically compressed than any other version digital or physical.The 45rpm double LP cut/mastering is so much better, it really elevates the listening experience to a whole other level. Certainly far from being the best sounding LP in my collection, but it is definitely and by far the best In Rainbows release :)

EclecticSeeker's picture

The Analogue Productions 4 LP, 45 RMP version of Live at Carnegie Hall eclipses all others (and counting both LPs & CDs I have several). But Belafonte '89 is a go-to album to show off my system, at least the 10-only song, EMI-Capitol version. It never fails to impress, musically and sonically. (And yes I am 70 years old. I never cared for his music before I was about 40 - then I fell hard.)

vinylrules's picture

I’ve just played both sides and don’t find it nearly as offensive as Mr. Malachi. Is it perfect? No. But is the original Japanese issue supposed to be miles (pun intended) better? I guess you’ve heard it is if and that’s why you’re now actively searching for one? I wouldn’t know until I heard one myself or heard this from a trusted source.

Mr. Malachi I also note you stated this LP was sourced from CD? Perhaps what you really meant was that this LP was mastered from the 2005 digital file that Mark Wilder did for the Compact Disc? But those are two different things. Related but different. Yet, is this a fact? You stated “I excitedly spun the record only to hear that it’s CD-sourced.”

So again I ask, is this a fact? This album was cut from digital and not from analog tape? Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me but if may be so bold to recommend that when relating information like this it would be nice to cite the source - not just comment in passing that the information is based on here-say.

Anyway, I’d personally rate this reissue a solid “7” or maybe even a “7.25” and that’s an improvement over the “6” Mr. Malachi awards it.

Incidentally the system used here was: VPI Avenger Reference, Kiseki Purple Heart N.S. moving coil cartridge, ModWright PH 9.0 tube phono stage, Herron Audio VTSP-360 tube line stage, and System Audio Legend 40 Silverback loudspeakers.



Tdiddey's picture

Actually this was available in the U.S. as part of the Dble LP 1983 release Miles Davis "Heard Round the World".Should be easy to find at a lower price than the RSD version. A bunch for sale on Discogs.
Columbia ‎– C2 38506

MalachiLui's picture

good to know, thanks!

doroteo's picture

Belafonte is indisputably a far greater artist than Kayne West will ever be.

Slammintone's picture

Thankfully I just bought this before I read the review. My new copy is from Music On Vinyl and sounds much better than described above. Williams cymbals emphatically do not sound like white noise. They sound dry and trashy like they always do being that they are top shelf Turkish Istanbul K Zildjians he’s famous for using during this period. They sound real. The bass is full and strong, the horn and piano are well placed etc. I’d rate this album as 9 for the music and a solid 8 for the sound.

Slammintone's picture

Here I gotta say Malachi’s review had me in stitches. I agree with everything he said about Belafonte based on my experience with the Live At Carnegie Hall album. I’ve had the Jump Up Calypso album for 25yrs and never once had the urge to play it after hearing The Carnegie album!