LATEST ADDITIONS

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."

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

Producer Rick Rubin born in Long Beach, Long Island, New York in 1963, graduated high school in 1981. Johnny Cash, born in Kingsland, Arkansas in 1932, graduated high school in 1950. Yet these two, separated in time by more than thirty years, and by an even wider socio-cultural gap, will forever be linked by the music they created together during Cash’s last decade of life. Rubin’s resurrection of Cash’s career with the release of American Music in 1994 is but one fascinating facet of this enigmatic figure’s twenty year career in music.

In 1984, while a film and video student at N.Y.U., Rubin met Russell Simmons at Danceteria—a New York club where downtown hardcore rockers and uptown rappers mixed comfortably—and the two immediately hit it off, sharing a common musical vision of hard beats and hard rhymes, with Simmons drawing from R&B roots and Rubin from hard rock. Rubin had a vision of melding the two seemingly disparate musical forms and though he’d never produced a record, he sought out the duo of T. La Rock and Jazzy Jay, and out of that came a 12” vinyl single, “It’s Yours,” which was released on Partytime/Streetwise records. It featured rhyming raps set to a loud, hardcore beat with metal overtones. Though the track went on to sell around 100,000 copies—an impressive number for the newly emerging musical genre—Rubin was never paid for his work.

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  |  1 comments

MF: Just to change the subject, do you know who P.D. Ouspensky is?

RR: Yes.

MF: Did you read “In Search of the Miraculous?”

RR: Yes.

MF: That book changed my life. I don’t live it but he managed to merge mysticism with science and create a music-based universe.

RR: Have you ever listened to the Gurdjieff piano pieces?

MF: Keith Jarrett recorded some, and Thomas D. Hartmann?

RR: Yes. They are so beautiful. I listen to those quite a lot.

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  |  3 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.

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