Album Reviews

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Michael Fremer  |  Nov 20, 2016  |  21 comments
By now you know the drill: The Electric Recording Company finds a collectible and music-worthy title to reissue and does its fanatical-attention-to-details thing, both in the mastering from the original tape on a lovingly restored all-tube cutting system to a meticulously produced record sleeve and jacket that are in most ways difficult to distinguish from the original as described in previous ERC reviews.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 20, 2018  |  11 comments
If you do a "Gene Clark" search on this website you'll find plenty to read and to listen to—including an AnalogPlanet Radio show dedicated to the late musician and former member of The Byrds. Please also read here the many record, book and documentary reviews covering Gene Clark's life and recorded output.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 24, 2020  |  16 comments
Billed by his label as a “long lost masterpiece by Neil Young”, referred to by fans as “one of Young’s mysterious, great ‘lost albums’” and described by Young himself as “the one that got away”, Homegrown was recorded mostly between late 1974 and early ’75, with one track from late spring ‘74 and another from late summer of that year.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 18, 2021  |  44 comments
Time and time again, Kanye West succeeds in the unexpected. With each album, he overcomes struggles regarding celebrity, ego, family, mental health, and religion, moving forward yet never fully conquering his demons. He married and had four kids with Hollywood socialite/tabloid fixture Kim Kardashian, though still maintained his unfiltered authenticity. A consistently provocative—off-putting, some might say—figure who lives at pop culture’s core, he encapsulates human nature’s duality and contradiction. Kanye West is a rough-edged perfectionist, a master of spectacle, and even if you hate him, the center of attention.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 27, 2013  |  31 comments
Dylan claims Blood on the Tracks' pained, heartbreaking and often very angry and vicious songs weren't personal confessionals, though he was in the midst of a painful divorce. His son Jakob says they were. Does it really matter if they were about or inspired by his life? He delivers them as if they were very personal as does any great actor, but they are just as satisfying or disturbing thought of as having been inspired by his personal circumstances at the time.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 05, 2015  |  8 comments
On Storytone Neil Young wears his heart on his sleeve and splattered on his windshield, serving it up both straight and backed by orchestral and big band arrangements. All of the performances are recorded live, with no overdubs.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  17 comments
Music composed for films is by definition precisely timed and intended to mirror or at least complement the on screen action. Of course that’s not always how its accomplished, especially when the hired musicians are not trained film composers.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2019  |  37 comments
Mobile Fidelity's One-Step reissue of Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album What's Going On is long out of print but still deserving of a short review.

Ty Webb  |  Sep 28, 2020  |  2 comments
In this, the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday, Yarlung Records offers a recording worthy of the master, a delectation from the Janaki String Trio that was originally recorded in 2006 in Zipper Hall. The sonics are as inviting as the playing.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2021  |  0 comments
The always defiant, sometimes bitter and often angry Charles Mingus had a habit of declaring more than a few of his records as his best, including this one. He might be correct about The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady recorded January, 1963, though Tijuana Moods and several others are definitely in the running.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 24, 2013  |  48 comments
Over the past few Record Store Days Sony/Legacy has been slowly rolling out on 180g vinyl, much of the Miles Davis catalog mastered from original analog tapes. This coming Record Store Day, November 29th, the label will release on vinyl Miles and Monk at Newport, Jazz Track and Kind of Blue. At that point, all nine mono vinyl titles will have been released. The same nine mono titles will debut on CD in a new box set MILES DAVIS: The Original Mono Recordings to be released on November 11th of this year

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Michael Fremer  |  Sep 02, 2015  |  34 comments
The story that has been handed down through the decades goes like this: Simon and Garfunkel’s vinyl LPs were originally produced using master tapes. Because S&G became so popular, over time the tapes would show signs of wear, so Columbia engineers would make a copy, toss the original, and begin cutting lacquers using the copy.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 26, 2019  |  6 comments
This extraordinary blues festival staged on an athletic field at the University of Michigan, Friday through Sunday August 1-3 in-between the moon landing and Woodstock, was almost lost to time—except to the 10,000 or so mostly white high school and college kids lucky enough to have the good fortune (and taste) to attend.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 17, 2020  |  16 comments
“I have to admit that this (D2D) recording technique was completely unknown to me before. When I ultimately realized what it entailed, I had mixed feelings at first.” So admitted Jakub Hrusa, the Bamberg Symphony’s 39 year old Czech-born conductor, who joined the orchestra in 2016. Based on the stunning musical and sonic results it was well worth whatever trepidation resulted from the decision to proceed with the recording of Czech-born Bedrich Smetana, which took place July 2th/26th, 2019 in Bamberg, Germany’s Joseph-Keilberth-Saal concert hall. (please forgive the lack of proper accents over the names).

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 11, 2014  |  53 comments
Was Mel Tormé a jazz or cabaret singer? Or was he both? Some music "purists" actually argue such things. Mr. Tormé's recorded vocal and interpretive talents demonstrate his ability to work both rooms. He wasn't worried about being pigeonholed one way or the other. Though rhythmically adept and an excellent scat singer, the “Velvet Fog” could also croon.

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