Malachi Lui

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 18, 2020  |  First Published: Feb 18, 2020  |  40 comments
(Vinyl Reports is a new AnalogPlanet feature intended to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we’ll provide sound quality, LP packaging, notes about the overarching vinyl experience, and sometimes music reviews. Today’s vague theme is what this recurring feature is generally about: records new and old, good and bad. Let the fun begin…)

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 08, 2020  |  First Published: Feb 08, 2020  |  47 comments
Firemen work to douse fire. (Photo:Robert Bauer-ribsfitmedia)
On Thursday morning (February 6), the Banning, CA building housing Apollo/Transco Masters’ factory and storage space burned. By far the biggest of the world’s two lacquer master disc manufacturers, most of the world’s vinyl mastering facilities (especially smaller ones) relied upon Apollo/Transco blanks, as well as their cutting styli for Westrex cutting heads. Ruled a total loss, 82 firefighters battled the blaze’s toxic fumes; thankfully, there were no injuries (Banning is located in the Southern California desert, approximately 2.5 hours away from Los Angeles).
Malachi Lui  |  Jan 30, 2020  |  First Published: Jan 30, 2020  |  5 comments
Last year Peter Noerbaek offered me a review sample of the Liberty Audio B2B-1 phono preamp. “I’m happy with my MoFi UltraPhono,” I told MF, “but I’ll try the B2B-1.” Not necessarily thinking it would at first make a significant difference in my system, I soon instead found that in terms of imaging, punch, dynamics, and sonic cleanliness, it greatly enhanced my hi-fi’s performance.

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

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

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

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

Malachi Lui  |  Dec 17, 2019  |  First Published: Dec 17, 2019  |  41 comments
On her latest proper album Charli, British pop star Charli XCX creates a work that epitomizes, with an artsy bend, all of 2010’s pop music’s hallmarks. Blown out, hyper-compressed production, glistening synths, giant drum machines, and digitally-stressed vocals are in abundance on Charli, yet the choices that she and executive producer A.G. Cook (known for running the PC Music label) make often surprise the listener. Following the relatively normal and upbeat Troye Sivan-featuring “1999” (no relation to the iconic Prince song, but Charli’s track holds its own) comes “Click,” which thanks to Dylan Brady’s production, in the last third takes a noisy, abrasive left turn. Similarly, Cook and Lotus IV anchor “Cross You Out” with a warped synth bass that oscillates in and out of tune, with other electronic sounds unexpectedly popping out
Malachi Lui  |  Dec 04, 2019  |  First Published: Dec 04, 2019  |  13 comments
During my initial two years of record collecting, my dumb self rarely bothered to clean my records, and as an 8-year-old, I didn’t think grabbing records by the grooves it affected anything. Three years into the hobby, I began, with a MoFi brush and ONE solution, obsessively hand cleaning my LPs (as well as handling them properly). However, I never owned a vacuum record cleaning machine (RCM) until AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer gifted me one this summer and requested this review.

Malachi Lui  |  Nov 27, 2019  |  17 comments
Before I get further into this follow-up review, a short disclaimer: other than the US Apple/Capitol singles of “We Can Work It Out”/“Day Tripper” and “Hey Jude”/“Revolution” (which, as expected, sound lousy), I don’t have any Beatles 7” singles other than this new The Singles Collection box. All my Beatles listening is on LP (the 2014 mono series, the Giles Martin remix LPs, and a few mono and stereo UK and European pressings) and the occasional lossless digital format, therefore from these recordings I’m used to great sound quality. My expectations for The Singles Collection (generously gifted to me by AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer) were likely different from most others’: sure, I expected the all-analog lacquer cuts to sound good, but sound quality on 7” singles isn’t the first thing I think about. With the 7” format, it’s primarily about the musical content, collectibility, packaging (when applicable), and finally, sound quality.

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