June 4, 2011

Playlist Week of 6-04-11

Monster Turbines

* De Filharmonie (Herreweghe/Peckova): Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 9-16-10 (FM 2CDR)
* Poulenc: Concerto For Organ, etc. (ORTF/Martinon, et al.) (Erato LP)
* Poulenc: Aubade/Piano Concerto (Paris Conservatoire Orch./PrĂȘtre/Tacchino) (Angel LP)
* Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Mosaic (Blue Note LP)
* Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder (Blue Note LP)
* Sun Ra: The Antique Blacks (Saturn/Art Yard CD)
* Sun Ra: Sub-Underground (Saturn LP>CDR)
* Andrew Hill Trio: Promenade Hall, Pori, Finland 7-20-02 (FM CDR)
* Archie Shepp: Four For Trane (Impulse! CD)
* Marion Brown: Three For Shepp (Impulse! CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Secrets (Columbia LP)
* Miles Davis: We Want Miles (Columbia 2LP)
* Bill Laswell: Points Of Order (Innerhythmic CD)†/‡
* Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch CD)‡
* Rolling Stones: Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan 4-02-06 (CATV>2CDR)
* Paul McCartney & Wings: Wingspan: Hits & History (Capitol 2CD)†/‡
* Grateful Dead: Formerly The Warlocks: Hampton, VA 10-89 (d.5-6) (GDP/Rhino 6CD)
* King Crimson: Heavy ConstruKction (DGM 3CD)†/(‡)
* Yes: Close To The Edge (Atlantic/Rhino CD)
* Yes: Tales From Topographic Oceans (Atlantic/Rhino 2CD)
* Yes: Relayer (Atlantic/Rhino CD)
* Yes: Going For The One (Atlantic/Rhino CD)
* Yes: Tormato (Elektra/Rhino CD)
* Latin Playboys: Latin Playboys (Slash/Warner Bros. CD)
* Latin Playboys: Dose (Atlantic CD)
* Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts (Matador CD)†
* Dinosaur (Jr.): Dinosaur (Homestead LP)
* Boredoms: Vision Creation Newsun (Birdman CD)
* Robert Pollard: Lord Of The Birdcage (GBV, Inc. LP/FLAC>CDR)
* Radiohead: In Rainbows (TBD CD)†
* Radiohead: The King Of Limbs (XL/TBD CD)†
* Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam (Domino CD)†
* Panda Bear: Young Prayer (Paw Tracks CD)
* Panda Bear: Live At Governors Island (Paw Tracks bonus MP3) †/‡
* Deerhoof: The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars CD)
* Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity (Kill Rock Stars CD)
* Broken Bells: Broken Bells (Columbia LP)
* Broken Bells: Meyrin Fields EP (Columbia EP)
* Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop 2LP)



As you all know, I like to listen to music—a lot. And while I am allowed to listen to music at work, it must be via headphones—but I am not a big fan of headphones. I don’t like the sensation of music appearing to come from inside my head, rather than as vibrations of air in an acoustic space. Further degrading were the cheapo earbuds I used with my iPod which were extremely uncomfortable and, moreover, sounded like crap. After a few minutes, my ears would start to hurt. Eventually, I pretty much stopped listening to music at work and this made me very sad.

Of course, I have a very nice pair of over-the-ear headphones I use in my home studio, but I’m not going to lug them back and forth and, worse, look like a total geek wearing them at the office. Besides, I have to be at least somewhat aware of my surroundings while at work and the complete isolation they provide would be totally inappropriate. That means earbuds are my only practical choice. Ugh.

So I did a little research. Surely there must be good sounding, comfortable earbuds out there! After reading several enthusiastic reviews, I finally sprung for the Monster Turbine Pro Copper Edition, which boast an all-metal construction for low resonance and high durability, Monster’s usual superlative cabling and, conveniently, a multitude of ear-tips in various sizes to ensure a proper fit. They promised audiophile sound quality and non-fatiguing, long-term wearability. It seemed too good to be true, but according to users, they deliver. I had to give them a try.

They arrived this week and I had an opportunity to check them out yesterday. Wow! What a difference! They deliver deep bass, sparkling highs and have a surprisingly open, uncongested midrange—very much unlike my old earbuds, which always sounded compressed and tinny. I’m still experimenting with various eartips, but with a proper seal, these things sound amazing. In fact, they sound so good, lossy MP3 artifacts are brought to the fore, revealing the sonic compromises of listening to music on an iPod. Sure, it’s great for the car, where road noise masks the flaws inherent to the format, but MP3s simply do not stand up to close listening. I think I have an old Sony Discman somewhere that still works—maybe I’ll bring it to work so I can listen to CDs. Gosh, it almost makes me look forward to Monday. Well, almost…

Expect even longer playlists in the coming weeks!


Sam said...

Man, you're going for it, aren't you, with those headphones! Since I have a separate office, I can play music on my PC, but it's really low..which suits me fine for work. The main time I listen to my earbuds are when I'm doing dishes, and for that, they're fine. You would cringe at the sonic sounds in my poor car these days. I used to have a cassette adapter for the Magic Jukebox (er, my iPod)so I could listen to it over the speakers, but a few weeks ago my cassette player died. It rejects the adapter and also tapes. So now, I have a $5 Target portable speaker/iPod thingie that I play as loud as it will go. It sucks, but what are you gonna do? I am not gonna put any money into a sound system for a 14-year-old car that's definitely on its last legs. And the radio sucks.

Playlist 2011-06-06

*Luciano Berio: A Portrait, Part I (CDR) disc 4
*Luciano Berio: A Portrait, Part II (CDR) disc 1
*Paul Bley Trio plus John Gilmore: Turns
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: 1975-07-25 Antibes (CDR)
*John Coltrane: Heavyweight Champion (disc 4)
*Elton Dean's Ninesense: Oh! For the Edge
*Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath: Live at Willisau
*Sam Rivers Quartet: 1978-10-31 Brescia, Italy (CDR)
*Sun Ra: 1979-06-01 Moers (CDR)
*Sun Ra: 1980-02-05 Squat Theatre, NYC (CDR)
*Sun Ra and the Cosmo Ambassadors of 1984: 1982-10-29 Jazzmania, NYC (CDR)
*Sun Ra and his Alter-Destiny Omniversal Arkestra: 1987-01-22 Philadelphia (CDR)
*Cecil Taylor: 3 Phasis (side 1)
*Weather Report: Weather Report
*Beach Boys: Today/Summer days, Summer Nights (two-fer)
*Beatles: Beatles For Sale (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: Rubber Soul (2009 mono remaster)
*Beatles: The Rockband Mixes (boot CDR) disc 1
*Jeff Beck Group: Jeff Beck Group
*Dark Carpet: Let's Make a Deal (CDR compilation)
*Marvin Gaye: Here, My Dear
*Grateful Dead: 1978-12-31 Winterland (selections)
*Jimi Hendrix: 51st Anniversary (The Story of Life...) (boot CDR) discs 4, 5
*High Llamas: Can Cladders
*Etta James: Etta James Rocks the House
*National Lampoon: The Official National Lampoon Stereo Test and Demonstration Record
*Robert Wyatt: Sea Song

Reading List 2011-06-06:

*Phillips, Arthur. The Tragedy of Arthur (finished)
*Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (transl. Malcolm C. Lyons) Vol. 1 (in progress)
*Campbell, Eddie. Alec: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus) (in progress)
*Ebert, Roger. The Great Movies II (in progress)
*Gifford, Don, and Robert J. Seldman. Ulysses Annotated, rev. and expanded ed. (in progress)
*Joyce, James. Ulysses (reread/in progress)
*Martin, George R.R. Game of Thrones (reread/in progress)
*Meyerowitz, Rick. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (in progress)
*Segar, E.C. The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye Vol. 8 (Dailies 1932-1933) (in progress)
*Sim, Dave. Cerebus, Vol. 1 (in progress)

Rodger Coleman said...

Sam -- well, I have this "thing" about headphones, so if I have to wear 'em, they better be nice. :)

Sorry to hear about the car audio situation - I know what it's like with a 14-year-old car! Newer cars have pretty nice sound systems as stock equipment...until then, you have to make do! And, no, the radio is not an option anymore. VU's radio station just shut down (sold out), so there's not even that anymore...

I'm intrigued by the Eddie Campbell book on your reading list. Must go look it up on Amazon immediately!

Sam said...

The Eddie Campbell book is pretty cool. It's an omnibus of all his shorter autobiographical books. Really nice diary-style stuff, nice artwork.