October 19, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-10-18

* Buxtehude: Scandanavian Cantatas (Theatre of Voices/Hiller, et al.) (DaCapo SACD)
* Bartok, et al.: Viola Concerto, etc. (Kashkashian/Eotvos, et al.) (ECM CD)
* Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, etc. (Chicago/Reiner) (RCA-Victor SACD)
* Wayne Shorter Quartet: Beyond The Sound Barrier (Verve CD)
* Andrew Hill: Grass Roots (Blue Note CD)
* Herbie Hancock: The Piano (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Death Wish OST (Columbia LP)
* Jean-Luc Ponty: Aurora (Atlantic LP)
* George Benson: Breezin’ (Warner Bros./Mobile Fidelity LP)
* Madlib: Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note (Blue Note 2LP)
* Al Green: Greatest Hits (Hi LP)
* Quincy Jones: Sounds…And Stuff Like That!!! (A&M LP)
* Grateful Dead: Pine Knob Music Theatre, Clarkston, MI 1980-08-27 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Red Krayola: Singles (Drag City 2LP)
* Soft Machine: Triple Echo (Harvest 3LP)
* Ultimate Spinach: Ultimate Spinach (MGM LP)
* Camel: I Can See Your House From Here (Arista LP)
* Camel: The Single Factor (Passport LP)
* Nektar: A Tab In The Ocean (Passport LP)
* Solution: Cordon Bleu (Rocket/MCA LP)
* Allan Holdsworth: Velvet Darkenss (CTI LP)
* Allan Holdsworth: Road Games (Warner Bros. EP)
* Sonic Youth: Washing Machine (Geffen 2LP)
* Sonic Youth: Murray Street (Geffen LP)
* Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse (Geffen 2LP)
* Circus Devils: Escape (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Earth: Phase 3: Thrones And Dominions (Sub Pop 2LP)
* Opeth: Pale Communion (Roadrunner 2LP)
* Boris: Noise (Sargent House 2LP)
* Uncle Acid: Mind Control (Metal Blade 2LP)
* Wye Oak: Shriek (Merge LP)
* Syd Arthur: On And On (Harvest LP)
* True Widow: Circumambulation (Relapse LP)
* Windhand: Soma (Relapse 2LP) †



I want to thank the folks at Miller Piano Specialists for being so awesome to work with. As you can see, I now have a new piano in my studio!

When I went there last week to look around, I was all set to buy a Yamaha CLP 575, the current equivalent of my old CLP 860. But when I went back the next day, someone had bought it out from under me! So while I went ahead and ordered one, I kept thinking about the CLP 585 - the top of the Clavinova line - which was due to arrive at the store "any day." As long as I was having to wait up to three weeks for the 575, why not stretch a little bit more and go for the very best? I asked them to let me know when the 585 got there.

On Thursday morning, I received a call telling me it was "on the truck" and would be out in the showroom shortly. So, I drove to Franklin, checked it out (and paid the difference) - and they delivered the piano that afternoon. Now that is service! Moreover, I got a very good deal on it. Thank you, Miller Piano!

The 585 is a big step up from the 575, most notably the counterweighted keyboard and the powerful, three-way sound system. Both models feature a grand-piano-style action with escapement and wooden keys with synthetic ivory key tops -  a massive improvement over the clunky, plasticy feel of my old CLP 860.  New sound samples taken from the Yamaha CFX and Boesendorfer Imperial grand pianos are amazingly expressive, enhanced by a new "key off" component and improved pedal functionality, all of which helps to provide the kind of tactile responsiveness found on a real piano. There are, of course, numerous other voices to play with, including realistic, vintage Fender Rhodes and Wurlizter electric piano sounds. But the 585's taller cabinet and polished ebony finish makes it look like a full-size upright, a strikingly beautiful piece of furniture.

I played several different pianos while looking for the right instrument - including the Yamaha NU1, a "hybrid piano" which is just a little bit more than the CLP 585. Frankly, I didn't like it. While it has an authentic, all-wooden action - it is an authentic upright piano action, which feels spongey to me. Some of you might be thinking: for that kind of money, why not get a real piano? Well, it's a lot more for a decent grand - and I don't have room for it anyway. Besides, a digital piano gives allows me to record in my tiny home studio without worrying about microphones and leakage, plus I get a plethora of additional sounds, MIDI and the ability to practice in silence. Sure, a real grand piano would be wonderful to have but the recorded sound of the 585 is delightful to my ears - and is virtually maintenance-free.

If you think digital pianos can't sound good, check my latest album, Cosmologies, which was recorded with Sam Byrd in my home studio. It took some finessing in Pro Tools, but I think my ancient Clavinova sounds pretty damn good. Just wait 'til the next one - the CLP 585 blows it away!

1 comment:

Sam said...

I'm waiting 'til the next one!

Until then, here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2014-10-20:

*Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier (Glenn Gould) (disc 1)
*John Cage: The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 (Arditti Quartet)
*Shostakovich: The String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet) (discs 3, 4, 5)
*Anthony Braxton: Quartet (London) 1985
*Anthony Braxton: Quartet (Birmingham) 1985
*Anthony Braxton Ensemble: 2012-05-02 Wesleyan (CDR)
*Don Cherry: Complete Communion
*Don Cherry: Symphony for Improvisors
*Ornette Coleman & Prime Time + Don Cherry: 1987-07-03 Ravenna, Italy (CDR)
*John Coltrane: Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up “My Favorite Things”
*Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage
*Charles Mingus: The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964-65 (disc 5)
*Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax (disc 6)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-09-08 "You May Now Proceed To Take the Post Test for the Self Instruction Unit" (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2014-10-06 "Waiting for Ben" (wav)
*Tony Oxley: It Cuts Through: A Tony Oxley Mixtape (CDR compilation)
*Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: 2006-11-17 London (CDR)
*Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: The Moment's Energy
*Pharoah Sanders: Live at the East
*Tom Rainey Trio: Pool School
*Sun Ra: Live at Slug’s Saloon (discs 5, 6)
*Sun Ra: Soundtrack to the Film “Space Is the Place”
*Weather Report: Mysterious Traveller
*Weather Report: 8:30 (side 4)
*Wrest: Wrest (Jack Wright/Evan Lipson/Ben Bennett) Spring Garden Music 18
*Chicago Transit Authority: Chicago Transit Authority
*Paul McCartney: New
*Muffins: 1977 Washington DC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Todd Rundgren: The Todd Rundgren Radio Show
*Various artists: Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound (disc 2)

Reading List 2014-10-20:

*Winters, Ben H. World of Trouble (started/finished)
*Erikson, Steven. Gardens of the Moon (reread/in progress)
*Spacks, Patricia Meyer. On Rereading (in progress)