October 26, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-10-25

Hi, Friend!

* J.S. Bach: 7 Harpsichord Concertos (AAM/Manze/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Miles Davis: Bootleg Series Vol.3: Live At The Fillmore 1970 (d.1-2) (Columbia/Legacy 4CD)
* John Coltrane: Expression (Impulse! CD)
* John Coltrane: Stellar Regions (Impulse! CD)
* Elvin Jones: Genesis (Blue Note LP)
* Andrew Hill: Judgment! (Blue Note LP)
* Charles Tyler: Saga Of The Outlaws (Nessa LP)
* Terje Rypdal: Odyssey: In Studio And In Concert (d.1-2) (ECM 3CD)
* Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On (Tamla/Mobile Fidelity SACD)
* Lambchop: Mr. M (Merge 2LP)
* Jerry Garcia Band: Garcia Live Vol.5: Keystone 1975-12-31 (ATO 2HDCD)
* Ginger Baker: Horses And Trees (Celluloid LP)
* Ginger Baker: Middle Passage (Axiom/Island LP)
* David Gilmour: About Face (Columbia LP)
* Genesis: Nursery Cryme (Charisma LP)
* Camel: Rain Dances (Decca CD)
* Hawkwind: Masters Of The Universe (United Artists LP)
* Thurston Moore: The Best Day (Matador 2LP)
* Lee Ranaldo And The Dust: Last Night On Earth (Matador 2LP)
* Teenage Guitar: More Lies From The Gooseberry Bush (GBV, Inc. LP)
* In Flames: Siren Charms (Sony CD)
* Kylesa: To Walk A Middle Course (Alternative Tentacles LP)
* Kylesa: Time Will Fuse Its Worth (Alternative Tentacles LP)
* Agalloch: The Serpent & The Sphere (Profound Lore CD)
* Pig Destroyer: Mass And Volume (Relapse EP)
* Wye Oak: Civilian (Merge LP)
* Wye Oak: Shriek (Merge LP)
* Montibus Communitas: Montibus Communitas (Sound Effect LP)
* Montibus Communitas: Hacja Aquellos Bosques de Immensidad (Trouble In Mind LP)
* Pallbearer: Sorrow And Extinction (Profound Lore/20 Buck Spin 2LP)
* Pallbearer: Foundations Of Burden (Profound Lore 2LP)



Hi, Friend! 

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!

October 12, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-10-11

* J.S. Bach: Cello Suites (Jaap ter Linden) (d.1) (Brilliant Classics 2CD)
* Django Reinhardt: The Classic Early Recordings in Chronological Order (d.3) (JSP 5CD)
* Creative Construction Company: Vol. II (Muse LP)
* Alice Coltrane: Eternity (Warner Bros. LP)
* Larry Coryell: Offering (Vanguard LP)
* David Wertman Sun Ensemble: Earthly Delights (Sweet Earth LP)
* Tatsuya Nakatani: Present Presence (Nakatani-Kobo CD)
* Assif Tsahar/Tatsuya Nakatani: I Got It Bad (Hopscotch CD)
* Loren Mazzacane Connors: Unaccompanied Acoustic Guitar Vol.1-9 (d.1) (Ecstatic Yod 4CD)
* Buddy Miles: A Message To The People (Mercury LP)
* George Duke: Dream On (Epic LP)
* Rasa: Everything You See Is Me (Iskcon LP)
* Pearls Before Swine: One Nation Underground (ESP-Disk’ LP)
* Grateful Dead: Boston Garden, Boston, MA 1991-09-26 (selections) (SBD 2CDR)
* Wichita Fall: Life Is But A Dream (Liberty LP)
* Spirit: Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (Epic LP)
* Klaatu: Klaatu (Capitol LP)
* Nektar: A Tab In The Ocean (Passport LP)
* Kayak: See See The Sun (Harvest LP)
* Gong: Shamal (Virgin LP)
* Stomu Yamashta: Go (Island LP)
* Cordon Bleu: Solution (Rocket/MCA LP)
* David Muse: Tonal Alchemy (Deva LP)
* Lucifer: Black Mass (MCA LP)
* Emerald Web: Lights Of The Ivory Plains (Fortuna LP)
* Peter Gordon: Star Jaws (Lovely LP)
* Bongwater: Double Bummer (Shimmy Disc 2LP)
* Porcupine Tree: Stars Die: The Delirium Years 1991-1997 (KScope 2CD) †/‡
* Porcupine Tree: The Sky Moves Sideways (KScope 2CD)†
* Anathema: Distant Satellites (KScope CD+DVD)
* Earth: A Bureaucratic Desire For Extra-Capsular Extraction (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Earth: 2: Special Low Frequency Version (Sub Pop 2LP)
* Wye Oak: Shriek (Merge LP) (†)
* Goat: World Music (Rocket LP)
* Goat: Commune (Sub Pop LP)
* London Grammar: If We Wait (Columbia 2LP)



Well, after 15+ years of love and abuse, my Yamaha digital piano has ceased functioning and is virtually unplayable. It being so old, parts are impossible to get and wouldn't be worth the expense to repair even if you could find them. So while I am heartbroken, the good news is that I have ordered a new one - and Clavinovas have come a long, LONG way in the last decade-and-a-half. I am really excited about having a new, improved instrument but it will be few weeks until it arrives, unfortunately. In the meantime, I feel like my hands have been cut off! At least I have synthesizers, guitars and drums to bang around on while I wait. 


Yes, Cosmologies was recorded on an ancient digital piano - how about that? You can get your copy digitally or on deluxe vinyl at Bandcamp. Don't sleep - the strictly limited edition of 200 LPs is almost half-way sold out!

October 6, 2014

Playlist Week of 2014-10-04

Jupiter (my gong)

* Biber: Mensa Sonora (Musica Antiqua Köln/Goebel) (Archive Produktion CD)
* Cage: Complete Piano Music Vol.8: Hommage à Satie (Shcleirmacher) (MDG CD)
* McCoy Tyner: Nights of Ballads and Blues (Impulse! CD)
* Bill Evans Trio: Everybody Digs Bill Evans (Riverside/JVC XRCD)
* William Parker In Order To Survive: The Peach Orchard (AUM Fidelity 2CD)
* William Parker In Order To Survive: Posium Pendasem (FMP CD)
* MAP: Six Improvisations (H&H Productions CD)
* Tom Rainey Trio: Cornelia St. Café, NYC 2013-10-19 (AUD FLAC)
* Tom Rainey Trio: Cornelia St. Café, NYC 2013-12-30 (AUD FLAC)
* Anders Ahlén Unit: Lines And Dots (Signal And Sound LP)
* Charles Earland: Odyssey (Mercury LP)
* Thievery Corporation: Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi (ESL 2LP)
* Thievery Corporation: The Mirror Conspiracy (ESL 2LP)
* Thievery Corporation: The Richest Man In Babylon (ESL 2LP)
* Thievery Corporation: Saudade (ESL LP)
* V/A: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Original Psychedelic Era (Elektra/Rhino 2LP)
* Grateful Dead: Boston Garden, Boston, MA 1991-09-20 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Santana: Amigos (Columbia LP)
* Happy The Man: Happy The Man (Arista LP)
* U2: Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)†
* Beck: Morning Phase (Capitol LP)
* Death: Spiritual Healing (Relapse LP)
* Ambarchi/O’Malley/Dunn: Shade Themes From ‘Kairos’ (Drag City 2LP)
* White Hills: Abstractions & Mutations (Immune LP)
* White Hills: White Hills (Thrill Jockey LP)
* White Hills: H-p1 (Thrill Jockey 2LP)
* White Hills: Live At Roadburn 2011 (Roadburn LP)
* Beach House: Bloom (Sub Pop 2-45RPM LP)
* Wye Oak: Shriek (Merge LP)
* Goat: World Music (Rocket Recordings LP)
* Goat: Commune (Sub Pop LP)
* Nothing: Guilty of Everything (Relapse LP)
* Myrkur: Myrkur (Relapse EP)



The Tatsuya Nakatani Gong Orchestra was an amazing, exhilarating experience!

But I didn't get to bed until 2:00am - and then got up early to get to the record show in Nashville when it opened at 10:00. Yes, I am insane. But these things only come around but twice a year; there was no way I was going to miss it.

So, I am exhausted and don't feel like writing.

But I did make a VC video, showing the records I got and, at the end, I talk about the Gong Orchestra experience (and show some of Nakatani's records which I got at the gig).  It's the best I can do at the moment! See you next week.