November 29, 2015

Playlist Week of 2015-11-21 & 28

* Dowland: Lachrimæ or Seven Teares (Hesperion XX/Savall) (Alia Vox SACD)
* J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (Academy of Ancient Music/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi 2SACD)
* Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseux (Ugorski) (d.1) (DG Trio 3CD)
* Cage: Music of Changes (Schleirermacher) (MDG CD)
* Boulez: Rituel, Eclat, Multiples (BBC Symph./Ens. Intercontemporain/Boulez) (Sony CD)
* Takemitsu, Hindemith, et al.: Five Pieces (Duo Gazzana) (ECM CD)
* Lieberson: Raising The Gaze (Asko Ens./Cleveland/Knussen) (DG CD)
* Tod Dockstader: Apocalypse (Starkland CD)
* Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (Columbia/Legacy SACD)
* Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Columbia/Mobile Fidelity 2LP)
* Miles Davis: Bootleg Series Vol.3: At The Fillmore 1970 (d.1) (Columbia/Legacy 4CD)
* Cannonball Adderley: Somethin’ Else (Blue Note CD)
* Bill Evans: Everybody Digs Bills Evans (Fantasy/JVC XRCD)
* Abdullah Ibrahim: African Suite (Enja CD)
* Herbie Hancock: My Point of View (Blue Note CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Speak Like a Child (Blue Note CD)
* Jack DeJohnette: Made In Chicago (ECM CD)
* Elvin Jones: Time Capsule (Vanguard LP)
* Joe Zawinul: Zawinul (Atlantic LP)
* Miroslav Vitous: Mountain In The Clouds (Atlantic LP)
* Terje Rypdal: Odyssey: In Studio & In Concert (d.1-2) (ECM 3CD)
* Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia LP)
* Jean-Luc Ponty: Cosmic Messenger (Atlantic LP)
* David Torn: Only Sky (ECM CD)
* Jon Hassell: Power Spot (ECM CD)
* William Parker & Hamid Drake: Vol.1: Piercing The Veil (AUM Fidelity CD)
* William Parker & Hamid Drake: Vol.2: Summer Snow (AUM Fidelity CD)
* Christian Wallumrod Ensemble: Sofienberg Suite (ECM CD)
* Rob Mazurek & Black Cube SP: Return The Tides (Cuneiform 2LP)
* Steve Noble & Stephen O’Malley: St. Francis Duo (Bo’Weavil 2LP)
* Rasa: Everything You See Is Me (Govinda LP)
* D’Angelo & The Vanguard: Black Messiah (RCA 2LP)
* Native North America: Aboriginal Folk, Rock & Country 1966-1985 (Light in the Attic 3LP)
* Van Morrison: Days Like This (Polydor CD)
* The Incredible String Band: The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (Elektra LP)
* The Incredible String Band: Wee Tam (Elektra LP)
* The Incredible String Band: The Big Huge (Elektra LP)
* Strawbs: Just a Collection of Curios and Antiques (A&M LP)
* John Martyn: Well Kept Secret (WEA International LP)
* Flower Travellin’ Band: Satori (Phoenix LP)
* Edgar Froese: Macula Transfer (Brain LP)
* Heldon: Stand By (Cuneiform CD)
* Camel: Music Inspired by The Snow Goose (Passport LP)
* Barclay James Harvest: Time Honoured Ghosts (Polydor LP)
* FM Surveillance (Arista LP)
* Nova: Vimana (Arista/Passport LP)
* Mick Karn: Titles (Virgin LP)
* Cocteau Twins: Lullabies To Violane (d.1-2) (4AD 4CD)
* Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There (Matador LP)
* Circus Devils: Stomping Grounds (Happy Jack Rock Records LP)
* Palace Music: Viva Last Blues (Drag City LP)
* Buckethead: Colma (CyberOctave CD)
* BORIS: Smile (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Intronaut: The Direction Of Last Things (Century Media 2LP)
* Cynic: Kindly Bent To Free Us (Season of Mist 2-45RPM LP)
* Verma: Coltan (Trouble In Mind LP)
* Verma: Sunrunner (Trouble In Mind LP)
* Verma: Mul.Apin (Trouble In Mind LP)



Sorry for the absence -- I decided to take the week off from blogging for Thanksgiving. Hope you all had a great holiday!

When not listening to records, I've been spending a lot of time in my basement studio, which is more than just a "man-cave" -- it's my sandbox, a playpen, a place where I can commune with the muse and make as much noise as I want. It is heaven on earth.

If you're curious about my music, please check it out over on Bandcamp. New stuff is in the works for the New Year!

Now, please excuse me, I'm going back down in the studio. See you next week!

November 15, 2015

Playlist Week of 2015-11-14

* Dowland, et al.: Music For Lute: I: England (Ragossnig) (Archiv LP)
* J.S. Bach: Overtures Nos.2-3 (Müchener Bach-Orchester/Richter) (Archiv LP)
* Handel: Trio Sonatas, Op.2 & Op.5 (AAM/Egarr) (d.1) (Harmonia Mungi 2CD)
* Miles Davis: Bitches Brew (Legacy Edition) (Columbia 2CD/DVD)
* Miles Davis: In Concert (Columbia/Legacy 2CD)
* Andrew Hill: Eternal Spirit (Blue Note CD)
* Tony Williams: Once In A Lifetime (Verve 2LP)
* Revolutionary Ensemble: Vietnam 1 & 2 (At The Peace Church) (ESP-Disk’ LP)
* Attila Zoller: Gypsy Cry (Embryo (LP)
* Steve Grossman: Some Shapes To Come (PM LP)
* Milton Nascimento: Milton (A&M LP)
* Milton Nascimento: Miltons (Columbia LP)
* Mort Garson: Music For Sensuous Lovers By “Z” (Sensuous Records LP)
* Pearls Before Swine: One Nation Underground (ESP-Disk’ LP)
* Soft Machine: Live At The Proms 1970 (Reckless LP)
* Cybotron: Sunday Night At The Total Theatre (Dual Planet LP)
* Guided By Voices: Suitcase Four: Captain Kangaroo Won the War (GBV, Inc. 4CD)
* Guided By Voices: Briefcase Four: Captain Kangaroo Won the War (GBV, Inc. LP)
* Earth: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Head (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Steve Noble & Stephen O’Malley: St. Francis Duo (Bo’Weavil 2LP)
* Locrian: Infinite Dissolution (Relapse LP)
* Zombi: Escape Velocity (Relapse LP)
* Beach House: Thank Your Lucky Stars (Sub Pop LP)
* Deafheaven: New Bermuda (Anti- 2-45RPM LP)



Happy birthday to me -- and the lovely Liz!

(52 + 47 = 99)

November 8, 2015

Playlist Week of 2015-11-07

* Nono: Prometeo: Tragedia dell’ascolto (Ensemble Modern/Metzmacher) (EMI 2CD)
* Miles Davis: Pangaea (Sony 2CD)
* Sam Rivers: The Complete Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note/Mosaic 5LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Waiting (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: The View From The Inside (Blue Note LP)
* Bobby Hutcherson: Highway One (Columbia LP)
* John Abercrombie Quartet: 39 Steps (ECM CD)
* Amouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM CD)
* Grateful Dead: Dave’s Picks Vol.16: Springfield, MA 3/28/73 (selections) (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Frank Zappa: Roxy: The Movie (Zappa/Universal CD/BD)
* Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Ragged Glory (Reprise CD)
* Strawbs: Hero & Heroine (A&M LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Rubycon (Virgin LP)
* Tangerine Dream: Encore: Live (Virgin 2LP)
* PFM: Photos of Ghosts (Manticore LP)
* Pete Bardens: Heart To Heart (Arista LP)
* Galaxy: Nature’s Clear Well (Breeze/Import LP)
* Love And Rockets: Love And Rockets (Beggars Banquet LP)
* Porcupine Tree: The Sky Moves Sideways (d.2) (KScope 2CD)
* Jeff Buckley: Grace (Columbia CD)
* Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree (Mute CD)
* Sleep: “The Clarity” (Praise Iommi 12”)
* Agalloch: The White EP (Agalloch/Bandcamp ALAC) †/‡



Although my birthday is not until next weekend, I got myself a little present: a limited edition PRS 30th Anniversary Custom 24.

And, holy cow, is she a beauty!

I've been playing guitar (off and on) for over thirty years but have never owned a really nice instrument -- until now. Known for their gorgeous carved maple tops and first-rate finishes, Paul Reed Smith guitars are intended to be not only lovely to look at but also imminently playable. Right out of the box, I wailed away for five hours straight -- which really tells you all you need to know about this guitar.

It's the little things that really add up to an extraordinary instrument. Beyond the aesthetic touches (mother-of-pearl inlays, ivoroid purfling, hybrid gold/nickel hardware, etc.), this guitar is a sheer pleasure to touch. Even unplugged, it resonates and sustains unlike any guitar I've ever played and the two-octave, set neck speaks and intonates like a dream. Plug it in and a world of tones await, with new 85/15 pickups and brilliant five-way switching which allows a highly useful combination of humbucking and single-coil sounds. Add in the silky smooth PRS tremolo system and Phase III locking tuners and this guitar can pretty much do it all.

Now, some folks don't like PRS guitars -- and that's fine. But to denigrate the Custom 24 because it's neither a Fender nor a Gibson misses the point. When Paul Reed Smith built his first guitar back in 1985, his goal was to solve what he perceived as the problems inherent in both designs and his quest for perfection continues to this day. The Custom 24 is its own thing. No, it doesn't sound or feel like a Les Paul or a Stratocaster -- but neither of those instruments sound or feel like this one. And I've certainly never enjoyed playing a Les Paul or Strat nearly as much as I love playing the Custom 24. That is all that really matters to me.

Expensive? No doubt. But the more time I spend playing (hours and hours at a stretch), the more I realize she is worth every penny. Happy Birthday to me!