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Old 04-10-2019, 05:49 PM   #711 (permalink)
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Default Vintage Receiver Upgrade – Norwegian Wood

It's an exciting day at Innerspace Labs! Our latest vintage amplifier upgrade provides clean and detailed sound and gorgeously complements our Denon DP-60L turntable as both units feature a rich rosewood finish, further mirrored by the liquid wood ear cups of our AudioQuest Nighthawk closed-back circumaural headphones and our pending order of ORA GrapheneQ wood ear cupped cans presently forecast for delivery later this year from Kickstarter.

Long-time readers may recall that our first receiver upgrade took place in 2009 when our beloved and trusty Yamaha CR-840 (1979-1981) Natural Sound Receiver was replaced with a McIntosh 4280.

Here is the Yamaha -



And the MAC 4280 -



Sadly, the amp had some issues and after 3 years of service attempts at McIntosh Labs headquarters it was declared dead.

In 2012 I was generously gifted a replacement MAC – a MAC C39 pre-amplifier paired with an Integra adm2.1 power amplifier. They made my Focal 814v Chorus series floor speakers sing beautifully.







Eventually, that MAC was retired as well, and I returned to my beloved Yamaha which, with only a single transistor replacement around 2006 and a Deoxit cleaning in 2019, it has served me faithfully for nearly two decades, and has been kicking since it was built 38 years ago in 1981.

But Sunday evening it occurred to me that I had one more component I'd never tried with my system. This is the Tandberg TR-2060, manufactured in Norway, which debuted in late 1977 and was introduced to US markets until about 1981. It originally retailed for $700 in 1977 ($2,919.85 in today's dollars.) Though fairly scarce, they are available on the used market at an affordable price and perform impressively well. I found it for a few dollars at a junk sale several years ago.



The amp has two sets of speaker outputs with a power output of 60 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo). The only snag is that the inputs are DIN connectors. Thankfully, I remembered precisely where I'd stored a pair of DIN-to-RCA conversion cables which I'd ordered years back when I originally acquired the receiver.



I polished and connected it and was really pleased with its powerful sound. The classic Yamaha Natural Sound receivers of the same vintage are far more neutral, and there is really something to be said for the stunning rosewood cabinet of the Tandberg matching the finish of my Denon. (I am an unabashed fanatic for rosewood.)



It's always a thrill to incorporate new vintage gear into my setup, and I'll be curious to see what I think of the punchier, bolder sound this amp provides over the more transparent signature of the Yamaha, and to test various favorite recordings with both the speaker and headphone outputs. It will be a fun project for the spring!
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:15 PM   #712 (permalink)
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The Politicians Who Love “Ulysses”
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:32 AM   #713 (permalink)
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Thank you so, so much for putting this on my radar! I know I never shut up about Joyce, but the news comes at a fitting time for me, (in case you hadn't seen my post in the Last Bought thread).

You've made my morning!
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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:39 AM   #714 (permalink)
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I was thinking that if the Rethuglicans wanted to stir up stuff about Buttigieg,
they might drag out his father’s love for Gramsci who was an Italian Marxist philosopher and
leader of the Italian Communist Party. Buttigieg’s dad was founder and president of the Gramsci Society
as well as author and editor of several books on him. I understand that his writings on Joyce’s Portrait...
have not received very flattering reviews.
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:31 PM   #715 (permalink)
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Default Making My Office At Work Feel Like Home

I'm always excited to embark on little personal projects and this one really made a difference for me. I figured that if I am going to spend 9 hours a day, 5 days a week at the office, I might as well make it feel like home.

I've just won an auction and received an antique art mirror of Francis Barraud's "His Master's Voice" with ornamental engraving to add a touch of class to my desk.



Hanging the antique piece proved incredibly challenging, as the frame is real antique wood and the art mirror is incredibly fragile. I didn't dare attempt to drill / screw / hammer any nails into the piece to add mounting hardware.

It took an hour and a half at my local hardware store but four different staff took great interest in my project and worked together to develop a solution that wouldn't risk damaging the valuable piece. (I made sure to submit a customer survey of thanks and to write a review of the store in gratitude.)

It took six attempts to arrive a potentially viable solution. First, we tried these hardware items and kits...



I bought and returned each of the items above one at a time trying each on the antique in the store. But none of the above would penetrate the wood without risking cracking the frame or shattering the glass. It was only the final item - one associate's bright idea of using Command Hooks which would be removable without marring the original work.

The nylon hanging wire didn't end up working with the plastic Command Hooks but thankfully I had more fine and pliable beading wire on hand at home from a prior crafting project.

After a good night's rest, I trekked to work and hung the new art mirror in my cubicle. Tragically the Command Hooks couldn't bear the weight and instantly tore from the cubicle wall, but thankfully it didn't shatter.

I improvised, realizing that I could knot the spare beading wire around the heavy metal staples affixing the mirror to the frame. The simplest solution proved the strongest and this is how it ended up:



Here's the piece displayed proudly:



It complements my other cubicle adornments, which include:

- my newly-antique-framed custom-printed portrait of my favorite modernist author, James Joyce



- a pair of handsome wood speakers with copper cones for a regal finish



- an engraved wood felt-lined tea chest filled with my favorite variety of teas



- a framed collage I put together showcasing portraits of a few figures in the 20th-century experimental music scene.



- and a 24x36 framed print of Miles Davis in New York in 1948 from the Herman Leonard Collection



The next investment for my office should arrive this autumn. I've located a craftsman in Norway who custom designs rosewood headphone stands and will be commissioning one for the ORA Graphene Q cans once they ship.

It's a cozy space and I've really made it my own! <3

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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
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You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
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Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:31 PM   #716 (permalink)
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Alex Ross definitely hit on something really clever with The Rest is Noise.
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Old 05-02-2019, 07:40 PM   #717 (permalink)
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Alex Ross definitely hit on something really clever with The Rest is Noise.
I agree completely! (Of course I knew you'd catch the reference!)

Thanks so much for reading my post!
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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:48 PM   #718 (permalink)
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Default The Challenge of Articulating Abstract Music



I've read a number of texts on experimental and ambient musics, whether academic, philosophical, or critical, and have always admired when the author finds creative and insightful phrasings to discuss soundscapes where very little is happening on a superficial level. Sparse, minimal drone works are characteristically challenging to describe, so I take note when a journalist does an exceptional job at painting a conceptual, impressionistic image of a recording for those who might be curious to explore it, inspiring new listenership.

Kyle Gann published a fascinating mathematical examination of early minimalist music in his essay, Thankless Attempts at a Definition of Minimalism which provided many of the descriptors I incorporated in my personal response to the oft-posed question, “what kind of music do you like?” My general reply:

Quote:
I particularly enjoy minimalist music - compositions which employ static harmony, quasi-geometric transformational linearity and repetition, gradual additive or permutational processes, phase-shifting, and static instrumentation. I am captivated by the metamusical properties which are revealed as a result of strictly carried-out processes. Many of these recordings explore non-Western concepts like pure tuning, (e.g. pure frequency ratios and resonant intervals outside the 12-pitch piano scale), unmetered melodies like those of Carnatic ragas, and drones.

As Roland Barthes describes, “...it is each sound one after the next that I listen to, not in syntagmatic extension, but in it's raw and as though vertical signifying: by deconstructing itself, listening is externalized, it compels the subject to renounce his ‘inwardness.’” (Listening 259)
I'll provide below a few examples of music criticism which exemplify this particular talent. Each inspired me to revisit the classic work they describe and rekindled my appreciation for the music. The first is an excerpt from Philip Sherburne's recently contributed article published by Pitchfork on May 5th of this year celebrating Aphex Twin's epic, Selected Ambient Works Volume II from 1994.

Quote:
Then, as now, the first thing you become aware of with Selected Ambient Works Volume II is its purity, its starkness, its emptiness. There have been quieter records, more minimal records, more difficult records. But few have done so much with so little; few have shown less interest in being any more forthcoming than they are, in meeting the listener anywhere near halfway, in making the slightest attempt at articulating their own ambiguous emotional terrain. SAW II can be warm and it can be chilly; it can be sentimental and it can be forbidding, but it would be hard to call it expressive, exactly. A little like those samples of Mars’ terrain thought to contain evidence of amino acids but which turned out to be merely tainted with the sweat of some careless lab tech who didn’t pull his gloves on tight enough, Aphex Twin’s creation frequently seems only accidentally contaminated by human emotion. Whatever you feel when listening to it—well, that’s on you.

The album opens with a subtle tension: soft synth pads, the most basic, three-chord progression imaginable, cycling uneventfully round and round, while a breathy syllable—a voice, or something remarkably like one—bobs overhead, like a loosed balloon rapidly fading from view. Lilting harp accents turn to steel drums and back. The voice is detuned by just a few nearly imperceptible cents; the delay lags almost unnoticeably behind the beat. It’s a child’s lullaby turned queasy, a music box with a whiff of attic mold.

That tension—between disturbing and reassuring, trouble and calm, mutation and stasis—is the album’s defining characteristic. Across its 23 (or 24, 25, or 26, depending upon the format and edition) mostly untitled tracks, the balance tends to tip from one extreme to the other, like someone nervously shifting body weight from foot to foot. Some tracks, like #3 (known by fans as “Rhubarb”) are soft and consonant, welcoming as a well-kept lawn; others, like #4 (“Hankie”), with its bowed metal and whale-song laments, are deeply unsettling. The lilting chimes of #7 (“Curtains”) suggest a fairground populated only by tumbleweeds; the slow-motion grind and whirr of #22 (“Spots”) might be a chopped-and-screwed edit of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. #23 (“Tassels”), recorded on an EMS Synthi, one of the first synths the young artist ever bought, might come closest to James’ description of the album, in an interview with David Toop, as being like “standing in a power station on acid”: “Power stations are wicked. If you just stand in the middle of a really massive one … you get a really weird presence and you’ve got the hum. You just feel electricity around you. That’s totally dream-like for me.”

The four tracks that open CD2 (both the US and UK editions; tracks #13-16 of the digital release) make for a particularly compelling stretch. “Blue Calx”—the only song to bear an official title, it originally appeared on the 1992 compilation The Philosophy of Sound and Machine, credited to Blue Calx—is surprisingly pretty, placid, dreamlike. #14 (“Parallel Stripes”) delicately balances the album’s most tactile tones—I imagine metal shavings dancing across a magnetic field—with a meandering hint of melody. The shuddering, clanging “#15 (“Shiny Metal Rods”) is a tumultuous counterbalance to the album’s gentlest passages, the closest James comes here to the jagged techno of his earlier singles. And #16 (“Grey Stripe”) is pure filtered white noise; it might be the dying breath of a distant star.
The other example is taken from David Stubbs’ 2018 examination of the history of electronic music titled, Mars By 1980:

Quote:
Certainly, as a young man, I played my vinyl copy of Kontakte to friends as a sort of test, which I rather hoped they’d fail, enjoying a hollow and slightly pyrrhic feeling of superiority when they did. Even fellow music journalists regarded the music as a sub-Clangers farrago of sonic nonsense, cerebral snake oil perpetrated by mad Germans on po-faced, pseudo-intellectual dupes.

Some of them, though, have since come around, not least because the ubiquity of electronica and ambient has sophisticated the collective sound palate; or because of the undiminished capacity of the piece to astonish and impact. I’m playing it now as I type. In its deep background, a vastness murmurs; then, a sudden asteroid splash of concrète makes a crater in the cerebellum. Recessions, a nervous tinkle of percussion, a distant pulse like a receding spacecraft that, in a trompe l’oreille, is actually closing in. Pianistic anxiety. Serrated fragments of metal, ancient drones, sudden fresh, cold waves. Whiplash intensity, particles illuminated by explosive flashes. Rumbles and signals from alien sources, unpredictable and irregular, but which seem premeditated, operating on a higher plane of thought. Long-extinct stars flickering obscurely. Diagonal bursts of radiation. Sudden catastrophes whose immolation leaves no afterburn, just a void. Single piano notes, isolated and disconnected from their original keyboard context, lost in space. Growling electric currents like approaching waterborne reptiles, changing course at the last second. Decelerations, then another crash-landing, sidelights whirling. Moons spinning off their axes. Cosmic birdsong. Oscillations, impossible droplets, curlicues, sparks.

Coiling sine waves, slowing and rearing like aliens right up in your face, probing and examining you as you try to remain stock still. A more regular broadside of events, constructions of stone and metal floating at speed from all angles, against a backdrop whose indifference and omnipresence is represented by a wispy perma-drone. Sabre squabbles, multiple collisions, scorched aftermath; a laser bolt between the eyes, the scatter of cerebral matter. Untranslatable alien exclamations writ large in carbon tags. Fresh Big Bangs, new universes. Inconsequential clatter, like spinning coins coming to rest. A dance of percussion and piano, brief echoes of Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître. Then, radioactive glitter in the eyes. An aluminium chorus, glass waves, siren calls, revolutions of light, varispeed. An ending, without resolution or arrival, whose fadeout merely indicates that we’ve been staring through the window at processes that are both permanent and infinite. (Stubbs 108-110)
These examples actively engage the reader and inspire listeners old and new to explore or to revisit the works they describe. I aspire to do the same with my journaling, and to find novel and effective phrasings to articulate the beauty of the music I share. If just one listener develops an appreciation for a work because of something I've written, then all my efforts are worthwhile.


Luigi Russolo, Music, 1911
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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:01 PM   #719 (permalink)
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Kyle’s a good writer (as well as being a nice guy).
To tie into your minimalism mannerisms, he and I met in
the 70s at a concert that was solely devoted to “minimal
and conceptual music.” I still have the program from that
night. We ended up going out with a bunch of the
performers after the concert and trying to pick up girls.
He’s pretty devoted to alternate tunings - both writing
about them and releasing his own work using them.

I like Stubbs’ books, but when I read something
like that impression of Kontakte, I really think all
of the purple prose does a real disservice to the
work (and, somewhat, the composer too).
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:17 PM   #720 (permalink)
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Quote:
when I read something
like that impression of Kontakte, I really think all
of the purple prose does a real disservice to the
work (and, somewhat, the composer too).
You’re really touchy about Stockhausen. I think it’s because he was kind of adopted by fans of Can who didn’t really go any deeper into the genre or learn anything about his contemporaries.
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