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So far John Atkinson has created 564 blog entries.

Did Music's Bad Boy Ever Really Reform?

By | January 16th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

That’s the question raised by Antheil: Orchestral Works (Chandos 10982), the latest anthology of symphonic music by composer/pianist George Antheil (1900–1959). This second Antheil title from John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra finds Storgårds exploring music written on both sides of Antheil’s successful Symphony No.4, which can be found on Vol.1 of what looks to be an ongoing Antheil series.

Born in Trenton, NJ, Antheil initially made his considerable mark in Europe. After a number of riot-causing concerts in Paris, including the infamous 1926 premiere of his Ballet Mécanique for 16 player pianos, airplane propeller, electric bells, and a kitchen sink’s worth of additional instruments, Antheil continued to engage in any number of attention-grabbing stunts, including climbing up the side of Shakespeare & Company in Paris to the apartment where he lived with his wife.… Read the full article

An Issue 2 Die 4?

By | January 14th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Hitting newsstands, mailboxes, and tablets today, the February Stereophile features its renowned “Records2Die4” feature, now in its 28th year! The magazine’s editors and writers each recommend two recordings that they couldn’t live without—the 46 albums reviewed this month would be the basis of a great audiophile music collection. Ayre’s EX-8 “Integrated Hub” amplifier is featured on the cover and also reviewed in this issue are speakers from Revel and Audio Physic; amplifiers from Air Tight, CH Precision, and First Watt; and tonearms from Swedish Analog Technologies and Sorane.… Read the full article

Analog Corner #106

By | January 8th, 2019|Categories: Analog planet|

Sonus Faber’s graceful-looking factory.


“Do you want to see how they build Pro-Ject turntables?” It was Sumiko’s John Hunter, phoning me out of the blue.


“Sure!” I’ve reviewed a few Pro-Ject designs over the years, along with the Music Hall ‘tables, which are built in the same factory, and I’ve long wondered how one small company in the Czech Republic can manufacture such a wide array of products while making almost every part in-house. When Hunter added that the visit to Pro-Ject would be bracketed by stops at Vicenza, Italy and Vienna, Austria to visit (respectively) Sonus Faber and Vienna Acoustics, I was ready to pack.

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Handel's Italian Cantatas Shine and Sigh

By | January 6th, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

From last week’s contemporary realities, as viewed through the lens of David Chesky, we move back in time to 1707–1710, when the emotionally overwrought women, mythological subjects, shepherds, shepherdesses, and nymphs of Handel Italian Cantatas were in vogue. If those subjects strike your fancy, and/or you love baroque artistry and great singing, this new Erato recording from Emmanuelle Haïm’s Le Concert d’Astrée, French lyric coloratura soprano Sabine Devielhe, and Franco-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre belongs on your must-hear list.

The recording captures both women in delightfully fresh voice.… Read the full article

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Technics Turntable and Reel-to-Reel Workshop, Seattle Saturday

By | January 2nd, 2019|Categories: Stereophile|

Saturday,January 5, 1:30–4:30pm, the Pacific Northwest Audio Society (Congregational Church, 4545 Island Crest Way, Mercer Island, WA 98040) is holding a J-Corder Technics event. The free analog source workshop will showcase the Reference Series 2018 products from Technics, including the SL-1000R Reference Class turntable and modified RS-1500 legacy open-reel tape recorder.

J-Corder’s Jeff Jacobs says that attendees can bring their own quality vinyl for a spin on the SL-1000R mounted with an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze moving-coil cartridge and LH-9000 carbon-fiber headshell, or enjoy the featured vinyl: Dean Martin’s Dream with Dean—The Intimate Dean Martin and Elvis Presley’s 24 Karat Hits.… Read the full article

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Analog Corner #105

By | January 1st, 2019|Categories: Analog planet|

“Attention K-Mart shoppers! America is open for business.” With the dollar sinking to record lows against foreign currencies and deficits rising to record highs, overseas buyers looking for bargains flocked to the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in larger numbers than I’ve seen since I began attending the show in 1978. I have never seen the Alexis Park Hotel as crowded as it was on the show’s first day. Usually, attendance is sparse the first two days as West Coast dealers stay away, preferring to tend to retail business.
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Chesky Raps It Home for the New Year

By | December 31st, 2018|Categories: Stereophile|

Many of us enter the New Year with a mixture of sorrow for our losses and hope for what lies ahead. While there’s no right way to celebrate 2019’s symbolic new start, one approach to creating space for the new is to pause long enough to acknowledge our lives and environment for exactly what they are at the present moment.

Cue David Chesky’s Rap Symphony 2.0, a reworking of Chesky’s original release currently available in download and video form. Back in ancient times—2014 to be exact—Chesky penned the first iteration of his Rap Symphony with the thought of creating a new type of hybrid music where what he described as “the world of the highbrow symphonic and the street” would converge to express his vision of life in New York City.… Read the full article

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Björn Erik Edvardsen RIP

By | December 29th, 2018|Categories: Stereophile|

It’s been reported on the Strata-gee consumer electronics news website that Björn Erik Edvardsen (known as BEE), who was the creator of the historic NAD 3020 integrated amplifier, passed away on December 16 from Myeloma/bone cancer. BEE had worked continuously with the company from 1976 until just a few months ago, when he left his position as NAD’s Director of Advanced Research to focus on his battle with cancer.

Edvardsen joined NAD in 1976 as its first engineer and second full-time employee after founder Marty Borish (who died in 2017), working out of NAD’s London, UK headquarters, which is where I first met him.… Read the full article

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A Christmas Greeting from Bach Collegium Japan

By | December 22nd, 2018|Categories: Stereophile|

Although I’m far more of a “Happy Holidays” audiophile than anything else, the prospect of a high-resolution Christmas-themed recording from Masaaki Suzuki and his superb Bach Collegium Japan led me to their new hybrid SACD issue from BIS, Verbum caro factum est: A Christmas Greeting (BIS-2291). Auditioned as a 24/96 stereo download—downloading or streaming are the only ways to access the recording immediately, and in format choices that include surround—Masaaki Suzuki’s recording managed to bring smiles, warmth, and good cheer to this admittedly down-on-religion Grinch.… Read the full article

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The Best Jazz Albums of 2018

By | December 17th, 2018|Categories: Stereophile|

Sorry I’ve been away from this space for so long. My day gig (national-security columnist for Slate) has kept me busy (as you can imagine), and I’ve got a tight deadline on a new book. Still, as Congreve observed, “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,” and there’s plenty of breast-beating savagery out there, so I’ve continued to listen, and here is my dispatch on the Best Jazz Albums (10 new and two historical discoveries) of 2018.

A more discursive version of this list, with descriptions and an audio track from each album, appears here in Slate (my editors indulge me now and then).… Read the full article

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