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Eric Bibb: Global Griot

By | April 16th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Eric Bibb: Global Griot

Exploring the themes of unity, inclusiveness, and social justice from a spiritual perspective, Eric Bibb delivers a double-disc masterpiece in Global Griot, an album ideally suited to the temper of progressive times, or “challenging times,” in Bibb’s words. Recorded in a dozen studios around the globe, Global Griot finds Bibb immersed in the West African tradition of history and storytelling while addressing issues relevant to all cultures. Singing with deep feeling, commitment, and authority over mostly acoustic soundscapes occasionally fleshed out by horns, background singers (a Griot Choir on “Gathering of the Tribes,” for instance), koras, even pedal steel (on …… Read the full article

Sonarworks Launches User-Driven Research Project for Sonic Personalization

By | April 3rd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sonarworks Launches User-Driven Research Project for Sonic Personalization

The following is a press release issued by Sonarworks. April 3, 2019 | Riga, Latvia – Sonarworks, the European sound calibration software developers, have just announced the launch of a public research project designed to fine-tune the calibration of their award winning apps for individual listener preference. The Sound Preference Research Project, which is currently underway globally, allows users to audition music samples with different sound settings in a simple A/B assessment to choose the sound they prefer most. Based on the user input AI algorithm predicts the best possible sound settings for that user.… Read the full article

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It Didn’t All Suck

By | April 2nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

It Didn’t All Suck

Utter the words “early digital” and most audiophiles, even younger ones, will know exactly what you’re talking about. The term references sound lacking body and warmth, the fatiguing deficiency of dimensionality and tonal complexity that characterized digital encoding for much of its first commercial decade. This was the era when, invariably, someone would show up at the local audio society meeting wearing a DIGITAL SUCKS T-shirt. But those of us who were practicing audiophiles at the time remember one important exception, Telarc Records, a label that kindled a hope that the new technology would someday go beyond its undeniably impressive …… Read the full article

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David Chesky’s La Farranucci

By | March 22nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , , |

David Chesky’s La Farranucci

David Chesky’s comic opera, La Farranucci, was performed on March 15th and 16th at the Brooklyn Music School Playhouse and I had the good fortune to be there. Actually, all of us in the auditorium were lucky to be there, as La Farranucci had been designated “offensive” last year and the premiere originally planned for June of 2018 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) had been unceremoniously cancelled. What does it take for an opera to be censored in hipster Brooklyn?… Read the full article

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50th Anniversary Edition of The Beatles

By | March 19th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

50th Anniversary Edition of The Beatles

Something to contemplate: The Beatles, aka The White Album, is now 50 years old and remains a fresh and unlikely masterpiece five decades after its release on November 22, 1968. In celebration of that milestone, The White Album has been given the white glove treatment with special 50th-anniversary editions that include new mixes by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, 50 outtakes from the studio sessions, and perhaps most engaging of all, the bootlegged but never commercially released Esher Demos—27 tracks recorded at George Harrison’s Esher, Surrey home from songs written while the Fabs were studying with the Maharishi in Rishikesh, …… Read the full article

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Father John Misty: Live at Third Man Records

By | February 22nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Father John Misty: Live at Third Man Records

Father John Misty is the alter ego of Josh Tillman, who played drums for the Fleet Foxes before becoming a popular indy rock singer-songwriter. His studio albums favor a soundscape so lush and dreamy that it’s almost like his reverb-drenched voice melts into the wall of sound. The effect can be hypnotic, but listening to Misty never gets too comfortable, as his lyrics are often depressing and his aching, lonely voice is about as uplifting as Neil Young or Jeff Buckley on a bad day.… Read the full article

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American Primitive Guitar

By | February 12th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

American Primitive Guitar

In the late 1950s, fingerstylist John Fahey birthed an alter-ego named Blind Joe Death, a mythic bluesman who personified what music critic Greil Marcus has dubbed old, weird America. In shaping his eccentric personal mythology, Fahey once claimed to have built a guitar from a baby’s coffin. He christened his own music American primitive, though it was neither purely American (he incorporated Indian ragas, as well as classical, jazz, and Latin rhythms, into the form) nor primitive (he could neither read nor write music, yet his odd tunes were complex).… Read the full article

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Duck Times Three

By | January 22nd, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Duck Times Three

Listening to Duck Baker’s jaunty, insightful interpretations of Thelonious Monk compositions on Duck Baker Plays Monk, my mind immediately conjured Bach. Meaning the way that hearing, say, a well-loved piece for solo violin transcribed to the mandolin in the hands of a Chris Thile causes us to pause and rethink music that we believe we know so well—fresh, with ears ablaze, a knowing smile on one’s face. That’s how good he is. Though quietly so. Duck Baker Plays Monk is but one of three newly released—if not necessarily recorded—LPs from this multi-dimensional and highly prolific acoustic guitar picker (they span …… Read the full article

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Aretha, True and Free

By | January 14th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: , |

Aretha, True and Free

On the morning of August 16, I was awakened to news of Aretha Franklin’s passing as announced on New York City’s classical station, WQXR, followed by the sound of Aretha rolling out her stunning rendition of Puccini’s “Nessun dorma” live at the 40th Grammy Awards on February 25, 1998. Listening to this bravura performance, I began to consider the depth of Aretha’s roots; how, in my estimation, only two artists brook comparison to Aretha and, indeed, together define Aretha. The first would be Bessie Smith, the “Empress of the Blues” who sold millions of records over the course of the …… Read the full article

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Meiko: Playing Favorites

By | January 11th, 2019|Categories: Absolute Sound|Tags: |

Meiko: Playing Favorites

The best, most affecting singers tend to meet us at the intersection of Nuance and Intimacy Street, a corner the folk-leaning vocalist Meiko has clearly made her home. For this tight-knit collection of an even-dozen covers, Meiko and her two bandmates were ensconced in the same room at the Hirsch Center, a former church in Brooklyn, New York, around a Theoretica Applied Physics’ BACCH-BM Pro in-ear binaural microphone placed in the ears of a B&K 4128-C dummy head. Breath control and subtle shifts from syllable to syllable are Meiko’s milieu, as witnessed by how she exhales at the end of …… Read the full article

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