Archive for September, 2012

Six Organs Of Admittance

25th September 2012

Ben Chasny has an incredible work ethic. Either that or he never sleeps. Having now released 12 albums under his solo moniker of Six Organs, he’s also managed to collaborate with other bands and musicians too numerous to mention. Born in L.A., the family moved to Northern California when his disillusioned Father returned from service in Vietnam. This led to Chasny growing up alone in the country, listening to Dad’s record collection and by the age of 18 he had locked himself away to learn to play guitar. And boy, can he play.

His guitar work is mesmerising and can stun a whole room into silence. Even in Glasgow. This was one gig were I was happy to find a seat and let the sound wash over me and I was soon smiling as I began to recognise the stripped down tracks he was playing. His studio albums can be quite complex and have encompassed everything from Middle Eastern Drone and British Folk through to East-Meets-West Guitar and Spiritual Avant-Jazz, yet he still somehow manages to stay true to his own sound.

It’s not always an easy listen but if you’re intrigued and looking for a good starting point, my own personal favourite (so far) is ‘Luminous Night’. With latest album ‘Ascent’ currently being described as ‘blistering and explosive’ it looks like he’s changing it up once again by plugging his guitar back in and hooking up with some old friends.

Admit one at www.sixorgans.com

Classic Album Sundays Glasgow – Pink Floyd "The Dark Side of the Moon", Sunday 30th September

23rd September 2012

Classic Album Sundays with Loud & Clear Hi-Fi Present

Pink Floyd “The Dark Side of the Moon”

The Berkeley Suite, 237 North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DL
Sunday 30 September 2012
£6 on the door
Online:  http://loudandclear.eventbrite.com
5pm – 8.30pm (album plays at 7.30pm)
0141 221 0221


One of the world’s great albums, played on one of the world’s finest hi-fi systems in conjunction with one of the world’s best hi-fi stores.”

Classic Album Sundays: A Communal and Audiophile Listening Experience is joining forces with Loud & Clear Hi-Fi again for this now semi-regular event in Glasgow.

Listed as one of the Top 20 Trends of 2012 by London’s ES Magazine, Classic Album Sundays has become a media sensation in a little over a year. With features on BBC Breakfast, BBC 6 Music, NME, Elle, The Word, The Independent, The Evening Standard and more. Why all the fuss?

The concept is to enable people to experience music as close as possible to the way the artist intended, to treat music as a precious commodity and a classic album as a work of art which should be appreciated in its entirety Classic  Album Sundays’ use audiophile hi-fi equipment to ensure an awe inspiring listening experience. Visitors are invited to switch off their phones and refrain from unnecessary conversation just sit back, listen and immerse themselves in the experience.

Music fans have enthusiastically responded en masse as Classic Album Sundays’ monthly listening sessions in London and New York have been selling out, with festival sessions featuring at The Vintage Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in London (for which Loud & Clear put together a £130,000 hi-fi system), plus Camp Bestival and Bestival amongst others.

Here is what some visitors had to say:

Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” was our first visit, and it was excellent. Sounded as if Joni was playing live, and heard in reverential silence by a deeply appreciative audience.” – David Lye, CAS attendee

Hearing that fabulous cello line in ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – I could’ve wept with the sheer beauty of it.” – Annette Corbette, CAS attendee

 

The event format:

Join us from 5pm to get in the mood by listening to some of the music that inspired Pink Floyd, along with tracks from their musical contemporaries around the release of the album in 1973. The bar will be open, and you can grab some lunch/dinner beforehand at Chinaski’s next door, to ease yourself in, and then hang out with a great soundtrack.

At 7.30pm the lights go down, the volume goes up and we play the album from beginning to end on a reference Linn hi-fi system. Linn produce world class hi-fi from their factory in Glasgow. We’ll be using the classic Sondek LP12 turntable, Klimax DS, Klimax Kontrol pre-amplifier, Klimax Solo mono block power amplifiers, Klimax 350p Loudspeakers, all cabled with Nordost. This is a SERIOUS high-end system!

 

Pink Floyd “The Dark Side of the Moon”

How did an album about mental illness, mortality and the need for human empathy become one of the most classic, iconic albums of all time staying on the US Billboard Charts for 741 weeks (14 years)?

With their album “Meddle” and the side-long masterpiece “Echoes”, Pink Floyd had established themselves as an anonymous super-group in an age of flamboyant rockers like Led Zeppelin and The Who. After the departure of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters had increasingly asserted himself as musical director and “The Dark Side of the Moon” was the first album for which he dictated all the themes and wrote all the lyrics.

Written in a direct way, Waters reflected, “Its driven by emotion. There’s nothing plastic about it, nothing contrived” and called it “an expression of political, philosophical, humanitarian empathy that was desperate to get out.”

The album was recorded and engineered by Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios where the band liked to play cricket matches against the staff. The band pushed the limits of 16-track analogue studio technology and used keyboards, sequencers and sound effects which were groundbreaking at the time.

The sonics on the album are just as important as the lyrics and each reinforce the other as David Gilmour explains, “Roger and Nick tend to make the tapes or effects like the heartbeat on the LP… The heartbeat alludes to the human condition and sets the mood for the music, which describes the emotions experienced during a lifetime. Amid the chaos there is beauty and hope for mankind. The effects are purely to help the listener understand what the whole thing is about.”

Waters described the urgent message behind the album: “This is not a rehearsal. As far as we know – and I know there are some Hindus that would disagree with this – you only get one shot, and you’ve got to make choices based on whatever moral, philosophical or political position you may adopt…If ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ is anything, it is an exhortation to join the flow of the river of natural history in a way that’s positive…”

More info:
http://www.classicalbumsundays.com
http://www.loud-clear.co.uk

Loud & Clear with Classic Album Sundays at the National Audio Show, 22nd & 23rd September

19th September 2012

Loud & Clear are teaming up with Classic Album Sundays to host listening sessions at the UK’s most popular hi-fi show, The National Audio Show on 22nd & 23rd September. Attendees can take a break from perusing the hi-fi on offer to get back to what it is all about – the music.

We will be presenting some seminal albums by artists like Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin on a stellar hi-fi which will feature a Lyra Atlas Cartridge, JMW Classic 10.5 Tone Arm, VPI Classic 3 Turntable, Moon 810 LP Phono Stage, Moon 850P/880M Amplification, ProAc Carbon Pro 8 Loudspeakers and cabling by Nordost and Studio Connections.

We will also be screening a new film documentary called “Last Shop Standing” which goes behind the counter to discover why nearly 2000 record shops have disappeared across the UK.


Saturday, 22nd September

Albums presented by Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy of Classic Album Sundays

12:00 – 1:15 Joni Mitchell “Blue”

1:30 – 2:45 The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in mono

3:00 – 4:15 Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”

4:45 Film Screening of “Last Shop Standing”

Sunday, 23rd September

Albums presented by Allan Boyd and John Carroll of Loud & Clear

12:00 – 1:15 Bob Marley “Catch A Fire”

1:30 – 2:45  David Bowie “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”

3:00 – 4:15  Led Zeppelin “Led Zeppelin II”

National Audio Show
Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa
Whittlebury
Nr Towcester
Northamptonshire
NN12 8QH

MOON 310LP Phono Stage

18th September 2012

We were delighted to see that one of our favourite products walked away with Outstanding Product Award in the November 2012 issue of Hi-Fi News.

The MOON 310LP was up against 5 other phono stages, with Ken Kessler stating, “this was audibly the best sounding of all the units”.

At £1,490 this marvellous phono stage really does punch above its weight with other units in the shoot out costing up to £500 more! Not only that, but it is fully upgradable by adding the 320S external power supply for £1,200.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have the 310LP on permanent demonstration.

Click here more info on the MOON 310LP

Tool

If you had told me a few years ago that I would soon be listening to a well known American ‘alternative metal’ band, I would have applauded the comedian in you. Now not only have I listened to and bought their entire back catalogue (most on both CD and vinyl), I’m also a member of their ‘Collective Unconcious’ fan club and impatiently awaiting the release of their (now well overdue) 5th studio album. And having discovered them via their most recent album ‘10,000 days’, I thought I had blown it. Until I listened to their back catalogue.

While stepping back though their 20 year history I realised that although their sound has evolved, it’s always been recognisably them. I’ve even heard them described as the ‘metal Radiohead’ by more than a few people. But don’t let either of those things frighten you off because they really do stand alone in terms of musical innovation. The only danger in this is continuing to be associated with certain genres because no one quite knows where else to file you. They can be loud and complex, but almost always melodic and sometimes surprisingly delicate. For a metal band.

They challenge people to ‘think for themselves’ so approach with an open mind, and you might just be pleasantly surprised by what you find…

Get tooled up at http://www.toolband.com/

 

Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine

14th September 2012

The Glasgow shop is now the proud owner of one of the most iconic of British hi-fi products – The Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine.

The original design dates back to 1969 when Keith Monks was commissioned to build a precision record cleaning machine to meet the exacting standards of radio broadcast for the BBC. Since then the design has been tweaked, but essentially works in the same manner, and delivers world leading performance in cleaning records. It has a reputation garnered from the most discerning individuals in the world of high-end vinyl replay as THE record cleaner to use.

Not only does the Keith Monks make a huge improvement in old soiled records, but also improves the sound quality of brand new records too.

We have the Omni Mk VII – this includes settings so that 7″ and 10″ records can be cleaned alongside the standard 12″.

We are offering a record cleaning service:

This is £3 per disc, including a new anti-static inner sleeve.

If you have a number of records to clean we can offer a bulk discount, just ask.

Keith Monks website

 

Days Of The New

11th September 2012

Travis Meeks was born into a musically gifted family and although painfully introverted, found his voice after learning to play guitar at the age of 9. It was a long time before he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and it’s possible that he found creating music therapeutic and an easier way of communicating with the world. His condition also goes some way to explaining the difficult relationship he developed with founding members of the band and what eventually caused the rift between them, with only Travis deciding to continue on as ‘Days of the New’. And it’s been made an even more difficult journey by addiction.

Prescription painkillers for a kidney stone escalated to methamphetamine, a drug known for it’s destructive nature and certainly not conducive to the writing, recording and gigging process. Despite this, he’s managed to turn out three astonishingly beautiful and complex albums known as ‘Yellow’, ‘Green” and ‘Red’, each featuring an appropriately coloured old twisted tree on the cover (which has special meaning for Travis) and ‘Tree Colours’ the working title for the fourth instalment.

Distinguished by his choice of acoustic guitar over electric and a love of all things orchestral, the albums are full of songs of epic proportions ranging from grunge through to folk and classical. All accompanied by the kind of raw vocal that makes every word believable. He’s such an incredible talent that I for one, wish him every success in beating those ‘demons’.

Hug a tree at http://travismeeks.com/

The Mars Volta

4th September 2012

To say that these guys can be a challenging listen is probably putting it mildly. The first time I heard them, I wanted to run from the room screaming. So when I was asked if I might accompany a loved one to a gig, I agreed but was filled with a sense of dread and made a mental note to purchase a pair of earplugs. Luckily, this first encounter was at The Barrowlands where I’ve always felt quite comfortable and by the time the band took to the stage I was braced and ready for anything. Which was just as well. Fast forward a couple of hours (probably nearer three), and there I was in quite a shocked state wondering what I had just witnessed.

They are an incredibly tight band and while I don’t pretend to understand the structure of their songs, I have no idea how they do it. Sometimes it seems like each of them is playing a different tune, then they’ll suddenly all stop and change. I still find it difficult to listen to a whole studio album (although, I have a soft spot for ‘Octahedron’) but I’ve seen them three times now and I’m already looking forward to the fourth. It’s a mesmerising showcase of Omar’s virtuoso guitar playing and Cedric’s incredible multi-vocal. Not to mention his unbelievable dance moves.

Welcome to another planet at www.themarsvolta.com

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