Archive for Feb, 2013


26th Feb 2013

You may not have heard of Hexvessel. Neither had I until I read about them recently in a back issue of Prog magazine, who made it sound interesting enough for me to give it a try. And I’m glad I did.

2011’s ‘Dawnbreaker’ was the solo effort of English born singer/songwriter Mat McNerney (aka Kvohst) and was a departure from his previous musical endeavours, which include bands from the death/black metal scene.

Second album offering ‘No Holier Temple’ sees him combine talents with seven other soul-mates (who he met when they played in the band at his wedding) to create a beautiful and surprising collection of folky-psychedelic-prog-rock.

Describing themselves as ‘Forest folk from Finland’, they look and sound just like that and have been so well hidden deep in the woods that I’m grateful to have found them at all…

Can’t see the woods for the trees at



19th Feb 2013

Whilst checking out the list of bands on the line-up for last year’s Austin Psych Fest, I stumbled upon Federale. After a quick listen and some online investigation, I became a little confused as what I was reading didn’t quite match up with what I was hearing and it wasn’t long before I figured out that there are two bands who share that name. One from Brooklyn, New York who have a classic funk-rock sound (check out ‘Not Your Vessel’) and the other Portland, Oregon-based band who specialise in writing the soundtrack to your favourite imaginary spaghetti western. Probably.

A diverse collective of musicians, (and as noted when I saw them at the festival) there can be as many as fourteen of them on stage at any one time creating a symphony whose talents include Native American flute, trumpet, keyboards, timpani, duelling drums, and the obligatory guitars along with soaring operatic vocals and a male voice choir who also whistle when required. Essentially, all the sounds that a good (bad or ugly) cowboy should hear in everyday life.

Lastest album ‘The Blood Flowed Like Wine’ expands on their previous work and includes additional vocals by Alex Maas of The Black Angels (who appeared unexpectedly on stage with them at PF and made my night) and KP Thomas of Spindrift. And it’s become the soundtrack to my very own favourite spaghetti western…

You can saddle up and sample some good quality live footage at

Biffy Clyro

12th Feb 2013

I first became aware of The Biff when a loved one gave me their first two albums to try, on the premise that I might agree to attend a gig with him. I wasn’t sure, even after several listens whether I liked them or not. I can probably put that down to the fact that I had never heard anything like it before but I agreed to the gig as I knew they had something. It was at the Carling Academy in Glasgow, which I thought was rather a large venue for such a little known band and I wasn’t surprised to see that it seemed relatively empty when they took to the stage.

I’ll never forget that night, because nothing could have prepared me for the atmosphere (and noise) created by the three blokes on stage and a small but bonkers crowd of fans. There was a lot of love in that room. At times, I could barley hear the band over the crowd’s sing-a-long and it’s way up there on my list of ‘best atmosphere at a gig’. I didn’t even know half the songs but I left there on a high and the rest of the world soon caught on with the release of their ‘Puzzle’ album not long after.

Fast forward and new album Opposites (their 6th) has just scored them their first number one. If you want a taste of what they do to people in a live setting, please head straight to their ‘Revelations’ Live At (and tearing up, I might add) Wembley DVD. I can’t think of another band who are not only home-grown but have worked so hard for their success and never compromised themselves. They deserve every bit of it.

All together now – ‘MON THE BIFF!!! at

Meridian Explorer DAC

11th Feb 2013

Meridian has announced the introduction of its Explorer, a pocket-sized high-resolution USB DAC that delivers best-in-class sound from any computer. Featuring a range of connectivity, the Explorer can be used in a variety of applications from private headphone listening to full system playback.

Explorer replaces a computer’s sound card with a USB-powered DAC featuring Meridian’s award-winning resolution enhancement technologies, and makes any audio file, from MP3 to high resolution, sound its very best.

From its best-in-class audio performance to the elegant presentation packaging Explorer is the perfect introduction to the Meridian Experience, allowing users to discover more from their music.

At £249 this little unit will unleash HD audio from the world wide web giving the user access to music at 24/192 resolution, which is up to 10 times the resolution of compact disc. Just plug into your audio system or plug in your headphones for the most lifelike music experience currently available. The design is so compact you can pop it in with your laptop when you travel.

The explorer is available worldwide as of 11th Fed 2013 and is exclusive in Scotland to Loud & Clear.

Classic Album Sundays Glasgow – Miles Davis "Kind of Blue", Sunday 24th February

1st Feb 2013

Classic Album Sundays with Loud & Clear Hi-Fi Present

Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”

The Berkeley Suite, 237 North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DL
Sunday 24th February 2013
£6 on the door or online:
5.30pm – 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 5.30pm to get in the mood by listening to some of the music that inspired Miles Davis, along with tracks from his musical contemporaries and collaborators around the release of the album in 1959. 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. We’ll be using Linn’s iconic Sondek LP12 turntable with a reference Klimax Kontrol pre-amplifier and Linn’s very own “black ops” custom made fully active PA system featuring 12 channels of their Akurate power amplifiers.

Miles Davis “Kind of Blue”

“Miles often surprised everybody. He craved change, and never thought twice about how it would affect anything or anybody, but the music…I think he enjoyed hearing the consequences.” – Drummer Jimmy Cobb in the liner notes for the album “Miles Davis and John Coltrane: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961”

Going Modal

Ever the musical chameleon who continuously challenged himself with new musical forms, Miles wanted to move away from the hard bop sound he had been championing in his live performances and on albums like 1954’s “Walkin’”. Inspired by French composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, performances by Les Ballets Africains de la Republique de Guinea and George Russell’s 1953 book “The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization”, Miles wanted to abandon traditional harmonies and experiment with modes. Instead of harmonizing over quick chord changes in the style of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Davis wanted to pursue a music where the musicians improvised over a series of “church modes”, eight modes (or scales) that were used in ancient Gregorian chants. Traditional harmonies were abandoned and the players were set free.

Legendary Sextet

From 1955-1958, Miles had the “first great quintet” with a line-up that included John Coltrane on tenor saxophone and Paul Chambers on bass. Cannonball Adderley joined on alto sax in ’58 and Bill Evans replaced Red Garland on piano. Plagued by a nasty drug habit, drummer Philly Joe Jones was fired numerous times and eventually left, replaced by Jimmy Cobb. Master blues accompanist Wyton Kelly (Evans replacement when he left to pursue his own solo career) was brought in to play on one song, “Freddie Freeloader” as Evans felt he had nothing to contribute.

Simplicity and Spontaneity

Miles wanted to record quickly and with very little rehearsal as he wanted to capture the spontaneity. Very little was written out and instead Miles would “speak” the charts, giving sketches of the scales over which the players would solo and sometimes telling the musicians which note to play and how to play it. They aimed to capture the songs in first takes and aside from false starts, they managed a final take relatively quickly. “Flamenco Sketches” was recorded in one take. Modal jazz is organised in a scalar (horizontal) way whereas bebop is organised a chordal (vertical) way and Miles wanted the space and simplicity that was in stark contrast to the density and fast forward motion of bebop.

The Most Successful Jazz Album Ever Made

Despite the quick and improvisational manner in which it was composed and recorded, “Kind of Blue” has become one of the blueprints for jazz. It is often cited as a great introduction to jazz as it is extremely beautiful and listenable while embracing the tenets of experimental free jazz. It is has been named as the best-selling jazz album of all time and has influenced a host of musicians from many different disciplines. Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright said the album influenced his chords on “Breathe”, soul musician/producer Quincy Jones said he played “Kind of Blue” everyday and it was his “orange juice”, and experimental pioneer Terry Riley reworked and manipulated “So What” (albeit Chet Baker’s version) for one of his first compositions. “Kind of Blue” is often named as one of the most influential albums of all time.

Listening to “Kind of Blue” on a fabulous hi-fi system will let you here it as never before; taking you closer to the live performance.

More info:

© 2019 Loud & Clear Glasgow