Records and recording


LONDON — Tucked in a trendy co-working complex in West London, just past the food court and the payment processing start-up, is perhaps the most technologically backward-looking record company in the world.

 

LONDON — Tucked in a trendy co-working complex in West London, just past the food court and the payment processing start-up, is perhaps the most technologically backward-looking record company in the world.

 

The Electric Recording Co., which has been releasing music since 2012, specializes in meticulous recreations of classical and jazz albums from the 1950s and ’60s. Its catalog includes reissues of landmark recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as lesser-known artists favored by collectors, like the violinist Johanna Martzy.

 

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But what really sets Electric Recording apart is its method — a philosophy of production more akin to the making of small-batch gourmet chocolate than most shrink-wrapped vinyl.

 

Its albums, assembled by hand and released in editions of 300 or fewer — at a cost of $400 to $600 for each LP — are made with restored vintage equipment down to glowing vacuum-tube amplifiers, and mono tape systems that have not been used in more than half a century.

The goal is to ensure a faithful restoration of what the label’s founder, Pete Hutchison, sees as a lost golden age of record-making. Even its record jackets, printed one by one on letterpress machines, show a fanatical devotion to age-old craft.

“It started as wanting to recreate the original but not make it a sort of pastiche,” Hutchison said in a recent interview. “And in order not to create a pastiche, we had to do everything as they had done it.”

 

Electric Recording’s attention to detail, and Hutchison’s delicate engineering style in mastering old records, have given the label a revered status among collectors — yet also drawn subtle ridicule among rivals who view its approach as needlessly expensive and too precious by half.

 

An original Lyrec T818 tape machine that the label has painstakingly renovated, in its London studio.Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

original Lyrec T818 tape machine

original Lyrec T818 tape machine

 

Hutchison, 53, whose sharp features and foot-long beard make him look like a wayward wizard from “The Lord of the Rings,” dismissed such critiques as examples of the audiophile world’s catty tribalism. Even the word “audiophile,” he feels, is more often an empty marketing gimmick than a reliable sign of quality.
“Audiophiles listen with their ears, not with their hearts,” Hutchison said. He added: “That’s not our game, really.”

So what’s his game?

“The game is trying to do something that is anti-generic, if you like,” he said. “What we’re doing with these old records is essentially taking the technology from the time and remaking it as it was done then, rather than compromising it.”

To a large degree, the vinyl resurgence of the last decade has been fueled by reissues. But no reissue label has gone to the same extremes as Electric Recording.

In 2009, Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — a Lyrec tape deck and lathe, with Ortofon amplifiers, both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years. He has invested thousands more on improvements like replacing their copper wiring with mined silver, which Hutchison said gives the audio signal a greater level of purity.

The machines allow Hutchison to exclude any trace of technology that has crept into the recording process since a time when the Beatles were in moptops. That means not only anything digital or computerized, but also transistors, a mainstay of audio circuitry for decades; instead, the machines’ amplifiers are powered by vacuum tubes (or valves, as British engineers call them).

 

“We’re all about valves here,” Hutchison said on a tour of the label’s studio.

Mastering a vinyl record involves “cutting” grooves into a lacquer disc, a dark art in which tiny adjustments can have a big effect. Unusually among engineers, Hutchison tends to master records at low volumes — sometimes even quieter than the originals — to bring out more of the natural feel of the instruments.
He demonstrated his technique during a recent mastering session for “Mal/2,” a 1957 album by the jazz pianist Mal Waldron that features an appearance by Coltrane. He tested several mastering levels for the song “One by One” — which has lots of staccato trumpet notes, played by Idrees Sulieman — before settling on one that preserved the excitement of the original tape but avoided what Hutchison called a “honk” when the horns reached a climax.

“What you want to hear is the clarity, the harmonics, the textures,” he said. “What you don’t want is to put it on and feel like you’ve got to turn it down.”

These judgments are often subjective. But to test Hutchison’s approach, I visited the New Jersey home of Michael Fremer, a contributing editor at Stereophile and a longtime champion of vinyl. We listened to a handful of Electric Recording releases, comparing them to pressings of the same material by other companies, on Fremer’s state-of-the-art test system (the speakers alone cost $100,000).
Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years.Credit…Tom Jamieson for The New York Times

 

vinyl 3

 

I am often skeptical of claims of vinyl’s superiority, but when listening to one of Electric Recording’s albums of Bach’s solo violin pieces played by Martzy, I was stunned by their clearness and beauty. Compared to the other pressings, Electric Recording’s version had vivid, visceral details, yielding a persuasive illusion of a human being standing before me drawing a bow across a violin.
“It’s magical what they’re doing, recreating these old records,” Fremer said as he swapped out more Electric Recording discs.

Hutchison is a surprising candidate to carry the torch for sepia-toned classical fidelity. In the 1990s, he was a player in the British techno scene with his label Peacefrog; the label’s success in the early 2000s with the minimalist folk of José González helped finance the obsession that became Electric Recording.

Hutchison’s conversion happened after he inherited the classical records owned by his father, who died in 1998. A longtime collector of rock and jazz, Hutchison was entranced by the sound of the decades-old originals, and found newer reissues unsatisfying. He learned that Peacefrog’s distributor, EMI, owned the rights to many of his new favorites. Was it possible to recreate things exactly has they had been done the first time around?

After restoring the machines, Electric Recording put its first three albums on sale in late 2012 — Martzy’s solo Bach sets, originally issued in the mid-1950s.

Hutchison decided that true fidelity applied to packaging as well as recording. Letterpress printing drove up his manufacturing costs, and some of the label’s projects have seemed to push the boundaries of absurdity.

In making “Mozart à Paris,” for example, a near-perfect simulacrum of a deluxe 1956 box set, Hutchison spent months scouring London’s haberdashers to find the right strand of silk for a decorative cord. The seven-disc set is Electric Recording’s most expensive title, at about $3,400 — and one of the few in its catalog that has not sold out.

Hutchison defends such efforts as part of the label’s devotion to authenticity. But it comes at a cost. Its manufacturing methods, and the quality-control attention paid to each record, bring no economies of scale. So Electric Recording would gain no reduction in expenses if it made more, thus negating the question Hutchison is most frequently asked: Why not press more records and sell them more cheaply?

“We probably make the most expensive records in the world,” Hutchison said, “and make the least profit.”

Electric Recording’s prices have drawn head-scratching through the cliquey world of high-end vinyl producers. Chad Kassem, whose company Acoustic Sounds, in Salina, Kan., is one of the world’s biggest vinyl empires, said he admired Hutchison’s work.

“I tip my hat to any company that goes the extra mile to make things as best as possible,” Kassem said.

But he said he was proud of Acoustic Sounds’s work, which like Electric Recording cuts its masters from original tapes and goes to great lengths to capture original design details — and sells most of its records for about $35. I asked Kassem what is the difference between a $35 reissue and a $500 one.
He paused for a moment, then said: “Four hundred sixty-five dollars.”

Yet the market has embraced Electric Recording. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hutchison said, its records have been selling as fast as ever, although the company has had some production hiccups. The only manufacturer of a fabric that Hutchison chose for a Mozart set in the works, by the pianist Lili Kraus, has been locked down in Italy.

The next frontier for Electric Recording is rock. Hutchison recently got permission to reissue “Forever Changes,” the classic 1967 psychedelic album by the California band Love, and said that the original tape had a more unvarnished sound than most fans had heard. He expects that to be released in July, and “Mal/2” is due in August.

But Hutchison seemed most proud of the label’s work on classical records that seemed to come from a distant era. He pulled out a 10-inch mini-album of Bach by the French pianist Yvonne Lefébure, originally released in 1955. Electric Recording painstakingly recreated its dowel spine, its cotton sleeve, its leather cover embossed in gold leaf.

“It’s a nice artifact,” Hutchison said, looking at it lovingly. “It’s a great record as well.”

 

Source : The New York Times

 

 

 

TOP 100


TOP 100 of countries / Listeners  for MARCH 2018

Listeners by country and by connection for RADIO SATELLITE

Reminder: Radio Satellite plays “instrumental” music (#JamesLast, #FaustoPapetti, #EnnioMorricone, #Zamfir….)

Radio Satellite2 : Plays Oldies Pop Rock music and also Some soft jazz programs and blues.  (#Eric_Clapton, #Elton_john, #JohnDenver, #Abba, #BeeGees, #TheCarpenters, #TheEverlyBrothers, #The_Statler_Brothers, #Beatles, #BarryWhite, #TomJones and more…)

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WILD TARGET


wild target

wild target

Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is an experienced and efficient assassin living a lonely life in accordance with his family’s business. Victor follows a family line of professional assassins, and he completes his assignments quickly and without remorse.

One afternoon, after killing one of his targets, he hesitates in killing the pet parrot, Roger, and instead takes him as a gift to his mother, Louisa (Eileen Atkins) an intimidating woman who was, until recently, also Victor’s housemate.

In celebration of his 55th birthday, she gives him a leather bound book with newspaper clippings of each of his kills from his first to his most recent, leaving pages for future hits to be included.

She also expresses concern that he might be homosexual, wondering why he hasn’t produced a successor.

Rose (Emily Blunt) is a not-so-average girl with a talent for thievery.

Her most recent theft involves the sale of a fake Rembrandt painting (painted by her friend in the Restoration Department of the National Gallery) to Ferguson (Rupert Everett), managing to swindle him out of £900,000.

Ferguson soon discovers the swap and hires the best hitman, Victor Maynard, to dispose of her. Victor takes the case and immediately tracks Rose down, missing several opportunities to kill her, and accidentally killing a random stall customer in a changing room.

He follows her to a balcony opposite her hotel room and tries to shoot her through the window, but is interrupted by the arrival of the front doorman.

Emily blunt

Emily blunt

 

Victor sets up a microphone and headset to keep her under surveillance, but falls asleep, unable to listen to their noisy lovemaking. He wakes the following morning, just as she is leaving. He has the opportunity to shoot but pauses.

His mother, Louisa, is disappointed by this missed target (and has apparently killed Roger with a knitting needle) and suggests that Victor apologize to his employer and offer to do the hit for free. He tracks Rose down in a parking garage where he sees another hitman ready to kill her. He takes the preemptive shot, killing the other assassin.

He and Rose get into her car, only to be forced out again by Mike (Gregor Fisher), another assassin hiding in the back seat of her Mini. Mike throws Victor’s gun away and lines them up on the wall to be shot and killed, but instead is wounded by Tony (Rupert Grint), an apparently homeless young man who had picked up the dead man’s gun. Saying it was his first time handling a firearm, he impresses Victor enough to consider a protégé.

But he sends Tony home and Victor and Rose flee. Mike starts firing at them and they nearly run over Tony on his way out of the garage, forcing him to join the ride.

Rose offers Victor his price of £30,000 a week for her protection, believing that he is merely a private detective. They travel to a luxury hotel where they can lay low, but by chance get a room on the same floor as Ferguson. Ferguson hires Dixon (Martin Freeman), reputed to be second only to Maynard in proficiency, to kill Rose and Maynard. After several close calls, Mike, who is also Ferguson’s bodyguard, discovers their whereabouts when he spots a pair of boots that Rose had stolen from his dead partner.

Billy Nighy

Billy Nighy

 

Tony is ambushed in the bathroom and nearly drowned in the bathtub by Mike, but he turns the tables and accidentally shoots Mike’s ear off before the three of them escape the hotel. Ferguson and Mike pursue them in a high-speed chase through the streets of London until Mike loses control and crashes the car, sending the pair to the hospital.

They travel to Maynard’s home, an exclusive farm deep in the countryside, where his furniture is shrink-wrapped and his cat, Snowy, resides with him. Maynard takes Tony on as his apprentice in “private detective” work.

One night (after a sensual foot-massage between Victor and Rose), Rose is attacked by Louisa (Victor’s mother), who had come back to the house to finish what her son had started. He eventually talks her down and after she leaves, the three of them work on becoming friends.

Rose and Tony help Victor celebrate his birthday, and, after a brief period of sexual confusion between Tony and Maynard, Victor falls in love with and sleeps with Rose. Afterwards, his attitude becomes more friendly, and Victor peels off the plastic coverings on all of his furniture and opens up the house. Meanwhile, Rose looks around Victor’s room, finding the leather book that his mother had given him and learning that she was actually his target for assassination.

RUPERT GRINT

RUPERT GRINT

She also finds Victor’s father’s first gun, a Broomhandle Mauser, and steals it for protection. She runs out of the house after making it clear that she trusts neither Victor nor Tony, and returns to the National Gallery, only to find her friend dead and Dixon and his assistant, Fabian (Geoff Bell), waiting for her.

They quickly return to Victor’s home, and Tony and Victor gain the upper hand when Louisa appears, killing Fabian with a machine gun. Dixon withdraws the old gun Rose had taken from Victor’s room and fires at Victor. It backfires, sending the bolt into his skull. Victor, Tony and Rose bury the pair in the back yard and return to their lives.

Three years later, Victor and Rose are married with a son named Angel and Tony has moved in with them. While Angel is playing one morning, Tony comes outside asking Victor and Rose where the cat had gone off to. They look at Angel in awe as he is innocently patting soft dirt into the yard, suggesting he killed and buried the cat. Victor smiles with pride.

WILD TARGET

WILD TARGET

 

  • Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard: A middle aged hit man who is hired by Ferguson to kill Rose after she cons Ferguson out of £1,000,000. After purposely missing an opportunity to shoot Rose, Ferguson sends his henchmen to do the deed. Victor kills one henchman and injures another when he is looking for Rose and, concealing his true profession, helps her escape with the help of local slacker, Tony. He adopts Tony as his apprentice and Victor realizes he’s fallen in love with Rose.
  • Emily Blunt as Rose: A confident con artist who oversteps the mark when she cons Ferguson out of £1,000,000 and leaves him with a convincing copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait. Realizing the danger she is in, she stays with Victor and Tony in an attempt to escape her attempted assassination. Her adventurous lifestyle takes a turn when she realizes her enjoyment of Victor’s company.
  • Rupert Grint as Tony: A young man who witnesses Victor shooting Ferguson’s bodyguard and decides to stay with Victor for safety. Victor employs him as an apprentice (with Tony thinking Victor is a private detective and later, upon learning Victor is a hit man, taking it in stride) and he soon realizes he has a ‘killer instinct’.
  • Eileen Atkins as Louisa Maynard: Victor’s intimidating mother who, while impressed with his profession, is concerned as to what will happen to the family business.
  • Rupert Everett as Ferguson: A London gangster who hires Victor to kill Rose.
  • Martin Freeman as Hector Dixon: A sadistic assassin who plays second-fiddle to Victor Maynard. While influenced by Victor, Dixon jumps at the opportunity given to him by Ferguson to dispose of the greatest hit-man ever known.
  • Gregor Fisher as Mike: Ferguson’s incompetent henchman whose several attempts to kill Victor, Rose, and Tony leave him in hospital … and with one ear.
  • Geoff Bell as Fabian: Dixon’s dull-witted partner.

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Sources : Wikipedia / Youtube

PAUL FARRAR COMEDY SHOW


The Paul Farrar Comedy Show is a unique comedy, guest and music radio show where guests are interrupted while talking by the host’s comic creations entering the studio and causing chaos.

Exploding studio equipment, hundreds of noisy cats and dogs entering the studio while a guest is being interviewed, inept builders undertaking extension work in the studio and totally destroying it in the process,

Batman trying to help out but making things considerably worse, and being transported to various locations across the world that are fraught with danger are some of the disastrous situations facing guests on this show. Let the mayhem commence…

 

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