Stereophile March 2021

Every month Stereophile magazine offers authoritative reviews, informed recommendations, helpful advice, and controversial opinions, all stemming from the revolutionary idea that audio components should be judged on how they reproduce music.

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AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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12 Edições

nesta edição

4 minutos
online sales get personal

It’s 2021, and the audio business marches ever onward. Accelerated by the pandemic, economic transformation continues apace; online sales are burgeoning across all industries. This includes hi-fi, which is under pressure to facilitate more online sales, and—maybe, for some—move away from the traditional dealer-based sales model. As I reported in these pages about a year ago,1 companies including VPI and Bowers & Wilkins (the latter recently acquired by Sound United) have begun selling products online or expanding existing online sales. McIntosh is selling some of its products through online dealers. A little more than a year ago, PS Audio, which had always sold direct and through dealers, dissolved their US dealer network while continuing to sell through dealers internationally. For companies, selling online has obvious advantages: wider customer reach, lower overhead, convenience—plus,…

1 minutos
j. peter schwalm / arve henriksen

J. Peter Schwalm, pianos, electronics, programming; Arve Henriksen, trumpets, percussion, synthesizer, voices RareNoiseRecords RNR0125 (CD, also available as LP, download). 2020. J. Peter Schwalm, prod.; J. Peter Schwalm, Arve Henriksen, engs. PERFORMANCE SONICS Based in London, RareNoiseRecords is committed to erasing boundaries around jazz. Grab any five RareNoise releases, and you are likely to be alienated by one, thrilled by at least one, and aesthetically realigned by all five. Press notes state, “Neuzeit is not only a sonic commentary on this unstable age but a product of it.” German electroacoustic composer J. Peter Schwalm and Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen intended to go into a studio in the spring of 2020; the pandemic took away that option; they collaborated long-distance. Schwalm crafted compositions in Germany and sent mixes to Henriksen at his studio in Sweden.…

1 minutos
andrew hill

Hill, piano; Woody Shaw, Dizzy Reece, trumpet; Joe Farrell, saxes, flute, English horn; Robert Northern, French horn; Julian Priester, trombone; Howard Johnson, bass clarinet, tuba; Ron Carter, bass; Lenny White, drums Blue Note (2 LPs). 1969/2020. Michael Cuscuna, prod.; Rudy Van Gelder, eng.; Joe Harley, LP supervisor; Kevin Gray, LP mastering PERFORMANCE SONICS Andrew Hill’s Passing Ships is one of the great lost-tapes albums. Recorded in 1969, it was tossed in the vaults by Blue Note’s new corporate owners and remained unknown for three decades, even to discographers, until Hill, recalling it as one of his best sessions, urged Michael Cuscuna to dig it up. Hill was right: It’s a masterpiece. An astonishingly original pianist and composer, Hill came to Blue Note in the early ’60s and defined its free-jazz era. Point of Departure…

1 minutos
alaska reid

Terrible Records (16/44.1, Qobuz). 2020. Reid, A.G. Cook, Rodaidh McDonald, prods. and engs. PERFORMANCE SONICS 24-year-old Alaska Reid split her childhood between Los Angeles and a small town in Montana. She started a band called Alyeska, which in 2017 put out an Americana-based album called Crush. She left that band and struck out on her own. Her courage is paying dividends. As a child, Reid adored the storytelling aspect of classic country stars like Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard and the more modern sounds of Lyle Lovett. Her early indie influences were The Breeders and Dinosaur Jr., whose producer, John Agnello, worked on Crush. A.G. Cook assisted in production on Big Bunny, along with Rodaidh McDonald, who has worked with Adele and Vampire Weekend. On the title track, recalling childhood romps with her sister in…

9 minutos

Goats Head Soup Tom Fine’s review of The Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup is not just dead wrong; it’s infuriating. This issue of Stereophile has been relegated to the recycle bin. Goats Head Soup was produced during the Stones’ most acclaimed period. The songwriting of Mick & Keef was at a zenith, which was astounding given Keef’s heavy use of hard drugs, which would make any mere mortal unable to craft or perform these gems. There are but a handful of Stones albums with Mick Taylor, whom rock fans adore, and this is a glorious moment: Billy Preston, with his enormous afro and distinct style on the clavinet, is present on “100 Years Ago”; the fine interplay of Keef harmonizing with Mick on this track is delightful. And let’s not forget Nicky…

4 minutos
record reviews

The reviewer venturing to identify the birth bed of heavy metal music risks wrath. So be it. The heavy metal genre has many roots. The idea of power chords and music centered on ominous, mythological, and vaguely threatening lyrics goes back centuries; consider the use of European church music in various eras to literally scare the hell out of believers. But heavy metal as we know it started 50 years ago with Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. A mere three years after the Summer of Love, in less than 42 minutes, Black Sabbath’s second album presented a new kind of rock music, a divergence, a world full of possibilities for those who never bought into peace, love, or anything else hippie except long hair and a sense of rebellion. By 1970, the world had…