Loscil, Ocoeur, The Cure, Be Bop Deluxe – Reviewed on Part-Time Audiophile

As far as I’m confused, those Cure guys put out a couple okay albums, but a certain Be Bop Deluxe album must’ve left somewhat of an impression on my sixteen-year-old self.

I also write about new releases from Loscil and Ocoeur, as well as two older vinyl reissues by The Cure.

A Wizard / A True Star was released 47 years ago today

… and Patti Smith’s review (Creem, 1973) still hits all the right notes.

Recent Acquisitions

Vinyl:

BGM Back Ground Music LP (Studio Mule, Japan)

William Basinski On Time Out of Time (Temporary Residence, USA)

The Cure Faith 2xLP (Vinyl Lovers/Lilith, Russia/EU)

The Cure Seventeen Seconds 2xLP (Vinyl Lovers/Lilith, Russia/EU)

The Durutti Column Fidelity clear and blue vinyl 2xLP (Les Disques Du Crepesule, Belgium)

Midori Hirano Invisible Island LP (Sonic Pieces, Germany)

Richard Horowitz Eros in Arabia LP (Freedom to Spend, USA)

Terry Riley A Rainbow In Curved Air LP (Music on Vinyl, Netherlands)

Todd Rundgren Runt gold vinyl LP (Music on Vinyl, The Netherlands)

Erik Satie Vexations Alan Marks, Piano clear vinyl LP (Les Disques Du Crepesule, Belgium)

Utopia RA LP (Music on Vinyl, Netherlands)

Digital:

Jacek Doroszenko Infinite Values (Time Released Sound, USA)

Loscil Lifelike FLAC (Frond, Canada)

CD/DVD:

Be Bop Deluxe Modern Music (Deluxe) 4xCD + 5.1 DVD (Esoteric/Cherry Red, UK)

Rainbo Records – In Memoriam

Regarding a certain LA Times article:

I’ve seen this touching eulogy concerning Rainbo Records’ closing posted by at least five of my Facebook friends. I figured it was time to chime in once again.

I realize this might come across as ungracious.

Rainbo’s pressing quality and, especially, customer service were among the worst. Rainbo closed because it couldn’t compete with plants that were better at both.

When working at my previous job, at least two or three of our exclusive labels insisted upon using Rainbo, despite our protests.

Project after project found the labels being repeatedly lied to about the job being ready and “on the dock for pickup.” Or the “paper” (jackets and inserts) had been lost. Or plates had gone missing.

I can’t count how many LPs didn’t make street date because Rainbo was incapable of getting the majority of jobs done on time, or even being straight with clients about delays.

Maybe Rainbo treated other larger indies such as Rhino and Concord (back when such labels existed as indies, decades ago) better. Doesn’t matter. Unless you were in the upper 5%, apparently, you received the lamest excuse for customer service in the vinyl pressing business (and that’s saying a lot).

I spent about 20 years sitting across from our production manager. Week after week he’d get calls from the labels, listen, sigh, scribble some notes on the release schedule, line a couple things out, hang up, and mutter “fuckin’ Rainbo.”

I only post this because nostalgia doesn’t always translate to reality when it comes to small labels trying to get vinyl to its customers. You may believe Rainbo’s closure is emblematic of a difficult business climate, or changing market conditions. But it’s really because other pressing plants produce higher-quality vinyl, and definitely better customer service.

Goodbye to Rainbo?

More like good riddance.

Deutsche Grammophon is Signing Everyone Worth Listening To, Apparently

Not content with signings of the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Dustin O’Halloran (can Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie be far behind?), and Rachel Grimes (Rachel’s), Deutsche Grammophon’s drive to world domination continues with the scheduled March 20 release of a new album by Brian Eno and Roger Eno.

That’s So 2019: Favorite Books, Music and Video

A Winged Victory for the Sullen The Undivided Five FLAC (Ninja Tune, UK)

Heather Woods Broderick Invitation FLAC (Western Vinyl, US)

Dustin O’Halloran Sundoor EP (Deutsche Grammaphon, Germany)

K. Leimer Irrational Overcast LP (First Terrace, UK)

Loscil Lifelike FLAC (Frond, Canada)

Craig Leon The Canon – Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2 LP (RVNG Intl, US)

Chernobyl Miniseries (HBO)

Hildur Guðnadóttir Chernobyl score LP (Deutsche Grammophon, Germany)

Craig Childs Virga & Bone: Essays from Dry Places book (Torrey House Press)

Amy Irvine Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness book (Torrey House Press)

Terry Tempest Williams Erosion: Essays of Undoing book (Sarah Crichton Books)

Seymour Glass What’s Going to Happen to Us? book (Butte County Free Music Society)

Be Bop Deluxe Modern Music 2019 stereo mix and 5.1 mix 4xCD+DVD (Esoteric, UK)

The Beatles Abbey Road 2019 stereo mix and 5.1 mix 3xCD+DVD (Universal/EMI, US)

funharm

In the early- to mid-80s, I had a home recording project called Funharm.

It was low-fidelity instrumental dabbling, consisting of synthesizer, tapes, and sometimes guitars. Most of it was improvised; all of it was recorded to cassette. I managed overdubs by jamming a broken Q-Tip across the cassette recorder’s retractable erase head. As you can imagine, hiss became part of the mix. And, I liked to think, part of the charm.

I released two Funharm cassettes in 1983 and 1984. They got a certain amount of coverage in OP/OPTION, Sound Choice and the Contact List of Electronic Music (CLEM). I traded a bunch of copies with like-minded cassette-trading types. Each tape is numbered, and supposedly limited to 100 copies, but still have some left. Imagine that.

After the 1984 tape, Segments, I stopped releasing new music. I kept recording through 1988.

Last year, I digitized both tapes and offered them on Bandcamp. The tapes are for sale on Discogs. Mark Griffey interviewed me earlier this year. I just launched a low-key blog. And, because nothing’s real until it happens on Facebook, there’s that.

I’m going through dozens of old cassettes from the latter (and former) era and working on editing and cleaning up viable tracks, and have some other ideas in the works. I’ll post about any significant developments here and there.

Thinking About Ordering Vinyl From CDJapan?

I spent over $100 — not including shipping — ordering two Ryuichi Sakamoto LPs and two seven-inch singles from CDJapan.

The Bernie Grundman remaster of “Left Handed Dream” — US$34, plus overseas shipping — had a significant defect. The first song wouldn’t track during the last half of the song. The stylus on my cartridge actually bounced a 1/4-inch off the playing surface and continued to do so for 10 seconds, and the last half of the song was unplayable. I considered recording a video of the bouncing cartridge and sending it to CDJapan’s customer-service email address, but feared the defect was destroying my stylus.

I contacted CDJapan about the issue.

Their reply?

About the manufacture defective you mentioned, we haven’t got the issue from any other customers who purchased this LP.

And also we checked Sony Music website, they do not announce any defective for this LP.

We also checked the review in Amazon, there is only one comment, but he didn’t mention about the defective, he says the sound is very nice.

I’m touched by the fact that Sony couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge a problem with an expensive LP on its site. Shocking. Similarly, the fact that the only Amazon review claims the sound is “very nice” is consoling, as well.

I recommend that no one buy anything — especially vinyl — from CDJapan if this is what passes for their customer service.

——————-

Update [December 20, 2109]:

After I contacted CDJapan and informed them their reply was inadequate, I didn’t hear from them for two days. Finally they sent an email replying they were crediting my account (not refunding my money, or sending a replacement) for the defective LP.

I had also pointed out to their customer service rep that CDJapan needs to improve their packaging for shipping LPs. The two albums and two 7″ were loosely packed in bubblerwap, the placed in a carton that was twice as big as necessary, with no padding. When the package arrived, the contents were shaking loosely in the box. This issue wasn’t adequately addressed by CDJapan, other than the statement “we are relieved to hear that none of them [were] damaged.” This, alone, would make me reluctant to even consider ordering vinyl from CDJapan in the future.

Update [December 28, 2019]:

I was contacted by someone who stated they were “the A&R at Sony Music Direct Japan.” Evidently they noticed me ranting about the issue on Twitter. More news about this soon (most likely by way of me posting again on Twitter about it).

Update [January 14, 2020]

Sony Music Direct Japan has resolved the issue to my satisfaction, as has CDJapan. Thanks to both.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen “The Undivided Five” review on Part-Time Audiophile

AWVFTS "Undivided" cover artIt’s been eight years since we’ve had a dedicated, non-score, non-soundtrack album from AWVFTS. This is a review I’ve been wanting to write since 2011, and now you can read it on Part-Time Audiophile.

Recent Acquistions

Dustin O'Halloran "Sundoor" album coverVinyl:

Hollie Kenniff The Gathering Dawn LP (n5MD, US)

Karma Moffett Sitting Still Within-Sitting Still Without LP (Morning Trip, Canada)

Dustin O’Halloran Sundoor LP (Deutsche Grammophon, Germany)

Ryuichi Sakamoto B-2 Unit LP reissue (Great Tracks/Sony, Japan)

Ryuichi Sakamoto Left Handed Dream reissue LP (Great Tracks/Sony, Japan)

XTC English Settlement 2xLP remaster/reissue (Ape House, UK)

Digital:

Bersarin Quartett Methoden und Maschinen (Denovali, Germany)

Zoë Mc Pherson String Figures (SVS Records, UK)

Pieter Nooten Se Dire Au Revoir (Rocket Girl, UK)

OHIO Upward-Broken-Always (12K, US)

Olga Wojciechowska Infinite Distances EP (A Strangely Isolated Place, US)

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