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)

Recent Vinyl Acquisitions

Aragon Aragon LP (HMV Record Shop, Japan, 2016 reissue of 1985 Invitation/JVC LP)

Sheila Chandra ABoneCroneDrone ‎LP (Passat Continu, UK) reissue

Danceries Danceries LP (Denon, Japan, 1981)

Chihei Hatakeyama Forgotten Hill LP (Room 40, Australia, 2109)

Inoyama Land Commissions: 1977-2000 2xLP (Empire of Signs, US, 2019) reissue

Karma Moffett Sitting Still Within​/​Sitting Still Without LP (Morning Trip, Canada, 2019) reissue

The Legendary Pink Dots The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse 2xLP (Soleilmoon Recordings, US) reissue

K. Leimer Irrational Overcast LP (First Terrace Records, UK, 2019)

K. Leimer Recordings 1977-1980 2xLP (Vinyl On Demand, Germany, 2019) reissue

Seigén Ono Seigén LP (JVC, Japan, 1984)

Slow Meadow Happy Occident LP (Hammock Music, US, 2019)

Studio Mule “Visible Cloaks Remix” ‎12″ (Studio Mule, Japan, 2019)

Christina Vantzou ‎”Six Cellos For Sol Lewitt” 7″ (Sonic Pieces, Germany)

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

Olga Wojciechowska ‎”Infinite Distances” 12″ (A Strangely Isolated Place, US)

Heather Woods Broderick “Invitation” review on Part-Time Audiophile

Heather Woods Broderick released her third album in April. I listened to it. I still do. I like it. I wrote about it for Part-Time Audiophile.

Amazon’s New “HD” Service

I’ve been on more than one end of the Amazon, uh, experience.

I worked for an independent distributor that provided physical and digital music to Amazon from 2007 through 2017. During that time, I dealt with at least 12 different account managers at Amazon.

“Churn” doesn’t even begin to describe it. I had no idea who was in charge of our “content” from month to month. We were being handed off to someone new on a regular basis, and that person was often untrained, overworked, and/or clueless. It became an in-house joke.

Trying to get artists featured on Amazon was a waste of time. They’d take your money in return for placement and promotions, sure, but there’d be no metrics or accountability or reports telling you what resulted from the money you spent. With iTunes/Apple Music, you just had to send an email and a couple tracks, and bang, there it was, 90% of the time. Because iTunes people were music people. There was always someone at Apple who’d answer a voicemail, or an email. And they were always engaged.

But with Amazon, music wasn’t music, it was a widget. It didn’t matter if you were pitching high-profile acts with a proven sales record. There was no one to talk to on the other end. If something was broken on Amazon’s side, getting it fixed took weeks, often months.

No one there cared. If you could find anyone with the potential for caring, that is.

Today, having been informed of Amazon’s foray into higher-resolution downloads and streaming, I searched the site for any information about the upgraded service.

I found nothing. An Amazon search on “Amazon Music” and “digital music” resulted in nothing regarding high-resolution offerings. I’ve read first-person accounts of eager users befuddled by the lack of coordination on Amazon’s end, and, when using phone and chat to contact them, being told “this is all new to us, can we get back to you?”

You can find the introductory page with a web search, but Amazon is doing little or nothing on its own start page or music pages to push the launch. The only luck I had is by using the Amazon search box, pulling down the “digital music” category, then typing “ultra hd”. Of course, the first search result returned is an album titled “Ultra HD”.

And, of course, it was an MP3.

Finally, I was able to track down the page where I could log on for a free trial. I downloaded the macOS app. The UI looks like Qobuz and Tidal. However, two app icons showed up in my dock. One revealed itself to be in “not responding” mode, and when I force-quit it, it reappeared in the dock, and again froze. I deleted the app, rebooted, and reinstalled. Same result — multiple apps running, one freezing. I went into Activity Monitor and tried to force-quit several times before the app went away. But it always came back. I finally got rid of it by trashing the app icon immediately after a startup.

I question whether Amazon knows how to roll out a major upgrade like this, other than with a breezy press release. Because anyone trying to find out more is just gonna run head-on into the Amazon “experience.”

Amazon’s been cheapening books and music for over two decades now. And hey, nothing’s so cheap that Amazon can’t cheapen it further.

Recent Vinyl Acquisitions

James Bernard Atwater LP (A Strangely Isolated Place, US)

Deaf Center Low Distance LP (Sonic Pieces, Germany)

Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno Apollo Atmospheres and Soundtracks 2xLP reissue (Virgin/Universal EU)

The Frogs It’s Only Right And Natural LP reissue (End of All Music, US)

Loscil Equivalents 2xLP (Kranky US)

Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Arnold Kasar Einfluss 2xLP (Deutsche Grammophon, Germany)

Section 25 Always Now 5xLP box set reissue (Factory Benelux EU)

David Sylvian Alchemy An Index Of Possibilities LP reissue (Virgin/Universal UK)

David Sylvian Brilliant Trees LP reissue (Virgin/Universal UK)

David Sylvian Gone To Earth 2xLP reissue (Virgin/Universal UK)

Yagya Stormur 2xLP (A Strangely Isolated Place, US)

YMO BGM Collector’s Vinyl Edition 2xLP reissue (Alfa/Great Tracks, Japan)

YMO Technodelic: Collector’s Vinyl Edition 2xLP reissue (Alfa/Great Tracks, Japan)

Neil Young and the Stray Gators Tuscaloosa 2xLP (Reprise/Warners US)

Young Scientist Results, Not Answers LP reissue (Bureau B, Germany)

How did YOUR Eno “Apollo” LP reissue arrive?

I never assumed one of Universal’s (excuse me, “uDiscoverMusic’s”) superpowers was adequately packaging an expensive mailorder LP for shipping via UPS. I mean, Universal didn’t get to where it is today by knowing how to ship vinyl, right?

This double-LP was dropped into a too-wide 6-inch-high box along with a rolled lithograph (without a tube; mercifully the poster wasn’t tweaked too badly), with nothing to cushion the LP other than some loose bubble wrap. The box was half-open due to only having the bare minimum of tape to close the flaps. One corner of the flimsy box was torn open. The opposite corner of the box was crushed.

How did the contents fare?

Two corners of the jacket were badly bent, and the LPs were visibly and audibly warped.

Upon further examination, uDiscover’s fulfillment has been farmed out to someone calling itself “Warehousing Pro LLC”. Looks as though someone’s not too good a judge of “Pro.” Or maybe they’re just “pro” at warehousing, and junior-varsity at shipping.

Bellying Up to a Low Bar

“If one is going to ask readers to pay attention to what one is saying, one would surely want to dazzle with form and content. We’re living in a meritocratic golden age, right? No one squanders taking his or her best shot in favor of taking a mediocre shot just because it is the easiest one to score. That’s the critical distinction between “trying” and “making an effort.” Everything is better now.”

Seymour Glass, “What’s Going to Happen to Us?” 2018

Thin White Rope Reissues on Part-Time Audiophile

In 2018, Frontier Records began reissuing the Thin White Rope catalog on LP, CD and digital. I write about the series on Part-Time Audiophile.

How to wall yourself off from the “Roon Radio” cloud . . experience

With the advent of Roon’s 1.6 update, I’ve found my experience to be wanting.

Suddenly, “Roon Radio,” the software’s recommendation engine, gloms onto The Cloud.

It’s not necessarily a cloud I requested drift over my living room, mind you.

If you have your Tidal account linked to Roon, you’re faced with an endless surplus of presumed recommendation once your library selections run themselves out.

After upgrading to 1.6, I found these recommendations to be running approximately 95% awful. I’m not willing to settle for that 5-percent-okay quotient.

Color me insular, or elitist, or whatever term makes you feel better — but I have a decent track record of managing my own particular “music discovery.” I trust my own abilities over Roon’s algorithms.

There’s a reason I don’t use Pandora. Why? Because the significant majority of its results are far below par. I’m not paying Roon $120 a year to similarly disappoint me with an upgrade I didn’t ask for. I find this enabled-by-default, post-upgrade “functionality” to be a bug, not a feature.

How to fix this?

Wait until Roon Radio foists you off to a track you don’t like.

On the bottom bar of Roon, you’ll notice an icon on the left side marked “Queue.” Click it.

Chose “Limit Roon Radio to Library.”

Voila. Roon will no longer follow your chosen selection from Eno’s “Music For Films” with Billy Joel’s “My Life.”

Favorites of 2018

I managed barely a post a month this year. There always seemed to be other things to do.

I apologize for this apparent lack of commitment, and will try to do better in 2019. Let’s hope our executive and legislative branches do the same.

Happy holidays.

AUDIO

Neil Young Roxy – Tonight’s The Night Live LP (Reprise US)
“Welcome to Miami Beach, where everything’s cheaper than it looks.”

Taylor Deupree Fallen CD (12K US)
Eno’s Thursday Afternoon leavened with a dash of Eno/Budd and glazed with a pleasing dollop of gauze and glitch.

Brian Eno Music For Installations LP box (Opal/Universal UK)

Steve Tibbetts Life Of 24/88 AIF (ECM Ger)

K. Leimer Mitteltöner LP (Origin Peoples US)

Cosey Fanni Tutti Time to Tell LP clear vinyl (CTI International UK)
First it was on cassette. Then CD. Now on double clear vinyl. The best post-TG release.

Jóhann Jóhannsson Englabörn & Variations 2xLP (Deutsche Grammophon Ger)

K. Leimer Threnody CD (Palace of Lights US)

Gentle Giant Three Piece Suite LP and Blu-Ray 5.1 DVD (Alucard UK)

Ólafur Arnalds re:member 24/96 / MQA (Decca EU)
I want to like this on its own considerable merits, but I can’t help but speculate that Mr. Arnalds might’ve been listening to the work of Helios / Keith Kenniff over the past couple years.

Max Richter Never Look Away 24/48 (Deutsche Grammophon Ger)

K. Leimer Degraded Certainties CD (Palace of Lights US)

Marc Barreca Shadow Aesthetics (Palace of Lights US)

Kate Burkart “Moonlight” 24/96 (Luckystar)
She’s my sweetheart and partner. I helped mix it. You think I’m gonna leave it off the list?

BOOKS

Seymour Glass “If You Can’t Be Good, Be Reasonable” tour diary (Chocolate Monk UK, 2018)

Obi Kaufmann “The California Field Atlas” (Heyday, 2017)

The Mono Basin Ecosystem – Effects of Changing Lake Level (National Academy Press, 1987)

Sean Prentiss “Finding Abbey” (University of New Mexico Press, 2015)

Salman Rushdie “Joseph Anton – A Memoir” (Random House, 2012)

Edward Abbey “Confessions of a Barbarian” (Little, Brown, 2003)

Russell Chatham “Dark Waters” (Clark City, 1988)

Doug Peacock “Walking It Off” (Eastern Washington University Press, 2005)

Jeffery F. Burton “Garden Management Plan – Gardens and Gardeners at Manzanar” (National Park Service, 2015)

FILMS

Leave No Trace (director: Debra Granik, Bleecker Street)

TV

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (director: Judd Apatow, HBO)

Who Is America? (Showtime)

The Last Alaskans (Animal Planet)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Speechless (ABC)

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