Sunday, 31 May 2009

My best online friend

Well this has been a incredible week.
Post after post we found we'd had the same experiences - in some instances such as preparing to take major roles within our Faith only to have events occur that altered our original paths - and also having very similar beliefs that we endeavour to live by.
You'd swear we're related but I've been assured I'm no missing relative!
This person even paid a public tribute to me of all people even though she gets kinda flustered at social gatherings something I struggle with too.
Here's to Shadow!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Moon Phase and Anime Round up

This anime about the relationship between Kouhei Morioka a freelace photgrapher and Hazuki, a teenager who descends from a royal vampire lineage.
We learn at the start of the story that Kouhei travels to a castle in Germany to take photographs of all sorted Paranormal phenomenon for his friend Hiromi, the editor of an occult magazine. At the castle, Kouhei meets Hazuki, who feeds on Kouhei's blood and claims him as her unwilling servant. She is a 14 years old vampire - selfish but adorable - who was separated from her mother and restrained in a castle in Germany.

Although this "blood pact" is supposed to bind Kouhei to Hazuki as her obedient slave, her act has no effect on Kouhei. Following an action packed sorcerers battle, in which Kouhei and his cousin manage to free Hazuki from her captivity in the dreary castle, Hazuki travels to Tokyo, and takes up residence with Kouhei in his grandfather's house in Japan. Hazuki reveals this is what her mother wanted her to do when she disappeared.

Hazuki claims that, because she fed on his blood, Kouhei is now her servant, but Kouhei continually refuses to obey her, especially when he thinks her requests are unreasonable. Despite their fighting, the relationship between the duo progresses over time - even in the face of repeated attacks by opposing vampires - until Kouhei becomes determined to protect Hazuki from the vampire servants of her family, who themselves are determined to retrieve her by whatever means necessary.We learn later on in the anime he possesses great spiritual powers which were sealed by his family in order to allow him to live a normal life, as they were too strong for him to control. In the anime, he once again seals away his Jyougan so that it doesn't affect his relationship with Hazuki.

Other characters include Ryuuhei is Kouhei's grandfather who took in Hazuki and is a powerful spiritualist and exorcist.

A word about Revelation's DVD packaging. It is beautiful with pop up disc holders and a set of guide notes to further explain things as well as points to look for in later viewings.
Below is a picture of it in exploded form:

Just a note to add I've recently ordered up Slayers Next 1 which continues the story of the hunt for the Claire Bible of Sorcery.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sony MZ-E 20 MD Player

Now this takes me back a few years, May 1998 to be exact when I ordered this, a portable MiniDisc player up over the phone demanding delivery before 11AM the next day as I had a works meeting to attend.

It's battery consumption wasn't great - 4 hours max on two AA cells - but it sounded really good on pre-recorded discs such as the Sade title in the picture below or those I recorded myself on the home deck I had bought some 15 months previous.
It still works today!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Minidisc with MD compiling

Okay some people may not know what that is being brought up on that age of the I-pod and Music Server but that thing is a home Minidisc recorder.
The discs are small about 5 cm square and have a capacity of 177KB.
I've been with them since February 1997 when I bought my first home minidisc recorder because of the difficulties arising from my industrial injuries made using open reel tape which I loved for editing and reliability impossible.
As someone who has a keen interest in things Japanese, I had see them in the early 90's where they had been launched and the idea appealed greatly.
The great features of this format is the fact you can through deleting and combining portions of a recording do pretty much everything you used to able to with 1/4 inch tape with the splicing block. Also it is very reliable providing the same quality of performance played on different machines something as fun as the cassette tape was it couldn't be counted on and has an accurate system to finding individual tracks.
Although it uses 'data compression' reducing by 1/5 the size in file between that of a cd enabling it to squeeze it all in, there is very little quality loss. Moreover something is just 'right' about that codec as is very tidy sounding in practice outperforming Mp3.
The featured machine is a Sony MDS JB940, the second best machine they made back then with better electrical components fitted and 'tuned' for the UK market.
That machine came out in 2000 offering long play modes that built on the 80 minute (160 minutes in mono) by adding x2 and x4 playing times in stereo at some loss in absolute quality plus a 'scale factor edit' function enabling fade in and outs to be added after making the recording.
It has co-axial digital and optical digital inputs for digital recording or use with an external digital to analogue converters together with analogue sockets for record and replay.
I have three portables - a circa 1997 MZ-E20 playback portable, a Sharp M270H recorder that has the best ergonomics of the lot from 2001 and a Sony MZ-NH700 Hi-MD from 2004 that can use 1GB discs to record up to 45 albums to one disc using Atrac 3pro compression (they won't play in a regular player).
MD Compiling
I've been busy slowly converting some of my minidiscs to regular as with this new deck it rather shows up the losses on the recordings I made in long play mode several years ago.
An associated thought came to me when doing this was "As some of these albums have a little filler why not take the odd track out" as that was taking them just beyond the 80:59 minute restriction in standard play? After all this was done in the days of pre-recorded tapes.
So with a bit of thought some Rollings Stones discs fitted nicely two per minidisc without losing much of the 'flow' of the originals.
Next up was Queen On Fire - it's a full double cd which didn't lend itself to being chopped up and as it happened a guy on Ebay was selling awfully cheap some used blanks of the 74 minute length so I decided to redo them as two discs.
They sound much better for it!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Band remastered!

It's been a banner year for fans of The Band, the mainly Canadian group who backed Bob Dylan for his 'Basement Tapes' sessions and whose recordings encapsulate over 40 years of North American musical heritage in a seamless mix.
The Band are regarded together with the Byrds and the Flying Buritto Brothers as founders of the music template for what was later dubbed Country Rock, paving the way for the Eagles.
Licensed from Capitol-EMI, in October 2013 Mobile Fidelity issued The Band S/T (aka the 'Brown Album') originally issued in 1970 and home to the hit single Rag Mama Rag issued in April that year.
 Re-mastered by Shawn R Britton in SACD from the cleanest sources available it has never sounded better. I preferred this to Steve Hoffman's May 2009 Audio Fidelity cd for its more open top response.

Around late 2009 Mobile Fidelity Sound Laboratories announced a series of SACD issues also licensed from Capitol of which this - Music from Big Pink originally issued in 1968 and featuring The Weight - is the first out. This album features the songs This Wheels on Fire, Tears Of Rage and I Shall Be Released, the first two recorded originally with Bob Dylan and eventually being released in 1975 on his Basement Tapes album issued by MFSL on sacd in 2012
These SACD's have two layers - one for SACD players and the second for regular CD playback which with my NAD CD player I'm using. MFSL are using the mini lp style packaging for this series which I have to be honest and say I prefer over jewel boxes.
This is slightly bright sounding but generally a improvement on all previous CD issues.

The third album Cahoot reissued in October 2009 by MFSL in sacd showing the hybrid sacd/cd information sticker. This album features Bob Dylan's When I Paint My Masterpeice and 4% Pantomine

Rock Of Ages

Recorded December 31 1971 this classic concert double lp was reissued April 2010 by Mofi as a two on 1 hybrid standard cd/SACD with re-mastering duties performed by Shawn R Britton.
He managed to improve on how the horns arranged by Allan Toussaint sounded and bring some much needed bass into this disc. Recommended.

Northern Lights, Southern Cross was originally issued in 1975 and issued May 2010 by Mofi on sacd, mastered by Rob LoVerde featuring songs written exclusively by Robbie Robertson and also featured for the first time synthesizers on a  few tracks such as Jupiter Hollow. Although a poor seller, Levon Helms regards this as one of their finest achievements on record.

Stage Fright originally issued in 1970, reissued in 2011 on sacd with mastering by Rob LoVerde recorded live at Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, New York State with Robbie Robertson been credited with writing the majority of the songs.

* This post revised and generally tidied up 2013 by Caroline.