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!

Friday, 29 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, 26 May 2009

Who Do You Think You Are!





This was song I loved from the early 70's by the English band.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

My first CD player




Yeah, I know that titles a bit Fischer-Price but actually this player a Toshiba XR-J9 'transportable' mains only machine actually was the first I had back in June of 1986.
You pressed the open button to place the discs on a platter and lowered the lid down causing a puck to grip the disc.
It originally had captive leads for the line out but I had it modified for better sound. The headphone socket is on the front panel with a volume control.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Waves!






















Think of summertime radio and you fall straight back to this Anglo-American outfit known as Katrina and the Waves whose hit Walking On Sunshine written 4 years before charting is THE summer song.
Those of us who were braver back in '85 ventured and bought the album only to find that this was really a bar band with a neat line in well crafted good-time rock. It was followed up a year later by Waves! which featured the European hit Sun Street.
Fortunately BGO reissued the albums on a single cd in 1996 in an excellent transfer.
Catalogue number BGOCD 330

The Beatles CD EP collection & Documenting the beatles remasters



















I remember buying this must of been 2007 but actually I had owed on vinyl a number of these titles such as Yesterday which I got in December 1979 and Extracts from the film "A Hard Day's Night" in March of 1980 as I loved the covers and the mono mixes.

This is collection is a little dear but is strongly recommended for it's sound quality.

Basically it comprises of 13 original EP's re-issued on CD and the 1981 bonus disc from that years vinyl EP collection.

Because nearly all the EP's were only issued in mono that's how most of the EP's are presented.


For a variety of reasons including tape head misalignment, use of stereo tape equipment to play mono tapes and primitive analogue to digital mastering equipment, the 1987 CD versions of Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard day's Night and Beatles for Sale had very poor sounding mono sound (and no stereo).

This set contains 12 of the 14 tracks from the UK Please Please Me album including Misery and There's A Place in high quality mono.

From With The Beatles only Money and All My Loving are featured.

8 out of the 13 songs from A Hard Day's Night are featured on two dedicated CD's as are 8 of the 14 from Beatles For Sale.

This set is currently only one of two only official sources of Yesterday, Act Naturally, It's Only Love, You Like Me Too Much, Nowhere Man, Michelle and two other tracks from the UK Rubber soul and Help albums in mono (the other being the 2009 limited edition "The Beatles in Mono" box set which is a lot more expensive).


This EP set contains Magical Mystery Tour, which originally was only issued as a double EP set on vinyl in mono and stereo.

The stereo version has different mixes compared to the 1971 mix done for the German market which was issued in 1987 on CD all around the world.

I would have to say it sounds very good with lots of presence and is to be preferred over the '87 CD.

It has the original mono versions which otherwise are not available and has the 24 page booklet which the CD issue dispensed with too. Grrr!


The bonus stereo CD: The stereo version of She's A Woman has the “one, two three four” count in missed out on the version on the Past Masters 1 CD, This Boy sounds a lot fuller and Baby You're A Rich Man from Magical Mystery Tour album sounds much better.

I'd recommend this set to anybody looking for good mono sound and the best Magical Mystery Tour you can get.

Monday, 18 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!



Saturday, 16 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.









Sunday, 10 May 2009

Minidisc




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).

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Beach Boys: Good UK lps list & Kinks

Surfin Safari EMI Capitol Greenline with GO prefix catalogue number. Despite what the cover says it has 12 tracks and is mono.
Little Deuce Coupe EMI Capitol Greenline GO 2025. Has all 12 tracks and uses UK stereo stampers.
All Summer Long EMI Music For Pleasure MFP 50065. Although it has a gordy looking new sleeve it has all 12 tracks and uses UK tube cut stampers.
Summer days (and Summer Nights!!!". EMI Capitol CAPS 1023.
UK MONO re-issue from Dolby A copy tapes of entire lp.
Party! EMI Capitol EMS 1177. 1986 digitally re-mastered MONO re-issue
Pet Sounds EMI Capitol EMS 1179. 1986 digitally re-mastered equivalent of the US "Green label" version. With the exception of Wouldn't It Be Nice everything is in MONO.
A reminder: Every 'mono' Pet Sounds previously issued in the UK is a duophonic fold down. The collectors pay big bucks for it as a first issue but it sounds awful.

 The Kinks


K

It my surprises some people given I grew up with a stash of original PYE Kinks 45's but until recently I hadn't a single album by this most influential 60's british band never mind a compilation although I know most of their hits off by heart.
The riff from You Really Got Me is cited by many as the prototype heavy metal riff while Ray Davie's depiction of English Life shows through with songs like Waterloo Sunset and the 1983 hit Come Dancing.
This compilation has the two essential Dave Davies solo hits inserted which makes perfect thematic sense.
With that I got this 2 cd set which unlike most of the many compilations that somehow evaded my purchasing has a side of hit 45's on one side and notable flip sides and album tracks on the other making it ideal as a summary of the bands career.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Ouran High School Host Club



I've been watching recently Ouran High School Host Club.
This part- Series 1 Part 1 (Episodes 1 through 13) - came out Late April in the UK with Part two to emerge early June (must remember to pre-order!).
It is set in the institution of the same, a place of extravagance and prestige where learning is secondary to luxury. Bookish Haruhi can't afford to slack, being on a scholarship and out of place among the moneyed.
The Host Club is open - a Japanese notion of a place where for a fee people of the opposite gender are entertained and this school has one!Each Host club's job consists of entertaining and accompanying the female guests, whether it be a tea party, a costume dress up or an afternoon tea
A group of handsome boys dedicated to selling their charms to their bored female classmates, Haruhi is suddenly in debt to the club after breaking an expensive vase in their lair.
Naturally Haruhi has to pay for this damage but how?
By become a Host!!!!
Now this would be fine but we'd be forgetting something important -Haruhi is a girl!!!!!!!!!!!!
Between the wildly inflated ego of the expert escorts and the potential calamities of constant cross dressing, Haruhi's freshman year sure looks like it will be one to remember.
This is witty shojuo anime at its funniest with constant near misses for Haruhi like the School Medical with the Special Boy area screened off, a attempt to have enrolled in an All Girls School so she can their club and bathing suit scenes.
The constant themes include as you'd expect in this type of anime friendship and romance although the more observant will notice the mild sexual references (it is rated 15).
The animation in Ouran is simply gorgeous with some nice delicate shoujo style artwork, coupled with lovely bright and vibrant colours, making Ouran a series you wont want to take your eyes off.
Strongly recommended