Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The heart speaks in whispers

After a gap from her 2010 album, The Sea, Ms Bailey-Rae returns with her new album  released February 12 in which she explores feelings and emotions with a real sense of groove such as the ballad Do You Ever Think Of Me? or Night which closes the album.
In the song Have You Ever Been To The Moon  she speaks of budding romance using space travel imagery. While originally some of the tracks were recorded at Capitol, Hollywood  she recorded more with Los Angles's jazz, soul and fusion musicians much of which clearly rubbed of in he sessions judging by the arrangements. 
Just for once I managed to borrow a MiniDisc recorder to copy this to joining her previous titles for posterity's sake even though these days they're going onto micro sd cards for my Fiio X3 player.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

On events yesterday in Brussels.

Here we go again. Another terrorist attack in Europe seemingly connected to the outrages last year in Paris featuring a Brussels centred cell of Isis this time in Brussels itself taking 34 lives so far and injuring hundreds involving bombing the Airport as pictured above and the Metro.
Investigations no doubt will continue into how it was two people were able to bring the explosives into the departure lounge  and what if anything Belgium know about the high level terrorism alert that started Friday with the  arrest of a suspect from the Paris attacks.
One thing is though is just how we can balance the concept of  'open borders'  not least the common border scheme in Europe that the UK isn't a part of and at the same time deal effectively with people who attempt to use it to cause mayhem and murder on our streets. 
A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link and there are some indications some countries are less effective at applying checks that a person having gotten through are able to move with ease elsewhere.
Equally while I'm sure nearly all migrants arriving have no truck with terrorism, can we be sure others are not taking advantage of this to get in?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Favourite compilations

Among many albums sometimes a compilation has a hold summarizing an acts high points  so sets like the Beatles 1962-1966 and 1967-70 and the first two Elton John Greatest Hits are amongst the most treasured by me and that includes this one.
This compilation that was first issued in 1970, was my first introduction to this seminal San Francisco band on album having bough it on 8 track as it neatly covers their earlier folk rock recordings like It's No Secret  though the generation defining Somebody To Love to 1969's Volunteers .
They also had the good sense to feature the live rendition of Plastic Fantastic Lover and Embryonic Journey whose other worldiness somehow just made sense at the time.
I have a lovely sounding mid 1980's UK EMI cassette version of this album issued during a short lived era where RCA allowed them to license a number of thair albums for midprice re-issue including this.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

R.I.P Sir George Martin, producer

Yesterday morning, I woke to  the news that the acclaimed music producer, Sir George Martin had died at the age of 90.
This was what I posted at one site:
Inevitable I guess but ignore his many professional achievements and abilities for a moment, he was simply just a lovely guy who had a successful marriage, children who were well brought up and who in his work put people very much at ease. Professionally his understanding of music and ability to play well helped artists achieve the sounds they wanted us, their audiences to hear.
A marvellous legacy left and great life lived. R.I.P. Sir George

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Techno demise and birthday

Sometimes coincidences are like that, really they are.
You say last week I wrote all about my experiences in adding cassette replay to my spare rest room system for playing some of my much loved tapes which go back to the 1980's, adding a more modern deck to do that job.
Well this week, what was meant to cassette's replacement whose history with me goes back to late February 1997 and what ironically was a premature birthday present that year, a part of the adapting to acquired severe disabilities following an industrial injury that had impacted badly on a hobby of mine, open reel recording, met its demise.
It's not that original MiniDisc recorder itself had died, rather the last replacement one I bought back in May 2009 that did in an unexpected way for as you're aware I've been digitizing much of my music for the Fiio portable player where it is on Micro SD cards so I was tidying up a good 120 or so MiniDiscs which were in every respect redundant  being just straight copies done for playing on a portable unit.
I just went to put an unlabelled disc in, it whirled way telling me what was on it and then refused to come out! There's a mechanism with cogs and a belt that is supposed to pull the disc down to be read and up through the slot for you to take out and I suspect that's gone wrong.
I did get the reissue of REO Speedwagon's 1978 You Can't Tune a Piano but You can Tuna Fish cd, the 2010 re-issue of This Time We Meant it coupled with 1976's REO as well as some money for my birthday. There would be something ironical if that MiniDisc unit got replaced by a Cassette Recorder

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Project X, Part V, playing tapes

Project X is alive and well playing music in Lossy and Lossless forms from my Fiio music players line output from one of Eight micro sd cards as well as from a elderly Toshiba cd player.
I like quite a few people have a good number of cassettes not least pre-recorded ones I bought from the mid 1970's to mid 1990's I moved from cassette based portable listening to MiniDisc and had been thinking of how to play them back on this mini system.

Enter a unused Sony TX 313 mini sized fully functional cassette deck from a MiniDisc system I got from someone who never ever used it so it was still boxed and shrinkwrapped from the late 1990's.
Oddly enough it uses a car type side slot way of loading the tapes into it but unlike car units this does record and has auto tape type sensing to read the extra tabs for type II ('Chrome') and IV (Metal) tapes although the latter are no longer available new plus I seriously doubt it's tape heads really are up to making full advantage of such tapes electrically

The rear has RCA line in and outs, with the out going via a expensive Cambridge Pacific interconnect to the input selector with a maximum of 0.5 volts out depending on the program loudness and the AV bus for Sony mini systems it was sold with for synchronized cd to tape copying.
The unit is blessed with switchable Dolby B noise reduction for proper replay and recording of such tapes plus auto reverse so it can play one  side of the tape and switch by itself to the other. 
According to the specifications it reproduces up to 14khz for type I tapes and 15khz for types II and IV which is decent if not as wide as most full sized hifi cassette decks so the high frequencies will be clear but not quite as extended as the best units can achieve.
It is making an excellent job of replaying my 1980's EMI UK dolbyized Beatles pre-recorded cassettes which were amongst the best sounded tapes manufactured and part of reason I held out so long against the cd as portable listening was and remains a big part of my life and why my Fiio is my 'to go' digital playing device on headphones or connected to this system.
I like high quality portable formats more