Gary's Eclectic Taste in Music

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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#1
I am no expert in music, but I do have fairly broad-ranging tastes. As part of my job, I get to sample all sorts of music. As I constantly say that Genesis loudspeakers should cater to all audiences, I pick all genre of music for demo, and for design.

I have posted many of my choice demo and design albums here on WBF, but they have mostly been scattered around the threads. I've also been posting on the Genesis Facebook page. Lately, a European audio website asked permission to repost some of my recommendations on his site.

So, for the benefit of WBF members who are not on Facebook or follow Mono&Stereo magazine, I thought that I'd put them here as well. For the sake of completeness, some of them may be duplicates of albums I've posted elsewhere.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
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Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#2
Shibuya-kei: jazz-synth-pop rock

There is no reason for this album being the first post on this thread other than I just posted this as one of the albums I will be bringing to demo at the California Audio Show, August 15th to 17th.

Cornelius (real name Keigo Oyamada) is an extremely inventive Japanese Indie-rocker. Cornelius is arguably one of the best known of the wild-child Shibuya-kei rockers from Tokyo. He is often compared to Beck, but I protest the comparison - while they are both creative, they are completely different!

His 1997 album, Fantasma, is still one of my favorites, and Point from 2002 is excellent as well. This album, Sensuous (2007), is a gorgeous sonic palette of sounds that will challenge any hifi system - it even challenges the behemoth Genesis Dragons. This is one album which will go down to 18Hz and the percussive impacts challenge even the famous Genesis ribbon tweeters and midrange. The reason for this was that Oyamada was fascinated with the audiophile/hifi demonstration records of the '50s and '60s and it shows. He uses a mix of acoustic instruments, synthesizers and everyday objects to create a wonderful tonal and harmonic soundscape, with huge dynamic contrast. While Cornelius is usually classified as Indie-rock, he then goes on with a different treatment of Breezin' - the jazz-pop tune popularized by George Benson and even plays with Frankie and Dean.

Sensuous is best listened to on vinyl (the CD is also great) - so that you resist the urge to skip tracks because Oyamada takes you through a bizarre and beautiful soundscape like a journey. The destination is a surprise - and forces you to wait another 5 years for his next album. Actually I've already been waiting 7 years and it hasn't appeared yet. *sigh!*

Cornelius Sensuous.jpg
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,031
22
38
Manila, Philippines
#3
My friend, every time I see your music posts this is what I tell myself….

"Jack, you have to get out more"

:D
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#4
Deliciously Inventive: Israeli Psy-trance

From the opposite side of the planet.......

In the mid-'60s the Beatles became interested in Indian culture in an effort to expand their consciousness. They traveled to India to learn Transcendental Meditation, and even took lessons from Ravi Shankar (Norah Jones' father). Many of the songs in the White Album and Abbey Road were written during this time in India - where they meditated, drank coconut alcohol and took recreational drugs. Lennon credited meditation as his source of creative inspiration during this time. Yah, right!

Other hippies and musicians also flocked to India at around the same time - principally to Goa to pursue music, yoga, meditation and recreational drugs (Hashish was legal in India the early '70s). This gave rise to "Electronic Body Music" which helped dancers achieve a state of bodily transcendence using hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms. The tracks generally start off slow, then steadily builds up the tempo, until it quickly dies off towards the end. This was Goa Trance.

It took its roots from psychedelic rock - bands like Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and the Doors. As it evolved, more and more electronic instruments were used, as was synthetic rhythms and very complex layered melodies. Artists such as Kraftwerk, Nitzer Ebb and Frontline Assembly appeared and psychedelic trance or psy-trance was born.

And that is a long-winded way to lead up to my next recommended album.

Infected Mushroom is an Israeli psy-trance group formed in the mid 1990's and is one of the most successful groups in Israeli music history that audiophiles have never heard of. They employ electronic as well as acoustic instruments, and complex synthesized bass (which is why I love what they do!!) Their music varies in rhythm, but most of their songs have a very distinctive resonating bass beat that pounds constantly but overlaid with with varying rhythms drawn from funk, techno, dance, acid house, and eurodance.

Their music is often what I call "deliciously inventive" and the recording quality is among the best of the genre. The vinyl albums are super, super rare, but their CDs are among the best digital music I have.

This album, IM the Supervisor (sometimes incorrectly labelled I'm the Supervisor) is among the albums I most often bring to and play at shows.

IM the Supervisor.jpg

Infected Mushroom have released some 8 albums over the past 20 years. My favorite is the Legend of the Black Shawarma but I have never managed to land a copy of the vinyl in reasonable quality at a reasonable price in the last 5 years of searching. Another great album is the double LP Converting Vegetarians. The track Avratz "on the other side" is a fabulous test of the quality of the bass reproduction of your system. In fact, any of their albums would be a great addition to your library if you don't have any psytrance in your music collection.
 

jazdoc

Member Sponsor
Aug 7, 2010
2,629
2
38
Bellevue
#5
This is gonna be a great thread (although my bank account is already protesting). Thanks in advance Gary.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#6
From the opposite side of the planet.......

In the mid-'60s the Beatles became interested in Indian culture in an effort to expand their consciousness. They traveled to India to learn Transcendental Meditation, and even took lessons from Ravi Shankar (Norah Jones' father). Many of the songs in the White Album and Abbey Road were written during this time in India - where they meditated, drank coconut alcohol and took recreational drugs. Lennon credited meditation as his source of creative inspiration during this time. Yah, right!

Other hippies and musicians also flocked to India at around the same time - principally to Goa to pursue music, yoga, meditation and recreational drugs (Hashish was legal in India the early '70s). This gave rise to "Electronic Body Music" which helped dancers achieve a state of bodily transcendence using hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms. The tracks generally start off slow, then steadily builds up the tempo, until it quickly dies off towards the end. This was Goa Trance.

It took its roots from psychedelic rock - bands like Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and the Doors. As it evolved, more and more electronic instruments were used, as was synthetic rhythms and very complex layered melodies. Artists such as Kraftwerk, Nitzer Ebb and Frontline Assembly appeared and psychedelic trance or psy-trance was born.

And that is a long-winded way to lead up to my next recommended album.

Infected Mushroom is an Israeli psy-trance group formed in the mid 1990's and is one of the most successful groups in Israeli music history that audiophiles have never heard of. They employ electronic as well as acoustic instruments, and complex synthesized bass (which is why I love what they do!!) Their music varies in rhythm, but most of their songs have a very distinctive resonating bass beat that pounds constantly but overlaid with with varying rhythms drawn from funk, techno, dance, acid house, and eurodance.

Their music is often what I call "deliciously inventive" and the recording quality is among the best of the genre. The vinyl albums are super, super rare, but their CDs are among the best digital music I have.

This album, IM the Supervisor (sometimes incorrectly labelled I'm the Supervisor) is among the albums I most often bring to and play at shows.

View attachment 16634

Infected Mushroom have released some 8 albums over the past 20 years. My favorite is the Legend of the Black Shawarma but I have never managed to land a copy of the vinyl in reasonable quality at a reasonable price in the last 5 years of searching. Another great album is the double LP Converting Vegetarians. The track Avratz "on the other side" is a fabulous test of the quality of the bass reproduction of your system. In fact, any of their albums would be a great addition to your library if you don't have any psytrance in your music collection.

Gary

I'm stunned that I actually have some Infected Mushroom in my library. Whenever I want to demo deep bass to where my house shakes, I use several of their tracks
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#7
My friend, every time I see your music posts this is what I tell myself….

"Jack, you have to get out more"

:D
This is gonna be a great thread (although my bank account is already protesting). Thanks in advance Gary.
Jack, Mark, I follow your music postings as well, and have bought great additions to my library as a result of your posts. Thanks from me too!
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#10
Yeah. Infected Mushroom is pretty rad. I'm jazzed that Steve owns some of their music. Despite all the electronics that they use - I think that all their albums are audiophile quality.

Ive had them in my library for 6-7 years because it was one track I heard somewhere around the 2 minute mark where the deep bass was so present that my walls and floors shook. I let you know later the album and track
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#11
Ta Dum Tah Dah

When I was a kid, I loved the Pink Panther cartoons - and often imitated his strange gait and hummed the signature theme under my breath. Hence, the theme song by Henry Mancini was a tune that has stuck in my head for as long as I can remember.

When Record Store Day 2014 rolled around on April 16th it was also Henry Mancini's 90th birthday, and also the 50th Anniversary of the Pink Panther OST. I had to get a copy and queued up for it. Pressed on pink vinyl, it sounds fabulous - quiet backgrounds and very dynamic. Whomever did the mastering did a great job.

You can get clean, original 1st press Shaded Dogs for less than $10 - but hey, I needed the one on pink vinyl. I am so glad I did because the pink vinyl sounded far better than the original pressings. It is a rare re-issue for me.

After RSD, because the one I queued up for sounded so good, I tried to get a back-up copy just in case someone walks away with my copy (#134) at a show. Unfortunately, the un-numbered versions sounded far worse than the numbered version. I got a copy in the 2,000's and that was also pretty ordinary. So, I am still on the look-out for low-numbered copies.

Hopefully, this doesn't get too many people competing with me for them.

Pink Panther.jpg

The trick is to find the ones with the gold number on the back, and the Record Store Day sticker. The ones with the 50th Anniversary Edition without "Record Store Day" are the ordinary run-of-the-mill pressings (but they are still on pink vinyl).
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#12
Creative Juices: Black Light Syndrome

It's not progressive rock (I don't think) but if you are a fan of progressive rock - Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, this album to me is a must-have. I find extremely difficult to classify and extremely enjoyable. It's a double LP and I will play all 4 sides - not always in the same order - almost everytime I draw it out. Is it Prog? Metal? Jazz? Trance? Rock?

The album was started as a business project by drummer Terry Bozzio to help him make some money over winter. Bozzio was already a Superstar. He toured with Frank Zappa and recorded on many of his most famous albums; played for the band UK; made a video with Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger; and founded the band Missing Persons. Yet, as a drum instructor, his typical seminars running through spring and fall, and he often ran out of money in Winter.

His wife suggested collaborating with guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol/Michael Jackson/Atomic Playboys), and they first met at a solo drum performance Bozzio did for the Drum Workshop at the House of Blues. They now needed a bassist, and while making a dream list, they put Tony Levin at the top of the list. They didn't think that Levin would join them being busy touring with King Crimson and Peter Gabriel - but he was not only very interested, he squeezed 4 days out of his busy schedule to work together.

So, this album was the result of 4 days in a studio with 3 guys who had never played together before - created by the "grace of the archetypes of our collective unconscious. The tracks came by either mapping out a few signposts or with very little discussion, and then allowing the muses to take control, and the tracks were recorded 'live'. No track took more than one or two takes." - so says the album notes.

When you listen to this album, just close your eyes and let the music take you away. Bozzio Levin Stevens: Black Light Syndrome

Get the gorgeous the vinyl in red with black splay. Or get the vinyl in blue with black splay. Or get both.

Black Light in blue.jpg

Black Light.jpg
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#13
Jazz by a R&B Legend: The Bright Mississippi

Allen Toussaint was born in New Orleans, the Birthplace of Jazz, but is better known as a rhythm & blues, rock and soul musician. He wrote a roll of hits and many of his songs got covered by others - Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Aaron Neville and Boz Scaggs among others. In the 1970s Glen Campbell took one of his songs to the Number One position on the Pop, Country AND Adult Contemporary charts. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.

However, this album is a Jazz album - with jazz standards from Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Django Reinhart, Billy Strayhorn and Jelly Roll Morton. Allen was accompanied by jazz stars such as clarinetist Don Byron, pianist Brad Mehldau, and saxophonist Joshua Redman.

The Bright Mississippi had its genesis during a studio session with music producer Joe Henry - Toussaint was amusing himself between takes by blowing freely through a song by Fats Waller. Henry said, "I was stunned. It was a revelation to hear this music interpreted through Allen's very unique point of view. The song, inherently rhythmic as a composition, was transfigured by a left hand schooled in New Orleans, and by the melodic sensibility of a most particular kind of songwriter."

Recorded in the famous Power Station (now Avatar) Studios, it has a wonderful live, fresh sound. As noted by Toussaint, "This isn’t the kind of assembly line music where somebody put the wheels on here and somebody put the top on there. Everything got done at the same time, so everybody fed on each other, their personality and tonality."

A truly wonderful album - I thought that the CD was great, but I am glad that I took the time to hunt down the vinyl. It is one of those rare albums that distribute the music across four sides at 33 1/3 rpm instead of cramming everything into two. As a result, the pressing and production does justice to the fabulous music and musicianship. However, there is one little mistake - on the vinyl, the labels for side C and side D are on the wrong side!!

Get it on CD. The vinyl is as elusive as the yeti. I have been trying to find a spare copy at a reasonable price - unfortunately the scalpers on Amazon and eBay want as much as $1,300 for a new copy, and $800 for a used one. They used to be easily available for less than $50. I'm not sure what happened over the past couple of years.

Bright Mississippi.jpg
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#14
How Long Has This Been Going On?

.... is an album that Sarah Vaughan recorded late in life - when she was 54 years old. By then, her voice had matured into a throaty richness. She was discovered 36 years earlier - winning an amateur contest singing at the Apollo Theater in NYC when she was 18. Her prize was $10 and a week's engagement at the theater. That engagement resulted in her opening for Ella Fitzgerald, being discovered by Earl Hines.

Over 30 years later, she fell out of favor and lost her manager in the early '70s. After a 3 year hiatus, Vaughan signed with Norman Granz and Pablo Records in 1977 - which resulted in another one of my ATF vocal jazz records. At this time, Granz managed many of the great jazz artists. The line-up on this album was stellar - besides Vaughan, we had Oscar Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass, Joe Pass on guitar, and Louie Bellson on drums.

What I love about this album is that it is not an album with Sarah Vaughan plus accompanying instrumentalists. It is a jazz performance where each and every musician contributed equally and played off one another. On this album, Vaughan's voice is played as an instrument - much more so than Ella Fitzgerald's on another of my favorite vocal jazz albums. Listen to side 2 track 2 - My Old Flame - just Sarah and Joe Pass on guitar and it's almost operatic and hypnotic.

On CD, the JVC XRCD is quite amazingly good and one of my recommendations for excellent digital. The original 1978 LP release on Pablo is also still quite easily found. As far as I know, the LP has not been re-issued.

Sarah.jpg
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#15
Send in the Stars

In the last album I posted, Sarah Vaughan was one member of a jazz quintet. While she got top billing, it was a band performance - with each artist getting equal emphasis.

On this album though - Sarah Vaughan is the star. And with no less than the Count Basie Orchestra plus her usual trio of George Gaffney on piano, Andy Simpkins on bass and Harold Jones on drums and augmented by the fabulous Freddie Green on guitar, 'Send in the Clowns' is just the wrong title. No clowns in this lineup!!

It should have in 'Send in the Stars' - with Sarah Vaughan as the Sun.

Recorded in 1981, just 3 years after HLHTBGO, Sarah is in exceptional voice, and on this album her rhythm is flawless - keeping up with the inventiveness of the Count Basie Orchestra is never easy. As the foundation to her singing, the Count Basie Orchestra is rock solid. What does come across on this album is that Vaughan as an interpreter of songs is playful and soulful, girlish and humorous, and inventive and unpredictable. It goes to prove that the nicknames given to her are both entirely appropriate - she is 'The Divine One' as well as 'Sassy'.

The big band provides the perfect fabric of sound and swing for the magnificent voice of Sarah Vaughan. Engineered by Dennis Sands, the sound is also magnificent - not an easy feat considering that besides Sassy and her four-man rhythm section, there were 5 trumpets, 4 trombones and 5 saxophones!

An album I treasure, and play over and over again. Come to think of it, I'd better grab another copy before you buy them all!! Like HLHTBGO, there is an extremely rare Japanese JVC XRCD2 re-issue and this is the digital version to get.

Send in the Clowns.jpg
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#16
Music for Political Fundraising

The 'little orchestra' Pink Martini was originally founded to - of all things!! - provide beautiful music for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. Their first song, Sympathique was nominated for “Song of the Year” at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards, and to this day remains a mantra (“Je ne veux pas travailler” or “I don’t want to work”) for striking French workers.

Usually featuring 10 to 12 musicians and led by bandleader Thomas Lauderdale and singer China Forbes, Pink Martini performs multi-lingual and multi-cultural music worldwide. They spend much of their time around the world, and are better known in Europe than they are in their native USA (they home just South of the Genesis factory - in Portland, Oregon).

Their first album (pictured here) was released independently in 1997 without a major music label behind them. It quickly gained international traction (including in Singapore where I first discovered them). The album had an international flavor and frankly, when I heard it I had no idea that they were an American band. It garnered nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Best New Artist” in France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards. They followed-up with three other albums - Hang on Little Tomato, Hey Eugene, and Splendor in the Grass.

In 2010, they released Joy to the World! - a festive, multi-denominational holiday album featuring songs from around the globe which was carried in Starbucks stores throughout the US during the 2010 and 2011 holiday seasons. This brought them wider notice, but I still don't hear them played often at shows. IMHO, all their albums are exceptionally well-crafted.

Support an independent musician, please buy the vinyl directly from the band at http://store.pinkmartini.com/collections/vinyl

Sympathique.jpg
 
May 7, 2012
1,325
0
0
Seattle area
#17
Allen Toussaint was born in New Orleans, the Birthplace of Jazz, but is better known as a rhythm & blues, rock and soul musician. He wrote a roll of hits and many of his songs got covered by others - Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Aaron Neville and Boz Scaggs among others. In the 1970s Glen Campbell took one of his songs to the Number One position on the Pop, Country AND Adult Contemporary charts. In 1998, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.

However, this album is a Jazz album - with jazz standards from Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Django Reinhart, Billy Strayhorn and Jelly Roll Morton. Allen was accompanied by jazz stars such as clarinetist Don Byron, pianist Brad Mehldau, and saxophonist Joshua Redman.

The Bright Mississippi had its genesis during a studio session with music producer Joe Henry - Toussaint was amusing himself between takes by blowing freely through a song by Fats Waller. Henry said, "I was stunned. It was a revelation to hear this music interpreted through Allen's very unique point of view. The song, inherently rhythmic as a composition, was transfigured by a left hand schooled in New Orleans, and by the melodic sensibility of a most particular kind of songwriter."

Recorded in the famous Power Station (now Avatar) Studios, it has a wonderful live, fresh sound. As noted by Toussaint, "This isn’t the kind of assembly line music where somebody put the wheels on here and somebody put the top on there. Everything got done at the same time, so everybody fed on each other, their personality and tonality."

A truly wonderful album - I thought that the CD was great, but I am glad that I took the time to hunt down the vinyl. It is one of those rare albums that distribute the music across four sides at 33 1/3 rpm instead of cramming everything into two. As a result, the pressing and production does justice to the fabulous music and musicianship. However, there is one little mistake - on the vinyl, the labels for side C and side D are on the wrong side!!

Get it on CD. The vinyl is as elusive as the yeti. I have been trying to find a spare copy at a reasonable price - unfortunately the scalpers on Amazon and eBay want as much as $1,300 for a new copy, and $800 for a used one. They used to be easily available for less than $50. I'm not sure what happened over the past couple of years.

View attachment 16650
This is a good one Gary. Glad I picked it up on LP right after you brought it in to the club a year or two ago. Guess they have all sold out.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#18
This is a good one Gary. Glad I picked it up on LP right after you brought it in to the club a year or two ago. Guess they have all sold out.
I guess I demo'ed it a few times too often.

Get the CD - it's great.
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,550
0
36
Calgary, AB
#19
It's not progressive rock (I don't think) but if you are a fan of progressive rock - Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, this album to me is a must-have. I find extremely difficult to classify and extremely enjoyable. It's a double LP and I will play all 4 sides - not always in the same order - almost everytime I draw it out. Is it Prog? Metal? Jazz? Trance? Rock?

The album was started as a business project by drummer Terry Bozzio to help him make some money over winter. Bozzio was already a Superstar. He toured with Frank Zappa and recorded on many of his most famous albums; played for the band UK; made a video with Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger; and founded the band Missing Persons. Yet, as a drum instructor, his typical seminars running through spring and fall, and he often ran out of money in Winter.

His wife suggested collaborating with guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol/Michael Jackson/Atomic Playboys), and they first met at a solo drum performance Bozzio did for the Drum Workshop at the House of Blues. They now needed a bassist, and while making a dream list, they put Tony Levin at the top of the list. They didn't think that Levin would join them being busy touring with King Crimson and Peter Gabriel - but he was not only very interested, he squeezed 4 days out of his busy schedule to work together.

So, this album was the result of 4 days in a studio with 3 guys who had never played together before - created by the "grace of the archetypes of our collective unconscious. The tracks came by either mapping out a few signposts or with very little discussion, and then allowing the muses to take control, and the tracks were recorded 'live'. No track took more than one or two takes." - so says the album notes.

When you listen to this album, just close your eyes and let the music take you away. Bozzio Levin Stevens: Black Light Syndrome

Get the gorgeous the vinyl in red with black splay. Or get the vinyl in blue with black splay. Or get both.

View attachment 16648

View attachment 16649
I really enjoy this album. Like you said Gary, it's difficult to pin down as it has some touches of blues, prog, metal, etc., but it works well together, strange as that may seem.
 

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