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September 2018

Classic Album Sundays Classic Album Sundays at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest

This year Classic Album Sundays returns to America’s largest and coolest audio show, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where we will host our own room with a range of album sessions in which the album’s unique story will be told, followed by an uninterrupted vinyl playback on some of the world’s most amazing hi-fi sound equipment so that the fan can experience the album as close as possible to the way in which in the artist intended. Even if a fan is well acquainted with the album, chances are they will hear things they have never heard before.

CAS will feature a wide array of albums including Steely Dan Aja, Bjork Homogenic, Michael Jackson Off The Wall, The Doors LA Woman, John Coltrane Both Directions At Once, LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver, Cocteau Twins Blue Bell Knoll and J Dilla Donuts.

Read more: Rocky Mountain Audio Fest Album Blogs – Steely Dan ‘Aja

The sessions will be hosted by Classic Album Sundays New York City host Barbie Bertisch who along with Paul Raffaele, runs Love Injection fanzine, radio show and events and has quickly established itself as a critical platform for celebrating the constantly shifting cultures of dance music and dance-floor culture in all its manifestations, past and present. She is also a DJ, a radio host and performs live with Seedy films, a new band on Manono Records, a label she now runs with The Rapture’s Luke Jenner.

Leading up to the event we will be running giveaways offering ticket giveaways and more so keep your eyes posted the Classic Album Sundays social media channels as well as featuring extended blog posts for each album and playlists on our website.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest is a great way to learn how to set up a sound system, improve an existing sound system and will feature loads of demos ad manufacturers of turntables, loudspeakers, headphones and more. Improving one’s hi-fi is a great ‘next step’ for the passionate music lover.

Friday, October 6th

2pm Steely Dan- Aja

4:30pm Bjork – Homogenic

Saturday, October 7th

11am Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

2pm The Doors – LA Woman

3:30pm John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once

Sunday, October 8th

9:30am LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

12:00pm Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll

2:30pm J Dilla – Donuts

Ticket packages are available here


October 6th – October 8th 2018


Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237

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Classic Album Sundays Rocky Mountain Audio Fest Album Blogs: Steely Dan ‘Aja’

Having cultivated a reputation as stubborn yet masterful songwriters, Steely Dan possessed a certain magnetism which helped hugely when it came to assembling a dream-team of jazz, r&b and rock virtuosos for their 1977 masterpiece, Aja.

Included on this list was legendary saxophonist and Miles Davis alumni Wayne Shorter (who rips through a solo on the album’s title track), drummer Bernard Perdie (responsible for the groove of “Home At Last”) and Steve Gadd, amongst many others. Far from assured by the proven talents of these musicians however, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen took their infamous hairsplitting scrutiny to new and extreme levels, famously sifting through dozens of separate recordings of the same guitar solo for “Peg”, before landing on Jay Graydon’s pitch-perfect performance.

Considering the somewhat pressurised atmosphere surrounding the album’s recording sessions, it’s easy to see how this ethos carried over into its impossibly pristine sound quality. A truly lush and all encompassing audio experience, each instrument boasts a rich glossy veneer, penetrating and tessellating with an almost surgical precision. Far from clinical however, this exceptional clarity maintains the minuscule, if calculated, nuances of each musician’s contribution, and ultimately serves as testament to their tight and disciplined performances.

“Peg” rhythm guitarist Steve Kahn notes that: “Most of the in-the-studio direction came from Donald. He was often out there with us while Walter and Gary were in the control room… To get a track past all three of them was next to impossible. If two liked it, one would veto it just to exercise his own sense of authority.”

Listen: Steely Dan ‘Aja’ Musical Lead-Up Playlist

Beneath this crystalline surface lay a subversive element of nihilism, which seemingly undermined the pair’s studio slickness and outwardly commercial ambitions. As New-Yorkers at heart, this was perhaps fueled by their contempt for what they perceived as the utterly ridiculous, sun-soaked nature of LA living.

Fagen later commented: “LA was certainly a lot of laughs. Neither of us really liked it, because we just weren’t LA-type people. We called it Planet Stupid. Nobody seemed to understand us there.” It’s not hard to see Fagen’s slightly dispassionate lyrics as an effort to keep this culture at arm’s length; to maintain the romantic notion of an outsider looking in – all the more effective when paired with subversive cool and radio-friendliness of their music.

Released in 1977, the year that both the lighting force of punk and the carefree abandon of disco were enjoying cultural hegemony, Aja found itself strangely out of time and place; an irregular jigsaw piece in an often polemic commercial environment. It was around this time that predominantly white rock fans where denouncing the perceived superficiality of repetitive black dance music. But Steely Dan had also been the subject of their ire. As Michael Duffy’s review in The Rolling Stone noted: “Aja will continue to fuel the argument by rock purists that Steely Dan’s music is soulless, and by its calculated nature antithetical to what rock should be.” Far from immune to this criticism, Becker and Fagen reportedly remixed the album around 13 times in the months prior to its release.

But the pair were notorious for holding the hard rock establishment in disdain, denouncing stadium-sized bands such as Led Zeppelin and Bad Company, and with Aja they expressed this with their overwhelming reverence for the construction and arrangement of old jazz records. And while they wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, the pair also deeply admired the pinpoint sonic precision and muscular groove of disco.

Listen: Steely Dan ‘Aja’ Legacy Playlist

As Becker noted: “They had all these records that were just whack-whack, so perfect, the beat never fluctuated, and we didn’t see why we couldn’t have that too – except instead, playing this incredibly complicated music, and the drummer would go and play a great fill or something and come exactly back at the perfect beat at the same tempo, you know? It seemed like a good idea.”

Listening to Aja, it’s hard not to see the album’s musical complexity and shimmering clarity as a riposte to the conservative rock sensibility. Becker and Fagen’s deeply intuitive use of chordal changes is central to the record’s shape-shifting character, as the pair eschew pleasantly resolved sequences and modulate to entirely new keys between sections. This imbues the album’s songs with a certain uneasiness which rubs against the polished surface of its smooth instrumentation and production – even music theory experts were left puzzled as to the direction a chord sequence was taking or why a specific harmony so strangely worked.

Rhythmically the pair had also dove deeper into the locked grooves of American r&b and soul. Their hiring of musicians who had worked with the likes of James Brown, Quincy Jones and Aretha Franklin provide some insight into their desires to maintain pop music’s infectious percussive drive.  It was in-fact the most rhythmically focused songs, such as “Peg”, “Josie” and “I Got The News”, which proved most time-consuming in the recording process, as Becker and Fagen, of course, pursued the perfect backbeat, and the perfect sound, with an almost maniacal attention to detail.

Listen: Classic Album Sundays on Worldwide FM: Steely Dan ‘Aja’ with Dom Servini

Despite the numerous advances in recording technology of the last forty years, Aja still stands as one of the finest commercial recordings ever made – a holy grail for audiophile’s around the world. Its inherent smoothness coupled with its remarkable intricacy transcends the boundaries of taste and trends, shining as an example of uncompromising creative ambition, which nevertheless remains thoroughly grounded in the principles of pleasure. Aja is truly Steely Dan’s monument to the joy of listening.

Ticket packages for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest are available here


from Classic Album Sundays
Take a look at what’s in Pop at mandersmedia on Discogs

Classic Album Sundays Classic Album Sundays with Paloma Faith: Album Inspirations for National Album Day

We are delighted to continue our run of events leading up to the first event National Album Day with special guest Paloma Faith at The British Library on Monday 8th October 2018. Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy will discuss the albums that influenced Paloma Faith’s fourth studio album, The Architect. The interview will be illustrated with high-end music playbacks on an audiophile hi-fi courtesy of Graham’s Hi-Fi featuring Bowers & Wilkins.

Tickets available here.

Check out the rest of our National Album Day events here

Paloma Faith’s powerful pop-soul style and captivating stage presence have brought her a string of platinum-selling albums, including the most recent, The Architect. An actor and activist as well as singer, Faith’s is refreshingly honest and forthright voice in the music world.

She is also ambassador for the British Phonographic Industry’s first ever National Album Day a week-long series of events and activity around the country – culminating on 13 October – that will celebrate all aspects of the album format on its 70th anniversary.


Time & Date: Monday 8th October 2018 7:30pm – 9:30 pm (Doors 7pm)


The British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB


£15 in advance here


Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy with Paloma Faith

Audio Menu

Supplied by Graham’s Hi-Fi featuring Bowers & Wilkins

from Classic Album Sundays
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from Ionarts
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Ionarts #morninglistening to #Lully #motets w/@lesartsflo…

Richer Unsigned Best Of September 2018 by ie:music

Happy September! Last month saw us handling the curatorial duties for the ‘Best Of’ playlist, but we’re back to scheduled programming with more great guest curators, like this month’s guest, ie:music!

As the digital revolution flourishes, ie:music is propelling itself to the forefront of the emerging technology, exploring and capitalising on opportunities for its artists. The company embraces digital technology as an extraordinary facilitator of artist – fan communications, as a means of encouraging transparency and of making everything from ticketing to downloading and streaming more effective, efficient and honest.

They’ve picked 10 amazing artists for your listening enjoyment — check ‘em out!

The post Best Of September 2018 by ie:music appeared first on Richer Unsigned.

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Richer Unsigned Artist Of The Week: Eyre Llew

This week’s Artist Of The Week is Eyre Llew, an atmospheric ambient-rock/post-rock trio from Nottingham UK. Since forming in 2014, the band has racked up an impressive discography, receiving so high praise along the way. The trio crafts delicate textures and ambient tones which build to huge anthem-like crescendos, with each song feeling like an emotional journey. Our favourite track “Edca” works in some choir-like vocals to ratchet up the emotional level even further. Check it out below to see what we’re on about:

The post Artist Of The Week: Eyre Llew appeared first on Richer Unsigned.

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JazzWax 10 Favorite September Songs

JazzWax 10 Favorite September Songs


With the arrival of September, summer is unofficially over and autumn is sort of here. It’s just a matter of time now in New York when the temperature will downshift into the low 70s and then the 60s. Apples, suede and boots follow, with Central Park turning color and the distant smell of brownstone fireplaces on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. So today, I figured I’d welcome the ninth month with 10 of my favorite September songs:

Here’s Artie Shaw in 1945 on September Song. Most later versions of this song take it way too slow. Shaw gives the song the fox-trot treatment, which adds spirit and animation…

Here’s James Moody in Paris in July 1951 recording September Serenade for French Vogue backed by strings arranged and conducted by Andre Hodeir. Listen for tags of Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight and Moody’s own Moody’s Mood for Love...

Here’s the Sauter-Finegan band in February 1954 recording Eddie Sauter’s September’s Sorrow

Here’s Jo Stafford singing a glorious swinging version of September in the Rain in the mid-1950s. Best of all, it comes with a smart arrangement by husband Paul Weston. Stafford sings backed by flutes conversing with fleshy trombones and chrome trumpets, a wandering piano, chiffon strings and winding down with billowy reeds and a muted trumpet tag at the tail end… 

Here’s Helen Shapiro on the BBC’s Top of the Pops in 1963 singing Carole King’s It Might As Well Rain Until September

Here’s Tony Bennett in 1965 recording Maybe September for his Movie Song Album. The song was written by Jay Livingston, Ray Evans and Percy Faith for a film called The Oscar...

Here are The Happenings in 1966 singing See You in September, with a Four Seasons voicing…

Here’s Johnnie Taylor in 1974 singing Dennis Gilmore’s It’s September

Here’s Earth Wind & Fire in 1978 singing their hit September

And here’s Barry White in 1978 singing September When I First Met You


from JazzWax
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