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Date

November 23, 2018

John Curley Echo & The Bunnymen warm up NYC’s Town Hall on a frigid night

Echo & the Bunnymen brought their North American tour in support of their latest album The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon to New York City’s Town Hall on Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 21st.

The post Echo & The Bunnymen warm up NYC’s Town Hall on a frigid night appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.

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Listen: Layale Chaker – ‘Inner Rhyme’

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seancannon How Spin-Clean Became An Overnight Success, 30 Years In The Making

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When you talk to Mark Mawhinney, one thing quickly becomes clear: He cares about sound. The Pittsburgh-based businessman is an audiophile, and all his endeavors support that concern. He operates a high-end home audio company (Northern Audio) and the only record store in the US that carries the entire Mobile Fidelity catalog (Music To My Ear). So when Mark discusses his other business, manufacturing the Spin-Clean Record Washer, you know it’s about more than hawking plastic boxes.

In fact, his love affair with the Spin-clean is nearly lifelong. “I started working at my father’s record store at around 8 or 10,” Mark reminisced during a recent call. That’s where he first encountered the vinyl washing machine. Around that time, the mid-’70s, it was owned by a company called Fidelitone and named Spin ‘N Clean.

His father, Paul Mawhinney — who owned the venerated Record-Rama and eventually amassed a collection of around 3,000,000 records — kept one at the front counter to freshen up used vinyl. When the washer was in use, customers watched in awe. “They’d see you cleaning the records and say, ‘What’s that?!’” Mark said. “You’d show them how it works, and they bought it.”

According to Mark though, Fidelitone’s plan was to “throw it in big piles” in chain stores without advertisement, instruction, or demonstration. That didn’t work. In 1975, the company decided to discontinue the product. Paul wasn’t pleased. “My dad called and said, ‘We sell tons of these things. You can’t do that,” Mark remembered. The elder Mawhinney then made an offer to buy Spin-Clean outright. Paul got the remaining stock, changed the name, and began manufacturing the product anew.

For the next three decades, the family would hand assemble each record washer and sell around 1,000 a year. It was a successful, but modest business. That all changed in 2009, when Paul decided to retire. Mark asked to take over the product. “I loved Spin-Clean,” he said. “And I knew I could do something with it. At this point, no one really knew what Spin-Clean was. We’d been around 30 years, but nobody really had a clue.”

He certainly did something with it. “I’d been in the audio business for many years at the time,” Mark recounted. “And I had a good friend named Chad Kassem who runs a company called Acoustic Sounds. I called him up, said I was going to send him something, and asked him to let me know what he thought.” For the unengaged, Kassem is something of a mythical figure in the audiophile world thanks to his outsize personality and revered vinyl businesses (the Acoustic Sounds store, Analogue Productions label, and Quality Record Pressings plant).

He got an enthusiastic call from Kassem, who loved the Spin-Clean. Mark was invited to bring 50 boxes to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest to hang out at the Acoustic Sounds booth. It turned out that they massively underestimated the demand. “We sold 50 units in less than a couple of hours,” Mark laughed.

In the furor, journalists expressed interest in the product, including respected reviewer Michael Fremer of Stereophile Magazine. After Fremer reviewed it, Mark bragged, “every other reviewer in the history of the business reviewed it in every magazine there was.”

Spin-Clean subsequently won awards from Stereophile and The Absolute Sound that year. “We went from basically nothing to 180 overnight,” Mark said. For an $80 record washer with fewer bells and whistles than its high-end motorized competitors, “that was huge!”

Demand immediately outstripped Mark and his family’s ability to hand assemble units as they had in the past. “We just couldn’t do it,” he said. “We couldn’t keep up with it, and there was no more space in the hallway for the boxes to sit.”

From there, they found a state-of-the-art manufacturer, gained worldwide distribution, and jumped from an unassuming 1,000 units a year to around 35,000. Almost 10 years later, the success still shocks Mark Mawhinney. “Spin-Clean has been part of my life since I can remember, but I just could not imagine it would end up like this!”

The post How Spin-Clean Became An Overnight Success, 30 Years In The Making appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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Billy Strayhorn

Donald Macleod looks at five key environments that shaped Billy Strayhorn’s personal and musical trajectory.

Donald starts the journey in Homewood, Pittsburgh, where Billy Strayhorn’s early life was over-shadowed by poverty and a violent father. Over six years of toil as a “soda jerk and delivery boy” he saved up for music college, but an Art Tatum record showed him that everything he loved about classical music was there in one form or another in jazz. Strayhorn cut free and moved to New York, where his path crossed with Duke Ellington. He was quick to discover an exciting new world of opportunity, playing and writing for Ellington’s famous band – a complex relationship that continued for almost thirty years. Work took him to Hollywood – Donald explores the reasons why this turned out to be both an opportunity and a source of disillusionment. We also hear of Strayhorn’s love affair with Paris, the city where he found the night-life and the artistic independence he craved, and where he was given the chance to record his first album under his own name. Finally, Donald charts the ups and many downs of Strayhorn’s final years, which he spent in Riverside Drive, New York.

Music featured:
Take the “A” Train
Lush Life
Valse
Something to Live For
Fantastic Rhythm
Suite for the Duo
My little Brown Book
The Hues
Snibor
Tonk
Passion Flower
Your Love has faded
Three and Six
Grouya/Anderson, arr. Strayhorn: Flamingo
Chelsea Bridge
Strayhorn/Ellington: The Perfume Suite
Clementine
Ellington/Strayhorn/Gaines: Just a-sittin’ and a rockin’
Rain Check
Pentonsilic
You’re the One
Tchaikovsky, arr Strayhorn: The Nutcracker Suite
Boo-dah
Ballad for very tired and very sad lotus eaters
Johnny Come Lately
Satin Doll
Music for The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in their Garden
The Newport Jazz Festival Suite
Multicoloured Blue
Day Dream
UMMG
Ellington/Strayhorn: Smada
Cue’s Blue Now
Far East Suite
Blood Count
Cashmere Cutie
Le Sacre Supreme
Lotus Blossom

Presenter: Donald Macleod
Producer: Johannah Smith for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Billy Strayhorn: https://ift.tt/2Qere87

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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spencer@jazzwise.com (Spencer Grady)

 Marclay

The UK premiere of Anthony Braxton’s ‘Composition No 103’ (1983) and ‘No 173’ (1994) at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) was a reminder of his astute attitude toward the creative impulse. Standing in his own shoes as an African-American intellectual, Braxton reaches without prejudice toward the light, be it from Dolphy, Cage or medieval composer, Hildegard of Bingen.

As a renowned reeds player, Braxton effortlessly turns ideas sharply on their heels, or melts soft notes, mature in their humility, into marching band brass, squeals, bebop, hoarse abstract blows or bitter blasts. Brought here by the Monochrome Project, these works for seven trumpets are at base a tribute to the simple idea of in-breath and release. The choreography, absurd Star Trek-ish costume and instructions spoken at the audience through a loudhailer originated in the context of working with Living Theatre actors at New York’s The Kitchen. They seem distracting and dated, but these Brecht-ian comments on performance and breaking down the ‘fourth wall’ gave the hcmf// audience a rare chance to consider Braxton’s history and dedication to ‘informance’ and education.

Hudd

Also hydrated by New York and its scenes is Christian Marclay (pictured top). Experienced in working with sound, he doesn’t write music in the traditional sense; his residency at hcmf// this year confirms a growing disregard of definitions that are past their sell-by date. While his installation ‘The Clock’ is currently housed at the Tate Modern, the world premiere of ‘Investigations’ had 20 pianos set out at Huddersfield Town Hall, each with a pianist including improvisers Steve Beresford and Liam Noble. In advance they had all been in receipt of the same 100 cropped photographs of a piano being played in a multitude of ways: with one elbow, reaching up to the keys from below, in a regular way or with four hands. These black-and-white images, often from some past time, rippled with story and each pianist had to write a few notes or chords they imagined came just before, during or after this shot.

The performers replicated the poses, played their notes and quietly asked others to join them for the pictures with four and six hands. There was control and risk, everything seemed still and yet people moved continuously, it was robotic and alert. I noticed Dan Nicholls await a noisy chord to die away before hitting his single note. Yet this landscape was strangely free of dynamics or drama. It was a meditation. Space and silences gave focus to the restricted notes and chords; sudden silvery shimmers or brooding blots. What stayed in mind as the hall cleared was the divine, elegant and emotive vibration; a deep sense of piano.

Marclay’s work can appear as media archeology: old film clips precisely sewn together (Bette Davis being hugged, a swimming pool dive, comedy teeth chattering), or cuts out from magazines and comic books with their captioned ‘Splat-Blams!’. But these are ‘visual scores’ for musicians and by having so many performed, hcmf// has blown the dust clean away to reveal the pumping heart. Steve Beresford had a ball playing the organ based on Marclay’s pictures of found musical notes from adverts, logos, even a tie, while EnsemBle baBel interpreted ‘The Bell and the Glass’ with such skill that a spoken word recording of Marcel Duchamp seemed to sing. Improvising musicians are intent on ‘reading’ and responding to these images so they forget themselves, forget performing, they ‘do’ less and ‘are’ more. The result is explosive, continually morphing and wildly-fresh music.

 MG 1924-Reinier van Houdt performance

Another standout performance at this year’s hcmf// was a beguiling take on Marclay’s ‘Ephemera 2’, performed by Reinier van Houdt (pictured above) This man was born in a piano and there is no sound or impulse he could or would not convey. His late-night appearance was fierce; immersive, spirited and strange, it will echo in my mind for years to come.

Debra Richards
– Photos by Graham Hardy

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spencer@jazzwise.com (Spencer Grady)

 Marclay

The UK premiere of Anthony Braxton’s ‘Composition No 103’ (1983) and ‘No 173’ (1994) at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) was a reminder of his astute attitude toward the creative impulse. Standing in his own shoes as an African-American intellectual, Braxton reaches without prejudice toward the light, be it from Dolphy, Cage or medieval composer, Hildegard of Bingen.

As a renowned reeds player, Braxton effortlessly turns ideas sharply on their heels, or melts soft notes, mature in their humility, into marching band brass, squeals, bebop, hoarse abstract blows or bitter blasts. Brought here by the Monochrome Project, these works for seven trumpets are at base a tribute to the simple idea of in-breath and release. The choreography, absurd Star Trek-ish costume and instructions spoken at the audience through a loudhailer originated in the context of working with Living Theatre actors at New York’s The Kitchen. They seem distracting and dated, but these Brecht-ian comments on performance and breaking down the ‘fourth wall’ gave the hcmf// audience a rare chance to consider Braxton’s history and dedication to ‘informance’ and education.

Hudd

Also hydrated by New York and its scenes is Christian Marclay (pictured top). Experienced in working with sound, he doesn’t write music in the traditional sense; his residency at hcmf// this year confirms a growing disregard of definitions that are past their sell-by date. While his installation ‘The Clock’ is currently housed at the Tate Modern, the world premiere of ‘Investigations’ had 20 pianos set out at Huddersfield Town Hall, each with a pianist including improvisers Steve Beresford and Liam Noble. In advance they had all been in receipt of the same 100 cropped photographs of a piano being played in a multitude of ways: with one elbow, reaching up to the keys from below, in a regular way or with four hands. These black-and-white images, often from some past time, rippled with story and each pianist had to write a few notes or chords they imagined came just before, during or after this shot.

The performers replicated the poses, played their notes and quietly asked others to join them for the pictures with four and six hands. There was control and risk, everything seemed still and yet people moved continuously, it was robotic and alert. I noticed Dan Nicholls await a noisy chord to die away before hitting his single note. Yet this landscape was strangely free of dynamics or drama. It was a meditation. Space and silences gave focus to the restricted notes and chords; sudden silvery shimmers or brooding blots. What stayed in mind as the hall cleared was the divine, elegant and emotive vibration; a deep sense of piano.

Marclay’s work can appear as media archeology: old film clips precisely sewn together (Bette Davis being hugged, a swimming pool dive, comedy teeth chattering), or cuts out from magazines and comic books with their captioned ‘Splat-Blams!’. But these are ‘visual scores’ for musicians and by having so many performed, hcmf// has blown the dust clean away to reveal the pumping heart. Steve Beresford had a ball playing the organ based on Marclay’s pictures of found musical notes from adverts, logos, even a tie, while EnsemBle baBel interpreted ‘The Bell and the Glass’ with such skill that a spoken word recording of Marcel Duchamp seemed to sing. Improvising musicians are intent on ‘reading’ and responding to these images so they forget themselves, forget performing, they ‘do’ less and ‘are’ more. The result is explosive, continually morphing and wildly-fresh music.

 MG 1924-Reinier van Houdt performance

Another standout performance at this year’s hcmf// was a beguiling take on Marclay’s ‘Ephemera 2’, performed by Reinier van Houdt (pictured above) This man was born in a piano and there is no sound or impulse he could or would not convey. His late-night appearance was fierce; immersive, spirited and strange, it will echo in my mind for years to come.

Debra Richards
– Photos by Graham Hardy

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