Glaston – Inhale/Exhale

Yes, it is more new music! Ok, boys and girls, we get to learn a new word today or rather a new sub-genre. Glaston is band from Switzerland. They are listed as Post-rock, but I would describe their style much closer to instrumental *Cinematic Prog-Rock*.

The title of this LP is Inhale/Exhale and it is their debut. Most of the songs on this album to me lean towards kind of a cinematic Perfect Circle with a small dash of Pink Floyd thrown into a couple of tracks.
1.Game of Tones 07:10
2.Levitating 05:56
3.Sunnar 09:51
4.Noir 07:57
5.This isn’t Happening 01:36
6.Implosions and Her 05:53
7.Mariana Trench Skycrapers 07:36
8.Better Luck Next Time 03:57
9.Ritou 09:03
10.In the End 03:01

From the promo: Glaston is a post-rock band from Switzerland founded in 2014. Consisting of four members (Selina Maisch, Jake Gutzwiller, Timo Beeler and David Preissel (IRIJ, Pure Inc.)) They are a purely instrumental band who allow the instruments to tell the whole story, free from vocals. Piano, guitar, bass and drums playfully combine in delicate melodies with dynamic rhythms, creating a sound that is influenced by both Classical Music and Progressive Rock, and at times is even reminiscent of cinematic scores. It‘s place in the Post Rock world is created by it’s leading piano, which builds the heart of the music, its voice. The band is inspired by a range of different artists, from Olafur Arnalds and Agent Fresco to A Perfect Circle.

Piano is the main foundation instrument on most of the tracks of the LP.
Track #1 Game of Tones, I consider to be one of my two favorite tracks on the album. It is a pleasantly full sounding track with plenty of instrumentation including strings and organ. My other favorite track is #9 titled Ritou. This 9 minute track has an interesting time signature and no, that is not a skip you are hearing, it is done on purpose. It is similar to the first track in some ways and kind of a Tangerine Dream meets Perfect Circle meets Mannheim Steamroller.
The track 7 “Mariana Trench Skyscrapers”,highlight are the drums with a very interesting stick on stick method in it.

Most of the songs are quite long, but that is a prog-rock standard signature. There is a nice brief interlude at track #5 and the last track could be considered a long outro.

This is a different sounding band with a different sounding style. It is actually a somewhat pleasant listen really. It does raise enough curiosity to check out the rest of their work when it comes out.


Audio show season is upon us

The 2018 audio show season is about to kick off starting in March. There’s Montreal Audio Fest, AXPONA, Munich High End show, LAAS, RMAF, Capital Audiofest, New York Audio Show and Warsaw Audio Show among others and that doesn’t even include the CanJams, which are strictly about headphones. Yours truly can only make one show because of everyday work schedule, lack of money and I am all there is to this little enterprise, endeavour or whatever you want to call “Its About The Music” blog.

I was considering not attending or covering another show after last year. However, after thinking about it over the last couple of months and the encouragement of a couple special friends and a few requests from readers, I have decided to attend LAAS 2018. Yes, so for you guys, I will be covering the show.

I’ll give you a little preview of The Los Angeles Audio Show (LAAS) 2018. It is happening again this June 2018 and this time it is almost a whole new show. Like a renovation to a home, so to is the LAAS for 2018.
First of note is the new dates, which are June 8,9 & 10. Second, you know what they say in real estate, “Location, Location, Location”! Well, the biggest and most effective change is the fact that the show has come back to Orange County, California! Not only has it come back to the county, but it is back at the very facility where it started, The Irvine Hilton (and Atrium) hotels, directly across from the Orange County John Wayne Airport. For those who were in attendance at last year’s show in Los Angeles, this news should be music to your ears, if you pardon the pun.

So, what makes this show location better than last year? At the LA location of the show last year, the parking was a nightmare and expensive, food choices were almost non-existent and expensive, the space was too spread out and too many hidden areas and long treks making folks wander around confused as to where things were even with signage clearly posted and incompetent hotel staff only added to problems.
While the LA location (Sheraton), was across from LAX airport, it was more the backside of the airport. The new (original location in Orange County) now is literally across from the airport and one could walk to the venue in well less than 30 minutes from the airport. Other improvements include the venue layout itself, it is a little more compact making for less hidden areas or long treks to get to anything. It is also less expensive: Parking will be less than half of what it was in Los Angeles ($6 vs $13 per day in LA). Not only is food a little less expensive as well, but eating choices are in abundance both on site and off site, close by too (LA had precious little dining options, about 2 and a half places and the least expensive was a sandwich shop about 15 minutes walk from the hotel and it was $12! Even room rates are less expensive, they will be around $160 per night, (in Los Angeles it was around $190 per night).
LAAS 2018 in Orange County will also offer many of the same treats as the show usually does, but there are some new additions and changes as well. For example, the 2018 show is offering two of the world-renowned Michael Fremer Turntable seminars, they will be the same, so don’t worry about having to attend both for the full program. (They will be held in the “Million dollar system room”, but do not let that discourage you. Michael’s turntable seminars are the ultimate in learning how to set up your turntable and ok, I happen to know Michael. He is an entertaining and a nice guy. He is not afraid of more “budget” leaning audio gear either, just trust me on this. There is also going to be a limited class from McIntosh where you can learn more about audio.

Another bit of good news to those of us here in cowardly valley is that an entire floor, yes, you read correctly, an entire floor will be devoted to “non-stratospherically expensive equipment”! This is according to LAAS promoter Bill Kanner who also says, “that people have family members who are not all committed to audio, and we need to have something for them. This should not be an exercise in acoustic technology; it should be a smorgasbord of fun.” Can I have an “amen”?! Usually, there are maybe 3 or 4 exhibits in that dedication scattered around, but this time for what may be the first for this show, we get an entire floor of such exhibits!
That is just a few of the changes and additions, more info to follow as it becomes available.

Aren’t new vinyl records always better than used?

While unlike audio gear and cars, the depreciation value of records is slow if at all, but like cars, does it always pay to buy new? With the huge amount of records out there in the used market that have not been re-issued and may never be, it is like trying to go to your local Ford dealer car lot and insisting on finding a 1966 Mustang to purchase, not going to happen.

If you have not noticed by now that vinyl records are back to stay for a long time to come, than you must be in a coma someplace. I grew up with vinyl records and it was the only music medium there was for a while before my time and into the first 4 years or so when 8-track and cassette tapes appeared. However, I never had a huge collection nor did my parents. I think at one point I had collected about 60 records by the mid-eighties. (I have more records now, than ever before).
Around the end of the eighties I had switched to CD. It took about 5 years of fighting about the price of CDs for me to switch and I did so because the prices came down. When CDs first hit the market, it was common to see prices from about $20 to $30 per disc. When they hit $10 I started buying in. Continue reading