Thirty-five years ago this month, Stereo Review dedicated its June 1986 issue to a look at good ol’ American-made audio technology.
Psychotic Reaction, by Count Five (Double Shot, 1966; Concord Bicycle Music, 2017)
These are the 10 RSD releases on my list to pick up this Saturday if I can get to the store early enough to get in line to the front enough to fight my way through whatever limited hordes they allow in at one time enough to get my greedy paws on.
Jobriath, by Jobriath (Elektra, 1973; Music on Vinyl, 2018)
The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone. The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone. The knee bone is broken, comrade, and will need to be put in a cast. And this X-ray will be repurposed into a makeshift gramophone recording of The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” And that’s how Soviets got a hold of Western music back in the day. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancing bones, doin’ the skeleton dance …
Lila, by Innov Gnawa (Daptone Records, 2021)
It’s time to flip through another tattered magazine and look at some vintage tech and music trends of the past. This month, we’ll flip through this September 1974 issue of Rolling Stone, featuring the debut of their yearly hi-fi buyers’ supplement.
Somewhere Between: Mutant Pop, Electronic Minimalism & Shadow Sounds of Japan 1980–1988, by Various Artists (Light In The Attic, 2021)
If you’re of a certain age (and if you’re reading this, chances are that you are), then you probably owned one of these. And it didn’t do one thing to add to the music, at least not sonically. But it sure looked cool, didn’t it? Hey, don’t bogart that j, man!
This was Audiogon’s (well, the author’s) attempt at April Fools’ Day humor. It served to amuse only its author, but is preserved here for his continued humiliation.
Back in the early-to-mid-1990s, there was no Spotify, no Pandora, no Napster. There were albums and tapes and CDs and MTV (which still played music then) and the radio. But what if you liked a particular genre of music and there wasn’t a local station that catered to your tastes? There was an answer on the way.
It’s time to take another look at an old dogeared magazine and look at some vintage tech and music trends of the past. This month, we’ll flip through this February 1966 issue of Playboy which, although not exactly chock full of ads, does have two notable features … HEY! Get your mind out of the gutter.
Word came down late Tuesday that Lou Ottens, the man who launched a million mixtapes by virtue of inventing the compact cassette tape, passed away last weekend in his hometown of Duizel in the Netherlands. As a tribute to the man who made it possible, here’s a mixtape I made some 30 years ago.
Somebody came up with the bright idea of creating DVDs that you could rent and not have to return, because they would simply become unreadable after two days and you could throw them out. If that seems like a lot of waste, you have to remember that this was 2003, and you were probably getting an AOL disc in the mail every other day.
Forty years ago this month, the hi-fi industry stood at the edge of the digital precipice. The arrival of the Sony CDP-101, the first consumer compact disc player, was just a year away. But in February 1981, there was still much to be settled. What format would become the dominant means of digital music conveyance in the home? And whose version of that format would win out in the end?
Get together a bunch of recording artists and try to develop a better digital marketplace, one where the music doesn’t sound like crap and where you actually get paid, and whaddaya get? A yellow paperweight, that’s what.
RCA had the bright idea in 1964 to reproduce video in a phonographic format. Great idea. They then took 17 years to develop the idea and bring it to market. Not such a great idea.
It’s Christmas, so here’s an hour’s worth of songs to listen to while the yule log burns. What, you don’t have a fireplace? Better check the oven then …
That’s right, not rotating platforms for displaying automobiles. Actual record turntables for vehicles. This was a thing.
It’s Thanksgiving, so here’s an hour’s worth of songs of thanks for you to listen to instead of your Uncle Bud carrying on about politics. No thanks necessary.
When folks talk about Bang & Olufsen’s heyday back in the early to mid 1970s, they’re usually talking about this particular turntable, the world’s first electronically controlled tangential gramophone, a marvel of both function and design that floored the hi-fi community upon its release.
Halloween is approaching, so Pazuzu made you a mixtape. Don’t mind the pea soup …
Fifty years ago this month, that venerable men’s magazine of many of our youths put out a “historic” issue, featuring its first pair of Playmates, the identical twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson. We thought this occasion – Playmates in stereo, as it were – might afford us an opportunity to take a look at what of the latest and greatest in hi-fi was being spotlighted and advertised in the pages of Playboy that month.
A few months back, we featured Koss’ classic Porta Pro headphones and asked if something could truly be “retro tech” if it was still purchased and used on the reg. Now we look at the ELP LT-1XA, the world’s first laser turntable, from the only company that makes laser turntables, a technology that has barely evolved in a quarter century, and ask, “Is it retro?”
It’s the first full day of fall, so we made you a mixtape. Because who doesn’t like mixtapes?
Don’t worry, Retro Tech Spotlight isn’t going anywhere; it’s just moving to the middle of the month. We wanted to introduce you to a new monthly feature, the ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) Album Spotlight, where we’ll look at an album that didn’t get its just due at its time of release. To kick things off, we’ll look at Ol’ Blue Eyes’ penultimate album before his first retirement, a concept album curiosity penned by a Four Season and the original writer of “Dazed and Confused.”
Once upon a time, dinosaurs roamed the earth, giants that shook the ground with their collective roar. But there was one that stood above them all. That time was the Eighties, and that giant amongst giants was the Conion C-100F.
In the late ‘70s, the people wanted more power, and by god, they would get more power. Thus the Receiver Wars were born. And that is how we ended up in 1978 with the Pioneer SX-1980, weighing in at 78 pounds with a whopping 270 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Boom.