If there is a thread among these recordings, it is perhaps that I feel they are by unjustly overlooked artists, who deserve to stand with some of the best and most famous. I am partial to jazz, but am really open to any music genres, so I have included some gems that seem to be forgotten but are in fact quite influential on generations of subsequent musicians.
Natalie Mering, the person who becomes Weyes Blood, has been fascinating me since 2013's The Outside Room. Her next record, 2014's The Innocents, was a Download of the Week and I was very fortunate to see her perform up close and personal that same year at SXSW. Front Row Seat To Earth, her new album released today on Mexican Summer, sounds more mature, more other worldly, more Mering-like, more beautiful.
My music collection is probably best described as eclectic. It all started in my late teens and then particularly in my early twenties when I stopped smoking and picked up a CD habit instead. Perhaps worse on the pocket, but at least I had something to show for it afterwards. And better on the lungs.
The biggest RMAF 2016 story was RMAF 2016. The Denver Marriott Tech Center was still under renovation at show-time, which had show organizer Marjoie Baumont & Crew pulling out some creative ways to make this all work. Pre-show prognostication tended to fall into two camps; bad, and worse.
Another room I make it a point to visit is this one. While there was nothing new on the digital hardware front, I've reviewed the dCS Rossini Player & Clock, there was something new (to me) and rather unusual. Roy Gregory of The Audio Beat.com, pictured above, was playing a polycarbonate disc of Beethoven's 9th that retails for $2,000.
Philip O'Hanlon of On A Higher Note is the distributor of some fine lines including Luxman, Merging Technologies, and Vivid speakers among others. I usually visit Philip's room on the last day of the show due to its location on the mezzanine level. By this time I'm typically overfull with information and ideas, and my talking mechanism, which sits idle at home for the better part of most days, is on its last legs. Listening to fine music on a fine system is the balm (bomb?) I crave and Philip delvers. Always.
Salk & Schiit, Attorney's At Law (kidding). A small stack of Schiit—BiFrost Multi-Bit DAC ($599), Saga preamp ($349), and Vidar amp ($699)—a dash of the Roon Ready Salk Sound StreamPlayer Generation III ($1695), with a helping of Salk Song3 speakers ($2895/pair)=value. If you haven't heard, Schiit delivers value + good sound.
I'm thinking I should get in a small herd of one-box players for a big-ol' roundup review and the Oppo Sonica Grand ($699) would certainly be on that list. While I did not get a good listen here, Oppo's reputation suggests these are worth a closer look.