Lovely Recordings

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 28, 2016
This is difficult. I'm a rambler, so writing something brief and focused, well, it's not a strength. I could list tens (hundreds?) of records that had an impact on me...this would be boring for you. I like stories. This is one thing I love about music - our appreciation deepens with context - at least for me it does.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 21, 2016
My taste in music is fairly omnivorous. If there’s a thread running through these selections it’s the sense of place and emotional content conveyed by the performances. By place I don’t mean the acoustics of the recording space or the soundstage. It’s more a sense of the locative and/or temporal space in which the music was performed and the ethos it reflects. Emotional or spiritual content is just that, although what’s inspiring in a spiritual sense to one listener might leave another cold. Compassion is one dimension of this larger quality; I hear it, for example, in the lullaby sung by Carmen McRae. Listening to these albums, however, will be a lot more enlightening than what I have to say about them, so plunge right in.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 14, 2016
I would have to say that my listening habits are different from most people because I spend so much time in different locations out in a bush camp or some remote third world country. I do the majority of my listening while on the job with a set of headphones either hooked into a laptop or personal audio device. Therefore I like music that takes my mind off of where I am (I’ve worked in locations ranging from north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska and northern Canada to the deserts of the Great Basin, Mexico and Sudan to the tropical forests of Mexico, Central America and Indonesia) and bears repeated listening because portability is very important as I have to live out of a backpack or suitcase for up to a month at a time.

In minerals exploration, one has to go to where the minerals are, not downtown to the office. Digital files for music was a Godsend for me because I could carry the music I like in something the size of a pair of headphones and a paperback book. These ten albums meet that criteria and I can become absorbed in them time and time again, so it isn’t necessary to carry a bunch of files. The performances are outstanding and either have a good story behind them or tell a good story. These performances also come through on inexpensive equipment, a consideration for me because if I drop a rock on the player or drop it in a swamp I don’t want to feel that bad about losing it.

Michael Lavorgna  |  Mar 07, 2016
Since my musical tastes are all over the map, it's only fitting that my list would reflect that. I've been very impressed by the diversity of tastes so far in the Lovely Recordings column and have felt compelled to contribute my own list. In keeping with the spirit of discovery, I hope everyone will find something new here to enjoy.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 29, 2016
Bowie and Bischoff, OK now you have my attention. About all I know of Jherek Bischoff is his 2012 LP I bought, Composed. But that’s enough to know that his ear for string arranging within the pop idiom is certainly interesting. And rightly or wrongly, the speed with which Strung Out in Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute has been released tells me this was less about some grandiose tribute stocked with a roomful of Big Name Stars than it was from the efforts of a few appreciative fans who just happen to be capable, professional musicians with the drive to make it happen, now. Bischoff has a little more to say about that here.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 22, 2016
I enjoy the Lovely Recordings idea and have been tempted to submit in the past, but I wasn't sure I had anything to add to the conversation. Anyway, it occurs to me that we need a heavy metal / hard rock submission. No offense against the others, I love jazz, classical, and other forms, but we need to let our hair down.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 15, 2016
The recordings I am listing have engaged me and gotten me out of repetitive listening that I tend to find myself getting into from time to time. They don’t come from a particular genre, and at least as far I can determine, there is no pattern. At the time I first heard each of these records I was most likely focusing on classical or jazz to the exclusion of much else except for the blues, which tends to be a constant for me. These albums either brought me out of that comfort zone or made me want to explore a new genre. Some of this music was genuinely new to me while others were something I found at a store or saw an article about that caused me to seek them out. I find myself coming back to these and a few others when I am in need of breaking out.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 08, 2016
Thank you to all those that have contributed to this series. Many have shown me new artists that I was previously unaware of to date so I thought I'd return the favor. In no particular order—a little of everything:
Michael Lavorgna  |  Feb 01, 2016
I had so much fun doing an entry in Audiostream's Lovely Recordings I thought it was time to do another. Thankfully, Michael agreed. Hence the second installment.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 25, 2016
My musical sense runs the gamut; from pop/rock through classical and jazz and on into world music, and then some. I have plenty of “chestnuts” and popular things in my collection of CD's, vinyl and now bits, and I enjoy it all. But perhaps I get the most satisfaction and meaning out of discovering and devouring lovely hidden gems. So some of these you may know and others hopefully you can discover, and maybe pass along a few yourself for the rest of us too. OK, here goes...
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 18, 2016
My musical tastes changed drastically on August 12, 1972 while at Madison Square Garden for Jethro Tull: we were sitting way down front, center stage, maybe 15 rows back in great seats salivating for Tull. The opening act was a band I had never heard, nor heard of, ROXY MUSIC. Long story short, a friend looked over at me after they did a short 30 minute show, and said, "Fuck Tull".
Michael Lavorgna  |  Jan 04, 2016
Even though I’m in the music business, I make sure to have a plectrum in my suit pocket if I wear a suit so I don’t forget why I do what I do. Everything we do at TIDAL is for the music, even if we are buried deep in coding, tweaking codecs, creating marketing campaigns, integrating streaming in obscure high-end audio brands or putting on a live streamed top tier concert. The music comes first.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 28, 2015
Some cats believe records are worth dying for.....


Michael seems to believe in stories.... So here is a true story from Denmark....

Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 21, 2015
I thought I will give this a go. Hopefully I can share a few albums that your readers will like. I sure love them.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 14, 2015
Some recordings sound canned, the artifacts of production and the recording process call attention to themselves so it takes more work to listen to them. Some popular recordings are even produced in a way that they sound better in your car than on your home stereo (for an example of production that I think detracts, listen to Hozier's album compared to the live NPR mini concert). The Lovely Recordings I've selected, while not audiophile demos, have both musical content I love and sound quality that helps you get into the music. They all sound more real and let you hear further into the mix, especially with better playback systems. These aren't exactly obscure recordings but I feel they should be better known than they are. Doing this, I developed a new appreciation for those who write about music—it's hard.