Lovely Recordings Hosted by Erik Martin

The selections below have given me years of transcendent enjoyment. For me, music is ultimately a spiritual experience. But sharing music is actually the best part. In fact, most of the works listed here were shared with me by my dear friend (and incredible musician) Dominique Leone. So, thanks Dominique, and you're welcome AudioStream readers ;)

Mr. Bungle: California (Warner Bros., 1999)
Pure fun. Zany, silly, heavy, caffeinated. Recorded in analog (no offense digital)!

Available from Tidal

John Zorn: The Circle Maker (Tzadik, 1998)
This double album is so beautiful. Plus it's got Marc Ribot on it, which automatically makes it worth having. It's the one I put on when I'm nerding out over audiophile things and trying out new gear that Michael has forced us to buy.

Available from Tidal

Darkthrone> Panzerfaust (Moonfog, 1995)
Sound quality is terrible! Which makes it the most metal album of all time.

Available from Tidal

Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring Teldec Classics International, 2001)
Actually the most metal of all time. I like the Zubin Mehta, New York Philharmonic version.

Available from Qobuz

The Beach Boys: Smiley Smile (Brother/Capitol, 1967)
In college, my dorm roommate was a very nice but totally traditional Texas frat guy. Imagine his dismay hearing this album on repeat for an entire semester. The music is so dark, strange, soulful and sad, but at the same time life affirming. Upon hearing it, everyone says, "that's the Beach Boys?!?" (with the exception of "Good Vibrations", of course).

Available from HDtracks

David Lynch: Lost Highway Soundtrack (Interscope, 1997)
Yes I work for his Foundation. BUT it's just that his ear for music and sound design and choice of collaborators are all so magical. This album is often overlooked because of the omnipresence of Twin Peaks and Eraserhead, but give it a spin and take an entirely different trip.

Available from Tidal

XTC: Skylarking & Apple Venus Vol. 1 (Virgin, 1986 & Cooking Vinyl, 1999)
Find me better art pop records! Or a better songwriter than Andy Partridge. I'd give anything for them to release another record.

Available from Tidal Skylarking and Amazon Apple Venus Vol. 1 (CD)

Miles Davis: Live Evil (Columbia, 1971)
John McLaughlin playing all the wrong chords so right. But really anything from In A Silent Way through Dark Magus is the most meaningful music in my life. Miles knew how to put bands together, try new things, insist on greatness. He was a master. He's the gold standard for what I try to do now in my work.

Available from HDtracks

Erik Martin
Chief Creative Officer, David Lynch Foundation
In 2006, Erik learned about the power of quinoa from the special features segment on David Lynch's Inland Empire DVD. He currently obsesses over music, film, art, and food. After serving as Director of Programming for The Shedd in Oregon, and as National Booking Director for Opus 3 Artists in New York, Erik is now thrilled to produce and curate concerts, broadcasts, and albums for the charitable David Lynch Foundation.

Share your Lovely Recordings with us!

garysi's picture

I heartily second that emotion. What I wouldn't give for another gem from Partridge and Moulding. Apple Venus Pt 1 was their "reunion" album I guess, but unlike all the reunion records other money grabbing bands have put out in the last 2 decades, this one had all new material, and boy, were those songs special. Great music, great arrangements, great recording. Check out the acoustic guitar on "I'd Like That". Poor guys, couldn't get arrested in this country in the '80's.

Wavelength's picture

Erik, Gary;
I make Andy's guitar amplifiers and have visited Andy and Erica at their home in Swindon. If you have not read the book Complicated Game, it's a real eye opener for any XTC fan.

Andy just sent me the Skylarking & English Settlement vinyl collection they are wonderful. Plus I have all the high res stuff that has been produced. Pretty much learned guitar on this catalog.


skikirkwood's picture

Why would anyone buy these albums on Tidal when they can purchase the CD's on Amazon at a much lower price?

Panzerfaust is $17.99 on Tidal for a FLAC download, the CD on Amazon is $11.99. The Mr. Bungle Tidal download is $19.79, the CD on Amazon is $13.34. Am I missing something?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I ask that each Lovely Recording pick be available as a download since this site is about computer audio. People, like you, are free to buy whatever version they like. Even the vinyl ;-)
skikirkwood's picture

I think it's fine to require each pick to be available as a download. And I get the links to HDTracks for music available in Hi Res. But if I went to Tidal and bought a FLAC download only to later discover I could purchase the CD for 1/3 less I would not be happy. Fortunately, my computer is quite good at ripping CDs into the FLAC format, hence converting them to a computer audio format. :)

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...who read this site do you think don't know that they can buy a CD and rip it? Even a used CD on Amazon or eBay or...?

When Pono comes back online (if?), they have a very broad catalog at lower prices than Tidal.

skikirkwood's picture

While I'm confident most readers of this site have heard of Amazon and aware they can buy CD's there, what is not clear is whether you can buy the particular album featured in the article on Amazon. There's a lot of music I listen to on streaming services that either is not available on CD, or only available on CD at inflated import prices. Plus there are artist exclusives only available on Tidal. In those cases a FLAC download would be great.

So my expectation reading this article is that if I saw the single purchase option to be a Tidal download, I would infer that the album wasn't available as a CD for 1/3 less on Amazon. Now I know better!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
Seeing as these selections are mainly from the '90s and earlier, who in their right mind would not know they are available as a CD?
skikirkwood's picture

... because it's not obvious to me that just because these selections are from the '90s means they are available as CD.

And it's more complicated than that. XTC's Skylarking is listed as a $17.99 FLAC download on Tidal. But if you go to Amazon you see a large number of issues of this CD (e.g. Mobile Fidelity gold CD), both the original, and a remaster from 2014 - for $9.99. It looks like the Tidal download is the original.

In these cases I'd like some guidance on what version to buy, or least be made aware there is more than one version available for purchase. If you read the Amazon reviews of the remaster, most people seem to prefer its audio quality, and that is not obvious if I just see a Download on Tidal button.

Michael Lavorgna's picture not what Lovely Recordings is about.

And since you just illustrated your ability to do the research you desire yourself, I'd suggest you've shown that the issue you raise is not an issue.

Greyfossil's picture

I thought it was about the potential to find something that as a reader of the column and listener to music might be interesting and worth going off to find in whichever format one likes to listen. I hadn't realized until now that it was about scoring points on how clever one could be. The rather belligerent comments on this posting by one individual is more likely to put a potential Lovely Recordings authors off exposing themselves to others. [flame deleted, Ed.] This is a nice site with nice people contributing and I sincerely hope it will stay so.

Greyfossil's picture

I apologise for the flame.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
One of the things I find fascinating about the comments to Erik's Lovely Recordings, beyond the music he's shared, is that he works with David Lynch and no one has mentioned it.

For me, working with one of the great Directors of our time is at least...intriguing?


Greyfossil's picture

Hope you will laugh at this one: that is not what this is all about. However, if it is, I would be interested to see both The Donald's and The Hillary's lovely recordings. Just for a bit of fun for a few minutes relief from the rest of the stuff. Probably blotted my copy book again but this was just in jest, unless anyone knows better.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...began releasing his short films in the late '60s and his first feature film, Eraserhead, came out in 1977. If we take into account his other films including Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild At Heart, and Mulholland Drive, as well as his TV series Twin Peaks we can say a few things--he has an uncanny ability to use familiar music in a very unfamiliar way, music is as important to many of his stories as the narrative, and the guy has made some monumentally great movies.

He's also a musician, one of his albums is included in Erik's list, and his album Crazy Clown Time was a Download of the Week. So I beg to differ on the irrelevance of David Lynch to the notion and spirit of Lovely Recordings ;-)

Greyfossil's picture

but that's ok. All I meant was that the existence of a link from someone who works for him to David Lynch wasn't a link to music but I now comprehend why you relate to it in a way I could not. I have to confess to being totally ignorant. I have not seen any of his films or TV Series but I will go off and have a listen to the album you mentioned so that I am not as clueless as I once was. I usually check the download of the week but missed that one. Hope its on Tidal.

ukiro's picture

If Darkthrone makes it through here (which is actually not that surprising considering Lavorgna's openmindedness towards the grating and harsh) I kind of feel like giving this Lovely Recordings bit a go...

I'd probably pay money to see the Diana Krall crowd sit through that album, much like I enjoy watching people eat ghost pepper on Youtube.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
I dare you to submit a Lovely Recordings! (actually, I'd very much like it if you did. The dare thing was an unclever ploy ;-)
AlexMetalFi's picture

...and sometimes at audiophile shows I make them!

But seriously, Michael's series is not the "best sounding" but the loveliest, in the personal sense. And on that note, Darkthone is very lovely. Can't wait for the new one to come out in a couple weeks!

jrhud's picture

Anyone who likes Mr. Bungle and Live Evil is OK in my book, look forward to checking out the couple I don't know.

ogerestein's picture

... of studying for high school exams in my bedroom late at night. Must've listened to this album 50 times, easy. But every time I'd skip the Marilyn Manson tracks. Still can't stand that guy. But thanks for reminding me of this album, I'll give it another listen while trying to remember the stages of cell division...