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Swans To Be Kind'
To Be Kind (Awaiting Repress)...the sound of a celestial sledgehammer descending - Time Magazine
...what the closing ceremonies for the human race might sound like - Pitchfork
...Swans make their grandest statement yet - Rolling Stone
...a masterpiece of post-rock and experimental composition - Consequence Of Sound
A NOTE FROM MICHAEL GIRA:
We (Swans) have recently completed our new album. It is called To Be Kind.
The album was produced by me, and it was recorded by the venerable John Congleton at Sonic Ranch, outside El Paso Texas, and further recordings and mixing were accomplished at John's studio in Dallas, Texas. We commenced rehearsals as Sonic Ranch in early October 2013, began recording soon thereafter, then completed the process of mixing with John in Dallas by mid December 2013.
A good portion of the material for this album was developed live during the Swans tours of 2012/13. Much of the music was otherwise conjured in the studio environment.1. Screen Shot
2. Just A Little Boy
3. A Little God In My Hands
4. Bring the Sun / Toussaint L'Ouverture
5. Some Things We Do
6. She Loves Us
7. Kirsten Supine
9. Nathalie Neal
10. To Be Kind$29.99Vinyl LP - 3 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Filth (Awaiting Repress)First Authorized Vinyl Edition Of 1983 Debut Studio Album In 25 Years
Re-Mastered With Original Cover Art
"This is all slabs of sound, rhythm and screaming/testifying. What more do you need? In a way, it was a reaction against Punk (and just about any other music you can think of), and the conservative notion that 3 chords were somehow necessary. I used to deny it vehemently at the time, but No Wave (I "hated" that scene too, for some reason I can't remember now) played a big role as the germ from which this music grew, along with The Stooges and Throbbing Gristle, of course. I wanted Swans to be "heavier" though - I wanted the music to obliterate - why, I don't remember! I think it just felt good. Live, we used two basses (playing utterly unmusical chords that were stabbed and left to sustain or sometimes hit in staccato or opposing rhythms), drums, a "percussionist" that slammed down on a metal table with a metal strap, crude cassette loops of various sounds/noises (usually some kind of undefined ROAR), and Norman Westberg's glorious sustained and screaming guitar chords. It was pretty elating to play live - for us. If 100 people showed up (which would have been a huge audience at the time - 20 was more the average), 80 were guaranteed to leave by the second song. Somehow that tension - contempt or indifference from the audience - was nourishing, so we kept going.
Here's some music I was listening to at the time: Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, The Stooges, Brian Eno, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, DNA, The Contortions, Glenn Branca, Black Flag, early Pink Floyd, This Heat, Kraftwerk, The Germs, Cabaret Voltaire, Can, Public Image LTD., SPK "
- Michael Gira / Swans/Young God Records1. Stay Here
2. Big Strong Boss
4. Power for Power
6. Right Wrong
7. Thank You
9. Gang$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Sibelius: Violin Concerto (Speakers Corner)Not always do composers of instrumental works take the playability of their ideas into consideration. Jean Sibelius - himself an excellent violinist - must have been aware of the enormous challenges to the soloist, but he did not, however, envisage that the première of his violin concerto would be badly received due to the inadequacy of the violinist. That his op. 47 would become a showpiece of romantic violin repertoire is certainly not only due to the first-class soloists of our time, but also thanks to the work's broad and expressive melodies. In the short introduction of the second movement, the leaping intervals of the violin - as though from nowhere - develop into a broad symphonic dialogue with a late-romantic inflection, which is unleashed to create an emotional climax in the 20-bar main theme of the second movement. Seemingly purposely written for the nimble fingers of the world-class violinist, David Oistrakh and the evenly matched Philadelphia Orchestra present a superbly virtuosic and powerful rendering right up to the rousing finale. As an encore we hear The Swan Of Tuonela sing its tender, sublime song in a substantial solo on the cor anglais.
- David Oistrakh (violin)
- Philiadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Recording: December 1959 and January 1960 at Broadwood Hotel, Philadelphia (PA)
Production: Howard Scott
About Speakers Corner
At the beginning of the 90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the situation was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and, of course, Speakers Corner all maintained a mutual, unwritten ethical code: we would only use analogue tapes to manufacture records.
During the course of the present vinyl hype, many others have jumped on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source to master from: CDs, LPs, digital files, MP3s - or employed existant tools from the 80s and 90s for manufacturing.
A digital delay is gladly used when cutting a lacquer disc because tape machines with an analogue delay have become quite rare and are therefore expensive. When cutting the lacquer, the audio signal is delayed by one LP revolution against the signal, which controls the cutter head, and for this a digital delay is very often employed. Of course, the resultant sound signal is completely digital and thus only as good as this delay.
We should like to emphasize that Speakers Corner Records on principle only uses the original master tape as the basis for the entirely analogue cutting of lacquer discs. In addition, the pressing tool is newly manufactured as a matter of principle. We have one digital recording in our catalogue (Alan Parsons / Eye In The Sky"), but even in this particular case we used the analogue tapes for cutting.
We only employ existing tools for manufacturing if an improved result is not forthcoming, e.g. the title Elvis Is Back, which was mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray, or several titles from our Philips Classics series, which in any case Willem Makkee cut from the original masters at the Emil Berliner Studios in the 90s. It goes without saying that we only used the mother and that new tools were made for our production.
To put it in a nutshell: we can ensure you that our releases are free from any kind of digital effects - excluding the exception above - and that the lacquer discs are newly cut.1. Allegro Moderato
2. Adagio Di Molto
3. Allegro Ma Non Tanto
4. The Swan Of Tuonela, Op.22$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
- David Oistrakh (violin)
iFi Audio Retro Stereo 50 Amplifier
Have a question about this product? Please email our audio advisor or call 1-877-929-8729 with any questions or concerns regarding your equipment purchase.
From Vinyl All The Way To Smart Phones - Your Music, Your Way
Class A Bewitching Tonality And Realism
Octa-DSD512 And Pcm/768KHz. Ultimate Audio And Fully Future-Proofed
Starting with the Stereo 50, the iFi Retro is a completely new range that has one objective: to include everyone who loves music regardless of age, gender or technology.
The Retro Stereo 50 is an all-in-one tube stereo system: from Bluetooth aptx (phone/pad) to High-res digital (computer) to vinyl (turntable). Everyone can bring their music and be able to connect to the Stereo 50 and produce music that simply astounds. There really is nothing like the Retro Stereo 50.
Music is in the air
Smart devices capable of Bluetooth, aptX (best mode of wireless transmission) and NFC (extreme ease) can be "wirelessly paired" to the Stereo 50. From there, it is a simple case of opening your music app, be it your music collection on your music player, Spotify or Tidal and hit play!
The aptX option offers CD-like-quality wireless audio beyond normal Bluetooth. This means the Stereo 50 is future-proofed for Smart devices for many years to come.
USB & SPDIF for streaming/computer audio
Nowadays, nearly every home is streaming, be it from the set top box, smart device or computer via SPDIF coaxial or the USB 3.0 port. Irrespective of your preferred listening method - from Spotify to J. River; connect to the Stereo 50 and enjoy your favourite tunes at a whole new level!
High-resolution audio (DSD512, PCM768kHz, 2xDXD) via USB, Coaxial and Optical are all catered for. Just connect, sit back and enjoy your music your way.
Space-age digital and classic valve technology
AMR and iFi are renowned for combining classic valve technology with state-of-the-art digital technology such as in the prestigious AMR DP-777 Digital Processor. The Stereo 50 is the latest from a long line of outstanding products. It features 4xEL84X and 2xECF82 tubes with a stunningly advanced ground-up circuit that has DNA from the best of classic amplifiers such as Telefunken, Marantz and Leak.
Running primarily in Class A, its 25W+25W is and sounds astonishingly realistic. This all means a sonic performance that reflects the superb design and implementation.
Burr-Brown brightest chipset + AMR unorthodox technology
At iFi, 'the best format' is not the focus. Rather, we care for replaying each format at the pinnacle.
The Burr-Brown DAC chip used was developed by BB Japan (as opposed to BB/TI) though the product introduction was after the merger. Being Burr-Brown's swan song chipset, it featured their ultimate converter technology and even to this day, is held in the highest esteem.
Having a chipset able to play all formats would count for little if this was not all executed natively, which means no conversion from one format to another. Using trickle-down technology from AMR (who wrote the chipset's unorthodox control software) to drive this Burr-Brown chipset means preservation of the original music format which is essential for reaching the zenith in high-end audio reproduction.
High-Resolution on PCM768/DSD512/2xDXD
Computer-audio playback is advancing at breakneck speed. The Stereo 50 on the outside exudes classic retro styling, but on the inside, is at the cutting-edge.
It is able to play all formats to the highest level:
- PCM, from 16/44kHz all the way up to 32/768kHz
- DSD up to Octa-DSD512 (22.6/24.6MHz)
- DXD, 2x to 768kHz
Not only the hyper-advanced formats/sampling rates, but the filters employed also ensure the most analogue and life-like reproduction. The Minimum Phase filter for PCM and Bit-Perfect filter for DXD/DSD ensure maximum enjoyment. These filters ensure the typical "metallic edginess" to standard digital playback is not present, leaving a smooth and organic tonality.
In-Ear & Headphone lovers in for a treat
Got headphones? The Stereo 50 with separate 3.5mm and 6.3mm inputs is just for you. Each headphone input has its own dedicated gain and sensitivity to perfectly match high-sensitivity In-Ear-Monitors and low-sensitivity Over-the-Ear headphones respectively. The 6.3mm output pumps out a "turbo-charged" 7,000mW. So even the most demanding of headphones such as the HiFi Man HE-6 has met its match.
The Stereo 50 features iFi's widely-regarded 3D Holographic for Headphones® and XBass® technologies. They have garnered a following with their mesmerizing ability to perfectly match each and every type of recording and headphone. The 3D Holographic for Headphones® technology uses pure analogue signal processing which delivers a wide open and spatially correct sound stage for headphones that places the sound field "back outside of the head" to enhance the listening experience. The XBass® technology creates the finest bass and dynamically corrects the bass response to perfectly suit the way we hear.
Vinyl oozes verve
iFi's iPhono has already become a modern classic and the Stereo 50's phono stage is set to emulate this feat. It has adjustable ultra-wide gain MM/MC from 38-62dB and its tone control system harks back to classic equalisation technology. With 6 different EQ curves (via the precision tone control), every stereophonic record is catered for. From the default RIAA through to EMI and Decca, as the legion of iPhono users can attest, once dialed-in, each and every record has "a kind of vinyl magic".
The astonishing EQ feature would count for little if the actual sonic ability of the phono stage was not executed with finesse. Well, just like the iPhono, the Stereo 50 is one of only a handful of phono stages whose noise floor is below (as opposed to above) that of the record. With its superb dynamics and resolution, the Stereo 50 comfortably plays in the big league of vinyl.
Analogue Tone, Volume and Remote Controls
Digital volume controls truncate the delicate audio signal so iFi avoids this at all costs. The Tone Controls, Volume Control (with remote control) are all of extreme high-quality. The critical analogue volume control is by Alps (Japan) motorised potentiometer (< 3dB tracking error).
Audio equipment up to four times the price do not possess a volume control as high-quality as the Stereo 50's. It is this fastidious attention to detail and highest-quality composition that sets iFi apart: in our sonic mission, we leave no stone unturned.$1,599.00Tube Amplifier Buy Now
Dove (Awaiting Repress)The dream-rock band Belly blazed a bright trail in the '90s, releasing two albums full of taut, yet wondrous music that was memorable for its rumbling bass lines and insistent drumming as it was for its glittering riffs and airy vocals. Their new album Dove, which was recorded with friend of the band Paul Q. Kolderie, places Belly back on that trail, bridging the gaps between reverbed-out bliss and spaghetti-western drone and muscular, hook-forward pop.
Belly came together in 1991, when vocalist-guitarist Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, The Breeders) began playing with brothers (and fellow Rhode Islanders) Tom (guitar) and Chris (drums) Gorman, as well as bassist Fred Abong. He left before the band's 1993 debut Star came out, and Gail Greenwood, then playing around Providence, joined. Star was a hit with critics and listeners alike, spawning the alt-radio and MTV staple "Feed the Tree." The band toured extensively behind the gold-certified album, touring with the likes of Radiohead, the Cranberries, and Pavement and playing a show at the Hippodrome in Paris where they opened for U2 and the Velvet Underground.
Belly opened 1994 with two Grammy nominations, scoring nods for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist at that year's edition of the awards. That summer, the band began work on King, their harder-edged second album. Belly toured behind that 1995 release extensively, opening for R.E.M. in Europe and bringing along Catherine Wheel and Superchunk for the American tour; their last gig was in November 1995, and the band officially dissolved in 1996.
Since then, Belly's members kept busy, with Donelly releasing a string of hailed solo albums and touring with Throwing Muses, Greenwood performing with brash rockers L7 and revved-up punker Bif Naked, and Tom Gorman performing with fellow New England alt-rockers Buffalo Tom and Donelly's Throwing Muses partner Kristin Hersh before launching a photography business in New York with his brother. They had occasionally broached the topic of getting back together in individual settings; Greenwood and Tom Gorman separately collaborated with Donelly on her Swan Song Series omnibus.
The idea of a Belly reunion, though, gained serious traction a few years ago. "We had just gotten to the point where we were just missing each other, and missing the music," says Donelly. "The music I've been doing in the past several years has been very collaborative, which made me kind of homesick for Belly; I missed that sense of having a band."
Early rehearsals showed that Belly was still very much a unit, the years falling away as the quartet went to work on older material. "We immediately fell back into our original relationship and musical dynamics," says Donelly. "Just a lot of laughing-it felt like a real reunion in the best and truest sense from the first practice on. We had a bit of trepidation: 'Is this going to work?' But the first practice really set all our anxiety to rest."
Eventually, though, the band's members, who had collaborated sporadically in the interim, got the itch to bring new songs into their set as a curveball for listeners-and for themselves, too. "You almost want to put yourself in the deep end," says Chris Gorman. "That just seems to be the inclination for creative people-you never just want to feel comfortable. You're always going, 'Well, what's the part of the night that's really going to make me really, really nervous and freaked out?' And that usually is, 'Let's try a new song.' When it works, that's the most the rewarding moment in the night."
Belly previewed some of their new songs, including the prowling "Army of Clay" and the folk-tinged "Human Child," at their early reunion dates to effusive audiences. "The crowds have been amazing," says Donelly. "We've never really operated on a level before where live shows feel genuinely communal. We got such great feedback on the new stuff-people were just as enthusiastic about it," Donelly recalls. That handful of tracks blossomed into Dove, a dozen songs that nod to past glories while also showcasing the four members' growth as songwriters and musicians, adding dramatic flourishes like strings and vibed-out guitars to the group's already widescreen sound.
Belly recorded most of the rhythm tracks for Dove at Stable Sound Studios in Portsmouth, RI, vocals at Greenwood's home studio, and guitars and overdubs in Tom's and Tanya's home studios. The songs spun out of a new songwriting system that was necessitated by the four members' far-flung hometowns. "It required a lot of trust," says Donelly, "because we were sending raw snippets to each other-anything from 30-second pieces to full songs. Tom and Gail and I would send demos back and forth, and then Chris would add drums to whatever snippets he'd heard, and Tom would sew everything together. It would sometimes be a very circuitous route to a song, but it was really fun."
"All three of the songwriters were locked in and working in a way that complemented the others' strengths," says Chris Gorman. "Gail's writing was in top form. Tanya is able to make anybody's song her own-she's got that gift. And Tom has really honed his arrangement and production style."
The shimmering, expansive "Shiny One," which pairs dreamy vocal harmonies with urgent riffing and dramatic string flourishes, is one of the best examples of Belly's new process. "I have a lot of affection for that one," says Donelly. "It was the first completely collaborative song we've ever done-Gail wrote the riff and the chorus, Tom and I wrote the verse and bridge, Chris's parts shaped the direction and vibe. When I hear it, I hear all four of us equally."
While Dove's flight was aided by previews of some new tracks during the band's reunion tour, the band is excited to release the album in full, and to show it off to audiences around the world. "We're all looking forward to presenting these songs in a live setting, and having the opportunity to play together again," says Chris Gorman. "We should be in for a really exciting year."1. Stars Align
2. Shiny One
5. Suffer the Fools
7. Human Child
8. Army of Clay
10. Heartstrings$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now