A virtual visit to Smart Audio Recording Lab in Kirov, Russia

Smart Audio Recording Lab is a custom-designed recording studio that also operates as a tape label, releasing its own recordings as master tape copies. It’s run by father and son team Mikhail Mamonov and Artem Suntsov, who designed and built the studio from scratch in 2018. These guys are clearly passionate about what they do, … More A virtual visit to Smart Audio Recording Lab in Kirov, Russia

New limited deluxe edition double tape from 2xHD: Bill Evans’ ‘Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest’

Just released (30th July) is an exciting limited deluxe edition double tape recording from Canadian label 2xHD: legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans’ Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest. Fans of jazz will no doubt know Evans through his association with Miles Davis, notably on the iconic album Kind of Blue (me … More New limited deluxe edition double tape from 2xHD: Bill Evans’ ‘Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest’

Djabe & Steve Hackett: The Journey Continues Tour on tape

Back in January 2020 (that’s BC – before Covid) I discovered the Hungarian band Djabe and was hugely excited to learn that they were (a) working with ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, and (b) releasing albums on tape (if you missed that blog, it’s here: Discovering Djabe). Since then I’ve become a confirmed fan so here … More Djabe & Steve Hackett: The Journey Continues Tour on tape

Hugh Masekela’s ‘Hope’ from Analogue Productions: how much better can it sound on tape than the already superb vinyl?

Of the five tapes I recently bought from Analogue Productions (see A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions), I figured the best place to start review-wise would be Hugh Masekela’s Hope, since I already had the phenomenal Analogue Productions 45rpm vinyl version as a basis for comparison. So, before we get going, let’s … More Hugh Masekela’s ‘Hope’ from Analogue Productions: how much better can it sound on tape than the already superb vinyl?

A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions

Many of you, whether you’re a tape head or a general audiophile, will already be familiar with Analogue Productions. Formed in 1992 by Chad Kassem, Analogue Productions is the record label division of Acoustic Sounds, the mail-order hifi and music retail business Kassem founded in 1986. It has since become one of the industry’s major … More A ramble around the tape catalogue of Analogue Productions

“Through the past, darkly”: Ken Kessler ponders the condition of pre-owned tapes and what it can tell us about their history

If you read Ken Kessler’s ‘Off the leash’ column in the May issue of Hi-Fi News, you’ll know that he recently added another 200 open-reel tapes to his collection, along with a dozen used LPs. Sorting through his haul to separate the gems from the dross, the near-pristine from the unplayable, he noticed something interesting … More “Through the past, darkly”: Ken Kessler ponders the condition of pre-owned tapes and what it can tell us about their history

Another tape label to add to the listings: Smart Audio Recording Lab

It’s always a treat to discover a new (to me) recording label that’s issuing music on open reel tape, so I was pleased to hear from Mikhail Mamonov, the founder of Smart Audio Recording Lab. Based in Kirov city, Russia, Smart Audio is a custom-designed recording studio that also operates as a tape label, releasing its … More Another tape label to add to the listings: Smart Audio Recording Lab

The George Fludas Organ Quartet from International Phonograph: behind the scenes (part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of of this piece I introduced and reviewed The George Fludas Organ Quartet on copy master tape from Chicago-based International Phonograph Inc. Here, we venture behind the scenes at IPI to discover more about how the tape was made. I’m grateful to IPI’s Jonathan Horwich for sending me some notes and photographs … More The George Fludas Organ Quartet from International Phonograph: behind the scenes (part 2 of 2)

“One of the greatest drummers to come out of Chicago”: The George Fludas Organ Quartet from International Phonograph (part 1 of 2)

According to jazz critic John Corbett, “George Fludas is one of the greatest drummers ever to come out of Chicago, an impeccable swinger with imagination, class, moxie, and a clear sense of the full span of jazz tradition.” So, while there are several titles in International Phonograph Inc’s (IPI) collection that I’d been coveting, this … More “One of the greatest drummers to come out of Chicago”: The George Fludas Organ Quartet from International Phonograph (part 1 of 2)

Discovering Alena Baeva with UltraAnalogue Recordings: part 3 – Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op 121

Alena Baeva is fast emerging as one of the finest violinists of her generation. A protégée of the late, great Russian cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, and of multi-award wininng Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa, she’s been described as a ‘magnetic presence’ and a ‘constantly fascinating sound technician’. I’ve been hooked ever since I first saw … More Discovering Alena Baeva with UltraAnalogue Recordings: part 3 – Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op 121