From the Editors

Of Blackstars, Black Holes and Lucky Men (and Women)

A year on, and the news of David Bowie’s death still feels painfully fresh. That loss started 2016 just a few days after his release of Blackstar and his 69th birthday. Sadly, the year just continued to take away one musical legend after another, winding down with the death of George Michael on Christmas Day. As a result, many music lovers began the year with Blackstar but ended with black holes in their hearts, mourning the loss of so many who had provided the soundtracks to our lives.

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Essays

It’s Too Late to Stop Now: The Quest for Better Sound

I got bitten by a few bugs early in my adulthood. One of them was a passion for great sound at home. I would have likely led a normal life, satisfied with my Lafayette speakers and receiver and Garrard record player, but for the fact that a block away from my undergrad college was the
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Logo for Salon des Refusés. background image by shaireproductions.com via Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/shaireproductions/7501404862/in/photolist-cqSEjA-bDTHmM-rMhDzj-y9A1S1-Po7iuF-5DZmwK-6b2uMy-oNip43-6dwLFx-6dwUdf-6dCMjd-nsX4my-pbELTz-6b4hay-6bFdrf-9ngF17-qJMpUU-8SHvGQ-oSwsL8-qNaAVo-6bCiw5-6b5kb7-9PB5vJ-kDXtjQ-k43euL-6dyQnE-6bVs57-9qx85R-74YteF-9qx7TK-5bfnsK-kNKw6H-pqWasW-aNS5W4-aWjhUn-4mssnw-6dxsv9-8SJfjN-4xtevz-6c8HD3-6dnXPK-nik58Z-4E9CtP-6bCrBn-3H95VN-6aZAgK-nHfbT8-r3Z7Rr-pe6od5-q87UC6 Salon des Refusés: Kraftwerk

In 1863, the Salon des Refusés was launched to counter the conservative aesthetics enforced by the Academy of Fine Arts in the annual Paris Salon. That year, the “rejects” included such later revered painters as Manet, Courbet, Whistler, Pissarro and Cezanne. Perhaps it is now time to establish a Salon des Refusés for the Rock & Roll Hall of
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Let’s Stay Physical: The Case for CDs and LPs

I recently spent several months packing up most of my house for a move that fell through at the last minute. I’ve had more enjoyable experiences in my life. Back when I used to move much more frequently — during the college years and shortly thereafter — I followed a simple rule of packing. The
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Reviews

History of String Quartet Music within a String Quartet: Rochberg’s Third

I first encountered this when I was 12 or so, at the listening station in the public library. Wanting to hear something a little different (i.e. not the usual pop favored by 12-year olds or the “conventional” classical with which I was familiar), I selected this LP and one of traditional Chinese music.  I found
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Agnes Obel and Jenny Hval Will Give You the Chills

As winter grips the Northern Hemisphere, it would probably be most comforting to grab a nice glass of red wine and relax to music that brings the heat from the southern regions. But instead, I’ve been leaning into the cold by re-listening to two of my favorite albums of 2016. Interestingly, like two of my
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My Favorite Music To Reclaim 2016

2016 wasn’t kind to music lovers. So many great musicians slipped off this mortal coil causing many of us to wonder how many more terrible losses we may continue to suffer in the coming years as illness and age takes its toll on the innovators and superstars that have provided so much music that has
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Somewhere (Now and Again) in Summertime

To be alive is to know something about ebbs and flows. Sometimes everything feels stale and blocked, and the challenges come one after the other. But then a switch flips and doors open, and the challenges give way to opportunities. Half a lifetime ago, I heard the switch flip. Early in my career as a
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Melanie De Biasio Sees the Light in Blackened Cities

I often laugh when I rip a new CD to my music server and see what genre the recording gets assigned to. A death metal album is Pop? A choral album is Male Vocal? There are more than 100 different genres across my collection, but to be honest I pay no attention to them beyond the
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