August 12, 2017

Shamim Ahmed Khan: A Delectable Treat in Ragas [Magnasound C4HI0068] a cassette recorded and released in India in 1989

Shamim Ahmed Khan (1938-2012) was a disciple of Ravi Shankar. He seemed to be on excellent terms with his teacher and followed him to California when Raviji opened a school there. Khan released relatively few records during his lifetime. This cassette was recorded with Nayan Ghosh on tabla.

side 1:
Raga Puriya Dhanashri (Alap, Jod, Jhala; with fast and slow compositions in teentaal)

side2:
Raga Hamsadwani (alap and slow composition in jhaptaal)
Dhun in dadrataal





Equipment used in this transfer:
Cassette Deck: Teac W890R (azimuth was carefully adjusted for each side)
Preamp: Parasound PHP 850
Recorder: Roland R-05
Software: Audacity and xAct

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)





August 5, 2017

Alathur Brothers: Carnatic Vocal (All India Radio recording) [HTC 03B 8184] A Cassette recorded in India in 1963 and released in India in 1991

The Alathur Brothers, just like the Ramones, were not actually brothers. They consisted of vocalists Sivasubramaniya Iyer (1916-65) and Srinivasa Iyer (1911-80) who trained under Sivasubramaniya's father Alathur Venkatesa Iyer.

This is a recording of a concert broadcast on All India Radio and recorded on April 8, 1963.






Side one:
1 Vidulaku Mrokkeda (raga: Mayamalavagaula; tala: Adi)
2 Rama Neepi raga: Kedaram; tala: Adi)

Side two:
1 Kanta Tava (raga: Athana; tala: Adi)
2 Cherarvademira (raga: Ritigaula; tala: Desadi)
3 Tillana (raga: Behag; tala: Adi)
4 Visveswar Darsan (raga: Sindubhairavi; tala: Rupakam)

TS Tatachar: violin
MS Ramaiah: mridangam
S Seshagiri Das: kanjira

Equipment used in this transfer:
Cassette Deck: Teac W890R (azimuth was carefully adjusted for each side)
Preamp: Parasound PHP 850
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR
Software: Audacity and xAct



(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; 
suitable for a player capable of playing high resolution files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)



August 3, 2017

Shivkimar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia: Yugal Bandi [ECSD 2747] an LP recorded in Sweden in 1973 and released in India in 1975

Here is an interesting example of a recording made in Sweden while these two artists were on tour there. It was subsequently released in India on EMI. Sweden had the wonderful Amigo label which released fewer than a dozen recordings of Indian classical music (but almost all of them were gems) and also apparently the Sonet label, which released primarily jazz and blues music from 1956-91.

The recording is obviously very high quality, and I would love to be able to obtain the original analog tapes and remaster these for a proper reissue. However, until that happens, we can enjoy this vinyl transfer.







Side one:
Raga Jhinjhoti

Side two:
Raga Misra Pilu

Santoor: Shivkumar Sharma
Bansuri: Hariprasad Chaurasia
Tabla: Kashinath Mishra
Tampura: Anuradha Chaurasia


Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct



(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; 
suitable for playing on a computer or other player 
capable of playing high resolution files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)



July 31, 2017

MS Subbulakshmi: Surdas Bhajans [PSLP 1391] an LP recorded and released in India in 1986 - fresh remaster

Surdas was a 15th century poet, reportedly blind, who is renowned for his many poems about the life of Lord Krishna. The Murty Classical Library of India has published a lovely collection of some of the earliest known manuscripts of Surdas' poetry and the book is well worth searching out.

MS Subbulakshmi was one of the most prolific and popular singers of bhajans, or Hindi devotional songs. This delightful LP, rescued from my local record shop which just recently placed on their shelves a small but choice selection of Indian vinyl, was recorded in 1986 by EMI and features vocal support from Radha Viswanathan. (Thank you Ken for your wonderful record store!)

The poems were set to music by P.S. Srinivasa Rao.

At times the close harmonies are reminiscent of heavily applied reverb, but I think the heartfelt singing of MSS shines through.

This is a remaster of an old post from the halcyon days of early 2015.
I boosted some midrange frequencies and was able to remove most of the remaining groove noise without affecting the music in any way.


The songs are as follows:

Side 1:
Prabhuji Tum Bin Kaun Sahai
Nis Din Barsat Nain Hamare
Raakho Laaj Hari Tum Meri
Kunjani Kunjani Bajati Murli

Side 2:
Akhiyan Hari Darsan Ki Piyasi
Madhuban Tum Kyon Rahat Hare
Hey Deen Dayal Gopal Hari
Suneri MAin Ne Nirbal Ke Balram

Click here to watch a YouTube clip of a live performance of a bhajan by MSS.

And here is another video of a performance of a bhajan by MSS.


Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: 20 minutes in an ultrasonic cleaner with clean pure water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: vintage restored Pioneer SX-780
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR
Software: Audacity to normalize and carefully remove one or two clicks per side. Only very minimal change in EQ was made - a few dB increase in the 2000-3000 range (using parametric EQ). Conversion to 16/44.1 took place in Audacity. xAct was used to convert to FLAC and mp3. 



(after conversion to WAV, suitable for burning to CD

(the highest quality mp3 file, using data compression to decrease file size, and able to played on computer or portable device including smart phones)



July 30, 2017

TR Mahalingam: Album de Nuit [Stil 0312 S 78] An album recorded in France in 1978 and released in France in 1981 - a fresh remaster

There have been four or five requests for a re-upload of this album, originally posted to this blog back in April 2015. I decided to remaster the files because I have never been satisfied with my original transfer, despite assurances from people that they thought it sounded fine. The amount of music on three of the four sides of the album required the LP-cutting engineer to reduce the volume to the point where even the French vinyl (from 1960-90 among the quietest on Earth in my opinion) threatened to overwhelm the music. 

I have remastered my original transfer and I believe it sounds as good as it is going to sound with my current equipment, ears, and experience.

Just a quick note about terms: the transfer is what happens when a vinyl record is spinning on the turntable and the recorder is on. Once those files are made, anything I do to them is mastering. And if I do those steps again on the original recordings, it is re-mastering.

The original post has been deleted because I don't want to cause any confusion and there doesn't seem to be any reason to keep it (except possibly to preserve readers' comments -- sorry about that!).

After the lines, we will have the original notes and scans plus updated information about equipment and software used. 

----------------------------------------------------

On view today is an interesting and relatively rare LP from Tiruvidaimarudur Ramaswamy Mahalingam (6 November 1926 – 31 May 1986) who was affectionately known as Mali. He revolutionized the style of flute playing in Carnatic music yet made relatively few recordings. Many of the ones that are available feature remarkably poor sound, although the two CD sets currently available on the Japanese label EM Records are quite nice. 

This 94-minute double LP is one of two by Mali that the french label Stil Records released in the early 1980s. It was recorded live in 1978 in Paris and was released on vinyl in 1981. Stil mostly issued western classical LPs but did issue several LPs of Indian classical music (a pair each from Mali, the great vocalist Lakshmi Shankar [1926-2013], and Ram Narayan, as well as one by Imrat Khan). They have a website but as far as I can tell are no longer in business -- no new releases since the late 1980s and only one CD reissue in 1996.









Side one:
01 Varnam: "Veerboni..." Raga Bhairavi (15:45)
02 Kriti: "Ramaneepi..." Raga Kedara (4:32)

Side two:
03 Kriti: "Sukiyavaro..." Raga Kanada (17:18)

Side three:
04 Ragam, Thanam: Raga Shubapantuvarali (8:32)
05 Pallavi: Ragas Shubapantuvarali, Kamaj, Mayamalagowia (19:30)

Side four:
06 Kriti: "Nadabindu..." Raga Chenchurutte (4:46)
07 Folksong: "Chinnam Chiru Killy..." (11:02)
08 Tillana: Raga Pharas (4:30)
09 Folksong (5:47)
10 Managalm: Raga Sowrastra (2:25)

TR Mahalingam: Bansuri
CM Madhuranath: second Bansuri
SV Raja Rao: Mridangam
BHP Ramachar: kanjeera
KN Krishnmurty: ghatam
Charles Ledoux: tampura

Equipment used in transfer: 
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.

Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/44.1kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, xAct.


(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; 
suitable for playing on a computer or other player 
capable of playing high resolution files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)


July 29, 2017

Manik Varma: A Delectable Treat in Night Melodies [INRECO 2411-5038] An LP recorded and released in India in 1978

Our LP today is our second offering from vocalist Manik Varma (1926-96), a member of the Kirana Gharana. The first post featured an album released by EMI in 1965 with accompaniment by the great violinist VG Jog.

This is the first LP on the blog from the Indian Record Manufacturing Company ("INRECO") which was based in Calcutta. Originally beginning as Hindusthan Records in 1932, it survives to this day (if selling digital downloads for pennies counts as surviving). I have a few Hindusthan 78s including a really lovely one by KL Saigal. It's widely available in good sound on several CDs, so it's not a rarity -- but the colorful label and the challenge in changing the phonograph cartridge to be able to play a 78rpm disk make it a fun experience to listen to once in a while.

This LP is not going to land on any "Audiophile Best" lists, the way that yesterday's post on the Connoisseur Records label often does. However it is not a travesty, either. There is some overly-hard left-right separation of the instruments which would never be tolerated today, and some very minimal high frequency distortion (only during a few brief moments) which might be a result of the previous owners' handling of the LP or might be resulting from an inexperienced LP mastering engineer. But make no mistake - this is a good recording and a charming performance by a singer who did not make a huge amount of commercial recordings.

side one:
"Jiyo Mere lal" in Raga Shyam Kalyan (vilambit ektaal)
"Sawan Ki Sanj Bhai" in Raga Shyam Kalyan (drut tritaal)

side two:
"Mandirwa Aye Nahin Priam" in Raga Bihagda (drut ektaal)
"Shyam More Bhaiya Kahona" in Raga Desh (drut ektaal)

Tabla: Trimbak Jadhav
Harmonium: Govind Patwarhan






Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT-440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepairand xAct


(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; 
suitable for playing on a computer or other player 
capable of playing high resolution files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)



July 28, 2017

Ali Akbar Khan - Music for Meditation [CS 2063] an LP recorded and released in the United States in 1974

This is not just a re-upload -- I went back to the original raw files and completely remastered the vinyl transfer so that many of the defects of the original recording such as traffic noises and recalcitrant groove crackle were tamed. I think the result deserves its own blog post. The previous post has been removed so as to not confuse anyone. I hope you enjoy this "freshened up" transfer -- no longer housed at Zippyshare!

--------------------------------------------------------------

Here we have an interesting LP -- as sort of a sequel to "The 40 minute Raga" and "The 80 minute Raga" the gentle folk at Connoisseur Records could have entitled this "The 40 Minute Alap" because that is what is featured. The raga is Bilaskhan Todi and interested readers are referred to the back cover of the LP for the notes of the raga. It is considered a morning raga.

On side 1 (but, interestingly, not on side 2) there was quite a bit of very low frequency information that did not seem to be coming from the sarod. At one point it sounds like a door is being slammed off in the very distant background and possibly some traffic noises at times as well.

The record was mastered at Sterling and is in reasonable good shape. It is sought after by audiophiles for its warm analog, tube-amplifier sound.

A big thank you to Nels for the loan of the LP.






Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT-440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/44.1kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct. 



(only playable on a computer or other player capable of playing HD files)

(after decoding, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)


July 27, 2017

Vijay Raghav Rao: Flute Music of India [ST 5155] an LP recorded in India in 1968 and released in the US at an unknown date

This LP is somewhat of a curiosity. Tower Records (no relation to the venerated chain of record stores which went bankrupt a few years ago) was a subsidiary of Capital Records (itself a division of EMI) which released a few Indian Classical LPs in the late 1960s. Generally they were reissues of previously released music from EMI India. I can find no exact version of this LP on HMV/EMI so it probably consists of recordings scattered across several albums.

Vijay Raghav Rao (November 3, 1925 - November 30, 2011) was born in Chennai but eventually began working with Ravi Shankar first on films and then other projects. His pupils included Ronu Majumdar and GS Sachdev. One source stated he permanently moved to the United States at one point. Possibly he lived in the same area of northern California where Ravi Shankar stayed. 

This is a delightful and very tuneful album featuring three Ragas. The cover is a reminder of the days when records by dark skinned musicians featured lovely pale white girls on the cover. This model looks a bit more exotic than usual, at least.

Side one:
Raga Hansdhwani
Dhun in Raga Shivranjani

Side two:
Raga Malkauns

Bansuri: Vijay Ragahv Rao
Support bansuri: DK Thakar
Tabla: Manikrao Popatkar











Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT-440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct. 


(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; only playable on a computer or other player capable of playing HD files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)

July 25, 2017

Rasiklal Andharia: Classical Vocal [ECSD 2991] an LP recorded and released in India in 1985

There is not a lot of information about Rasiklal Andharia on the Internet. He seems to have been born in 1931 in Punjab and died around the time of this LP release, apparently of severe heart disease.

The only recordings of which I am aware are this one LP and also a CD on violinist Sangeeta Shankar's CD label Legendary Legacy Recordings entitled "Nirmal." There are several baithak and other recordings on youtube which I highly recommend.

Andharia appears to have been taught primarily by his uncle. Some of the rather scant biographies I found also mention the great Amir Khan; it is unclear whether there was actual teaching going on or if Andharia simply was influenced by the legendary maestro.

I have been holding on to these recordings for several weeks for the somewhat ridiculous reason that after completing the vinyl transfer process, I misplaced the physical LP and was waiting to find it in order to make the cover and label scans. Don't worry -- I'm sure the LP will turn up in my home office. Probably in a big stack of other LPs waiting to be transferred. In the meantime I will use the scans which I found on the singularly invaluable "Anthems for the Nation of Luobaniya" blog.

Either way, this is an extremely lovely LP. Andhari's vocal style is peaceful and beautiful. One gets the impression that he is simply singing the music without adding any unnecessary gymnastic embellishments. It takes quite a bit of artistic courage to adhere to such a simple style and make it work.

Even if you do not normally download vocal recordings, I sincerely suggest you investigate this.








Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica Shure M97xE 
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct. 



(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; only playable on a computer or other player capable of playing HD files)

(after decoding to WAV, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)

July 23, 2017

Nishat Khan with Zakir Hussain: In Live Concert at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi [ECSD 3134] An LP recorded and released in India in 1985

Nishat Khan (born somewhat mysteriously in the "mid 1960s" as his wikipedia bio states) is the oldest son of Imrat Khan, which makes him a nephew of Vilayat Khan.

His recorded output has been sparse compared to others in his lineage. There were two EMI LPs in the "mid-1980s" (I can be mysterious, too!) and then not much beside a Nimbus CD and a few releases on the Amiata Records label.

He composed a "Sitar Concerto" which he performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales during the 2013 BBC Proms season.

This album was originally recorded "live in concert" and there has been some not-very-subtle editing on the part of the un-named EMI engineers. We have some woozy balance issues in the first two minutes (able to be easily corrected with Audacity and a bit of creativity) and some ham-handed splices of music and applause (not able to be fixed at this time). Certainly it would be wonderful for EMI to discover the unmolested tapes of the concert and produce a one or two CD set of the entire show, but that is too much to expect or even hope for these days, sadly.

Nishat Khan: sitar
Zakir Hussain: tabla

Side one:
Raga Yaman Kalyan (alap and jor)

Side two:
Raga Yaman Kalyan (vilambit [slow] gat [composition])
Raga Suha Sugrai (drut [fast] gat and jhala)
Raga Bhairavi










Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica Shure M97xE 
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct. 



(the highest resolution I am capable of producing; only playable on a computer or other player capable of playing HD files)

(after decoding, suitable for burning to CD)

(highest possible quality mp3 file; 
suitable for listening on a portable player)