Listening to music
Listening to music is my dearest hobby. It's an everyday enjoyment that always has somehing new to give.
For me it's a lot more than just listening. It's about learning to know the backgrounds – I want to know about the lives of the singers, the careers of the musicians and about recording studios and when the songs were recorded. It's also hunting some rarer releases.
I have invested to this hobby also with some hardware. It's important to me because hearing music with bad equipment is like seeing a photocopy of a photograph – a lot details are left out and unseen.
I have Genelec's active monitors which are preferred by many musicians and professionals. They reproduce the music without alterations or distortions - just as it was recorded. The Audiolab preamp has the highly-regarded ESS Sabre 9018 32-bit DAC chip, both digital and analog inputs and balanced outputs.
- Preamplifier: Audiolab 8200DQ
- CD players: Pioneer PD-F705 and PD-F606
- Tuner: Yamaha Natural Sound TX-592RDS
- Speakers: Genelec 8250A DSP and Genelec Loudspeaker Manager software
The singers I'm interested in the most are:
Chris de Burgh
I got familiar with Chris de Burgh's music through my parents's interest. The man is, apart from The lady in red, known unfortunaltely little. He's an extremely talented songwriter and also skilled as a singer. There are a lot to think about in his songs – they talk about love, social and historical subjects. Also a spiritual dimension comes up now and then.
The road to freedom (2004) and The storyman (2006) and also Moonfleet and other stories (2010) show his songwriting talent in full bloom, after over 30 years of work. Also among his older albums there are jewels like The getaway (1982).
Chris's records are fine and diverse also musically. The style varies from pop and soft rock to light classical. Phil Palmer's guitar solos are stunning, as are Chris Cameron's orchestral arrangements.
I got to know the Canadian star from my dear wife. The best thing in Céline has to be her voice and technical skills. The singer known from power ballads is able to do much more than her most popular songs reveal.
Most of her music is romantic but there are also other subjects in her songs. The francophone material is a lot more ambitious and of a higher quality than her anglophone songs – especially the D'elles album (2007) shines.
The number and variety of producers give a wide range of musical styles. Céline has as well rock (Taking chances, 2007) as clessical influence (These are special times, 1998). Falling into you (1996) is among the best with its versatility.
Elvis Presley's music is one of the longest-standing interests to me. Over the years my preferences have changed somewhat – in the beginning I listened to his 1950s material, a while later his 1960s material and nowadays I consider his work from his last years to be his best. This is because his voice had matured and also his skills developed. The years behind him brought depth into his interpretations and song selections.
A very special thing with Elvis is that even now, 30 years after his death, new records come out. A part of them are reissues with better and better audio quality, thanks to the new mastering technology. However, this is only a part of the record stream.
Many releases are live recordings of his over a thousand concerts between 1969 and 1977. In these live recordings you can analyse the changes in his repertoire and renditions. Up to the last years there have been found live recordings of songs that nobody know he performed live.
Many of the records are about documentating the studio work of Elvis. These recordings show how a song was developed and refined, from the first try-out to the finished master. Sometimes a song was fniished on the first take while at times it took dozens of tries to get it right – sometimes a verse was left out, sometimes the tempo or the key was altered. It's remarkable that in the old days recordings were done live in the studio, with dozens of musicians and singers playing at the same time.
The legendary Swedish group has got my interest with their great songwriter and producer skills and of course their wonderful beautiful polyphonic singing. The new Deluxe editions of the original albums are brilliant. Like with many other artist, I enjoy their later-day albums best, Super trouper (1980) and The visitors (1981).
Others: Tom Jones, Kenny Rogers, Roy Orbison