February 18, 2018

Bismillah Khan and VG Jog: Shehnai and Violin [EASD 1322] an LP recorded and released in India in 1968

It's been about a year since I have had the pleasure of listening to the sweet shehnai of Bismillah Khan. It's easy to see why he was one of the most widely beloved musicians of his generation. I remain convinced that VG Jog was truly underrated as a performer. These two musicians make this jugalbandi album a treat throughout.

Sometimes jugalbandi concerts are a bit tame and predictable, but this LP shows two veteran musicians who are in tune with each other, both reacting sensitively to each other in real time. Neither appears interested in dominating the other or just coasting and playing it safe.

With the wonderful tabla playing by Kanai Dutta, informative and brief liner notes, and a goofy illustration on the cover, this album is one of my favorites. I purchased it online from a seller who only had a few Indian Classical LPs, but they were all in mint condition. 

side one: Raga Todi
side two: Raga Durga and a Dhun

shehnai: Bismillah Khan
violin: VG Jog
tabla: Kanai Dutta








Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in 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: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct





February 17, 2018

Ali Akbar Khan: [EASD 1324] an LP recorded and released in India in 1968

Here is an LP which I usually skip over when looking for an LP to post. I think, "Oh, everyone has that one already." But that is not necessarily true. The record is definitely is easy to find in used condition and therefore probably sold quite well. On the other hand, access to any Indian LP has been increasingly been restricted over the past 15-20 years or so -- first came their mass destruction following the introduction of other formats such as cassette and compact disc, and now the emergence of digital downloads and streaming services is hurting all physical sales just as some folk are re-discovering the joys of analog objects.

This LP and the transfer are in stereo. I believe it sounds better in mono, though. Your results may vary from mine. Hopefully you do have the ability to choose whether you hear it in mono or stereo.

With thanks my friend Nels for the loan of the LP.

side one: Raga Desh Malhar with composition in sitarkhani taal
side two: Raga Nat Bhairav with fast and slow compositions in teentaal

sarod: Ali Akbar Khan
tabla: Shankar Ghosh






Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in water.
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Roland R-05 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: Audacity, ClickRepair, and xAct






February 16, 2018

Jnan Prakash Ghosh and VG Jog: Jugalbandi [EASD 1434] an LP recorded and released in India in 1985

The music on this LP is extremely tuneful, serious yet joyful at the same time. Also, I would say that on a strictly audiophile level, this is one of the best-recorded EMI/HMV LPs I've yet heard. The tabla sounds natural for once. The detail is quite amazing. Close listeners will at times notice the faint sound of fingers landing on the keys of the harmonium just before the sound is released, and the violin sounds are up close and earthy.

In addition, because this LP was one of many I have purchased new and unplayed on Discogs from my friend and fellow blogger Tawfiq, the condition of the LP and cover were immaculate. Indian manufacturers of LPs often utilized worn stampers which were used so many times per hour that there was not an appropriate time allowed for them to cool properly. There is no evidence of that kind of practice in this wonderful album.

I have posted a few VG Jog LPs in the past, and there are two more to come. 

violin: VG Jog 
harmonium: Jnan Prakash Ghosh
tabla: Sanjoy Mukherjee

side one: Raga Shayam Kalyan with compositions in Jhamptaal and Tritaal (24:10)
side two: Raga Jhinjhoti with composition in Sitarkhani (23:50)










Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct





February 4, 2018

AT Kanan [7EPE 1002] an EP released in India in 1961

Here we have a rare 7-inch 45RPM bundle of delight. This is the only officially released recording of AT Kanan (1920-2004) of which I am aware. See Kiran's comment below, however. 

He was a guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Calcutta and was a member of the Kirana gharana. A few additional recordings can be accessed here.

Rarely for that time, full credits of the other instrumentalists (including the great tabla maestro Mahapurish Misra) are on the label.

Side A: Raga Bageshree
Side B: Thumri (Nadiya Kinare Mora Gaon)


Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT440MLb
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct