The S&V Interview

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Mike Mettler  |  Nov 22, 2017  |  0 comments
Is there a more hallowed Thanksgiving tradition than the annual spinning of Arlo Guthrie's magical 18-minute tale about one fateful Thanksgiving Day encounter that's also celebrating its 50th birthday this year, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”? Guthrie and I discuss the song’s sonic origins, what had to be done to ensure it fit perfectly onto one album side, and the Guthrie family’s storied annual holiday tradition of playing Carnegie Hall in New York.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  5 comments
There’s no denying the lure of powerful, deep, visceral bass. How it pulls you into the action. How it scares the living hell out of you. How it makes music real. We were so intrigued by the beastly 6-foot-tall SMSG50 super subwoofer designed and built by Germany’s Ascendo Immersive Audio that we had to dig deeper. We wanted to know what it takes to design and build a subwoofer of this caliber — one capable of producing peak levels up to 140 dB and deliver 105 dB of sound pressure at 5 Hz. Is a subwoofer that weighs 441 pounds and uses a single 50-inch (!) driver to plumb the infrasonic depths really better than a model of more manageable size with maybe a few 18-inch drivers? We caught up with Geoffrey Heinzel, partner and director of international sales and marketing for Ascendo, to learn more about this modern marvel.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 19, 2017  |  3 comments
15 Minutes with ATSC President Mark Richer

ATSC 3.0 is hailed by its proponents as a revolution in technology that will transform TV broadcasting by bringing together internet and over-the-air signals with a common IP backbone. We reached out to Mark Richer, president of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, to learn more.

Mike Mettler  |  Dec 12, 2019  |  1 comments
Aubrey Powell, Hipgnosis co-founder and the creative director for Pink Floyd's massive The Later Years: 1987-2019 box set, tells us why having a personal bond with the artist helps with the creative process and why the intended visual message must connect with the music itself.
Bob Ankosko  |  Mar 01, 2016  |  First Published: Feb 29, 2016  |  1 comments
Few have done more to advance the state of the art in audio reproduction than J. Robert Stuart, co-founder, chairman, and technical director of England’s prestigious Meridian Group, Life Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and recipient of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. In a recent video commemorating the honor, Meridian co-founder and long-time collaborator, Allen Boothroyd—the man responsible for the brand’s elegant designs—observed: “I never realized when I set up business with Bob that the guy’s a genius.” Genius, indeed...
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 12, 2017  |  First Published: Sep 13, 2017  |  0 comments
When Can began releasing their structurally challenging, progressive/electronic music out of Cologne, West Germany in 1968, they essentially ushering in the movement that came to be known as Krautrock, and their far-reaching influence has been cited by such convention-defying artists as David Bowie, the Talking Heads, and Radiohead. Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt called me to discuss the band’s new The Singles collection and their singular improv-compositional style, when surround sound mixes are (and aren’t) options for their catalog, and what Can song avant-garde German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen gave his rarely handed out seal of approval.
Mike Mettler  |  Oct 23, 2013  |  0 comments
How low can you go? If you’re Tony Levin, vaunted bassist and Chapman Stick pluckmaster known for adventurous, innovative low-end work with heavy hitters like Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, it’s also a question of how far. Even with such a storied pedigree, Levin, 67, has always been one to constantly seek new challenges, and he’s met that creative hunger head on with his current collaboration, Levin Minnemann Rudess, a progressive trio that also consists of drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, UKZ) and keyboardist extraordinaire Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment).
Adrienne Maxwell  |  Mar 01, 2006  |  0 comments
Behind the scenes at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Organized chaos. That's what I witness as I walk backstage and move through the adjoining corridors of the Staples Center. It's the day before the Grammy telecast, the final of three rehearsal days leading up to the big event. U2 has just finished their hour-and-a-half rehearsal, and breaking down their set has taken longer than planned. While one team maneuvers U2's massive equipment through the ramps backstage, another works feverishly to ready the stage for the next act. Still other crew members hurry to and fro with no apparent destination.
Mike Mettler  |  Mar 26, 2014  |  First Published: Mar 25, 2014  |  2 comments
“I don’t want to stop anyone from getting the CD, but vinyl is the truest way to hear this record,” says Benmont Tench about his new solo album, You Should Be So Lucky (Blue Note). “When you have Glyn Johns [The Rolling Stones, Eagles, The Who] recording something to tape, you really want to hear it on vinyl.”
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 17, 2016  |  0 comments
These days, Billy Sherwood — the multi-talented, multi-hyphenate musician who cites bassist, vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, producer, mixer, and engineer as being among the many caps he wears in his sonic haberdashery — is spending the bulk of his time as the bassist in Yes, having been handpicked by the late Chris Squire to be his replacement. As rewarding as being in Yes is for Sherwood, his passion project is his other band, Circa, in which he plays guitar and sings lead vocals. Sherwood, 51, called me to discuss his goals for the overall sound of circa's new album Valley of the Windmill, what it’s like backing up William Shatner, and what the future may hold for Yes.
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 08, 2017  |  0 comments
As defined as the sound of legendary new-wave icons Blondie may appear to be on record, it’s how they’re able to open things up onstage while supporting their buzzworthy new album Pollinator that keeps things interesting for the bandmembers themselves. Drummer Clem Burke and I got on the line to discuss Blondie’s special chemistry on record and onstage, how to be creative while working with click tracks and drum machines, and the special kick he added to the back half of “Heart of Glass.”
Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jul 09, 2007  |  First Published: Jun 09, 2007  |  0 comments
Two that do one; one that does two.

LG shocked the consumer electronics world at CES when they announced that, not only were they coming out with a player that would play Blu-ray and HD DVD, but it would be shipping in less than a month. True to their word, it did, and I got one in to try out. Around the same time, Toshiba released a pair of second-generation HD DVD players. The model I look at here, the HD-XA2, is notable as it is the first HD DVD player to output 1080p. The Blu-ray camp (seeing as they had just released most of their players) had no such exciting newness beyond what you read about in our April issue. So, we got in the Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player, which is unique in that it doesn't seem to be a clone of any other players (which you can't say for many of the BD players out there). Where should your money go (if at all)? Just keep reading.

Mike Mettler  |  Jun 20, 2018  |  1 comments
There are legends, and then there’s Buddy Guy. The Chicago-based octogenarian blues guitarist originally from Lettsworth, Louisiana just keeps going and going. And if his new album, The Blues Is Alive and Well (Silvertone/RCA) is any indication, the Guy train won’t be making its final stop anytime soon.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 04, 2013  |  0 comments
“Pretty much everything that goes into the music is as analog as I can make it,” says Tom Scholz, chief sonic architect of the longtime rock powerhouse known as Boston. It’s taken him 10 years to deliver the band’s sixth studio album, Life, Love & Hope (Frontiers) — “But who’s counting?” he chuckles — and discerning audiophiles know it’s well worth the wait. Signature stacked harmonies, lovingly layered guitars, emotionally uplifting vocals, sheaves of killer riffs — what’s not to like? (And, yes, Virginia, there will be vinyl.) “All I can say is the tone, the sound, and the way it’s all put together is the way I like it,” Scholz admits. “And I’m just lucky there are other people who like the same things I do.”
Mike Mettler  |  May 13, 2015  |  1 comments
How does he do it? How does the eternal Beach Boy Brian Wilson keep composing all-new harmonically gorgeous and sonically seductive pocket symphonies (as he likes to call them), 50-plus years into his career? The answer, he says, is quite simple: “I know in my head — in my brain — how to do it.” Wilson’s marvelous brain has dreamt up scores of timeless classics, such as the instantly hummable singalongs “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “California Girls,” and “Love and Mercy” (to name but a few), and he’s just added 16 more gems to his storied canon on the Deluxe Edition of his 11th solo album, No Pier Pressure (Capitol). The angelic choral joy of “This Beautiful Day,” the pop confection perfection of “Saturday Night” — which features Wilson blissfully trading lead vocals with Nate Ruess of fun. — and the jaunty nautical shanty “Sail Away,” the latter a reunion with onetime Beach Boys bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, all reinforce the fact Wilson remains very much in touch with his beautiful muse. Wilson, 73, and I recently discussed some of his production benchmarks, the difference between inspiration and influence, and what he thinks sounds the best on radio. God only knows — when it comes to six decades and counting of creating the soundtrack for an endless summer, Wilson continues to put forth nothing but good vibrations.

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