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GOODBYE, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH. Remembering A Guitarist Like No Other.

Posted by Rick Frystak, April 20, 2017 05:48pm | Post a Comment

by Rick Frystak

On April 15, 2017, I was very saddened to be told that guitarist / violinist / composer Allan Holdsworth had passed away, leaving behind a legacy of recordings and for me, countless live performances I witnessed that will live forever in my soul. Along with being shocked, I just did not believe my brother's text that this news had happened. Fake? It was then that I was pointed to Facebook, where Allan's daughter had quietly and thoughtfully revealed her father's death.

The timing of his passing was, and is absolutely spooky. 2 weeks previously we had  seen Allan perform a celebratory gig to mark the release of a project in which I had participated in the production, and my brother Peter had provided photographs for: a huge, 12-CD box set of almost all of his albums,The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever. and a 2-CD set, Eidolon, of his ''best'' songs selected by Allan himself. I was grievously perplexed. I have to remind myself now that Allan had to be happy to see that the CD projects were on the store shelves. Dan Perloff, producer of the CDs for Manifesto Records, has said that the box set is already sold out. 

I first heard Allan while he was a member of the group Tempest., and their album Tempest. We knew immediately that this man was no ordinary guitarist. 

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Unique Veteran French Prog-Rock Ensemble Magma Return to US for Brief Tour

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2015 08:08am | Post a Comment

One of French rock music's most innovative and eclectic musical ensembles, the eight member group Magma whose style is their own unique brand of progressive-rock, will be making a brief North American tour over the next two weeks with only eight select dates scheduled (including two in California dates: LA's Echoplex on Monday, April 6th and Slim's in SF on Wednesday, April 8th). Their upcoming tour that kicks off at Venue in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, April 2nd.

The longtime group, who were founded by main member Christian Vander four and a half decades ago upon inspiration from a "vision of humanity’s spiritual and ecological future," stand apart from every other band (not just in France but everywhere) due to their unique musical sound and the fact that they crafted their very own language.

WFMU radio's DJ Trouble, who plays a lot of French musical acts on her weekly show, has been a big fan of Magma's for many years and will be attending their upcoming tour's closing date at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 13th. I asked the DJ what exactly it is that she likes so much about Magma? "They're a wild French band that includes a former Yé-yé girl," she said, adding "And they've made up an extra terrestrial language and "origin" story. Oh and they make crazy prog-ish sounds! What's not to love?" Another major fan of the band is Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein whom I asked what it is that has long attracted him to Magma. "They are unlike anything else. They created their own universe and you literally have to enter their universe to appreciate their music," said Weinstein, noting how Magma founder Christian Vander's intense interest in music by Stravinsky and Coltrane helped shape the band's eclectic, adventurous progressive sound.

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Prog Rock CD Collection Hits Amoeba SF & Berkeley on Labor Day Weekend

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 28, 2014 05:26pm | Post a Comment

We recently acquired a a massive Prog Rock CD collection and we're rolling it out at Amoeba San Francisco & Amoeba Berkeley on Friday, August 29, just in time for Labor Day weekend! Hundreds of rare import titles from Italy, Japan, Germany, France & Netherlands and lots of reissues on the Mellow and Musea labels. Get to our Bay Area stores early 'cause they won't last long!

Prog Rock CD Collection

What We're Doing With What They've Done: Amoeba's "Vinyl Vaults"

Posted by Rick Frystak, April 28, 2013 07:15pm | Post a Comment

If you don't already know, we here at Amoeba are very much underway with our monumental archiving project for our website Amoeba.com, simply called the "Vinyl Vaults". It's a really spectacular beginning to what is and will be a huge undertaking in offering to the public digital transfers of the most remarkable older, oblique and hard to find works of creative peoples around the globe throughout the history of recording. I myself, am curating a large part of this, and have been very excitedly pulling out many, many unique pieces of vinyl out of the used LP buys that we take in at Amoeba's buying counters, and sending them into the ether (ie,our great team) to be archived and considered for sale on Amoeba.com. Our sound team takes these copies of the LPs, 7" singles and 78 rpm discs and digitizes them via ProTools, into 24-bit files, and then make mp3, mp4 and 16 bit .wav files (CD quality) from the 24-bit master and split up the sides into tracks for folks to download. We sometimes offer of the highest resolution 24-bit file as well for a certain title. And in many cases the original LP or 78 or 45 we used to digitize the sides is available right there next to the download. 


How do I decide what we save to digitize and offer to the public as I go through all these LPs? The records almost speak to me as I sift over the aquisitions we've purchased in the collections we buy. If I don't  know the record, I'll see the look of the cover, the paper texture, and the era of manufacture as the first things revealed. Even the weight and smell of the "thing". Exotic LPs have a feel to them, a way they communicate to the holder that they are something interesting, distinctly special, and a thing to be investigated further. If you've held a phonograph record in your hands  you know what I mean. Often the packaging will tell me what's inside, but how many records say "vocals" or "guitar" or "piano", and yet how different can all these records be? The actual sound on the disc is an exciting mystery of immense promise before I hear it. So then, to play a little bit, I "needle-drop" (sample bits of) so many records in a day. And it just so happens that Amoeba offers 1 1/2 minutes of free sample listening for all the records' songs, so this is comparable to how I listen to potential pieces for the Vaults. Once chosen, a disc will undergo a discerning ear's analysis and judgement for condition, and a little research to see if folks already know about this record. Ultimately, the bliss of finding a transcendent musical performance by a deceased or obscure artist or on a long-defunct label is intoxicating. And to think that others can later enjoy these provocative sounds via the "Vinyl Vaults"  is exhilarating.

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In Praise of Tiny LP's!

Posted by Mark Beaver, September 2, 2010 09:00am | Post a Comment
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Not long ago Amoeba brought in an original 1964 Japanese pressing of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night LP. Typically, we have found that we are able to fetch upwards of $250 for that record in Near Mint condition (which this copy was). However, the LP we purchased also had that strip of paper, printed primarily in Japanese, that it was originally purchased with back in 1964. "Big deal!," one might think, but, yes...it is.
The "obi," a t
brian eno here come the warm jetserm borrowed from the sash worn as a belt around the midsection of a kimono, is a piece of ephemera that many people throw away when they first crack open their Japanese vinyl. A word of advice: Don't do that! Because the Beatles album had that slim belt of paper, 45 years old and in almost all other cases, discarded, it was worth closer to $2,000!

Obi fans and collectors will nod their heads, "of course!" So much is the appeal of the fine attention to detail and the often beautiful "extra something" lent by the obi that, fairly early in the history of the CD, Japanese CD manufacturers began making LP replica CD's, complete with scale versions of their accompanying obis...and another voracious collectors'
market was born.