Well, who would have thought. The guy who flunked AP English junior year of high school and had to take summer school to make up the credits is writing his 200th consecutive column for the Colorado Daily.
That’s me, by the way. I didn’t pass English because I didn’t want to do homework, and I did start a student newspaper during downtime at summer school, so I guess it’s not ridiculously surprising that we got here.
But I still pinch myself from time to time. And I want to say thanks. Over the last four years, my lovely editor at the Daily, Deanna Hardies, has allowed me to write literally whatever I desire, with only gentle suggestions here and there. She is a gem, if you don’t have the pleasure of knowing her.
And you, my dear reader, have not taken up pitchforks and lanterns collectively and stormed the newspaper gates to demand my ouster. So far. Thanks for that!
We’ve gone all over the subject of making and listening to music, from the recording “loudness wars” to modern digital MQA files to how to set up a subwoofer to the inner workings of headphones.
We’ve constructed DIY audio projects, talked about how hearing is lost and looked at quite a few amazing local musicians.
The reason I enjoy writing this column, and the reason I never run out of material to write about, is that now, in 2019, is the best time ever to be an audiophile.
Not only is the quality of budget-level stereo equipment higher than it’s ever been, all stereo equipment is more accessible than it’s ever been before. And with the rise of digital signal processing (DSP), it’s possible to attain higher fidelity for less money spent than ever before.
But perhaps the most important reason it’s great to be an audiophile these days, and the one that truly keeps me going with this hobby, is that digital music production has never been better. We’re living in a turnover age for audiophile music, where synthetic and electronic music is beginning to push all of the audiophile buttons in terms of stereo imaging, face-melting bass and realism.
And with that intro, I give you my favorite record to drop thus far in 2019, Yosi Horikawa’s “Spaces.”
Fire up the first track, “Timbres,” on a nice system with a subwoofer and you immediately hear what I’m talking about. Recorded samples appear left and right and stretch across the room, while the “thunk” of the bass drum reaches out and punches you right in the guts.
I don’t know much about Yosi Horikawa as a person, but I know his music very well. Listen to any of his albums and you get the sense of intense focus and preparation for each song. No track in Horikawa’s discography is a throwaway, and that’s certainly the case on “Spaces.”
True to Horikawa’s style, each track is named descriptively, and each begins with an ambient recording sample on the theme. “Crossing” sounds like an intersection in Mumbai, with Vespas and bell-laden rickshaws passing the stereo field left to right before the main beat slowly develops and works its way into the samples.
Do check it out, and thanks for reading!