Ear Candy: Most startling recordings.

OK, we all respect great musical talent and muscianship, but sometimes you put in a CD and you get one of those startling zany recordings that make you smile it is so strange. Some of Neil Young's stuff is kind of like that. Alot of Pink Floyd is like this. Sounds racing across the sounds stage, shifting mike position in mid recording. What are your favorite "ear candy" recordings?
I would have to say that 2 of my favorites are Madonna- The Immaculate Collection and Roger Waters- Amused to Death. Both were recorded with the Q sound process and the imaging on these discs is nothing short of phenomenal. I don't remember the reviewer it was, but one of the guys at Stereophile chose Amused to Death as his reference for imaging tests. He said there wasn't a disc that was better for this purpose. To bad the musical content is worthless, but thats a different story. If you can still find the Sony SBM gold version, believe me it's worth the price.
For me, it's "Dirt Track Date" from Southern Culture on the Skids(great band!). On this cut for the last 6 or so minutes, there is the sound of a dirt track racing car barreling around the track. It's another great imaging test, as the cart not only goes from side to side but to the far side of the track as well. It is so lifelike that those in my house routinely barge into the listening room, mad as hell, swearing someone is going crazy outside, riding around on a motorcycle. When I explain it's the recording, they are in absolute disbelief.
The first cut on the original Soundtrack From Twin Peaks, Music Composed by Angelo Badalamenti, has the most surefire bodyrush of anything I've ever heard. It'll wash over you, the wife and any small animals present :-) The rest of it's way cool too. But beware of imitations, make sure it's the CD original Warner Bros 26316-2.
Anything by Enigma! Also, for synthesized is Moodswings. Best ear candy of the classic rock days is the Moody Blues - hand's down. Of course, Pink Floyd is great too! Tony
These aren't necessarily startling, but they are cute... 1. Pink Floyd "Atom Heart Mother" (Quadraphonic!) has a water drip, drip, drip,... that repeats forever at the end of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast until your tonearm picks up--if your tonearm picks up. 2. There is a Mike Oldfield record (forgot title) that chants "Debby Boone, Debby Boone,..." in a similar fashion. 3. Also on "Atom Heart Mother," in the Atom Heart Mother Suite, a motorcycle starting and taking off is incorporated into the orchestral arrangement--goes from one side to the other--first time I heard it I actually looked out my window for the motorcycle.
good topic, but i hope we can get more obscure stuff (like "dirt track date"- gotta get that one). Here's an eclectic sampling of my faves: kraftwerk: "numbers", track 3 from "computer world" stravinsky: "histoire du soldat" chesky cd122- the whole thing dead can dance: "yulanga" , track 1 from "into the labyrinth" chris rea: "the road to hell" , parts 1&2 phish: "rife" , tracks 3&4 james taylor: "gaia" , track 4 from "hourglass" frank zappa: "jewish princess", rhino 10577, "have i offended someone?" , track 14 eels: "susan's house" , radio records (nl) , "meter sessies, vol. 7" (may be available elsewhere-haven't looked but it's a real find) keep 'em comin'. i like these pieces of earcandy.
Startling? King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", Liquid Tension Experiment's "Vol. 1", Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music", Wendy Carlos' "Beauty in the Beast" & "Tales of Heaven and Hell".
Tracks #7 and #12 of Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels On a Gravel Road"-- this is an HDCD recording though, and I don't know how important that is on non-HDCC players-- the rest of the CD is darn good too. I also agree with Treyhoss re: all of the Enigma CDs. Cheers. Craig.
The group Coil is famous for their spatial recordings, they use a process called Sidereal Sound, some of the sounds will literally sound like they are happening at the back of the room, it is espetially evident on their Solstice series of EPs. Another master of this is Robert Rich his recording with Alio Die called Fissures is amazing.
Bob Dylan "Time out of Mind" is good and strange - extremely closed mike vocals and lots of fuzz box and pedal guitars all over the soundstage. Fiona Apple's latest is weird too, alot of weird stuff - listen to that one in the dark!
For those who still have turntables try anything on RCA's "Living Stereo" if you can find them.
Ammused to death is my all time/most played ever, cd.I understand they recorded the effects/stuff out of phase---as they do for surround sound.Some things come from behind or beside you.Best 2'ch ss.Love the music and the lyrics as well.It is a sort of test cd;after I have bought a tweak or whatever;I can hear deeper into the sound stage,if the tweak worked.
Without doing a history lesson of "head" music from the 1970s, during the early 1990s there was some good techno/electronica albums that made full use of studio tech to create incredible soundscapes......here are some quality examples artist/album.....Chemical Brothers/Planet Dust, Juno Reactor/Bible of Dreams, Fluke/Risotto, Crystal Method/Vegas, Underworld/Beaucoup Fish, Massive Attack/Mezzanine........many many more, unfortunately most audiophiles do not explore this area, sound quality is much better than average rock album, Sam
Anything by Yello. Their CDs still stand as some of the very best technical discs you'll find, and the stuff on'em is pretty good, as well. A "must" for any CD library.
Nautilus's vinyl pressing of Neil Young's "Harvest". Try to find one used, cue it up, and prepare to be startled.
Two LP's come to mind: an old Riverside recordings called "The Sounds of Speed", which included stuff like the world-record land speed record by Mickey Thompson; steam locomotive going by; etc. It's long out-of-print, but if you can find a decent copy I guarantee it will wring out your audio system. The other LP that comes to mind is Keith Johnson's recording on Reference Records called "Astounding Sound Show" (or something close to that). It contains 7 cuts from various recordings he has done, and several are really startling.
The new Steve Earle, Transcendental Blues is a very good recording.
Pink Floyd: Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother
On headphones: Jean-Michel Jarre: Equinoxe Pt. 4 (a good recording of this will actually tickle the first time you hear it), Magnetic Fields Pt. 1; Pink Floyd: Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pt. 4 (the guy laughing after one of the lines sounds like he's in the room with you); Mike Oldfield: Platinum Pt. 1 (the most separated I've ever heard).
In orchestral music, Water Lily Acoustic's "Nature's Realm" is a must have.
Try " The Legendary Marvin Pontiac"
Toru Takemitsu - "From Me Flows What You Call Time" and "Legacy For The Future"
Miles Davis - "Big Fun" and "Bitches Brew"
Jimi Hendrix - "Axis Bold As Love"
Serebrier conducts Serebrier. A very unusual and sometimes weird classical CD, but....

the drum solo on track 4 is unlike anything I have ever heard on a classical recording. It will wake the dead. Not just your typical big orchestral dynamics with the usual typanis, but rather it sounds like a lost rock drummer wandered into an orchestra and found a drum set on "steroids". These 20 seconds are worth the price of the CD.

A classical recording from Reference Recordings.
Jazz at the pawnshop, Roger Waters-Ammused to Death, Eagles-Hell Freezes over, Patricia Barber-cafe blue, Dean Peer-Ucross.
Taraf de Haidouks - gypsy music: double bass, accordions, violins, cymbals.
Nonesuch Records.
James Taylor - Hourglass - track 4 - "gaia",
phenomenal bottom end reach and energy. (careful with that volume, eugene...)
Flim and the BB's - Big Notes - Gold Ed. - track 4 - "Funhouse" - soundstage all over the room - pipe organ "breath" rich and textured.
Al Dimeola - Elegant Gypsy - track 3 - "Mediterranean Sundance" - A balls out acoustic Flemenco duet with Paco De Lucia.
Diane Schurr - Pure Schurr - track 1 - "Nobody Does Me" -
vocals with dynamic range and pure output capability unequaled by anybody i've ever found. Her deeply soulful celebration of her gift is a joy share. A true Diva.
Especially the kazoo solos on the cut "Accidents"..not to mention car wreck sound effects...Brainticket's "Cottonwood Hill" is more psyched-out ear candy.
Lots of Dead & Floyd can be ear candy. If you really want to stretch your system, get Don Dorseys Bachbusters put out by Telarc
Alison Krause--Forget about it. Listed as bluegrass but don't let that turn you away. Excellent recording and wonderful vocals. Highly recomended.
Angelique Kidjo "Oremi". If the soundstage doesn't go outside your speakers on her cover of "Voodoo Child" your system needs tweaking or upgrades.
1. Shelly Manne & Jack Marshall - "Sounds Unheard Of"
Acoustic guitar and percussion on Analogue Productions vinyl.

2. Mikey Hart - "Dafos" (whole CD/LP)
Unreal percussion and sounds. Eerie kind of stuff. So far outside the speakers it's in your neighbors yard. Especially when he/they start using non-drums to make percussion sounds in the right side of the soundtsage. Banging metal pipes and stuff. A whole lot of fun.

3. Dianne Schuur - "Somewhere over the Rainbow". From her "Music in Me" CD. Breathtaking acapella, center stage, brings a smile to my face and goosebumps every time it's played. First cut I placed on my test CD. Ear candy in a different way.

4. Isley Brothers 12" "Eighth Wonder of the World". Talk about sounds all over the place. Especially the jamaican influenced dub mix. Un-freaking real percussion and Ernie Isley on guitar moving all over the place all the time.
He messes around in the studio quite a bit, from making recordings sound like they are being played on a Gramaphone to simply great recordings like the bluegrass cuts with the Del McCrory (s.p.?) Band. Wish I could afford to hear the title cut off Transcendental Blues on a big rig with Dunlavy SC VI's or the like. Anyone heard this track played on such a system?
One of my most recent discoveries is the Persuaions singing Frank Zappa. I don't have it as yet but what I've heard is beautifully strange!
I no longer have the vinyl nor can I remember the label but it was a direct-to-disc recording by Virgil Fox. On one of the tracks you can actually hear the engineer move one of the microphones while Fox is playing. There are also a couple of police sirens and an odd pedal note that was later revealed to be a garbage truck moving a dumpster outside the cathedral in Atlanta.

You can also hear an incredible blooper when he stomped(yes, Fox stomped) the wrong pedal in the Widor Toccata.

bishopwill: the lp is called "virgil fox-the fox touch, volume two". it was released in 1977 by crystal clear records. i'm lookin' at a m/m copy of this disc as i type. haven't heard it in a while. think i'll crank up the compressor and get my analog rig goin' tonite. -cfb
Thanks for the info. I think (but am by no means sure) that it is the gigue fugue in which you can hear the image move during the recording. I wish to heck I could remember where I got the scuttlebutt on that recording. I know it had something to do with the fact that Fox was pretty old and sick at the time and was running out of steam on the retakes. Apparently, somebody quietly picked up a mike stand and moved it some distance while he was playing. Takes a pretty good system to hear it but I'm sure you can find it if you want to invest the time. You can't miss the wrong note in the pedal in the Widor.

Will (feeling wistful for vinyl)
Try Jacitha "Here's to Ben" on FIM label (also Autumn Leaves by Jacintha on FIM). Superb--the best recording ever!! Also "Amused to Death" Roger Waters and Allison Krauss "Forget About It" Also all Burmester test discs.
Jacintha's two CDs on SACD are just amazing. Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" is also one of my very favored.
This thread seems to have veered off course, from zany sounds to good sounds, so I'm gong to mention a cd that is startling in a different way, Rodney Crowell's "The Houston Kid."

I cant write the music, but imagine not being able to get this little ditty out of your head, imagine walking around singing this to yourself (sung by a man): "Turning tricks on Sunset - Twenty bucks a pop - Some out of town old businessman or an undercover cop - I'm living with the virus flowing way down in my veins - Oh, I wish it would rain - I know you've heard my story - Or seen me on the street - Just another cracker gigolo - Dressed up like trick or treat . . ."

Or the next song, about a twin whose brother comes home to die: "I used to cast my judgments like a net - All those California gay boys deserve just what they get - Little did I know there would come a day - When my words would come back screaming like a debt I have to pay - Lean on me I'll be strong you're almost free it won't be long - Wandering boy"

I have never been particularly sympathetic to the sort of characters depicted in these lyrics, but am absolutely stunned by the emotional impact these songs and the whole cd have had on me. I've played it more than any other album or cd I have in the last few months. (The other songs do not have gay characters, just abusive drunken fathers, suffering mothers and kids growing up.)

- Vincent Cortois,Translucide (Enja 9380 2) Shockingly realistic cello attack, lots of subtle decay as well. The occasional guitar feedback and loop effects are gritty, but delicate and obviously very carefully put together. The trombone flatulence and tuba work provide some pretty arresting sonic contrasts w/ out ever getting real chaotic.

- Jackie King, Moon Magic (Indigo Moon FF7001 2) Takes a bunch of standards (all w/ the word moon in the title) and somehow manages to keep any of them from sounding cliched. Incredibly vibrant Tal Farlow like sound (all instrumental). Great bass playing too. Not macaroni and powdered cheese and even Kenny G's mom would probably like it.

- Some of you guys gotta check out Glen Moore, Nude Ascending Bass (Intuition 3192 2). The adrenaline jolts you'll get from some of the bowed bass work will make you fear for your speakers well being. It's musically great too some parts will definitely playback in your head and give you something to chew on when your not in front of your stereo.
A recording that I keep coming back to is the Charlie Watts Jim Keltner Project. A collection of out of hand percussion, along with acoustic and electronic instrumentation that combines jazz, techno, and African rhythms into a wild and thoroughly enjoyable body of music. Not every piece is great, but all are interesting and a few are simply outstanding.
LISTEN UP!!! Must try Sting "Soul Cages" track 1 and 7 and 9- actually they are all pretty darn good!! Recorded well...Q Sound also. This one is a little different from other Sting CD's...his Dad had just died and he was brooding a bit.
OK- Try this- make sure you have 20 minutes of NO interuptions....turn the lights low...asume the sweet spot position...a little more gain (volume) than usual...Start with Track 1, enjoy, move to #7...and get lost in that one....then immediately click to Track 9, hang tight, and wait for the last few seconds...it may be startling!
Go get it and let me know what you think!!!
John Zorn: Naked City with Bill Frizell on guitar. It never fails to startle and assault simultaneously.

Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City

Both of these are excellent records in their own right. They were packaged together on one CD, which I believe is still in print and constititutes, in my opinion, an embarrassment of riches. Weird, melodic, whimsical, poignant, and sonically beautiful, this record continues to delight and amaze me every time I play it. Although Big Star is often credited with founding power pop, I find that their catalog is impossible to categorize. Their third and final studio album, Sister Lovers, is also startling.

Soundtrack to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (try tracks 4 and 9). Amazing stuff.
lou reed's blue mask may not be startling, but it is truly amazing. i listen to the german lp, or the japanese cd. the soundstage, two guitars, an amazing bass, and drums are swirling all around you. this is lou's best.
I just recently heard Trent Reznor's remix of Curve's 'Missing Link'. I am guessing some phase alterations were implemented because it sounds like there is a third and fourth speaker 15' to either side of you. The sound is not encompassing per se; there is a large spatial break between the simultaneously occurring sounds. Because of my musical tastes, I have heard some strange 'candy', but this one is the king. It's like someone is standing in front of you, talking, and at the same time, whispering in your ear (but from a far).
I should have come into this thread earlier. I have a nomination that (probably) few of you have even heard, but an absolute piece of art musically and recording wise.

The release was in 1976, by bassist Charlie Haden, who recorded eight duets with musicians whom he admired titled "Closeness Duets," on A&M Horizon.

The recordings feature Charlie Haden with Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane and Paul Motian. The cut titled "OC" is stunning, and has an unbelievable piano and string bass portion that stuns me every time I listen to it. My copy is on LP, but I believe it is available on CD as well. The quality of the CD is an unknown to me.
One of my recent purchase : White blood cells by the white stripes. Great classic rock sound, lyrics, singing and recording for an indy label- for 8.99$ at Tower? a steal
Brook Williams-Little Lion an incredible recording.Jennifer Knapp(I think)I'm not sure of the title(I'm at work)she has an awesome voice,and its well recorded.(be careful its Christian Rock,but you wouldn't know it)