"Audiogon" Music Reviews at last

About a year ago here on Audiogon I started a thread to see if Audiogoners were interested in music reviews and news-it turned out they were mostly and so a year later a site is ready born out of that initial post and the feedback.

My motivation was simple; I enjoyed Audiogon greatly but discussions and posts on music, a lot of them anyway showed two trends to me.
One was confusion about re-mastered material-what was available, what versions were best and people discussing discs long since surpassed.
Secondly a lot of discontent about the quality of new music and a lack of knowledge as to what was available.
These were two issues near to my heart and ones were I felt I could help and share my continuing passion for music, new and old.
I even liked the idea of long debates about why my latest rave wasn’t very good at all.

With the initial idea seemingly a goer I soon discovered fitting it directly into Audiogon wasn’t going to work, I spoke to Arnie (the main man at Audiogon) via phone all the way from here in Glasgow, Scotland and we exchanged several e-mails-he liked the idea but as a very busy businessman with most of his resources tied up I decided to try and get something up and running independently and try to develop the interface with Audiogon at a later date.

I posted for contributors on Audiogon a few times and I know some folks had real life problems that meant they couldn’t contribute others simply faded into the ether. I even had non-Audiogoners back out.
So we are left with three hardy souls who have contributed and I thank them yet again Lyle Crawford and Gordon Russell good friend and workmate for the last 16 years or so.
I really want to state that the door remains open for contributors, anyone who wants to write anything about music-this site will be open to any ideas and formats as hopefully it shows already. Too many sites imho stick to a rigid format-if this idea has a future I envisage articles, lost classics, live reviews, music book reviews-anything really.

As for the delay and the time it took I have to reflect a bit on 2004 and how it went for me and my partner Eileen, who designed the site from scratch with no previous experience. A series of fortunate and not so fortunate events befell us last year-we sold our flat and bought a bigger one, that took up a large chunk of April till August-the week we were due to take our summer break I unexpectedly got ill-I was on medication for 3 months and missed a month from work ( it's not all bad news).Finally as Christmas approached and the site started to take real shape we were struck by further bad luck in the shape of a sudden bereavement.
The real star of this show is Eileen who listened to me constantly nag and delivered this site when her health wasn’t great and had a myriad of bigger issues on her plate.
I love her to bits.

As for the content of the site-I see it as a start, it has a slant towards Audiophiles-I was glad to discover the vast majority of newer material was available on vinyl-we tried to cover the sound quality and production but I confess I don’t always relate to certain views on that subject.
It’ll certainly be interesting to hear feedback on how useful or otherwise people find the reviews and indeed to hear people who disagree with our views.
Feedback is crucial and whilst I think we did a good job-it’s been struggle writing as none of us are professionals at this game however some constructive criticism would be welcomed(for Lyle and Gordon anyway).
The Rhino Yes re-masters series is a bit old now but it was my intention to cover the series early in 2004 and I continued with it.
As regards material reviewed-there was no set pattern-we tried to stick to what we enjoyed or thought was important certainly we could never review every CD we bought.

As for the future-we may go for a magazine type structure with a new issue every so often-Gordon and I plan to tie up 2004 releases and publish a review of the year with our top albums of the year-quite a few of which have not been covered yet.

Enough said on it but a heart felt thanks to those Audiogoners-too many to mention who encouraged me with this project.

It is called Lugs and a cyber fortune to the first person to work out why.
Whilst the name is coincidental I think it is a nice tribute to Lugnut-Patrick Malone who is in many of our thoughts at this time.

Here is the link…..

Updated already with Radiohead review we forgot to put up and photo of Gordon Russell.
I barely skimmed the surface of your many reviews. Really individual, and meaningful reviewing. There is usually a "speaking voice" recognizable in the writing. Thanks for what is obviously a labor of love. I hope your site is eligible to receive free reviewer copies since you are a stimulus to search out items recommended. Congratulations on getting the project this far.
Thanks-Listener-I'd really like to hear more views even if the site doesn't appeal to some-good,bad or indifferent we'd like some comments.
Lugs: british informal for "ears", am I right?
I'm starting to catch up with the published reviews.
Thanks for sharing part of the process... keep going!
This music review site is Great! It would be nice if you could include the Label and product number, too. Congratulations!
Well done, I'll mark it as a favorite for future looks.
Luis you got it right-Gordon suggested something Scottish and well lugs is used here in Scotland as slang for ears.

Geronimo-it was something I considered indeed planned but it was one of the corners I decided to cut just to get the site up--it is something I will give careful consideration for future submissions.
Shamelessly pushed to the top for Monday visitors.

very nice site

I've always enjoyed your musical input and ecclectic suggestions on the gon
Hi Ben,
A friend of mine who is a record producer recommended the new U2 album as well as music by the band "Snow Patrol". Have you heard the latter and if so any comments?
Jsonic-U2 will be featured in the closing reviews for 2004 and will include a few of my favourites from this year not already on Lugs as well as our Best Of Lists for the year and I have a sneaky idea that might appeal to Audiogoners.
I'll post that shortly.

Snow Patrol I believe will be support to U2 on their European tour-they are often mistaken for being Scottish although they are based here I believe they are from Northern Ireland-I've only heard snippets seemed ok without being remarkable-fellow Lugs reviewer Gordon Russell found them a bit lightweight/derivative.
The album has sold pretty well here in the UK.
Wow, you went all out Ben...very nice. I have added a link in my bookmarks toolbar and will give it a very good read tomorrow, (bed time) for us old folks. Thanks!

Nice call on the 'Hearts and Bones' review. I have it on CD
from back when it was first released. Still the Paul Simon
disc I reach for when I'm in that kind of mood. The sonics on
the original release are not so bad as to want to make me buy
the remaster.
Another shameless push to the top for this weekend's visitors.
Mr Campbell Props to you for the great job you have done so far. Rather than being the bumbling fellow for whom I once took you, you have led the charge, and delivered the fort.

Into the gap!
Great Review site - thank you and your wife for putting it together. Regardless of musical taste I think most of us agree here that to know the recording quality before purchase is a blessing. I will give the Simon CD, and Hans Ruckers a listen
Lugs updated today with reviews of the year including Jazz and more reviews from last year.


Keep it going! I'd be willing to write reviews if you want to keep working on it!
Monotonous I'm afraid Lugs is in limbo at the moment for various reasons.

It didn't develop the way I'd have liked and a change of job and a new baby has meant I no longer have the time to commit to the project.

It may resurface but it would be in a way that wouldn't be specifically for Audiogon/Audiophiles.
The reality is that simply didn't work.
Alright, Well let me know if you need reviewers.

I'm an English Major so writing's where I get my kicks :)
Congrats Ben on your site. Although I really don't listen to anything you guys seem to focus on (I began to drop out of the new rock music sweepstakes around the time MTV and the CD became ascendent, so I live almost exclusively in the distant past now), I'm still pleased to find anything remotely related to Audiogon that focuses on music (as opposed to, you know, gear).
Zaikesman well that was the idea but the reality is Audiogon is what it is.................mostly about gear.
We wanted to develop what music we reviewed (indeed some of it was very much Audiophile based)and get a balance between what Audiophiles might want to read about and giving exposure to music they might not know about.

There was no real desire from the owners or the Audiogon community (apart from a few hardy souls and well wishers whom I salute again.) for music reviews.
Indeed music reviews was just my first idea for Audiogon I had several others but it wasn't to be.

Of course I can't just blame everybody else-it was a bold idea that didn't quite go where I wanted it to and I need to accept my part in that failure.
It may resurface in the future but my time is tight these days.
Its a very nicely designed site. Pty its not current. If anyone is interested in writing reviews though, I am looking for some at http://vinylfanatics.com

Even if ou wanted to review the music which you have onl on cd and I could probably add the vinyl part :)

Thanks :)
Carmen Gomes on Sound Liaison
this link should work,please google soundliaison if the link doesn't work,the site is valid.
check out this review from Sound Stage;
I've been among the prophets saying that high-resolution downloads are the future of audiophile music sales. Surely it will benefit the majors to make high-quality downloads a first choice rather than an MP3 extra, but I believe that individual artists can benefit as well. Most new-to-the-scene performers have little money for middlemen and disc manufacture, yet can get things together for the Internet.

Frans de Rond and Peter Bjørnild have taken this approach with Sound Liaison, producing recordings available only in 24-bit/96kHz downloads that mirror the master recording. And man, are they ever sweet. I've seldom heard recordings that were so successful in both performance and sound aspects.

De Rond hails from the Netherlands, where he studied double bass at The Royal Conservatory in The Hague while concurrently studying recording techniques. Bjørnild also studied double bass, moving to the Netherlands to continue studies at The Hague. Since graduating, he has played almost every type of music, from classical to jazz. Together de Rond and Bjørnild bring two pairs of golden ears to their label. Bjørnild claims that, "a recording should be as realistic and beautiful sounding as possible. As if, when closing your eyes, you find yourself in the best seat in the hall."

The partners discovered a fine recording hall (Studio-Eleven, Hilversum) and set out to record amazing musicians in this great acoustic place in front of live audiences. It's a daring feat; one take and no place to hide, but the abilities of the musicians involved make it seem easy. I chose to talk about the first album by Carmen Gomes Inc. It was a tough choice because all of the three current albums were worthy of review.

Carmen Gomes has won many awards in the Netherlands and surrounding areas. Like so many new European singers, she sings in English -- excellent English, I might add. She's formed a group called Carmen Gomes Inc., with Folker Tettero on guitar, Peter Bjørnild on double bass, and Marcel van Engelen on drums. Her style is bluesy and intimate with a sexy voice that's sweet as dark tupelo honey, and her interpretations are unerring. The musicians play to her and to each other, and the ensemble is so tight that the four musicians breathe and move as one.

There are some standards on the set that knocked me over with their fresh approach. Any singer can misplace a few accents and rhythms and come up with something that's original, but perhaps also uneasy and a little strange. Not Gomes, who has taken the songs to their bones and then restructured them to suit her style. Thus "Fever" doesn't sound like a cover of Peggy Lee; it sounds like a brand new take on a familiar song. You emerge from hearing it not thinking it's better or lesser than Lee's version, but that it's a valid new interpretation that could have come first.

The same approach works on "Angel Eyes," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and "I'm on Fire." Most of the rest, including the title song, "Oblivion," "Time Will Tell," "Gasoa Blue," and "The Sea," are Gomes originals that fit right in with the standards. The recording achieves exactly what Bjørnild set out as his goal. It can provide the best seat in your listening room. Go to the Sound Liaison site, listen to a few samples, download an album, and see if you don't agree that this intimate effort is one of the best and best-sounding jazz vocal albums to come along in many a day. By the way, the small audience applauds enthusiastically enough after the last chords of a song die away, but the attendees never interrupt or make themselves known while a song is going on. No doubt they were completely mesmerized into silence, as was I.

Be sure to listen to: On "Dock of the Bay," Gomes creates a languid, bluesy version that is a little bit reminiscent of Bobbie Gentry while still coming across as quite original. It'll cast a spell over you.

. . . Rad Bennett
The link works fine and the recording philosophy is beautiful, as are the songs by Carmen Gomes and the Paul Berner Band that I listened to.

As you know we Americans (in general) aren't very good at other languages or changing money. Can we use our credit cards or PayPal to purchase downloads and will they give us the price in dollars?
the link is not working for me
My old review site has been defunct for years......
I bought my Sound Liaison downloads using PayPal.
And I find that
the Sound Liaison downloads are all you could ask for in an audiophile recording. Very beautiful music and incredible recording quality.
And the service of this little label is unsurpassed.
I maid a stupid mistake when I was going to play back the one of the files and had already sent a complaint to Sound Liaison before I discovered that it was entirely my own fault that the download was not playing. Before I had the chance to send a second mail saying ''problem
(quote from an earlier post.)