It’s time once again to separate the digital wheat from the chaff to find movies, TV shows, and music that make great gifts. Venerable Blu-ray is joined by upstart 4K Ultra HD this year, and even a bit of vinyl for good measure. Whichever holiday you call your own, make it a little brighter with one or more of these.
“One of the great gifts I’ve had in this life is to be able to make music, and it’s something that will outlive me. That alone is a phenomenally gratifying and rewarding thing. To have left a mark—just that alone is a real privilege.” —Greg Lake
Greg Lake, progressive-rock pioneer and the voice and co-founder of ‘70s prog-rock phenomenon Emerson, Lake & Palmer, died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.
There was a time when audiophiles bemoaned “cheap” soundbars as the bane of our existence. We had good reason. Many early examples of the genre, sometimes from companies we’d most closely associate with clock radios, compromised the home theater experience in every way possible. Along with dramatically shrinking the front soundstage and sacrificing the discrete rear channels required for adequate reproduction of a surround field, they just sounded bad. By which I mean bright, boomy, fatiguing, and amusical. Frequently, “helpful” surround processing to enhance imaging just added echoey reverb and messed with the natural timbre of vocals and instruments.
A lot has changed in the past 15 years. Ultra-thin TVs that hang on the wall have replaced bulky tube and rear-projection TVs. DVD and CD players have become quaint relics of the early days of digital. The list goes on…
Besides having one of the coolest band names ever, Van der Graaf Generator has been making deeply adventurous music since the late ’60s in a style that, frankly, is hard to pigeonhole. Sure, it’s easy to call what they do “progressive,” but I’m inclined to agree with VdGG guitarist/vocalist Peter Hammill, who describes VdGG music as being “barely controlled chaos.” It’s also a good way to define VdGG’s recently released 13th studio album, Do Not Disturb (Esoteric Antenna). I connected with Hammill to discuss the sonic template for DnD, what it’s like to be admired by a punk legend, and VdGG’s possible future (or not).