Classic Album Sundays

• Do classic albums deserve to be treated as a single work of art to be heard from beginning to end?

• Have we sacrificed sound quality with low-res digital formats and is that why vinyl is having a renaissance?

• Are most of our listening experiences confined to isolated experiences such as listening on headphones to our iPods?

• In our busy lives, have we lost the actual art of listening?

Classic Album Sundays has Moved

Hi Classic Album Sundays Fans,

We have recently relaunched out Classic Album Sundays website and will now be placing all posts directly onto the site rather than Tumblr.

There are lots of cool things to check out like news on our worldwide listening sessions, classic album video documentaries, CAS radio shows, personal Top Fives Albums of all time from artists and producers, hi-fi info and advice and loads more. You can sign up for our monthly newsletter on the homepage for that month’s event details, and recommended listening, viewing and reading.

If you want to be reminded of what is happening with Classic Album Sundays, you can “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out our documentaries, musical lead-up playlists and more on our YouTube channel and check out our Classic Album boards on Pinterest. That should keep you busy and hope to see you interacting on one of these sites.

Thanks for listening.

CLASSIC ALBUM SUNDAYS PRESENTS THE BEATLES SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND

After releasing nearly two records a year since 1963 and touring with the frustration of not being able to hear themselves play due to bad PA’s and the ridiculously loud screaming of the audience, The Beatles decided to retire from life on the road and took a well-deserved break in 1966. Ringo retreated to family life, George to India, John attended art galleries in London meeting Yoko in the process and Paul went to Kenya with girlfriend Jane Asher and on the return journey came up with the concept for their next album. Maybe in response to The Beatles monstrous success and as a way to distance themselves from the pressures of mega stardom, he decided they should create a fictional band. Inspired by some of the contemporary long-winded band names like Country Joe and the Fish, Paul came up with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Returning to the studio in November, the band started by recording their next single “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields” which set the child-like vision and psychedelic tone for the ensuing album. In comparison with recording their debut “Please Please Me” in about 1o hours, the Beatles spent 129 days in the studio making the masterpiece that would forever change pop music.

Inspired by the studio wizardry of Brian Wilson found on The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds”, The Beatles wanted to continue to take their music and production deeper, furthering what they had begun with “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver”. Their producer George Martin was game and together they experimented and did things that were not normally done on pop records. The stories abound such as the random tape montage of the circus on “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and the recording of the masked orchestra for “A Day in the Life”.  And it was all done on four track tape with Martin heavily utilizing the process of “bouncing down”. This process would be much imitated until the advent of 8-track, 16-track and later 24-track recorders.

The production was only one of the ways in which the album was groundbreaking. Regarding the songwriting, some of the songs were influenced by psychedelics as the bandmembers had started experimenting with LSD. It was also visually stimulating as it was the first album to print the lyrics, one of the first pop records to have a gatefold sleeve and also came with a set of cardboard cut-outs, not to mention Peter Blake’s famous record cover. Because of its significant impact, it was the first rock album to receive the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Classic Album Sundays will be presenting The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on Sunday, 3 June in both London and New York. We will also have a special Jubilee session in London on Monday, 4 June on an all-British hi-fi. Join us to celebrate the 45th anniversary of this iconic album as we discover why it has had such an impact on pop and rock music. And for the audiophiles, we will be playing the mono version!

London

Sunday, 3 June and Monday, 4 June 5 to 8 pm

The Hanbury Arms, 33 Linton Street, London N1 7DU

Tickets are £6 + service charge.

Tickets for Sunday, 3 June here. Tickets for Monday, 4 June here.

Presenter: Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy

An All British Hi-fi Audio Menu: Rega Apheta MC Cartridge, Rega P9 Turntable, Klimax DSM with Preamp, Linn Klimax Solo Power Amps and Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond Loudspeakers

New York City

Sunday, June 3, 5 to 8 pm

Bellwether, 594 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Tickets $10 + service charge here.

Presenter: Larry Mattera

Audio Menu: Rega Apheta MC Cartridge, Rega P9 Turntable, Moon 310 LP Phono Preamp, Moon P7 Line Preamp, Cardas balanced cabling, Mark Levinson No. 334 Power Amp and 4 Klipschorns

Classic Album Sundays ventures to The Land of Kings

Classic Album Sundays will be at Dalston’s own festival Land Of Kings on Saturday, 5 May at The Vortex, 11 Gillett Square, Dalston N16 8AZ. CAS will feature two different classic albums that were recorded in The Smoke as we celebrate London in its most ridiculously trendy neighborhood.

1:00 – 2:30

Classic Album Sundays and Kristina Records present Saint Etienne “Foxbase Alpha”

CAS will be joined by Jack Rollo of Dalston’s uber-cool record shop Kristina Records to present one if his favourite London albums. This 1991 release truly reflect the indie-dance movement of the era and fuses it with 60’s pop and a delightful Neil Young cover. The songs are glued together with film samples and short songs which give the album the feeling of an entire piece.

2:45 – 4:15

Classic Album Sundays presents Brian Eno “Another Green World”

Founder Colleen Murphy will present one of her favourite albums of all time and the album that inspired CAS. Eno used his “Oblique Strategy” cards to direct input from guest musicians Phil Collins, John Cale and Robert Fripp. It also features a song that Colleen considers to be one of the most romantic songs of all time. Lovely.

Audio Menu: Rega Apheta MC Cartridge, Rega P9 Turntable, Linn Klimax DSM/Preamp, Linn Klimax Solo power amps, Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond Loudspeakers

More info here.
Buy tickets here.



Classic Album Sundays presents Joy Division “Unknown Pleasures”

After seeing the Sex Pistols perform at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976 and inspired by their DIY ethos and lack of great musical ability, several attendees ran out to form their own band.  Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley quickly formed The Buzzcocks, Mark E Smith joined The Fall, and Morrissey continued to dream of being in a band while writing letters to music mags like NME.

Other attendees Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner joined forces and later recruited singer Ian Curtis without an audition and finally drummer Stephen Morris. Named after one of their favourite David Bowie songs, Warsaw were born.

In an interview from the time on radio show “Rock On”, Curtis described the early Warsaw days .“When we started initially playing we couldn’t really play to be honest. It was very loose and a bit of a fun thing – we’re in a group; we’re playing. It was about August 1977 when we really started getting our own particular way.” They started to work out and record many of the songs found on their later debut album initially because RCA Records were interested in signing them.

Because of a London band named Warsaw Pakt, they changed their name to Joy Division and played their first gig in January of 1978. In the spring they were writing and rehearsing new material and gigging around Manchester. At one of these gigs they caught the eyes and ears of Granada TV presenter Tony Wilson who later signed them to his fledgling Factory label and DJ Rob Gretton who became their manager. Their sound continued to develop but needed one more key ingredient that would forever change and later define their sound.

As Ian’s wife Deborah Curtis recounts in her memoir “Touching from a Distance”, Joy Division had “reached a stage where they desperately needed Martin Hannett’s diverse ideas before they could go any further.”

Martin Hannett has been coined by writer Paul Morley as Manchester’s Spector and the region’s Eno. His use of sound effects, synthesizers and sound separation contributed a unique atmosphere and space to Joy Division’s debut album “Unknown Pleasures”. Initially bandmembers like Peter Hook were not keen on the sound but in retrospect concedes it was Hannett’s contribution which turned the band from a punk outfit emulating bands like The Stooges into one of the defining bands of the post punk movement. In the word of Morley, “The difference between Warsaw and Joy Division was the difference between the Sex Pistols and PiL; between sleepwalking and outer space.”

The debut was critically well received and Melody Maker’s Jon Savage said “Unknown Pleasures may very well be one of the best, white, English, debut LPs of the year.” However, it wasn’t until after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis and the subsequent release of the sophomore album “Closer” that “Unknown Pleasures” made a wider impression with more sales and an appearance on the charts.

Classic Album Sundays will be presenting Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” on Sunday, 6 May in both London and New York. Join us to discover the story behind the Manchester scene in the late 70’s, the recording of the album, its importance and influence today and immerse yourself into its sonic depths on our audiophile hi-fi.

London

Sunday, 6 May, 5 to 8 pm

The Hanbury Arms, 33 Linton Street, London N1 7DU

Tickets £6 here.

Presenter: Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy

Audio Menu: Rega Apheta MC Cartridge, Rega P9 Turntable, Klimax DSM with Preamp, Linn Klimax Solo Power Amps and Bowers & Wilkins 802 Diamond Loudspeakers

New York City

Sunday, May 6, 5 to 8 pm

Bellwether, 594 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Tickets $10 here.

Presenter: Ron Like Hell

Audio Menu: Rega Apheta MC Cartridge, Rega P9 Turntable, Moon 310 LP Phono Preamp, Moon P7 Line Preamp, Cardas balanced cabling, Mark Levinson No. 334 Power Amp and 4 Klipschorns

 

April 2012 Album Suggestions from the London and New York Sessions

The UK Vertigo pressing of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” sounded fabulous at both our London and NYC venue earlier this month. Bruce Tantum from Time Out NYC was able to check out the band performing “Autobahn” live at the MOMA and said that although the sound of the live show was great, he reckons the CAS session sounded better!

Below are the album suggestions from both events. One of our NY listeners is still beating the drum for Norah Jones - check out the funny comment below. Thanks for listening.

Black Uhuru – Dub Factor

Massive Attack – Blue Lines

David Bowie – Low

Talking Heads – Remain in Light

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

The Clash – London Calling

Air – Moon Safari

The Doors – LA Woman

Paul Simon – Graceland

Talking Heads – Fear of Music

Pulp – Different Class

Portishead – Dummy

The The – Soul Mining / Infected

Steely Dan – Aja

Vangelis – Spiral

Eykah Badu – Baduizm

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Wire – Chairs Missing

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Radiohead – Kid A / The Bends

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon / Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Burial – Untrue

Lou Reed – Transformer

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue

Eloy – Ocean

Tricky – Maxinquaye

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique

Wings – Band on the Run

Paul McCartney – Ram

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

The Band – Music from the Big Pink

David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name

Peter Jacques Band – Fire Night Dance

Genesis – Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Can – Monster Movie / Ege Bamyasi

The Temptations – Solid Rock

Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks and Blues

Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes

Faust – The Faust Tapes

Manuel Gottsching – E2-E4

Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup

Brian Eno – Another Green World

Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life

Tatsuro Yamashita – Spacy

Terry Riley – A Rainbow in Curved Air

Roxy Music – Roxy Music / Avalon

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

Peggy Lee – Norma Deloris Egstrom from Jamestown, North Dakota

Any Album from Norah Jones – “Not just for divorced audio engineers – she’s amazing!”

Classic Album Sundays presents Kraftwerk “Autobahn”

In April, Kraftwerk will perform eight of their classic albums in association with with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Unfortunately, most fans could not get their hands on tickets before it sold out (even Hitler was subject to the two ticket limit in this brilliant Youtube parody).  But worry not meine freunde as Classic Album Sundays is coming to the rescue with a sonic journey down the autobahn.

After releasing three albums of purely instrumental, experimental music, Kraftwerk embarked upon their first concept album with the intention of making it more radio friendly. It may be hard to believe, but an edit of their 22 minute title track made it onto the US and European charts and must have sounded like an anomaly swooshing and bleeping out of transistors upon the single’s release in 1974. Although the band went on to inspire countless acts within pop, rock, dance and eletronica, at that time there was little else like it and certainly not on the radio!

The title track captures the feeling of a car journey along Germany’s first autobahn, the A 555 from Koln to Bonn and was supposedly instigated by the time Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hutter hung a tape recorder outside the window of his VW to record traffic. “Autobahn” may have also been inspired by Musique Concrete but Hutter views Kraftwerk’s music as non-academic. As he simply states, “You can listen to ‘Autobahn’ and then go and drive on the motorway. Then you will discover that your car is a musical instrument.”

Even though Kraftwerk were admittedly influenced by the contagious American pop of The Beach Boys, they did not co-opt the Californians’ “fun, fun, fun” phrasing as Kraftwerk are actually singing “Wir fahren, fahren, fahren auf der autobahn” (translated as “We drive, drive, drive on the autobahn”). They wanted to record in German to reaffirm post-war German culture and identity. The language also suited their sound as Hutter relates, “We create out of the German language, the mother language, which is very mechanical, we use as the basic structure of our music. Also the machines, from the industries of Germany.”

Find out more about the story behind this classic album and the music surrounding its release when Classic Album Sundays presents “Autobahn” in its entirety on vinyl (but which pressing as I have three?!).

We will be holding two sessions in two cities in April:

Sunday, 1 April from 5 to 8 pm at The Hanbury Arms in London

For more info click here. For tickets click here.

Sunday, April 8 from 5 to 8 pm at Bellwether in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

For more info click here. For tickets click here.

Come join us on the ride of a lifetime.

Classic Album Suggestions March 2012

In the last three weeks, CAS has had three events in three different cities: our regular monthly in London, a one-off event in Glasgow and the launch of our regular monthlies in New York City. These are three great music cities and below are the suggestions made by the attendees. Can you spot any differences between the cities or is great music just great music irrespective of location. You decide (and don’t forget to read the additional notation about Norah Jones!).

CAS Glasgow

Brian Eno - Before and After Science

Joy Division - Closer

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II

Primal Scream - XTRMNTR

A Tribe Called Quest - Beats, Rhymes and Life

Daniel Johnston - Hi, How Are You?

Love - Forever Changes

Beach Boys - Smile

Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

The Clash - London Calling

Jeff Buckley - Grace

Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

Motorpsycho - Demon Box

Close Lobsters - Foxheads Stalk This Land

Primal Scream - Screamadelica

Pulp - His ‘n’ Hers

The Killers - Hot Fuss

Prince - Sign of the Times

Motorhead - Motorhead

A-ha - Scoundrel Days

Bob Marley - Legend

The Jam - Setting Sons

Leftfield - Rhythm and Stealth

REM - Document

Portishead - Dummy

Massive Attack - Mezzanine / 100th Window

Bjork - Debut

Faithless - Sunday 8PM

Dr. Dre – 2001 / The Chronic

Snoop Dogg - Doggy Style

Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP

CAS London

The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (in mono)

Elvis Presley – The Sun Sessions

Portishead – Dummy

David Bowie – Station to Station

John Martyn – Solid Air

Paul Simon – Graceland

Can – Tago Mago

Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

Brian Eno – Music for Airports

Tricky – Aftermath

Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food

Carla Bley & the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra – Escalator Over the Hill

Peter Gabriel – So

Daft Punk – Discovery

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV

Tom Waits – Closing Time

Nico – Chelsea Girl

The Only Ones – The Only Ones

Massive Attack – Blue Lines

CAS New York City

The Orb – The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV / Physical Graffiti

Lou Reed – Berlin

Tindersticks – 2

Laura Nyro & Labelle – Gonna Take a Miracle

Joni Mitchell – The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Paul McCartney – Ram

Laura Nyro – New York Tendaberry

Marvin Gaye – Here My Dear

Keith Jarrett – Arbour Zena

George Harrison – Wonderwall Music

Sly & The Family Stone – There’s a Riot Goin’ On

Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information

Tom Waits – Rain Dogs

Tori Amos – Under the Pink

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Pink Floyd – Meddle

The Future Sound of London – Lifeforms

Serge Gainsbourg – L’Homme a la Tete de Chou / Histoire de Melody Nelson

Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (Produced at Alan Feinstein’s studio who helped create The Paradise Garage sound system – best recording ever!)