Rants And Raves: March 2009

AUDIO FRIPP & ENONo Pussyfooting (Expanded Edition)Originally released in 1973, No Pussyfooting contained two album-side-long tracks. “The Heavenly Music Corporation” resulted from Robert Fripp plugging his guitar and pedalboard into Brian Eno’s tape-loop system—two Revox reel-to-reel recorders with the feed reel on one machine and the take-up reel on the other—and improvising, as Eno manipulated the sound in various ways. Once the reel was full, the tape was played back as Fripp soloed over it. This initial session was the pair’s first and arguably most extraordinary collaboration, and contains some of the guitarist’s most inspired and transcendent playing. (Fripp would later adopt the system as “Frippertronics.”) “Swastika Girls,” recorded a year later, is similar in feel, but also features Eno generating metallicsounding arpeggios with an EMS VCS3 synthesizer. Besides containing two of the most truly psychedelic pieces of music ever recorded—don’



This excellent DVD provides more than 15 hours of detailed instruction in using the latest version of Digital Performer. In addition to covering all of DP6’s basic functions and applications—including Mastering and Film Scoring—there are sections on using MOTU’s optional Ethno and MachFive2 software instruments, and even SoundToys effects plug-ins. The 52 QuickTime video chapters are logically organized and present the material using concise dialogue and clear moving graphics in a way that will appeal to novices and experienced engineers alike. Working your way through DP6’s encyclopedic manual can be time consuming and sometimes challenging. This DVD will have you up and running in no time, and easily repay its modest cost ($79 retail) in the first few hours. MacAudioLab.



Jim Elyea

It’s not often that the weight of a book factors into its review, but when a 682-page hardcover arrives here weighing almost ten pounds, you get a real sense of the heft of information being presented. This project by author Jim Elyea—who owns History for Hire (a southern California firm that supplies a vast range of period-correct items to the film industry), as well as what is most likely the largest collection of Vox amplifiers in the world—is an incredibly detailed account of the amplifiers that JMI/Vox produced from the 1950s to the late 1960s. In chapter after chapter, Elyea painstakingly documents the development of the amplifier line—from the humble G-Series of 1956 to the Dick Denney designed AC10 and AC15 series to the advent of the iconic AC30, AC50, and AC100 models to the hybrid and solid-state guitar and bass rigs that heralded the end of the JMI era. The amount of detail is staggering as we learn how the circuits evolved, and about tubes and transistors, transformers, speakers, coverings, grille patterns, badges, handles, back plates, pilot lights, footswitches, and numerous other elements that underwent changes as the years progressed. And if you’re the type who likes to zero-in on minute details, rest assured, many of the color photographs—and there are tons of them—take you close enough to read the codes on the individual parts!

Considerable ink is also devoted to speaker types, stands and trolleys, decoding of production dates, and an interesting chapter that rates the sound of 45 different Vox amps. No guitars or effects pedals are covered here, but ample space is given to Vox P.A. gear, echo and reverb units, specialty speakers, and, of course, the people that made Vox such a highly respected English marque—meaning Tom Jennings, Dick Denney, and Derek Underdown, and, of course, the multitude of British Invasion groups that took the Vox sound worldwide. There’s even a chapter that documents all of the Vox amps and speaker cabinets used by the Beatles. Vox Amplifiers, The JMI Years is light years beyond anything that currently exists on the subject, and if that’s not enough, a companion portfolio is included for those who spring for the Deluxe Edition, which contains 70 blueprint copies of the original factory schematics for many of the amplifiers, as well as for the echo, vibrato, reverb, and Top Boost units. This amazing collection is the Vox aficionado’s equivalent of the Crown Jewels. History for Hire Press.