Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

Anti-/Red Floor 87471-2
Format: CD

Musical Performance

Sound Quality

Overall Enjoyment

When I first played Daniel Lanois’s new disc with Rocco DeLuca, it reminded me of Harold Budd’s music. Lanois helped produce The Pearl, a collaboration between Budd and Brian Eno, as well as La Bella Vista, a collection of Budd’s solo piano works. As I listened to Goodbye to Language more, I still heard a bit of a connection between Lanois and Budd, but only in the sense that both create densely complex music from seemingly simple and repeated elements.

Lanois and DeLuca use pedal steel guitars, along with some studio technology, to bring the music on Goodbye to Language to life, and the effect is flowing and, at times, eerie. According to Lanois’s liner note, “Deconstruction” was the first piece he and DeLuca put together. Distortion, volume swells, and multitracking add up to dark music that would fit a story of mystery told at night. The disc’s 12 tracks seem to invite listeners to create whatever images or feelings they want, their reactions varying with their moods.

Goodbye to Language

“Satie” begins with what sounds like an electronic keyboard effect, but much of the final result of Goodbye to Language comes from technical manipulations of the sounds of steel guitars. Lanois points out that, “In London, Eno introduced me to a new gadget, a sweet little sampler that I bolted onto my steel guitar, my new secret weapon.” The actual sounds of the instruments are mixed together with their transformed and doctored versions, the weepy pedal steels expanding and shimmering against distorted chords and other effects.

Whether or not “Satie” evokes the music of Erik Satie is open to debate. The melody develops slowly, taking on shapes that seem to come from different directions, becoming an homage to the great composer’s methods without sounding like him. “The Cave” has some of the slow, pastoral quality of Satie’s more contemplative piano pieces, and segues into the more ominous “East Side” to create a balance of darkness and light.

That balance is continued in “Later That Night,” its bright major-scale melodies colliding with its more subdued minor-scale lines. The tracks on Goodbye to Language melt into each other -- it’s not unusual to realize that a track has already ended and another begun. As further listenings more clearly revealed the subtle changes in mood between tracks, the music’s moods and emotional pull deepened.

Adam Samuels edited and mastered Goodbye to Language, and its sound quality is enveloping. The lows are powerfully rendered, and the shimmering highs reach out to grab the attention. It’s a disc to spend some time with and let sink in. Like some of Eno’s and Budd’s work, it at first seemed like background music -- but as each subsequent playing washes over me, it reveals a new layer of complexity.

. . . Joseph Taylor