Nelson Brill Reviews The Wood Brothers at The Somerville Theatre

Real music lovers can find the melody in everything. From the park to the concert hall, our friend Nelson Brill is always on the hunt for great sound.

In this blog, Brill heads to The Somerville Theatre to see The Wood Brothers perform their carousing vaudeville and fiery rock n’ roll” set. 


CONCERT GLIMPSE: THE WOOD BROTHERS- PRIMED FOR ADVENTURE

By Nelson Brill

FEBRUARY 12, 2017

The Somerville Theatre (located in the heart of Davis Square in Somerville, MA.) opened its doors on May 11, 1914 and the first acts that graced its stage that night were a vaudeville act; a “singing skit” and a “comedy playlet”. (www.somervilletheatre.com). One hundred years later, the Somerville Theatre is still going strong.

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On February 8 and 9th, The Wood Brothers (www.thewoodbros.com) came into town to deliver their own version of carousing vaudeville and fiery rock n’ roll on the Somerville Theatre’s historic stage to the delight of their rollicking, dancing audiences.

The Wood Brothers (“the Brothers”) love to harken back to the days of original vaudeville and folk acts. Midway through their performance on February 8th, the Brothers (Chris Wood on bass, vocals and harmonica; Oliver Wood on vocals and guitar and Jano Rix on keyboards, vocals and everything percussive) dimmed the Somerville Theatre house lights, turned off all stage microphones and gathered in a semi-circle around a single antique microphone (which they call their “Big Mic”). Basking in this autumnal glow, the Brothers performed the filigree title track from their 2013 recording, The Muse [Southern Ground Artists] and their classic, “Postcards From Hell,” (a tribute this evening to the late Levon Helm) in stately sweet harmonies.

The unkempt beauty of these stark ballads highlighted the down-home feel of this great band and their consummate musicianship. Each number combined far-ranging influences such as a brush with Calypso beats (in Chris Wood’s pumping bass solo) to Oliver Wood’s country vocal touches.

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Other sweetly grooving numbers at this concert included the opening “Two Places” and “Touch of Your Hand” (both taken from the Brother’s excellent 2015 recording, Paradise [Honey Jar Records]), with Oliver’s lithe and clear vocals shimmying alongside Chris’s pungent bass and Rix’s keyboard off-kilter splashes.

The Brothers’ common pulsing sway also highlighted their sardonic “American Heartache” with the rasp of Chris’ harmonica cutting deep into the trio’s soaring harmonies that combusted in thunderous drum and snarling electric guitar hits.

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Betwixt and between these grooving ballads and blues, The Brothers took off on a raucous ride through their arsenal of full tilt rock n’ roll sending their lyrics (both comic and cutting) soaring on ripped-up guitar chords and huge bass pelts. Leave it to The Brothers to come up with lyrics such as: “You put your lips in the wind and hope for some kisses back” or “He hails from the great state of confusion and he now pulls a push broom at the inconvenience store.” The latter lyric is taken from their soaring “Singing To Strangers” that crushed with gleeful guitar heat and was partnered with “Snake Eyes” (both numbers found in spirited versions on Paradise) that had Chris Wood dancing in playful revel: he pounded his exuberant bass strings into a frenzy and then, (holding onto the very tip of his huge acoustic bass) he shimmied across the stage to finally fall on his knees to the blasts of Rix’s gut-thumping drums.

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The frolic continued with blazing harp and bass propelling the boogie of “Honey Jar” as Oliver Wood sang in his wonderfully dry, expressive and thin-as-a-reed vocals. This careening number was partnered with the exuberant “One More Day,” a song that was first recorded on The Brothers 2006 recording, Ways Not To Lose [Blue Note]. (For audiophiles, I recommend Ways Not To Lose as The Brothers’ most natural sounding recording to date, because it records them in an intimate session with natural tones and textures to their beguiling instrumental and vocal interplay, with the spirited drummer Kenny Wollesen in the creative mix).

“One More Day” took on a furious pace and blistering heat at this concert as Oliver took up his electric slide guitar with fervent swipes of crushing and blurred high notes followed by Rix’s drum solo that was fit for a boisterous New Orleans “Second Line” parade. Appropriately, this heated jam ended with a spontaneous outburst of a warped version of “The Saints Go Marching In.”

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In the final moments of this raw funk fest, The Brothers came full circle to revisit the glory of The Band, (the Brothers’ upcoming release will be a performance recorded at Levon Helm’s Barn) and lifted the 100 year-old roof of the Somerville Theatre with a soaring version of The Band’s “Ophelia”. At the apex of this reveling version, Rix took a turn in Levon’s honorary seat by singing the chorus at his drum kit while his two partners caroused around him with effusive harmonies and their entwining brotherly love.

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If you would like to read more reviews like this one, visit Nelson’s blog at www.bostonconcertreviews.com.


Alan Sircom Reviews Sort Systems for Hi-Fi+

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Nordost is starting the year off right with another great review! In the January issue of Hi-Fi+, you will find a new piece covering Nordost’s complete Sort System. Alan Sircom is no stranger to Nordost. As he makes clear in his article, using Nordost products (whether they be cables, power products, or resonance control devices) will elevate the performance of your sound system, making all of your components seem more cohesive. With the introduction of the Sort Lift, Alan was able to address his system from all angles: electronics, loudspeakers, and cabling.

“Whether Sort Systems is the start, mid-way, or the end point in your Nordost journey, these components work, work in harmony with one another, and combine perfectly with Nordost’s more commonly thought of system components. Highly recommended.”

“The unSorted sound is like your system on a bad hair day. The soundstage seems to fold in on itself, the natural sense of harmonic overtones, and sense of musical structure to the sound has weakened. It’s just not all there!”

To read Alan’s review in it’s entirety, visit the review page on the Nordost website, or CLICK HERE.

NOVO’s Phil Gold Reviews Valhalla 2

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It is always great to start the year with an outstanding product review, and that is exactly what we are doing! Philip Gold of NOVO (previously Canada Hifi) had nothing but good things to say about our Reference range of cables in his review “Nordost Valhalla 2 Cables Reivew- Their Place in our Hobby”

“These cables bring out the music more than any others in my experience. They do this by offering the flattest and most extended frequency response, the highest level of detail, the greatest accuracy of the instrumental and vocal tone and full responsiveness to transients and sustained harmonics.”

To read the rest of this article on Valhalla 2 Cables, head to the review section on the Nordost website or just CLICK HERE!

Dealer Spotlight: HiFi Innovationen

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In northwest Germany, surrounded by beautiful green meadows, parks and valleys, you will find the city of Kassel, equidistant from major cities such as Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Leipzig, and Hannover. Kassel’s relaxing environment is the perfect setting to enjoy good music, and at HiFi Innovationen, owner Klaus Kirchhof goes out of his way to make your listening experience in these idyllic surroundings unforgettable.

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Each year, HiFi Innovationen hosts several events where customers can listen to new releases from different manufacturers and setups at every level. This spring, Nordost was invited to participate in two separate demonstrations and was greeted by a full attendance throughout the whole weekend.

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First, we put the emphasis on power—starting with the power cords. We showed attendees that feeding electronics with good power cords can make a great difference. In fact, these often overlooked components are fundamental in making your system play at its best! We also used our QV2 and QK1 harmonizers and enhancers in order to demonstrate how to minimize the electrical noise that sneaks into our setups through the power supply. However, electrical noise isn’t the only thing affecting the sound quality of your system negatively. Mechanical noise can also seriously degrade musical reproduction, which Nordost remedies with Sort Kones and Sort Füt. During the demonstrations at HiFi Innovationen, we showed that even the power distribution block is subject to noise that feeds into the signal chain.

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Finally, we featured our new, Supreme Reference Range, Odin 2. During our demonstration of this revolutionary cable, HiFi Innovationen customers had the rare opportunity to hear A-B comparisons between the original Odin and Odin 2 cables, including power cords, loudspeaker cables, and digital/analog interconnects. By the end of our presentation it was clear to all in attendance how Odin 2 has improved technology, construction and fidelity, lifting our reference bar to new heights.

Next time you’re in Germany, make sure you visit Klaus to audition Nordost cables for yourself.

 

HIFI INNOVATIONEN

Dipl.-Ing. K. Kirchhof
Weserstraße 11
34317 Kassel -
Habichtswald-Ehlen
Phone 05606.6155
Fax 05606.6156
Mobil 0172.5644588 

Nordost is headed to The Indulgence Show in London!

indulgence_show_logoJoin Nordost for an exciting, new hifi audio show in London. The Indulgence Show will be held at the Novotel Hotel and Conference Center in Hammersmith, London this October 14-16. Attendees will find Nordost on the second floor in room D11-Medoc, where Nordost sales representatives and product trainers will be conducting product demonstrations and cable comparisons throughout the weekend. For more information about the Indulgence Show and to purchase tickets, please visit www.indulgenceshow.com.

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Nordost Playlist – August 2016

Nordost is lucky to have a wonderful team of representatives and product trainers who travel around the world educating and demonstrating the effects of Nordost’s products. As part of these demonstrations, it is our job to find an interesting and diverse selection of music to showcase our cables, power devices, sort system and accessories. Whether at shows, visiting our dealers and distributors or even in our own listening room in our headquarters in Holliston, we are constantly getting asked what music we are playing (or if our audience is not so bold to ask, we can see their Shazams working overtime). So we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share our favorite songs of the moment. Some may be classics, some may be brand new, some may not even be to your taste, but one thing is for sure …it’s all great music.

Here are some of the songs that we will have on rotation this August.

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  1. Southern Girl—Erykah Badu, Rahzel— Southern Girl
  2. The First Time Ever I saw Your Face—Roberta Flack—First Take
  3. Mr Magic (Through The Smoke)—Amy Winehouse—Frank
  4. Baby, I’m Yours—Barbara Lewis—Baby, I’m Yours
  5. Water Fountain—Tune-Yards—Nikki Nack
  6. Nightclub Jitters—The Replacements—Pleased To Meet Me
  7. Touch of Grey—The War On Drugs—Day of the Dead
  8. Cello Sonata in D Minor, L. 135: II. Serenade—Claude Debussy, Wieland Kuijken, Piet Kuijken
  9. Road Runner—Bo Diddley—Roadrunner The Chess Masters: 1959-1960
  10. I Scare Myself – 2009 Remastered Version—Thomas Dolby—The Flat Earth [Collector’s Edition]

 

Marc Mickelson reviews the Heimdall 2 4K UHD Cable

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HD technology has gone through several revision changes, modifying specifications and undergoing upgrades both in electronics and the transmission line itself. In response to these changes, Nordost came out with two Ultra High Definition cables last year, both in our Heimdall 2 and Valhalla 2 ranges. Our American-made UHD cables more than quadruple the bandwidth of typical HD cables, allowing viewers to appreciate 4K feature sets, including increased frame rates and Deep Color.

Marc Mickelson, of The Audio Beat, was able to speak to the differences our Heimdall 2 UHD Cables make in his recent article, Hi-Fi Video: Nordost’s Heimdall 2 4K UHD Cable:

“We’re all experts on what does and does not look real, so when you see reproduction that’s closer to real, you know it, even without having to wonder. The Heimdall 2 provided that sense of knowing.”

You can now read Marc’s full article in the review section of the Nordost website.

Questions and Answers (May 2016)

Our product specialists receive questions on a daily basis about Nordost products, their application, and hifi in general.  We thought that we would take a minute to share some of our most recent and frequently asked questions here so that everyone can get the answers they are looking for!


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Q.  I see in reading your FAQ and other info “mechanically tuned” keeps getting mentioned but I never really saw where it is defined or explained.  Can you please explain?  Do you have a more detailed write up to explain?  Also explain why being mechanically tuned somehow negates making a shorter cable from a longer one?

A:  The phrase “mechanically tuned” means a few different things. In some cases when we talk about it in our literature, we are referring to our connectors. Some of the connectors we use are mechanically tuned to match the mass of the conductors we make. However, typically “mechanically tuned” refers to the actual length of the cables we make.  We mechanically tune the lengths of the Norse 2, Reference, and Supreme Reference cables we build.  When building a low capacitance cable, where conductors don’t touch each other, you can actually change the characteristics of the resonant peak by altering the conductor’s length…think guitar string. So if we build a 2m speaker cable we find a length (based on the mass and material used) that sounds better and cut it to that length.  All products that are mechanically tuned are technically a bit longer than we say. We use tuned lengths in most products up to 4m.  After 4m, the electrical properties override the mechanical ones so it isn’t necessary.  So if you have a 5m cable, it is exactly 5m. If you want that 5m cable cut down to make two 2.5m cables from it, it is impossible to do that and maintain Nordost’s mechanically tuned lengths, because the shorter cables that you want to make should be longer than the 2.5m lengths being asked for.


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Q:  Will my QB8 benefit from TC Sort Kones under it? Or are the Sort Kones only for electronics (amp, pre amp etc)

A:  The QB8 will absolutely benefit from having Sort Kones underneath it, because it drains the QBASE of the vibrations being generated from the electrical currents running through it. Even using the AC version will result in an audible improvement.


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Q: Is it better to use a QK1 or QV2 in an open wall socket?

A: Either the QK1 or QV2 can be used in an open wall socket.  However, I would advise you to consider the following: if you are using a power conditioner in your system, it is not ideal to plug a QK1 or QV2 into the wall socket.  They are more effective when plugged into the power conditioner itself or another socket further down the line.

QV2s make a more audible change because the frequencies that they impact are easier to hear. Also I feel like it is worth mentioning that QV2s work better in increments of two, whereas QK1s work in any quantity.  One QV2 works just fine, but the incremental improvement more than doubles when using two.

The Nordost Difference

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THE NORDOST DIFFERENCE

In a high-end audio system every element is critical. As people who have a great appreciation for the music we love, and hobbyists who strive to achieve the most realistic sound possible in the comfort of our own listening rooms, we spend hours searching, listening, and comparing different components in order to achieve the performance level that we are looking for. As cable manufacturers, we understand that wiring is not the first component that most people take into consideration when they are looking to upgrade their sound system. In fact, at times it is even a battle for cables to be considered a component, and instead they are often pushed into the category of “accessory”. Cables, however, are an extension of the equipment they are connected to and the effect that they have on the performance of the device they are connected to should not be minimized. But by ignoring cabling and passing it off as an afterthought or accessory, you are limiting the potential that your system is capable of. After all, a system is only as good as its weakest link.

Nordost has a very unique philosophy when it comes to cable design. As a rule, we believe that cables cannot add to the fragile signals that they carry. Instead, we have designed 4 ranges, each causing less impact and signal-loss than the range that came before it, which in turn produces progressive sonic improvements. From the entry level cables (Leif) through the top of our Supreme Reference Range (Odin 2), these improvements are achieved by various means: the number and gauge size of the conductors, proprietary technology such as the use of Mono-Filament, purpose made conductors, and mechanically tuned lengths. All of these elements not only result in measurable improvements (as shown in New Approaches to Audio Measurement), but the differences are also audibly demonstrable.

Over the past 25 years we have built the reputation of our products by conducting live cable demonstrations at Hi-Fi Shows around the world. These demonstrations are great fun because we can actually show people that just changing a power cord, interconnect or loudspeaker cable can make real improvements to the musical performance experienced. The demo format we use, and have used since the beginning, is a simple A/B comparison. We simply start using a stock or entry level cable, play a small sample of music (not too long of a sample so as to mitigate listening fatigue) and then play the same piece again, at the same volume, using an improved cable. It is amazing how dramatic the results can be when you use such simple and concise comparison methods. Upon hearing our demos, listeners usually report hearing an increase in both fine details and soundstage, due to the very low capacitance of our cables. With certain cables (specifically our power cords) the music may even be perceived as being louder… however, this is not the case. What people are actually hearing is a lowering of the background noise floor, which can produce the same effect as an increase in volume.

Of course, it is not our aim to tell you what you should hear. Nordost has always insisted that the end user should hear these differences for themselves. We encourage everyone to visit their local Nordost dealers for their own demos, attend one of our live product demonstrations at an audio show near you, or even better, take our cables home and try them on your own system!

In order to appreciate the Nordost difference you have to hear the Nordost difference.

Nordost President Joe Reynolds— An Interview with HiFi+ Magazine

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Over the past 25 years, Joe Reynolds has built Nordost into one of the most prominent audio cable companies in the hi-fi industry.  This past month HiFi+ Magazine featured Mr. Reynolds in their Guide to Cables.  For more insight into the president of Nordost, please enjoy the following interview:  JOE REYNOLDS OF NORDOST