Every year Hifi Pig is invited to the Conservatoire de Musique at Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, France for an evening of jazz presented by the association Jazz Angle. It’s always an entertaining and well attended evening and, as relative newcomers to Jazz, it always throws up something new and unexpected that we’ve not heard before…and this year was no exception. More »

José Feliciano, no me neither, and so here’s a bit of background. Feliciano is Puerto Rican and was born blind as a consequence of congenital glaucoma but never the less he is regarded by some as the world’s greatest living guitarist. More »

You’ll know the name of course and since his days with Public Image Ltd, Mr Wobble has put out over forty albums and taken part in a huge number of collaborations. Last year he released a six CD box set called Redux, but In Dub allows fans or those new to his music, an affordable collection of this particular style of music he’s output. More »

Everything these days is ‘post-something’, don’t you think?  Post-rock, Post-punk, post-everything.  That being the case, Julia Jacklin’s debut album ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ should possibly take the mantle of ‘post-alt-country’, whatever that means.  The album’s a lively mix of laid-back guitar-driven songs which lie somewhere between Laura Marling, Faith Over Reason, Eileen Rose and Patti Smith.  She certainly has a voice that would melt butter – ‘Leadlight’ is one of those gorgeous summery anthems which you often hear when abroad, being both bittersweet in lyrical content and smooth as silk in the vocal department. More »

Every now and again I go out at night and see a band that reminds me exactly why I go out at night to see bands.  The Stray Birds are one of those.  More »

This month John Scott turns his attention to the UK singer songwriter Elvis Costello who rose to stardom in the first wave of punk rock and here looks at his album This Year’s Model recorded with his band The Attractions.   More »

2016 marks the fiftieth year since Taste, the blues-rock trio, was formed by legendary guitarist Rory Gallagher. Taste’s story almost reads like a Ziggy-ish rock n’ roll film script: a youthful band that promised much, only to split after a short period in a rather dramatic and personalised fashion, when they were right on the verge of 1970s rockstardom, due to a troublesome relationship with management. Thankfully, there is a lot more to Taste than such rock n’ roll cliché might suggest. Taste had a goodly share of creative achievement, both in its MKII and lesser-known MKI line-ups, which mark the band as deserving of more than a mere foot-note in the in the annals of 60s rock. More »

I thought it was a joke when this landed on my desk earlier but as with all the albums that arrive here at Hifi Pig Towers I gave it a fair trial and popped it on in the car whilst we drove to our destination for lunch. More »

It is rare for me to go to a gig specifically to see the support act but I made an exception for Fraser Anderson.  I had reviewed Fraser’s excellent album Under Cover Of Lightness earlier this year and has remained a regular listen. When I found out at the last minute that Fraser was gigging, I was determined to attend.   More »

Female electro poppers Marsheaux took their name from a portmanteau of the first syllables of their first names: Marianthi and Sophie.  Hailing from Thessaloniki, the girls moved to Athens to form the band.   Steeped in electronic pop music from the likes of Depeche Mode, The Human League, OMD, Soft Cell, New Order and Sparks, the girls have worked  to bring their own personality to their influences over the course of four previous studio albums and during this time  Marianthi and Sophie have also carved out a parallel career as remixers, reworking tracks by Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue, Depeche Mode and Moby.  More »

Okay, I’m going to put this right out here.  I’m guilty.  I suspect I might be guilty of something that we may all be guilty of but I’m not going to use that as an excuse.  I’m guilty and I’m going to make a full confession.  So, here goes.  More »

Roy Harper may well be rock’s least well-known legend. The only non-band member to have sung a lead vocal on a Pink Floyd song (Have A Cigar from Wish You Were Here), he is also the subject of a Led Zeppelin song (Hats Off To (Roy) Harper).  David Gilmour, Paul And Linda McCartney and Kate Bush have guested on his albums and Bush, Peter Gabriel and This Mortal Coil have covered his songs.  More »

This is bass player and composer Antoine Fafard’s fourth album and features Gary Husband on drums, lead synth and piano and Jerry De Villiers Jr on lead guitar. More »

This is actually from 1985 but is now available for the first time on CD along with eight bonus tracks included. When it first came out Kerrang said it was a “distinctive and attractive alternative to the mainstream flow of things” and that’s as true in 2016 as it was then. More »

In March this year, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry carried their guitars on to the Texas Eagle train in Chicago bound for Los Angeles.  During the journey, the pair recorded songs while the train stopped to pick up passengers.  With one eye on the train, to make sure that it didn’t pull off without them, songs were recorded in station waiting rooms and trackside platforms.  Four days and 2,728 miles later they disembarked at Union Station at 4.30am and recorded their final song accompanied by the first chirpings of the dawn chorus.  More »

This month John Scott breaks out Richard and Linda Thompson’s timeless classic from 1974. More »

Amtrak’s Texas Eagle train runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, covering 2,728 miles and taking  just under 67 hours to complete its journey.  Tonight Billy Bragg and Joe Henry are showcasing a set of songs that they recorded when they took that trip together in March this year. More »

I’m really not sure what to make of this album.  That’s not to say that I’ve initially approached it only to then back away with a kind of “what the hell is this?!!” type of response, but moreover I’ve played this album some 20+ times and still really don’t have a clue what to make of it all.  I’m not totally sure if it’s either a conscious body of work or possibly a case of throwing ideas into a blender only to see what happens.

More »


I’ve been a fan of Hopkins’ work for a number of years.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will already be aware that Hopkins has previously worked with Coldplay and his track “Light Through The Veins” was reworked into what became the introduction to opening track “Life In Technicolor” from Coldplay’s album ‘Viva la Vida Or Death And All His Friends’. More »

The sleeve notes for Eye’s Of Blue’s Crossroads Of Time opens with a bit of an odd one “Sometimes a band can anticipate history to their own detriment. There is such a thing of being too far ahead of the game and finding everyone else is still playing by the old school rules…The story of Welsh band Eyes of Blue is such a case in point”. More »

When I was a youth I had the door to my bedroom painted with all psychedelic patterns, dragons, mushrooms and the like. Somewhere on the door I also had a poem that started “I am Bufo bufo, not yet rested from the great work” and on the frame over the door I had “It’s an ill wind that blows no minds”. I’m sure my parents must have been very proud, if not a little concerned about my mental wellbeing.  The year the tunes on this collection came out I was born, but I’ve always been drawn to the whole hippy vibe…man, and love the music of this era; mostly it has to be said the music that came out of the US scene. More »

The Tomcats were a British R&B/Mod band formed in Ealing in 1965 but it is in Spain they were most well known. The story goes that just before they were about to make it big on the R&B scene in London the band jumped in a van (bought by one of the band’s mum) and headed for Madrid. More »

This month, John Scott revisits the 1968 classic from Pink Floyd, Saucerful Of Secrets. More »

This months offering from él records was recorded in 1956 and is Michel Legrand’s homage to the French capital where he was born in 1932. You may not necessarily know the name but you are sure to know some of his tunes as he’s got around 200 film scores to his credit and if you’re still struggling you will certainly know Dusty Springfield’s version of Windmills Of Your Mind which is another of his tunes. More »

Lyn Stanley is the darling of the audiophile community and she certainly knows how to press our collective buttons to get us all in a lather over her recordings. Not content with just releasing her music on CD, she also releases her output on Reel2Reel and very high quality vinyl too – you may have even caught one of her live performances at High-End Munich (Lyn featured on the front cover of Hifi Pig’s coverage of High End 2015) and other audio shows.  More »

Choose a word from the following: Warped, debased, putrid, twisted. And one from these: Brilliance, originality, ingenuity, inventiveness. And there you have this album pretty much reviewed and condensed into two words. For the record I’d have gone for “Twisted Brilliance” for this is what you have here. Let Me Hang You is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended, but then William Burroughs reading some of his most outrageously degenerate but simultaneously entertaining and unsettling passages from his Naked Lunch novel of 1959 was never going to be. If you don’t know Naked Lunch then look it out and devour it before it consumes you! More »

Hifi Pig’s Janine Elliot is invited along to world famous AIR Studios where BBC Radio 2s Clare Teal joins the Syd Lawrence Orchestra for a direct to disc recording session. Read on, it’s fascinating!  More »

Marc E. Smith’s The Fall divide opinion perhaps like no other band I can think of. On the one hand you have a devoted to the point of obsession fanboys, whilst on the other you have folk that just don’t get them. I fall (no pun intended) somewhere in the middle which is a bit of a cop out some may say. I do sort of understand the attraction of the band that formed in Manchester in 1976 and whose sole constant member is Smith, but then I buy their records and then think…why?

More »

Continuing what has been a particularly cosmopolitan set of review CDs this month we have this album from the él stable. Nope, I’ve not come across the singer before and this is part of the reason I love él; never afraid to dig out the obscure and interesting and release it on the unsuspecting music loving public. More »

This has been an absolutely huge record in France achieving the highest week one sales in fourteen years and going Double Platinum in its first week of sales. I wasn’t expecting this to land on my desk and when youngest son saw it he declared it rubbish…though I strongly suspect he’s only heard snippets, or none at all. More »

Between 1980 and 1985 Britain was experiencing a bit of a psychedelic revival and Another Splash Of Colour expands on the original album A Splash Of Colour issued in’82 and highlights many of the bands of the Nu Psych scene from that era. All the tracks from the original album are present and correct and appear here on CD for the first time ever. If you weren’t privy to the scene then many of the names herein will be new to you…as some are to me. Mood Six, High Tide, Miles Over Matter, The Barracudas and The Times are all included.

More »

Fearing that the world is heading to hell in a handcart, John Scott takes refuge in T Rex’s Electric Warrior. More »

You may have recently read about two girls from Norfolk who look uncannily similar but are, in fact, unrelated.  Rosa and Jenny are both 17, met when they were 4 years’ old and have been inseparable ever since.  Together, they make music under the moniker Let’s Eat Grandma.  Whether or not you enjoy their debut album really comes down to whether you like their mixture of darkness and light.  Oh, and their voices. More »

We at Hifi Pig recently bought and absolutely raved about the half speed master version of the John Martyn album Solid Air released on vinyl by Abbey Road. Miles Showell is the mastering engineer behind the project and Hifi Pig caught up with him for a chat.Miles with half speed lathe 20140730_7336 3500pxsmall

Read the full interview with Miles Showell of Abbey Road. 

Sponsorship button

Summer is here, in the upper half of the hemisphere, at least. Time to bare some flesh – that’s enough, thank you – slap on the factor 30, pour a long drink, lie back and relax as John Scott provides the perfect summer playlist.   More »

John Scott makes the most of the sunshine (well, it was shining when he started to write this) and listens to Linton Kwesi Johnson’s 1980 reggae classic.    More »

Fraser Anderson has been a father, a son, a brother and a husband. All of these relationships inform his songs as he sings about love, loss and loyalty.  The ties that stretch and fray as they bind us to others.  Anderson was born in Edinburgh and cut his musical teeth as a drummer in hip hop bands.  A meeting with Scottish musical institution Dougie McLean drew him into the folk world.  Moving to France with his young family, Anderson crafted his songs while working in kitchens and on building sites, building a fan base through local gigs.  Returning to the Uk in 2013, Anderson immersed himself in Bristol’s musical melting pot.  Now with three albums behind him Anderson has released his best album yet, the crowd funded Under The Cover Of Lightness.  More »

According to Howard Massey in his excellent book “The Great British Studios”, half speed mastering originally came about when John Lennon arrived in the Apple cutting room to master his new 45 “Power To The People” and wanted it “loud”. As a result the engineers came up with the ingenious idea of cutting the disc at half speed. This meant playing back the master tape at half speed and having the cutting lathe cut at half speed too, resulting in the engineers being able to get more level on the acetate but “with much better bass too”. More »

The MAY edition of Hifi Pig Magazine and Gadgety News is out and ready for FREE download.
It’s packed with Hifi and Gadget reviews of course but this month we have a great interview with the man who discovered Prince and help write his first hit single, plus a special report on the possible effects of a Brexit on the British Hifi industry. Download your free copy now. There’s also great music reviews, fab columnists and more…MAY2016FRONT500SMALL
Hifi Reviews
Pre Audio GL-1102N Turntable
EAT C Sharp Turntable and Koetsu Black MC Cartridge
Remton 383 Mk 2 Phonostage
Roksan TR-5 S2 Loudspeakers
Fostex PM0.5d Active Loudspeakers
Questyle QP1r DAP
O2A Quintessence SUBLIM Speaker Cables
Studio Connections Platinum Digital Cables
Atlas Cables Budget Loom
Gadgety Reviews
Cubot X17 Smartphone Review
Devil Horns Earbuds Review
Fugoo Tough and Style Bluetooth Speaker Review
iFit Classic Analogue Fitness Smartwatch
Manfrotto Lumiemuse 3 LED Camera Light
Onkyo H500M Headphones
Skullcandy Grind Wireless Headphones
Skullcandy Hesh 2 Bluetooth Headphones
ViewSonic Pro7827HD Projector
Sponsorship button

Following the recent tragic demise of Prince, John Scott takes a look at what he considers The Artist Formerly Known As’ masterpiece, Sign O The Times. More »

There’s a bit of a buzz around reel to reel recordings at the moment and the number of audiophiles and music lovers taking up the format is clearly on the rise…and in response there are a growing number of companies offering up reel to reel recordings to cater to their needs. Step up to the plate STS Digital from The Netherlands and headed up by the lovely Fritz and Netty de With. More »

Boulder Amplifiers, based in Boulder Colorado have announced that with the completion of the HDMI input module, the full release and shipment of the 2120 D/A Converter. The original 2000 Series was in continuous and unchanged production since 1996. The replacement 2100 Series is Boulder’s “highest performing, continuously produced product line”.2120 Disp View

International export prices will vary by country.

All electronic circuitry within the 2120 D/A Converter is entirely new and all technological changes were developed over a six-­‐year period that included the engineering of a complete SoM (System on Module) host processor and dedicated video driver to support the front panel display.2120 Straight

Among the numerous features of the 2120 are:

Digital Inputs:

  • Standard traditional digital inputs: coaxial S/PDIF, balanced AES3, and Toslink (EIAJ) optical
  • Both Standard (computer) and Slave (memory device) streaming USB connections accepted
  • Optional HDMI inputs (2x Input, 1 x throughput)
  • DLNA/UPnP via Ethernet for bit-­‐perfect network streaming
  • Multiple fully modular digital input options available to tailor the 2120 to the user’s system needs and prevent obsolescence

Digital Processing Features:

  • Asynchronous digital streaming
  • Digital audio file formats accepted: PCM, DSF (DSD 1x and DSD 2x), AIFF, ALAC (Apple Lossless), FLAC, WAV, MP3, OGG Vorbis
  • Digital data rates accepted: 16-­‐, 20-­‐, 24-­‐ and 32-­‐bit word lengths at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4,

192, 352.8 and 384 kHz.

  • Digital volume control for direct connection to amplification, featuring an 80 dB range and 1.0 dB step resolution
  • A balanced variation of Boulder’s Precise Interval Clock to substantially reduce noise in the clock circuit and maintain ultra-­‐precise data timing at the DACs
  • Boulder’s Eigen-­‐algorithm digital filter for optimized frequency and phase response

Analogue Features:

  • Three-­‐output power supply (analog left channel, analogue right channel and digital), plus an independent supply for low power consumption standby modes
  • Isolated left and right channel analog sections as in the 2110 Preamplifier
  • Ten proprietary Boulder 99S gain stages per channel
  • Dual balanced outputs for each channel

Operational and Chassis Features:

  • Function control by multiple control points on Apple-­‐ and Android-­‐based tablets and mobile devices as  well as iTunes
  • Four separate chassis: left analog, right analog, user interface and power supply
  • Separate power supply casework ensures optimal noise isolation
  • Large, full-­‐color, 12.3-­‐inch (31.2 cm), 1280 x 480 LCD display
  • Display provides complete metadata readout, selected input or customized source listing, progress bar, resolution and data rate
  • Album art displayed when available
  • Automatic software updating when attached to an active Internet connection
  • Multiple Standby modes for quick start, standard and ultra-­‐low power consumption
  • Comprehensive setup and configuration modes
  • IP control with two-­‐way communication for integration with external control systems, such as Savant or Crestron

Sponsorship button

This dropped on my desk a couple of months ago and I really wasn’t expecting much of it. It’s from a period of music that wasn’t great in my opinion and from an artist I admit I’d heard nothing of previously. And so it stayed in its protective covering for longer than it really should. In a fit of not being able to find a CD I wanted to play in the car I grabbed this and was rather pleased I did. More »

I like Tangerine Dream a lot and it’s fair to say they are probably the first music that wasn’t mainstream pop that I was exposed to in my early teens. I used to babysit for my cousin and her Father (my Uncle) Keith had an interesting record collection that I used to dip into whenever I was there. Tangerine Dream were a mainstay of his collection, along with Kraftwerk and a host of other more “out there” and avant-garde musicians that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to hear. More »

Club Homage, out on the 29th April, follows on from Somerville’s (yes, he of Bronski Beat and The Communards fame) disco album of last year called “Homage”. Now I’m a bit of a sucker for disco and love some of the people who are involved in remixing some of the tracks from Homage for Club Homage – TomMoulton, Felix Gauder, Robbie Leslie, John Winfield and Sebus & Larzo – so was well pleased when this CD (in limited, black vinyl effect) landed on my desk. More »