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My first instinct was to keep this review short and sweet, but I realized that “holy shit” wasn’t going to be a particularly useful take on the situation. So, I’ll elaborate.

I’ve never been in a good position to build a solid home stereo setup. On one hand it’s a bit of an investment, and to make it worth while I needed to spend more time in an environment where I can listen to my music without bothering other people. On the other hand, soliciting information from the “audiophile” crowd is akin to drinking from a fire hose of terrible lies and fairy tales.

Never the less, I like music that sounds good (who doesn’t?). One of my first jobs was working as an assistant A/V engineer, and I have friends and family members who are professional musicians, engineers, and aficionados. I’ve been around and flirted with high quality audio most of my life, so it’s inevitable that I’d finally break down and put something together a system for myself.

Every now and then, serendipity strikes. I first heard of Aperion a couple of years ago, when one of my friends mentioned he’d gone to work for a speaker company here in town. I started pestering him about the job and the gear, and he had nothing but good things to say about the people and product. There seemed to be a lot of other people out there who agreed with him — and did so without pretentious trimmings.

A couple months ago I moved out of a shared office space and into my own home office. For the first time in a long time, I had a private space and a bit of a budget. Around the same time, Aperion released a new product line. Today I went to their office, had a listen, and walked out with a couple of fair sized boxes: a pair of Intimus 5B bookshelf speakers, and a Bravus 8D sub.

I’ve run through a pretty good cross section of my music today — Hifana, The Flaming Lips, Elliott Smith, Radiohead, Pixies, NoFX, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Arctic Monkeys, Autechre, The Shins, Soul Coughing, Thelonious Monk, and even a little Beethoven and Prokofiev for good measure.

Back to my original review: Holy shit, my face hurts from smiling. I’m not going pile on the flowery language and esoteric metaphors about how it sounds, and I’m certainly not going to take advantage of Aperion’s 30 day return policy. The 5Bs are a pleasure to listen to, and the 8D fills out the bottom octaves wonderfully.

My only advice to people considering Aperion speakers? Ask them about getting a deal on returned or refurbished items, and spend the money you save on more good music!


Cleaning the Closet

March 22, 2008

Note: The Pages o’ Peat have moved to — please update your bookmarks and references accordingly. Thank you!

I was cleaning my closet today and found a few CDs with photos on them, including this set. I had the pleasure of taking pictures with Juno Reactor 2001, when they came through Portland on their Shango World Tour. Great people, great music, and a hell of a show.

Channel List

In other news, I miss my Contax 35mm camera and Ilford HP5+ film.

Found it! Sorta.

September 13, 2007

When I was sitting in a train station in Japan, I watched a variety show that featured a young guy with a banjo lookin’ thing who was dressed in traditional garb … but produced some SERIOUS TECHNO ACTION with some lady with a flute and a guy with a drum. It was awesome.

Not being able to communicate in Japanese has put a serious crimp in my plans to find out who this guy was and buy all of the music he’s ever made. So, this evening I was hunting around on the Intertron, and found a few things that get me close … but not quite there.

First, the thing he was playing is called a shamisen, which translated into American means “three stringed, cat skin banjo, played with a spatula.” No joke, it’s made with cat skin.

That let me dig up some pretty sweet stuff, like this dueling shamisen video, some hot solo action, a little shamisen vs. a DJ, and a shimsen vs. taiko video that gets pretty darned close to what I heard in that train station. The common thread in most of the good stuff I found is Kinoshita Shinichi, who, apparently, has awesome fingers. This is a promising lead.

Any chance anyone else out there can help me in my quest?

Update:  Worth posting again — the Hifana Wamono video that planted the Japanese hip hop / techno seed in my brain earlier this year.

Link of the Day

April 18, 2007

So, here’s one of the best web apps I’ve seen in a long time:

It’s immediately apparent what it does, the layout is simple and unobtrusive, and the content is easy to pick out.  And, it’s useful!  I dig it.

Oh.  And MC Frontalot is coming to town on Friday.  Yay!

Hello, Hifana

March 17, 2007

HifanaCheck out what arrived in my inbox this morning, a gift from a far away land. If you like good techno, great animation, and a little bit of crazy … watch this video from Hifana.

Happy Saturday!