Unbelievable Sounds

What is unbelievable sounds?

Taking your ears on a journey, hearing and discovering something new and deliciously audible.


12 tunes of christmas


Christmas songs mean a lot, mainly because we hear them once a year and they bring back lots of memories. I tend to favor songs I heard as a kid, and I really love the production of the really old tunes. And the feeling should be a bit languid and dreamy, so blues and ballads are more my cup of tea than big band blowouts. So here are 12 of my absolute favorites, and happy 2015. M4a link.

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Best of 2012

Here's the best of this year! Enjoy!

  1. Lotus Plaza Spooky Action at a Distance
  2. Daughn Gibson All Hell
  3. Tame Impala Lonerism
  4. Japandroids Celebration Rock
  5. Grimes Visions
  6. Yeasayer Fragrant World
  7. The Sea and Cake Runner
  8. Ariel Pink Mature Themes
  9. Donnie and Joe Emerson Runnin' Wild
  10. William Basinski Disintegration Loops 1-7

US episode 6 – live


What is music if not live? Except when it's on record. This episode gets into why 'live recordings' can be amazing or lousy. Not an oxymoron, the sound of a live record has some different sonics to what is possible in the studio. There's also a decent range of moments that you have to capture in the time. Shout outs to James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Ahmad Jamal, and several surprise guests for making this possible.


US episode 5 – reverb


What's that sound that has all the people wanting more? It's reverb!!! Well, actually it's a bit more like salt than pepper, but it makes recorded music taste delicious. Reverb helps create a 'space' that grounds the insturments, and when used creatively, it can make things sound psychedelic, dreamy, or just plain rock. Happy SXSW, if any listeners are off to the interactive portion, tweet me at @michaeldain and give me tips on what you'd like to hear in future episodes.


US episode 4 – dynamics!


Episode four, I think, is a new level. If you've ever turned it up to 11, its all about dynamics, loudness, or just plain impact. If you turn back to the 20's just being loud enough to be heard over the sound of dust in the grooves was the challenge. Contemporary music has a bit less of a hurdle, but still because we hear literally twice as much spectrum as can be captured on a recording. How do you cram dynamic sounds into such as small space? I've got some good examples in this episode. Bonus points for all who post in comments on what tunes are in the new intro collage, along with your thoughts on what sounds you think really hit the sonic mark.


US episode three – Stereo


The gloves come off this episode, I get down and dirty and really begin to research some of my rambled opinions. And what a befitting subject. As mono recordings could represent black and white movies, some amazing art, but technology marches on. Stereo adds that extra bit of oomph for those of us with two ears. But it was a rocky road starting out, 3 track recording, 4 track, 8 track, the sounds, the technology, the story, give a listen!


US – episode two – thoroughly modern mono


Sophisticated sounds, in a monaural vein. How early mastering to mono created some of the great sonic gems, with examples from Pablo Casals, and Louis Armstrong. Then, fidelity gets better, Les Paul is introduced, as well as just what good sounds can come from Sam Cooke and the Rolling Stones, indeed who needs Stereo?


Unbelievable Sounds Episode one!!!

Unbelievable sounds

Ok, it's really here, the first episode of the long mulled over "Unbelievable Sounds" - for those used to the yearly dip into the record rack, this will come as a departure. I wanted to come up with a way to share some of the unsung nuances of what it means to listen to recorded music. Why do bands have a great album, then a dud? What is it that makes us love a tune, and then dismiss a sound-alike? My theory is that the real hand behind great tunes is the producer/engineer. The people that figure out what to turn the knobs to, the people that listen past the performance and create something to share. This isn't a rant against bands, far from it, but a celebration of the great things we can all turn our ears and hear. Unlike a pricy wine, this one is free, the only cost is to listen to me prattle on over great music. Still, take a chance, its only a click away. Recommended for headphones and portable listening devices!

Episode one - Mono

Primitive recordings = amazing sounds. Even with some people shouting in a megaphone to make a needle vibrate, it was still able to deliver riveting music. A smattering of classical, world (madagascar), elvis, proves the point that this way of recording, working within its limitations, provides great pleasure.



Best Records of 2011

Ah, a wonderful time putting this together. Even though I have switched to a streaming service (MOG), we'll see if that changes the way I rate and am able to go back and find out what records I really fell in love with. Added bonus of youtube performance link from Claire. Open in iPod's to see all the links and other goodies.

9. Julianna Barwick, The Magic Place
8. Washed Out, Within and Without
7. Girls, Father Son and Holy Ghost
6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
5. Neil Diamond, The Bang Years
4. Bibio, Mind Bokeh
3. Radiohead, The King of Limbs
2. Tropical Djoli Band de Faranah, Style Savane
1. Beach Boys, Smile Sessions (deluxe)
1. Jeff the Brotherhood, We are the Champions