I agree with Downbeat, about Marilyn

At work I’m just listening to Jan Garbarek’s “Rites” CDs again to blend out some background noise with something not as disturbing, so I can keep concentrating.

And as always, I’m most impressed by that music, and by the musicians. The drummer is exceptional – it’s Marilyn Mazur. The Wikipedia page states:

“Down Beat has on six occasions rated her No. 1 Jazz Performer”

– and they’re so right. Wonderful music, wonderful musicians.

The photo of her is © by Hreinn Gudlaugsson, under a CC 4.0 license.

Thanks for reading.

Sennheiser HD598 SE

This one has a bit of history, for context…

First you’ll have to know that when I was younger, I used to be a musician. I played bass guitar (and my brother Willi even had an acoustic double bass). I was in the studios (EMI Electrola, no less) at the age of 19, so I’m used to good amps, speakers, and headphones and know how music sounds either directly or through very high end equipment.

Some years ago, we needed headphones for Mitchie, and so I bought what I knew was good: AKG K-240 – we’ve used that one in the studios a lot. But for Mitchie it was a bit big and heavy, so later I ordered a slightly smaller K-141 Mk2 for her, and I took the big one.

Alas, it broke. Without any apparent reason. And I thought wow, they used to be a lot more sturdy during my times. Mitchie had some smaller earplugs which she preferred, so I got her K-141.

But that one has a problem as well – it loses its colour on your ears, and it even gets sticky during summer when it’s hot – can’t be healthy, and I thought damn, they now cost more in Euro than they used to cost in German Mark, and still they’re much worse than they were in the good old days. Definitely some cost savings through cheapest material going on here, so AKG doesn’t seem a good choice for the next one…

The next ones were Sennheiser in-ears. I was used to and knew Sennheiser as well, but I’ve never tried in-ears before. And I must say I don’t really like them as much as my brother does. They’re like a plug in your ear, something which disturbs me – don’t know if I could get used to that.

At work I have a Sennheiser HD201, and I bought a second one which Zuleikha uses at her digital Yamaha piano, so she can practice without disturbing anyone. Looks like this:

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These are cheap (around 20€) and sturdy, and they’re good for the purpose like at work or on the piano. But I still was thinking about some better ones.

Our friend Thorsten from Bonn knew that I was looking and found the perfect ‘Black Friday’ deal for me. These ones:

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These are called Sennheiser HD598 Special Edition, and right now while I write this they are offered for 229€ at Amazon Germany, or for $164.72 at Amazon.com. I’ve paid 99€. So how are they?

In a word: fantastic.

I’ve read that they would lack some bass, so what I tried first was – of course – some bass. Started with Ham Hocks and Cabbage from the Christian McBride Trio album Out Here, and wow – that is some double bass! Nothing missing at all, and I thought hmmm whoever thinks these lack bass probably never heard, felt, or even played one. But maybe they meant something like dynamics? Ok – next I tried Panther from Marcus Miller‘s The Sun Don’t Lie. And again, wow, shake yer booty baby, this was almost unbelievable. Hm, something more melodic? Next was A Remark You Made from Weather Report, with the unforgettable Jaco Pastorius, and by now I was convinced. This was music like it should sound, nothing missing and nothing added, just perfect.

Ok, something else. Maybe guitar? I started Ulf WakeniusBretagne, followed by their very percussive Breakfast in Baghdad. The guitar was perfect, as was Vincent Peirani‘s accordion (and scat vocals), and – again – the double bass played by Lars Danielsson. For comparison, I chose the same song with vocals by Youn Sun Nah, and after that it was Momento Magico, which Ulf Wakenius composed just for her.

Wonderful. Smooth and high-endy, very detailed but never too much of anything, so you can just close your eyes and concentrate onto the music. Definitely the best headphones I’ve ever had, and that by a large margin. Oh, they’re comfortable as well, so maybe I’ll try them on the TV (which is attached to an Onkyo stereo receiver) next. The “SE” (for Special Edition) in the headphone’s name stands for the fact that these are black instead of brown, and they come with two cables – one with 1.2m and small plug, perfect for computer or mobile devices, and one with 3m and big plug (and adapter to small) for the tele or wherever you need some distance.

Perfect. Thanks again to Thorsten for finding that offer. They’re better than my AKG were, so even for the higher price they’re recommendable – but for under 100€ that was a steal definitely. Thanks mate!

It’s all about Jazz

“Music is life and death. A life without music is meaningless. It’s very important because it can carry you through your life, in good and bad times” — Ulf Wakenius

Here. Don’t wanna lose that link myself… or this one

Probably the best gig they did together was in Vienne. Awesome.

Another week went by

This week was the last week of school in our county, so by now the kids started their 6 week summer holidays. I didn’t do much photographically, but let me still show some.

On Tuesday, I still had the 40-150mm tele zoom lens on my camera, and on a short walk after dinner, I took a photo of clouds with it:

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Ghost riders in the sky

On Wednesday we were informed on very short notice that in the evening there was a summer concert in Zuleikha’s school, and that she had to attend and to play with her brass class. I took some photos but remained seated in the second row like Mitchie, who tried to make some videos. So I didn’t want to compete with other parents who were proud of their kids, and who moved around just to get a good shot of them:

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Today’s average camera

Meanwhile, at my employers’ place it was decided to give up just another two stories of a building to save some costs (won’t comment on this). So in the building I work in, what was once the reception now looks like this:

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Emptiness

So forgive me if I took just another “selfie” in the mirror of one of the company’s lifts, with my favourite camera and lens combination. Who knows how long I’ll be able to take one of these?

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Me

Another week, then I’ll have some time off myself. We can’t leave for a longer vacation tho, since we don’t have anyone to care for the cat. Too bad for Mitchie, who would love to see England and Scotland…

Well, maybe we can at least visit the upcoming DebConf in Heidelberg (I offered to take some portraits of Debian developers).

Thanks for viewing.

P.S.: Special thanks go to “Brass & Co.”, and also to Dr. Eckhardt and the PDS Big Band – you were as fantastic as always. They played:

  1. Birdland (Weather Report),
  2. Fly me to the moon (B. Howard),
  3. Children of Sanchez (C. Mangione), and – as a da capo,
  4. Sweet Lucy (R. de Souza)

Always worth visiting, and listening to. For readers who can’t come to hear them play around here, there are some songs which you can download from the band’s home page.

Black & white, and someone to watch (and to listen to)

I don’t know if it was Mike’s article about the new Leica Monochrome (Typ 246), and the links from his readers in their comments, but I imagined about having a black & white camera only. So I switched mine to black & white and left it like that since a few days. I knew that for portraits this can be very nice, but how about general photography? I was curious. So here are some, as always almost like out of camera:

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Tuna the cat, May 2015

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Gravity? What gravity?

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Taraxacum (common dandelion) (in German, we also call these “Löwenzahn”, or “Pusteblume”)

I have written about Youn Sun Nah already, but here’s another photo I took today. It shows the “Concert” part of a French/German TV station, and until October 18th this year, you can see a concert of her and her quartet of “musiciens exceptionelles” as she introduces them. Just look for this on your Arte channel:

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“Screenshot” Arte: Youn Sun Nah Quartet

Or look at the station’s site like here. It’s worth it – if they offer this as a DVD one day, I’ll buy it.

Which lenses did I use for these photos?

First one: M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8 fully open at f/1.8
Second and third one: ZD 50mm/2 Macro at f/8
Last one: Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 at f/4

Thanks for reading.

The Almased Wellness TV commercial 2014/2015

Since weeks, just a few minutes before the daily news start, there’s the same commercial on our TV. Mitchie doesn’t like it, Zuleikha has enough of it as well, but in case you want so see it, it’s here or here.

I liked the music (and the dog), and it’s the song “Get up” from a band called “Karolina Kingdom”. You can hear the song and see the band on Youtube. Seems it’s a German band, from Lüneburg, as this article – in German – shows.

No Wikipedia entry, not much information about the band if you search for them in the usual search engines. The only things I’ve found point to Facebook, which I don’t use. I guess I’m a different generation, or I’m getting old – having an own homepage doesn’t seem to be too important for young bands anymore… OTOH, who really needs the internet? Life happens somewhere else. If you believe in ads like the one mentioned here, it even happens in offices and lifts. And of course only with cute pets. 😉

Thanks for reading.