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"...one of contemporary jazz's great performers..." so reads the prestigious Guardian newspaper's assessment of English pianist John Taylor. As house pianist at London's legendary Ronnie Scott's jazz club, Taylor accompanied many of the icons of jazz, and in so doing honed his individual style into what became one of the most important voices on the European jazz scene. The gigs and recordings of his own groups, his long-time association with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, his many ECM trio recordings with Peter Erskine and Palle Danielsonn and groups led by the likes of Jan Garbarek and John Surman established Taylor's importance. Taylor's 1973 MPS trio album Decipher features two top players, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Tony Levin, who perfectly compliment Taylor's wide-ranging style on an album that offers the listener a delicious taste of his compositions. The virtuoso sprint of "Cipher" melds into the varying tempos and emotions of "Wait For Me", whereas "Leaping" is a pointillist abstract exchange between the three. The emotive jazz waltz "Speak To Me" plays some magical slight-of-hand with the time, and "Song For A Child" sings out as a soft-spoken ballad. "White Magic" powers through as a hard-swinging elixir for all that ails.
Taylor's second album as leader presents a master composer/player at full maturity - what a joy that this music is available once again.
DOES HORCH HOUSE DO ANY KIND OF REMASTERING DURING THE COPYING PROCESS?
Absolutely not! Why mess with the best? The whole point of what they do lies in capturing the magic of the original analogue master tape in its purest, most faithful form possible.
'Remastering' can be compared to using computer software to edit an original photograph. The benefits are that you can remove unwanted marks or noise, clean things up, remove distortion and boost clarity. The downside is that in doing so, you often lose the natural essence of the original and the result can seem rather synthetic, lacking in real life character.
The unfortunate fact is that tapes, like photographs, do tend to age over time, and most analogue masters are now between 30-80+ years old.
So Horch House undertake a painstaking 'soft refurbishing' process, which is key to recapturing the original quality of a master tape.
CAPTURING THE MAGIC OF MASTER TAPE
How exactly does Horch House translate an original analogue master tape into faithful copies on reel-to-reel tape and vinyl records?
They use a process that's been meticulously researched and developed by their expert team of sound engineers, with input from some of the world's leading specialists.
The first step is to carefully assess the sound quality of the original master tape, which their experts do in great detail. The unfortunate fact is that tapes do tend to age over time, and most analogue masters are now between 30-80+ years old. What they're looking to do, therefore, as an integral part of their copying process, is to restore the sound quality back to its original level. They want you to hear exactly what the first sound engineers heard (and indeed the musicians themselves), on the day that the original recording was made. This is in stark contrast to any kind of 'remastering', which they most definitely do not do! They're not looking to 'improve' the recording in any way, but rather to return it as closely as possible to its full original beauty.
They call this their 'soft refurbishing' process.
HOW CLOSE ARE HORCH HOUSE COPIES TO THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES?
Horch House believe that they're as close as it's possible to get - not simply to the master tape in its current condition, but to that master tape's original condition. Thanks to their detailed 'soft refurbishing' process, their master tape copies could, in a sense, now be considered as better than the current originals because they've been lovingly restored to deliver the same sound quality that the originals had on the day they were first recorded.
WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT? ARE MASTER TAPE COPIES LEGAL?
All Horch House master tape copies are fully authorized, licensed and approved by the relevant record label/music publisher.
** It is standard practice in all recording studios to keep the tape "tail out". This reduces "pre-echo" and it means that the tape should be placed on the right hand side of the recorder, re-wound and then played.
- 2-Reel Tape
- Tape material: SM468
- Standard 10.5" Metal Reel
- 38 cm / 15 IPS-CCIR-1/4"-2Track-510nWb
- Production on Studer machines refurbished to factory specification
- Fully authorized, licensed & approved by the record label/music publisher
- Cipher / Wait For Me
- Speak To Me
- Song For A Child
- White Magic