August 19, 2016

Ravi Shankar: Sitar [EMI EASD 1502] an LP released in India in 1972

Here is a very nice collection of compositions by the great Ravi Shankar. Some people in the world of Indian Classical Music resent the continued popularity of Raviji. Even almost fours years after his death, his name can summon up tremendous amounts of energy and power. Oh, I could tell tales of how the merest mention of Raviji's name or the name of his Foundation has opened dozens of doors to concert promotors for particular musicians on tour in the U.S. Those tales will have to wait, especially because I am trying to stay incognito with this blog.

Needless to say, those not blessed with monikers such as "senior disciple of Ravi Shankar" or just "student of Raviji" can sometimes hold some inexplicable envy in their minds. I have sadly heard this envy in personal conversations. Also, brilliantly gifted musicians such as the great sitarist Vilayat Khan never (to my knowledge) publicly admitted to being impressed by Raviji's technical skills. However, there is more than just technical skills which can melt a heart or make a friend. There is a depth of emotion and richness of compositions in Raviji's playing which is evident to both newcomers and professionals alike. It is is this depth and richness which will allow him to continue to hold a spell on the world of Indian Classical Music for the remainder of my lifetime.

Here we have a release from EMI dating from 1972 featuring three new Ragas created by Ravi Shankar (admittedly by slightly altering existing Ragas). To me, it is interesting to note the difference in production values between this release and the jugalbandi double LP with Ali Akbar Khan which was released the same year on Apple Records. My inside source say a reissue of that famous double LP [with bonus additional music] is in the works. Otherwise I would definitely transfer that fine production!

Tabla is by the great and much-missed Alla Rakha.

side 1: 
Raga Kameshwari: Alaap - Jod - Gats in Japhtaal.

side 2: 
Raga Gangeshwari: Gat in Rupak Taal
Raga Rangeshwari: Gat in vilambit and drut Teentaal

I would like to note that you can hear a 60 second mp3 sample of what this LP sounded like as a raw transfer here and also an mp3 sample of the finished audio file here. This was certainly the worst sounding raw transfer I have worked with -- ironically with a perfect-looking LP which I believe was purchased as a "new" LP on a well known online LP site. I broke many of my rules of "pure-hearted audiophile transferring" but otherwise I would not have been able to present the transfer. Originally I simply gave up and handed the LP back to my good friend and fellow ICM student Nels. A few weeks later I changed my mind and gave it a try.

My discovery of the rather amazing program entitled ClickRepair, which allows one to listen live to what sound is being eliminated from the recording, has greatly changed my opinion of such programs. It is, as far as I know, the only program which allows one to perform this neat trick of auditing the material being removed and adjusting accordingly. It is available as a free, fully-functioning trial version with a 30-day trial period. I hope I don't sound like a commercial advertisement for the program, but I believe it has the chance to improve the way vinyl is transferred, with more music kept and more noise eliminated in the audio file.

(this is a high resolution audio file suitable for listening on computer or certain portable devices)

(this is a standard-resolution file suitable for burning a CDR)

(this is the highest-quality setting available when compressing audio to this popular portable format)


  1. Thanks a lot for this LP Richard, and congratulations for the remastering. What a collection you have! O_O

    And I can't wait to listen to the reissue of the Jugalbandi double LP!

  2. The gold "Odeon" stickers placed over the HMV logo turned out a glorious green when scanned. I think they look fabulous. A bit like camouflage fabric. Also if you tilt your screen back and forth (on a laptop) or move your head up and down in the air (on a static screen) the first sticker really does look like it is a shiny metallic surface. At least on my macbook air.

  3. Hi Richard, I have this LP since it came out and to me it sounds perfect. I will post my copy on my blog:
    As always I didn't do any editing. Maybe I'm not as critical regarding sound quality as I always focus totally on thee musical quality and I'm used to so many "historical" recordings done privately decades ago. Would be interested to hear some feedback on the sound quality.

  4. Thank you for you wonderful efforts.

  5. Thank you for your wonderful efforts.

  6. Wonderful blog, I love what you are doing here and your efforts
    are thoroughly appreciated. As you mentioned ClickRepair, well
    that is not the only program that lets you ear the clicks while
    they are "eaten up", as this is one of the many features of a
    rather complex piece of software called iZotope RX which is in
    my opinion the best audio restoration tool on the planet.
    There's virtually nothing you can't do with RX, except
    fixing wow & flutter issues. For those you need another program
    called Capstan, which unfortunately is far from perfect.
    If you have been amazed by ClickRepair, check out iZotope RX and
    your jaw will drop on the floor in no time:)

  7. thanks for the hard work. it sounds amazing.