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Vividly Dramatic Stereo

Guest post from Kirk Gee in Pasadena

Like so may of us, I have found myself with time on my hands and stuck indoors mostly, so exploring the neglected corners of the record collection has become a pastime. This has lead to various artistic and philosophical musings: why are there no recordings of engines released anymore? What has changed in the entertainment psyche that has made people no longer want to hear five Motorcycles (two fast and three very slow)?

The records here range from 1958 to 1976 so they were a thing for a while rather than just a fad, and they weren't just a very analog way of reliving a great race the way we might pull one up on YouTube. The '76 Formula One Grand Prix, a truly exciting race, has a Japanese language intro with rest of the record being cars roaring around and a few barely audible pit visits. The '63 Grand Prix has a similar set up with the late great Stirling Moss delivering an overview followed by the audio of finely tuned engines sailing by at speed. Our German friends have the same set up, for the 1960 Motorcycle Grand Prix* explanation and audio, but none seem like an actual commentary entertaining though they are.

The other pair are definitely geared at the mid Sixties HiFi enthusiast keen to show how good the system sounds- records for 'everyone intrigued by the vividly dramatic qualities of stereo; and also for those who love the color and sound and excitement of sports cars'. 

Why don't we feel the need to test the audio kit this way anymore? Does the flatter digital sound just not capture 'superb and gutty sound of a well tuned motorcycle engine.' Whatever, they do sound quite madly brilliant and it's a lot more fun than measuring flour for a sourdough starter.

* Part of the Solitude track, in eastern Germany, is used as the drag strip for the Glemseck 101 custom bike event.


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