How does the information on a disc become sweet music?

Have you ever had a close look at a record and wondered how that tiny groove can result in the sound you hear through your speakers? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

While the basic idea is around 140 years old, thanks to Edison’s phonograph the record as we now know it is more like half that age. Columbia Records launched the first 12in LP in 1948, with the first public demonstration taking place on June 20th at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York. The rest, as they say, is history.

It seems impossible to kill off the vinyl format. It’s a wonderful piece of engineering which, even today, seems just a little too unlikely to actually work. But work it does – and, with the right equipment, to a fabulous level.

The groove

https://youtu.be/GuCdsyCWmt8

That record groove – and there is just one that spirals gently to the centre of the disc – is tiny, usually around 0.04-0.08mm wide (depending on the level of the signal). If you were to unravel it the groove would extend to a length of about 500 metres.

The two sides of the groove sit at right-angles to each other with the point of that angle facing down. Each side of the groove carries what can only be described as wiggles that represent the right- and left-channel audio information.

The side closest to the outside edge of the record carries the right-channel signal. This information can be stored in an area as small as a micron (one-thousandth of a millimetre), so the scale of the task to retrieve it is immense.

This also explains the sensitivity of record players to external vibrations and other disturbances.

The cartridge

It’s the job of the cartridge to track the groove. More specifically, it is the job of the stylus tip to do it.

The tip is made of a very hard substance, normally diamond. But don’t get too excited – it’s industrial diamond rather than the really valuable stuff. That means it lacks the purity of the gems you might find in jewellery.

This diamond tip is usually shaped into a small point – though there are a variety of shapes the tip can take – that sits in the record groove and follows the wiggles as the record turns.

The nature and degree of the stylus’ movement is what translates into the varying frequencies and volume that you hear through the speakers. This movement is carried through the cantilever – the shaft the stylus tip is attached to – and into the cartridge body.

There are two types of cartridge: moving magnet and moving coil. They both work on the principle of using movement to induce current thanks to magnetic fields.

But, as the names imply, in one the magnet moves to induce current while in the other the coil does so and the magnet is fixed. So, assuming we’re talking about a moving magnet cartridge, in the case of our example a tiny magnet is attached to the hidden end of the cantilever, and as the stylus tip moves around it does too.

The magnet’s varying field causes current to flow in the tiny coils positioned close by, and this is the signal that comes out the back of the cartridge to be fed into your amplifier. Or, if your amplifier is a line-level device, as many are, a dedicated phono stage.

The phono stage

What exactly does a phono stage do? The physical limitations of vinyl mean that the original signal has to be altered before it can be recorded – low frequencies are reduced in level and the highs are boosted.

The curve that governs this equalisation was set by the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) years ago. If you’ve ever plugged a turntable directly into a line-level input you know you get a very quiet sound – and also one that is thin and bright, with no bass to speak of.

Every phono stage has the reverse response built into it – one that boosts bass and flattens treble to exactly the right degree. The result should be a tonally even presentation.

A phono stage is also an amplifier. Cartridge signals can be as low as a thousandth of a volt (CD’s output is specified at 2V) so the signal has to be amplified massively before the line-level stage of an amplifier can take over.

So rather than the witchcraft we always sort-of suspected it must be, getting a sound from a vinyl disc turns out to be nothing more than fiendishly clever. It’s worth bearing in mind the ingenuity at play when you next carefully place the tip of your stylus into the groove of a LP – but don’t dwell on it for all that long. After all, there’s music to be listened to.

How does a vinyl record make a sound?

CONSECRATION – FRAGILIUM
LABEL: SOLITUDE PRODUCTIONS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 28th 2019

If you walk into the fenlands at sunset, leaving the last house at your back, you will follow a road that slowly dwindles to a footpath as the sky darkens and the shadows lengthen. With a cutting wind always in your face, bringing tears to your eyes, you’ll reach a place where the path finally peters out to nothing. There is no light but the stars and the horizon is as empty and distant as it was many cold miles ago. The only discernible features of this desolate landscape are the gnarled, stunted, wind sculpted trees that skulk like warped spiders, poised to attack when you turn your back. It’s a place with no name but loneliness, where all the sorrows in the world gather to cry their laments to the endless sky; and the sound of their song is the sound of Consecration…

Blending the decaying grandeur of epic doom, with the visceral power of primal death and the taste of memories so sharply poignant they draw blood and tears in equal measure, Consecration have summoned into being Fragilium – a towering album that stands like a pitch black monolith against the night sky, casting shadows so deep they swallow the darkness. The currents of aching melancholy that sweep through these songs are so deeply powerful that they threaten to consume the unwary listener. The guitar melodies sing like sirens to the lost while the obsidian riffs devastate all that stand in the path of their inexorable, measured progress. Mastered to perfection by Markus Stock of The Vision Bleakand Empyrium, whose deft touch has polished the twilight sounds of Ahab, Winterfylleth and Secrets Of The Moon, Fragilium walks paths of unprecedented musical and emotional depth. 

Respected guardians of doom, Solitude Productions, whose hallowed halls also provide shelter to the brooding mourners of HellLight, Ea and Doomed, will draw back the veil and reveal this masterpiece of misery on June 28th, bringing black clouds to the summer skies. While debut album Ephemerality and recent gargantuan compilation Remembrance offered glimpses of the potent power of Consecration, nothing could adequately prepare you for the soul crushing magic of Fragilium…the path to loneliness will soon be revealed to all who would walk its solitary way into the darkness…

Line-up: 
Daniel Bollans – Vocals 
Shane Amies – Bass
Liam Houseago – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Jorge Figueiredo- Drums and Percussion
Additional guitars by Jordan Grant

Genre: Doom/Death Metal
For fans of: My Dying Bride | Novembers Doom | Evoken | My Silent Wake

Further Information: https://www.facebook.com/Consecration666 | https://solitude-prod.com/?sl=en

“…slow, powerful, bleak, desolate…” – METAL TEMPLE

Consecration sign to Solitude Productions and unveil their new doom/death masterpiece, Fragilium

THE FOUL BODY AUTOPSY ONE MAN RIFF MACHINE HITS BLOODSTOCK

Big news from Foul Body Autopsy.

On Saturday August 10th Metal 2 The Masses winner Tom Reynolds will bring his one-man weapon of mass destruction to the Jagermeister Stage at Bloodstock Open Airfor the third time. Be prepared for a unique live experience of rapid fire, precision riffing and an onslaught of the undead! Joining a bill that also features Parkway Drive, Anthrax, Cradle Of Filth and a host of other metal legends from across the genre spectrum really underlines Foul Body Autopsy’s rapidly growing profile on the metal scene.

The Unquiet Dead EP was released earlier this year, the follow up to the rapturously received This Machine Kills Zombies album and the critical acclaim has been remarkable.

“You got me hooked!” 10/10  INDEPENDENT MUSIC SHOWCASE

“… a musician hell bent on creating an ever-evolving sound…” 9/10  METAL TEMPLE

“…riffing tornado…” 8/10  POWERPLAY ROCK AND METAL MAGAZINE

“… will gnaw its way into my top 5 by the end of the year.” 5/5 RICK EAGLESTONE

“… intricately thrashed melodeath…” 4/5 GRIZZLY BUTTS

If you’re at Bloodstock this year – and why wouldn’t you be? – don’t miss Foul Body Autopsy and if you’ve yet to hear the magnificent, melodic, razor sharp riffing of The Unquiet Dead head immediately to foulbodyautopsyofficial.bandcamp.com

For more information on Foul Body Autopsy click here
Visit Foul Body Autopsy on Facebook

FOUL BODY AUTOPSY ANNOUNCED FOR BLOODSTOCK 2019!

SOLITARY XXV: PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE

On June 4th 1994, a quarter of a century ago, Solitary made their solemn pledge – to thrash forever! Exactly twenty five years on from that momentous moment the band have opened pre-orders for their new EP, XXV. XXV is a celebration of the decades of defiance; a glass raised to every triumph along the way, to every obstacle overcome and to an undying dedication to thrash metal!

XXV consists of brand new, 25th Anniversary recordings of Solitary classics, ‘Within Temptation‘, ‘Keep Your Enemies Closer’ and ‘Requiem’, alongside two raging live tracks, ‘Architects Of Shame’ and ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’, captured at the Camden Underworld on March 23rd of this year, when Solitary played alongside Swedish melodic death metallers Darkane.

To make this EP an extra bit special, Solitary have coaxed legendary artist Koot out of retirement to create the stunning cover artwork. Koot made his name in the ’90s creating instantly recognisable artwork for the likes of Saxon, Girlschool, Slammer, The Almighty, Freak Of Nature and The Exploited. Solitary are honoured to add their name to that illustrious list of clients. The dramatic coat of arms that Koot has created for XXV is the perfect distillation of Solitary’s total dedication to the thrash cause; a powerful depiction of their unbreakable pledge of allegiance.

Reflecting on the creation of XXV and the opportunity to work with Koot, Solitary’s founder and frontman Rich Sherrington had this to say:

“When we formed in 1994, I don’t think anyone could have imagined that we’d be still playing 25 years later. We’ve created a lot of memories over the years and have had the opportunity to play with loads of great bands all over the UK and in Europe. With Gaz rejoining we thought it appropriate to celebrate our 25th birthday by releasing something. The original plan was to just go for a digital release but when Koot agreed to come out of retirement to work with us, there was no way that we couldn’t have such an iconic metal artist’s work on a physical product – hence XXV.”

Koot’s artwork will also be adorning some stunning t-shirts which will be available as part of some great pre-order bundles that the band have put together – all of which can be found here
Every fan who makes a pre-order before July 1st will have their name included inside the booklet of XXV as a valued supporter of Solitary, so this also represents a great opportunity make yourself part of Solitary history. Get your orders in now and we’ll see you down the front in your XXV shirts when Solitary descend upon the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bloodstock on August 11th!

Speaking of Bloodstock, keep following the Solitary Facebook page for a chance to win two tickets to the festival! Details coming soon!

For those of you hungry for the next Solitary album, we can also reveal that the band will be in the studio with producer Simon Efemey in December! Exciting times for those who have promised to thrash forever!

Pre-order your copy of XXV here
For more information on Solitary click here
Visit Solitary on Facebook

Solitary open pre-orders for new EP XXV, celebrating 25 years of non-stop thrash!

Civilisation lies in ruins; everything our desperately vain species has valued and striven for is in flames. The streets seethe with the monsters we have become and only one thought, beautiful in its simplicity, occupies those once busy, troubled minds – kill. Kill endlessly, kill ruthlessly, kill savagely until there is nothing left to kill. All those centuries of evolution only to topple from our lofty thrones in total and utter regression…stripped of pride and pretence mankind has only one core desire, to destroy utterly and completely. Our destiny is madness, bloodlust and death.

With their new EP, The Deep End Of Horror, Putrified J bring you the perfect soundtrack to our ultimate demise. These songs encapsulate that pure, undisguised lust for violence. Never has a release been more aptly named…there is no dipping your toe tentatively into the bloody water here, just immediate immersion in the deep end of horror! The title track drags you beneath the surface with a spoken promise of ‘absolute destruction’ and then ‘Sickening Decapitation’ sucks you into a maelstrom of murderousness. One gasp of air and then ‘Relentless’ attacks – surely one of the most intensely brutal tracks you will ever experience. There is no respite from the assault as The Deep End Of Horror progresses, no hidden, deeper meaning, no moments of tranquil reflection – nothing but death. 

Originally created by Jason Lambert in 2009 and still steered by his hand to this day, Putrified J has used up and consumed plenty of collaborators on its decade-long, gruesome journey. However, with Death Blood Destroyer guitarist Hervé Dieudonné joining the crusade of carnage Putrified J have perfected their repugnant chemistry. This band have never sounded more dangerously depraved, never come closer to defining the essence of brutality and celebrate their 10th anniversary with their finest release to date. 

When Comatose Music unleash this beast be warned, this is for die-hard death maniacs only. This is the sound of the end of the world. 

Line-up: 
Jason Lambert – Vocals, Drum Programming
Hervé Dieudonné – Guitars

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
For fans of: Devourment | Guttural Secrete | Brain Drill | Terrordrome

Further Information: https://www.facebook.com/PutrifiedJ | https://www.comatosemusic.com/

“…perfect blend of sickness!” – BUSUK WEBZINE 

Putrified J – The Deep End Of Horror

THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL – RUNNING OUT OF TIME DOING NOTHING
LABEL: GODREAH RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 21st 2019

Since their inception back in 1998 The Meads Of Asphodel have danced, like a drunken, trickster god, through the fields of human ignorance. With no consideration, no concerns and no fucks given they have prodded and provoked the stupid, with the sharp stick of their independent thinking. They have walked hand in hand with the truth across the broken glass of controversy and stood tall for the right to live free from the dogmas of faith and the oppression of unquestioned authority. Their music has remained as unfettered as their thinking and they now return with another barbed attack upon the idiocy of humanity, another goblet of soul-cheering elixir for those free from chains…

Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing is an album of wild diversity that somehow hangs together in a perfectly seamless whole; an unbroken flow of shining creativity. Opening with the jagged shapes of ‘Bug Splat’ the album whisks us through folk, punk, dance, ambient, metal…so many genres that they all become one; one multifaceted, liberated explosion of music. From the gently swinging piano entwined in menace of ‘Like Blood Shaped Flakes Of Snow’ to the stirring melodies of ‘The Broken Wings Of Hud Hud’ and harsh, encrusted extremity of ‘Souvenir Of Death’, Running Out Of Time… is free above all else. After the painstakingly researched and conceptually focussed previous albums, The Murder Of Jesus The Jew and Sonderkommando, The Meads decided, in their own words, to “unshackle the muse, so to speak, and let what will be…be.”  

With an array of guests, including Alan Davey (Hawkwind, Gunslinger), adding their unique talents to its incomparable blend of magics, Running Out Of Time… is an album of passion, drama, dark humour and uncompromising views. It spits venom at the bloated bodies of religion, conformity and control, revels in teasing and taunting the blinkered and foolish and sings long and loud with the free of spirit. This is The Meads Of Asphodel as they have always been – and yet as they have never been before. 

https://youtu.be/_kHKfhXqBSA

Line-up: 
Metatron – Vocals
J.D Tait – Guitars, Vocals, Keys & Bass
André Kjelbergvik Thung – Drums & Percussion
Guests:
Alan Davey – Bass – Tracks 1, 3, 5 & 9
Iain Smith – Keyboards – Track 1
Christina Padovano – Vocals – Tracks 7 & 11 (Backing on 8)
Will Banyard – Vocals & Violin – Tracks 3 & 8 (Violin on 7)
Christina Poupoutsi – Vocals – Tracks 2 & 4
Charlie Noakes – Bass – Track 4
Malcolm Tait – Saxophone – Track 10
Steve Wallace – Guitar Solo – Track 10

Genre: Experimental Extreme Metal
For fans of: Hawkwind | Arcturus | Skyclad | Robert Calvert
Further Information: http://www.themeadsofasphodel.co.uk

The Meads Of Asphodel have proven themselves to be the future of black metal…” 
– METAL UNDERGROUND

The Meads Of Asphodel – Running Out Of Time Doing Nothing

TYRMFAR – RENEWAL THROUGH PURIFICATION
LABEL: MTAF RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22nd 2019

In an age of chaos, an age of grief, the lost and the broken remnants of humanity swarm beneath the condemning gaze of dark gods. A thousand individual tragedies are played out unseen in the mass of screaming, bleeding, desperate souls; each one insignificant to those who have come to judge and dispense justice. Collectively mankind has been found wanting and the sentence is annihilation. An unspoken moment arrives and the vast tableau falls silent, the last second of existence for a doomed species and then unimaginable power is unleashed…the purification has begun.

Those steps towards destruction, that last held breath and then the explosion of a soul-scorching firestorm is encapsulated perfectly in the opening two tracks of Tyrmfar’s gargantuan Renewal Through Purification. The grandiose, portentous notes of ‘The Arrival…’ bring the promise of stories to be told, of vast, black clouds gathering and filling the endless skies – and then, after a fraction of a second where utter terror floods the mind, ‘…Of The Legions Of Eternity’ is upon you! The endless thunder of the drums obliterates the silence and black majesty, wild power held within a steel grip, descends. Yet Tyrmfar are about so much more than simple domination, as remarkable emotion burns between the towering ramparts of brute force riffs. Melodies steeped in loss and pain weave their way through the overwhelming avalanche of destruction – holding you hypnotised, captivated even as your inevitable doom crashes towards you.  

Hailing from the mountains of Switzerland, Tyrmfar’s story began in 2013 and their ascent has been a rapid one. Their first release was the 2015 EP, In The Depths Of A Dark Spirit which was followed in 2017 by the superb Human Abomination album – hailed by Daily Rock as “bloody and invigorating”. The band were soon playing major European festivals like the massive Metal Days event and performing with giants of extreme music like Krisiun; nor were they out of place on such bills with Daily Rock naming them “artists who can shake the most seasoned headliners of extreme music festivals.” All that experience has now been poured into the creation of their game-changing second album, Renewal Through Purification. This collection of breathtaking songs, due out in June through MTAF Records is a magnificent fusion of the atmosphere of black metal and the power of death metal. This is Tyrmfar announcing themselves as true contenders on the world stage, ready to carve their bloody path to the throne.

Tyrmfar are coming…prepare to be judged. 

Line-up: 
Robin – Vocals
Mickael – Guitar
Kévin – Guitar
Julien – Bass
Quentin – Drums

Genre: Melodic Black/Death Metal
For fans of: Kataklysm | Immortal | God Seed | Nile
Further Information: https://tyrmfar.com

“…melodious, deadly black metal…” – METAL INSIDE

NEW PROMO: Tyrmfar – Renewal Through Purification [black/death metal on MTAF Records]