What I watched: Killing Them Softly, a 2012 underworld film starring Brad Pitt as a reluctant hitman. The film tried to be Pulp Fiction without any of the charm, wit, pacing, or good writing.
What I read: Your Table is Ready, by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina, a New York City Maitre d’. This is to the front of house operations what Kitchen Confidential was to back of house operations. Michael tells it straight, which I appreciate, so if your sensitivities are offended easily do not read this book. However, if you have the capacity to understand that the restaurant business is a cruel, cruel place that is full of misfits, even (and especially) at the level of fine dining, then by all means read this book. He covers all of the stuff that I have in the past, but he does it ever so much better than I could.
What I listened to: This week’s stop on the tour of the best engineered albums of all time brings us to 90125 by Yes. Released in 1983 and engineered by Gary Langan, this album sparked an entirely new direction by a band that itself only partly resembled its former self. Yes had broken up a couple of years prior, but even then several of the original members had been long gone. However, three of those members had partnered up with Trevor Rabin, who had been shopping a demo to various labels for another solo project, but eventually hooked up with bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White. Initially, they had called themselves Cinema, but after convincing the original Yes vocalist Jon Anderson to join them (and after getting legal threats by other bands named Cinema), they decided to stick with the Yes name.
Most of the hits on this album were originally part of Rabin’s solo project demo, which goes a long way toward explaining the hard turn into Pop territory, from their previous Progressive Rock roots. This being during the period of infancy for digital recording, the album does sound a bit like it was pieced together, but that is primarily due to the heavy use of gates and various and sundry overdubs. That being said, the sound is kick ass. It is full, with fairly sharp edges. It’s a wee bit on the bright side, but that can be attributed to the newness of the digital technology and the usual awkwardness that comes with learning how to use a new audio technology properly.