HiRez Poll Steely Dan - GAUCHO [DVD-A/SACD]

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Rate the DVD-A/SACD of Steely Dan - GAUCHO


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steelydave

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By the way:


For you and for Joni Mitchell: "I never understood why 'Gaucho' didn’t receive the critical acclaim of 'Aja'. I’m convinced that if 'Gaucho' had come first and then 'Aja', the same thing would have happened in reverse."

A selection of Joni Mitchell's favourite songs (faroutmagazine.co.uk)

Glad to hear I'm in good company! :D

I remember one of the first reviews of Gaucho I ever read described it as "an album where all the seams show", or words to that effect. I think there's a bias against it because of the stories about how long and tortured the recording was, and that somehow the quality of the album has to suffer as a result, when I don't think that's the case with this album.

I remember when I first got it, I didn't really like most of it, except for Hey 19 and Time Out of Mind. I found the rest to be really rigid and uninviting, but it only grew on my over time, like many of the albums I now love the most. I think Gaucho's biggest sin for those that don't love it is that it isn't Aja, Part II (which is probably the same kind of heat Led Zeppelin took for their 3rd album being such a departure from the 2nd one) which I think is entirely by design on Becker and Fagen's part - it seemed like they were deliberate about not repeating themselves. Take the middle section of this early version of Time Out of Mind, which has a rhythm guitar figure that's very similar to the rhythm part on Peg - it's entirely absent on the released version.

I recently found this short video about Roger Nichols' Wendel drum machine, which played a large part in the "rigid" sound of Gaucho that I originally hated but now love - it's worth a watch if you're interested in the creation of this album.

 

Jim the Oldbie

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That solo was rendered even more poignant back in the day, being the very last guitar solo on the very last song on the very last Steely Dan record. :cry:
 

J. PUPSTER

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A May 4th, 2021 interview with Elliot Scheiner about Gaucho (hat tip to the Dandom Facebook group):


Thanks, this had some good insights into the making of the album, even though I don't know all the studio gear; the EQ, compression, filters etc. talk was interesting. The story of the bump in upper range EQ needed due to tape oxide loss was especially so. Hard to imagine that it wouldn’t have compromised the entirety of the recording. No baking the tapes back then, or just wanted to not take the time? And Donald having a singer fired just because he warmed up, harsh!
The young guy doing the interview made me think of this old SNL skit-

 

humprof

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Mike Mettler's hot take on the 2003 SACD: it's the best Gaucho.
 

Mj33

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I recall reading from one reviewer that this mix is "gimmicky". I beg to differ. There's a lot going on in this mix, partly due to the multilayered recording process, Steely Dan's attention to detail, and Elliot Scheiner's ability to transform the mix in surround. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the mix (I, for one, think it is stellar), the sound quality of this album is unparalleled for the time period (1980). The bass on this is just jaw-dropping. The percussion (some of which I had never heard before) and backing vocals, when combined with the bass track, send this thing out of the stratosphere. An easy 10!
 

himey

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I recall reading from one reviewer that this mix is "gimmicky". I beg to differ. There's a lot going on in this mix, partly due to the multilayered recording process, Steely Dan's attention to detail, and Elliot Scheiner's ability to transform the mix in surround. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the mix (I, for one, think it is stellar), the sound quality of this album is unparalleled for the time period (1980). The bass on this is just jaw-dropping. The percussion (some of which I had never heard before) and backing vocals, when combined with the bass track, send this thing out of the stratosphere. An easy 10!

I put people on ignore immediately who use "gimmick" as a fact and not an opinion. They cannot be trusted.
 
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Gaucho was the first surround music I heard
and was literally life-changing. I was recording strings at Hear No Evil in London, where a lot of film and TV-related orchestral work was done - I asked what the array of smaller monitors was all about and was given the lowdown after the session finished - I can still recall the visceral feeling I had at the moment when the 'Babylon sisters' vocals came in from behind me to this day. I remember saying 'how come I didn't know about this?' in my amazement. It's currently a toss-up whether I play that, Mary Fahl's 'From the DSOTM' or 'Woman in Chains' to anyone who visits and wants to hear something in surround for the first time.

Not in the least bit gimmicky. Super-tasteful and hugely inspiring. Life-changing!
 

fredblue

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Gaucho was the first surround music I heard
and was literally life-changing. I was recording strings at Hear No Evil in London, where a lot of film and TV-related orchestral work was done - I asked what the array of smaller monitors was all about and was given the lowdown after the session finished - I can still recall the visceral feeling I had at the moment when the 'Babylon sisters' vocals came in from behind me to this day. I remember saying 'how come I didn't know about this?' in my amazement. It's currently a toss-up whether I play that, Mary Fahl's 'From the DSOTM' or 'Woman in Chains' to anyone who visits and wants to hear something in surround for the first time.

Not in the least bit gimmicky. Super-tasteful and hugely inspiring. Life-changing!
lovely story!! 💘

there should be a dedicated thread so we can all similarly recount our first seismic experiences with Surround Music! 😋
 

quicksrt

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The DTS mix on 5.1 CD of Gaucho has some fans preferring it’s highly discreet presentation, over this even higher resolution disc.

But maybe we’ve gone over the differences here already in this longer thread.

One kinda needs both in their demo playlists.
 

keywhiz

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I recall reading from one reviewer that this mix is "gimmicky". I beg to differ. There's a lot going on in this mix, partly due to the multilayered recording process, Steely Dan's attention to detail, and Elliot Scheiner's ability to transform the mix in surround. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the mix (I, for one, think it is stellar), the sound quality of this album is unparalleled for the time period (1980). The bass on this is just jaw-dropping. The percussion (some of which I had never heard before) and backing vocals, when combined with the bass track, send this thing out of the stratosphere. An easy 10!
There are some who still think stereo is a gimmick.

Gaucho has always been, and remains, one of the best examples of how good 5.1 can be. Truly a masterpiece. It is giving albums like this a “10” that is the reason I’m often reluctant to give anything else more than a “9”.
 

Sal1950

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There are some who still think stereo is a gimmick.
We've been fighting those "gimmick" claims since the earliest quad days. :mad:
Thankfully the Home Theater market has finally expanded enough to expose many to the realities of multich music.
Multichannel surround has given the artists & mixing engineers the ability to create 3D soundscapes that are an art form all their own and not just a open window to the comparatively flat performing stage.
The sonic equivalent of a StarTrek Holodeck, it's a music presentation we can become part of and experience living in. As modern technology and psychoacoustic manipulation improves even more, I believe the idea of a stereo only presentation will become as passe as a mono system is today.

PS, don't want to get too OT here but, Gaucho is a great 5.1 mix. But if you have a good Atmos system, be sure to play visitors some Yello - Point or Booka Shade recordings also. ;)
 
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keywhiz

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We've been fighting those "gimmick" claims since the earliest quad days. :mad:
Thankfully the Home Theater market has finally expanded enough to expose many to the realities of multich music.
Multichannel surround has given the artists & mixing engineers the ability to create 3D soundscapes that are an art form all their own and not just a open window to the comparatively flat performing stage.
The sonic equivalent of a StarTrek Holodeck, it's a music presentation we can become part of and experience living in. As modern technology and psychoacoustic manipulation improves even more, I believe the idea of a stereo only presentation will become as passe as a mono system is today.
As much as I’m inclined to agree with you, I also see the other side of the coin that has us moving back towards mono. How many people listen to music on a single Bluetooth speaker or a streaming device? Or on a phone that has become the audio equivalent of the tiny portable transistor radios most of us here grew up with?

Dedicated listening has never been a practice for all but a small percentage of us. And stereo really only became the standard because it was packaged into almost everything. By 1980, virtually everyone’s boom-box, Walkman, home system and automobile system were technically stereo and that was the only way they were sold but how many of the consumers actually cared or even noticed?

But perhaps you are correct in that all soundbars, “immersive” earbuds and “Echo studio” type devices will make “surround” as ubiquitous as stereo has been even if most of the devices don’t really deliver it and most of the consumers don’t understand it or care to.

If the hardware is out there, then the music creators and deliverers will be obligated to provide compatible content.
 
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