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RMAF 2016: Through the looking glass with GamuT Audio

  • Expectations. Five years on the audio show circuit has seen this commentator recalibrate his. I’ve almost come to accept the likes of Boz Scaggs as the norm when it comes to exhibitor music selections. One might (quite reasonably) describe audiophile-aimed events like the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest as the upside down of music’s real world. Here Diana Krall remains more popular than Elvis Costello.

    Of the three artists heard by yours truly in the lobby of the Hotel Monaco in downtown Denver (as I pen this post), none would likely ever be heard at a hifi show. The Strokes? “Who?” New Order? “Sorry, no can do”. Arcade Fire? “Terribly recorded – no way we’d play that”. All fair enough. The exhibitor is there to maximise the performance of his hardware, not pander to more mainstream tastes.

    As RMAF 2016 kicked into gear, I’d resigned myself to a weekend of The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Pink Floyd, Norah Jones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stravinsky, Rebecca Pidgeon etc. etc.. It’s not that I don’t want to hear this music – I would never be so arrogant to claim one type of music as valid and the other not – it’s simply there remains clear scope for a MUCH broader range of music choices.

    And then, on Saturday afternoon, something quite magical happened: I stepped through the back of RMAF’s wardrobe into the GamuT Audio room. Vinyl records by The Stooges, Boards Of Canada, The Melvins and Bonnie Prince Billy lined the walls.I had stepped into a universe in which Sasha’s Scene:Delete was a known quantity. And that was just the entry-way.


    In to the room proper, and an otherwise spectacular view of the Rocky Mountains was partially obscured by three Talk Talk albums (the later, odd, weird ones) positioned along the windowsill. Could I perhaps hear a cut from the as yet unopened copy of Laughing Stock? Florida-based GamuT dealer Truewill Mashburn was only to happy to oblige, possible room-clearing be damned.

    As “Ascension Day” drew to a close, our other host, US distributor Michael Vamos, walked us through a Japanese copy of The Colour Of Spring. Mashburn then let slip he had a bag of tech-house records “over there”; the man knows his stuff, even more than I. Having an audio show manufacturer walk me through a handful of Detroit-influenced 12″s shouldn’t be as rare an event as this. But it is. So hats off to GamuT for making it happen and crowning my weekend with an out of body experience.

    As a result, I know no more about Denmark’s GamuT Audio and their associated hardware offerings now than before I entered their RMAF room. Carpe diem, innit. If DAR still handed out Best in Show gongs, this would be it for RMAF 2016 by a country mile.

    Watch the whole thing play out in moving pictures:

    Further information: GamuT Audio



    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. I feel that, in some ways, those latter Talk Talk releases (which I own) HAVE become the Krall-like gotos in certain circles – the non-Diana Krall Diana Kralls. They’re no way near the cliched status, but they are part of a certain discernible pattern, I feel. (Musical tribes are everywhere and unavoidable.)

      Anyway, as great as they are, to me the epitome is Mark Hollis’ solo release, both musically and sonically. Perfection(?), perhaps… It’s the distillation and fruition of what those Talk Talk albums only hinted at, I feel.

      Anyway, just another internet opinion.

    2. I frequently play, enjoy and admire Laughing Stock, Spirit of Eden and Mark Hollis and not because any audiophile told me I should. I did find Les’s above comments a bit ironic, as to me a suggestion that liking the Hollis album best with an implication that the earlier two are cliched is step one in the “certain discernable pattern ” that presumably led to Spirit of Eden/Laughing becoming the gotos in a certain circle – ie a distancing from the “cliched” to move to the more obscure.
      Anyway, even on my ipad that clip of the demo with Ascension Day sounded good….

    3. I repeat my very own controversial opinion [controversial in the alternative world of audiophiliosa nervosa ] :
      If you are not able to hear YOUR music genre in a audio room – don’t even think to leave your money there! Don’t be stupid!
      Look for the exhibitor’s systems playing YOUR music without any hesitations.
      Try THE DENSIEST, THE FASTEST, THE MOST COMPLICATED music pieces from your music library to test the system- don’t even try Diana Krall as the first or the only choice !!!
      The worst scenario is “a girl with acoustic guitar” 😉
      After such testing – you will leave so many rooms [50% is minimum] being very happy you didn’t buy
      this equipment.
      And remember :
      If you don’t WANT to listen to a system or rather MUSIC played by a system, all night long – don’t pay for it 1000$ ! some persons pay 10 000$ or 100 000$ and are forced to cut their CD collections to Diana Krall ! ;))) Just nothing else is listenable …

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