I recently learned about Classic Album Sundays. It’s a music listening endeavor that I can fully get behind — and one that you can get an incredible opportunity to experience as well.
Founded by Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, CAS puts on what it calls “a communal and audiophile listening experience” that really transforms listeners back to the age of hi-fi when people lounged about and took the time to play an entire album in one sitting.
Thanks to CDs at first, when people began skipping gleefully from track to track, and then MP3s and other digital formats, which completely dismantled the artistic vision behind a full album because of the subsequent ease of downloading and handpicking individual tracks, we really need to make a concerted effort these days to hear an album from start to finish.
Using the more album-friendly format of vinyl, CAS hosts listening parties at audio rooms in major cities worldwide, such as London, New York, Boston and Tokyo, where music fans can pay a few bucks and gather to hear a classic album through a true audiophile-type turntable-based system.
It’s music the way it was meant to be heard, only for those who are interested the experience is completely elevated because it brings together fans of music and audio gear, and chances are the playback systems are of a caliber you may not have previously experienced and will present songs you may have heard hundreds of times in a whole new light.
The most recent event featured Pink Floyd’s epic Dark Side of the Moon – with proceeds going to charity – to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic album. Next up on the calendar is another 40th anniversary fete, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy (yeah, 1973 was a pretty darn good year for music releases as those are the tip of the iceberg).
Next month, at the New York Audio Show (April 12-14), Murphy and CAS will host a unique exhibition room that those who attend the show should mark to visit. While other rooms will feature similarly superb audio gear and likely some good demo material, the Classic Album Sundays room will have full album listening sessions that include background presentations about the albums being highlighted, as well as workshops with preeminent vinyl guru Michael Fremer and screenings of the film Last Shop Standing that’s an ode to record stores.
The full, uninterrupted album playback sessions over the NY Audio Show’s three days in the CAS room will include Talking Heads’ Remain in Light, David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, the Beach Boys’ Pet Shop (in mono, of course), Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, Love’s Forever Changes, John Hiatt’s Bring the Family and Julie London’s Julie Is Her Name. You can check the full schedule here.
And along with the albums, a real treat for most will be hearing them on the six-figure system that will be set up in the CAS room. The featured equipment, or “audio menu” as CAS likes to call it, includes:
- Spiral Groove SG1.1 Turntable
- Lyra Atlas Cartridge
- VTL TP-6.5 Phono Preamplifier
- VTL TL-7.5 Line Preamplifier
- VTL Siegfried Reference Monoblock Power Amplification
- Transparent PowerIsolator MM2
- Transparent PowerLink MM2 Power Cords
- Transparent Opus Cabling and Interconnects
- Wilson Audio Maxx 3 Loudspeakers
As someone with a 6-year-old child can attest, I know that escaping to your audio room and letting the world go by while you spend even 45 minutes on a full album isn’t easy. But if you happen to be able to get away to the New York Audio Show, or live in one of those areas where CAS hosts monthly listening parties, you can’t go too far wrong experiencing a classic album in a rare environment like this.