In this weekly series of articles you will discover what are the business insider’s favorite albums and tracks. We have contacted a broad selection of industry experts and each Wednesday you can discover one of those guy’s favorite albums and why this is so. Check out our previous “Favorite album of” articles here: https://headfonia.com/category/fav-album-of/
This week’s honor goes to Haja from AudioGarden, owner of an in Paris located Personal Audio shop. We’ve worked together with them several times regarding review samples and Haja often joins me on trips to Canjam, High End Munich and IFA Berlin. We’ve become friends through our hobby.
Who am I:
I’m Haja Randrianarison. Owner and founder of Audio Garden, an audio store/webshop based in Paris, FRANCE. We do various stuff: DAP, Amp, Headphones and even speakers now. It’s my main job but I’m also working in a video company.
Tricky one there, to choose one band over the others… I listen to music the whole day, even when I’m asleep I keep the speakers on with relaxing music or nature sounds (yes 24h of music…). I mostly listen to electronic music : Carpenter Brut, Dance With The Dead, Gesaffelstein or Solee. They always create a positive vibe that keeps me active for the day, plus they make epic soundtracks when making vids.
But there is always one band whom I came back to : Radiohead.
My favorite album ? I think it’s “OK Computer“. Even though “In rainbows” was the album I listened non stop this past months. Arrangements are superb, the world painted in this album isn’t so different as ours will be soon, and you find almost all of the best rock/ballad tracks of the group packed in one great album.
Radiohead is an overhyped band, no denying that. It’s pop, British, rock at its finest, with killer songs (Creep – Karma Police – Fake Plastic Tree) but at the same time you get some strange, prototype album like “Amnesiac”. The kind of album that drives away candid listeners but attracts music critics, you know the ones who says “By destructuring the da capo of live music, Radiohead blends the soul of its conservative roots in a wholeful, yet complex album” (no it’s not a wine).
But, once you’re entrapped in their world, it’s hard to get out. It’s a small solar system where each album is a planet where small stories happen. Ok I’m becoming like them… but give it a try, really.
No Surprises, here. There isn’t much text in this one, but they really punch you in the stomach. It’s a dark song, there is no way avoiding it, but the xylo sound in the back group, the mellow rhythm and the arrangement makes it strangely satisfying. Like a bruise which still itches after years but one you caught playing innocently when you were a kid. The more you listen to it, the more you’re caught in the mercifulness of the song, the more you listen to it.
Every song I hear or listen, creates a whole movie in my head. It’s always been the case, like an audio synesthesia, some see colours with numbers, I see things when I listen to music. That lead to an audio store and a video company, so I can listen my music with big stuff and at the same time transpose in real life what I “see”.
With Ok Computer, you can make a whole film from the album, with no cut or track switch, everything is palpable, even at the first listening. That’s why it’s my favorite album, a complete dystopia you want to make happen, or at least listen to.
I have various installations depending of the place and time. The only thing that doesn’t change is that I’m a Digital Listener, I’ve never been into vinyl or tape. I do own some, but they are mainly for decorative purposes. I like the possibility to listen to any track I want anytime in the world.
I use Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer and Tidal depending of the music I want. Each one has its own database so you have to switch constantly, but this way I always get my song right. In backup I have my own database with CDs I ripped with a friend over the years (lots of TB but … shh it’s a secret)
At home I use speakers 90% of the time, a combo based of an Onkyo TX-RZ900 + Teufel System 5 THX, love the double subwoofers. On my desk I use a Logitech Z-5500, my favorite PC system, never changed it after all the years. I like to be engulfed in sound, that’s why I prefer 5.2 or 7.2 systems.
In the garden or when I want to lay back, I use a pair of Devialet Phantom Silver. Good power in a small package, even though it’s not what you’d call “audiophile” when listening to them, but hey ! It’s waterproof so it can remain outside without worries.
On the go, I use a pair of Unique Melody Maestro ciems plugged to… my iPhone 80% of the time. Overkill for phone calls but this way I can still get good music and answer quickly. The 20% other time I use a Chord Mojo plugged to my iPhone or the good old Go-DAP X (the black one).
At the office, my main headphone is an Audeze LCD-X with the old (but terrific) Alo Audio The PanAm. With my haircut it’s hard to get an headphone which doesn’t make you look like a dork, that’s why I like big headphones. They are already silly looking, and sounds good.
Last setup is the car, as for home I use a german soundsystem : Burmester. It’s hard as steel on the bass (that makes my GF unconfortable sometimes) but the soundstage is really impressive and sometimes I take the car only to listen to music (it’s a hybrid so I drive in electric, so less polluting, more musics, you silly !)
If you want to check out Haja’s favorite album, you can do so here:
Thank you Colum for being on the series and for giving us a little insight in what you like to listen to. If you have suggestions of who we should feature in this article series, let us know in the comments!
Up to next week…