In High Definition

I heard, discovered, and re-discovered a lot of great music on a recent trip to Tokyo. Having read about the hi-fi bars scattered throughout the city, which entail a simple setup of incredibly high quality amps, vinyl, and two-ingredient cocktails, I found they truly lived up to the hype. Phones are discouraged, and I quickly noticed it was easy to spend hours sitting, listening, and waiting to see what would be played next. The album of choice is displayed under a light and, in an effort to remain unplugged, I tried to take a mental note of the tracks I heard. Audiophile or not, it’s hard to deny that these setups grant something special—at one point, around 1am in a smoky Shibuya basement, the straight-faced waitress behind the bar put on Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’, and I was almost certain it had to be an alternate cut. It turns out it was indeed the original, but I’d never heard it anywhere close to so clearly. Here are some other selections from around Tokyo: