Hi-Res Downloads

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J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2014
On And On (2013) was the second album from Hawaiian-born surfer Jack Johnson recorded in his own Mango Tree studios, since when he has released four further studio albums and three live recordings, as well as writing the songs for the 2006 animated movie Curious George, in between his extensive charitable activities which include education in schools about nature conservation, etc. It features his song ‘Gone’ which was covered by Black Eyed Peas (as ‘Gone Going’) on the band’s album Monkey Business where Johnson sang the chorus. The recording is up-front and intimate, Johnson’s voice and intricate acoustic guitar closely mic’d, while fellow players Merlo Podlewski (bass) and Adam Topol (drums) appear well balanced throughout these soulful and often spirit-lifting ballads. But is it worth having in a 96kHz/24-bit container? Probably not.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2014
It would be hard not to succumb to the very real charms of this programme of polkas, waltzes, etc, by the three sons of Johann Strauss – replete with effects like insects’ wings buzzing (string tremolandos in ‘The Bee’), cuckoo and other birds (‘Im Krapfenwaldl’), or the comic anvil blows of ‘Feuerfest’. Currently with an extended contract with the Pittsburgh Orchestra, the Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck – he first graduated from playing zither to viola – has made a special study of the genre. The playing is carefully balanced, the VSO set well back in the lively acoustic of the Salzburg Grosses Festspielhaus. But there’s a certain ‘flatness’ when you compare the champagne sparkle and variety to be found with Boskovsky’s mid-’60s Decca versions with the city’s premiere league Strauss orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, still sounding amazingly vivid as CDs.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Campbell (26) fell in love with the sound of the piano as a child. Rather than training formally he decided to shut himself away with an instrument, playing and writing his own music. The 12 tracks selected for recording – some dating back to his teens – have titles, ‘Light on the River’, etc, which he says are not meant to be taken literally. But he sees Sketches as an integral work.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
This debut album outing from California’s This Wild Life sees the duo Kevin Jordan and Anthony Del Grosso recording with Aaron Marsh of Florida-based indie rock band Copeland, performing a collection of heartfelt and melodic ‘acoustic punk-rock’ songs described as a melding of punk and folk. Indeed the band describes itself as being able to successfully perform softer music while touring with heavier bands that play the sort of hardcore punk and metal they spent the formative years exploring. The sound quality throughout is slightly hard-edged and in-your-face, the production ‘crowded’ and subjectively forward. Lacking air and space between instruments and voices, it soon becomes fatiguing.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC*, Linn Records CKD 540 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Linn has worked with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for a decade and marks its 40th anniversary with a new Usher Hall recording of Wagner'sSiegfried idyll and two reissues (Sibelius' The Tempest and Mozart's Symphony 41 'Jupiter'), upsampled from 88. 2kHz/24-bit (Mozart: producer James Mallinson) and 96kHz/24-bit (Sibelius: Andrew Keener) masters.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Previously featured in our jazz reviews [here], Last Dance is now available as a 96kHz/24-bit download as well as CD. To recap, back in 2007 pianist Keith Jarret invited bassist Charlie Haden to his Cavelight Studio where they spent four days recording. They’d met up during the making of a film about Haden and these intimate sessions were their first collaborations for 30 years. The result was the 2010 album Jasmine, the ECM label issuing a further collection of tracks for this year’s Last Dance which features the duo’s delightful interpretations of standards such as Monk’s ‘’Round Midnight’ and Cole Porter’s ballad ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
The 2CD set was released in February '14 while Kremer and his strings group were touring the States with music by Weinberg in their programmes. (ECM made the recordings at Lockenhaus and Neuhardenberg in Nov '12/Dec '13, the Sonatina for violin/piano at lower resolution, as noted on HRA’s web page. ) Music by the Polish composer – who went to Moscow but did not prosper – was admired by Shostakovich, and Kremer sees an affinity, especially in the 1968 symphony here, commissioned by Rudolf Barshai. This is a tough work, with brief respite found in (iii), Canzona.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
For baby boomers the world over whose teenage years were spent living on a diet of what’s now termed ‘classic’ rock, Deep Purple’s Made In Japan represents one of the world’s most visceral and energetic rock bands captured at their pinnacle performance-wise. The 2LP set issued in 1972 contained tracks recorded across three nights in Tokyo and Osaka a few months after the band had released Machine Head. When the applause dies down following ‘Smoke On The Water’, singer Ian Gillan asks his engineer to adjust the foldback monitors to make ‘everything louder than everything else’. This remains one of rock’s immortal moments, as does the band’s virtuosity in this timeless memento.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Subtitled ‘The Sacred Polyphony of El Greco’s Toledo’ this 70m selection of a mass by Alonso Lobo and motets, etc, by various composers, celebrates devotional music associated with Toledo Cathedral, and links to the painter who came to the city in 1557. Ensemble Plus Ultra comprises a small consort of singers, formed in 2001, who specialise in early Spanish music: their 10CD Archiv set of sacred works by Victoria was a runaway success. The unaccompanied voices, close-set in a reverberant acoustic have a strong presence. The music, of course, is by no means ‘easy listening’ (surprisingly, it was a Classic FM mid-May album choice), although the ‘et incarnatus est’ section in the Lobo Credo is strikingly lovely.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
If you’ve got a system capable of suspending disbelief and you’re a fan of the blues, recordings don’t come much better than this. Dim the lights, turn up the wick and you’ll swear bluesman Doug MacLeod is sitting at the end of your room. Reference Recordings’ technical director ‘Prof’ Keith O Johnson has been a darling of the US high-end scene for more than 30 years, renowned for his audiophile recordings. This was his first blues project.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Singing variously in English and French, Canadian-born jazz singer/composer Diana Ariadne Panton has an enchanting voice, To Brazil With Love being her fourth album, released in 2011. It’s a meticulously manicured collection of Brazilian-infused MOR material with which you might want to chill out late at night: a curiously eclectic mix including compositions from Panton, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Paul McCartney. Panton’s moving interpretation of ‘And I Love Her’ (here it’s ‘And I Love Him’, of course) is a notable highlight – if you’re not offended by classic Beatles numbers being sprinkled with a heavy helping of saccharine – featuring a delightful piano accompaniment by veteran multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson. This is a lovely, if artificially intimate recording with a sound balance that’ll sound great on any good hi-fi system.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell, the band’s final studio album: released in March ’94. It was largely met with critical disdain at the time, although this didn’t prevent loyal Floyd followers hungry for anything new ensuring it went to the top of the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether you consider it a true Floyd work or, like 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, more a David Gilmour solo outing with contributions from Wright and Mason I’ll leave you to decide. Meanwhile this HD download sounds really lovely, albeit only marginally more open and expressive than the original CD.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
Melphi is a Dutch quartet, formed by pianist Rogier Telderman in 2010 and curiously named after the psychiatrist in The Sopranos. Through The Looking Glass is the band’s debut outing, comprising mostly Telderman compositions, with lyrics by the group’s singer Lotte van Drunen. Bassist Jurriaan Dekker and drummer Willem van der Krabben complete the combo, their virtuosity shining through the set’s collection of enchanting tracks. It’s a nice recording too, the electric bass underpinning the combo’s moody, melodic, jazz-inspired songs to great effect.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 455 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Silver medallist in the 2000 Warsaw Chopin Competition, Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter has made two Chopin CDs for EMI and on Vai Audio there’s an earlier live recital. This is her first recording for Linn where she’s partnered by Munich born Jun Märkl, who skilfully animates Chopin’s not always persuasive orchestral scoring – those slow-movement cantabiles for bassoon! The piano is boldly upfront, as the mic placements seen in the Usher Hall session photos (in the booklet PDF) would imply.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
His first monikered material for two decades is ‘solo’ though created over several years with adopted-out son James Raymond and accentuated by guests – a Mark Knopfler solo for opener ‘What’s Broken’, Chet Baker-soft trumpet solo from Wynton Marsalis on ‘Holding On To Nothing’, and underpinned almost throughout by fine beat-skipping rhythms from Steve DiStanislao. Unlike his 1993 album A Thousand Roads, however, those visiting don’t overstay their welcome – this is Crosby to its core, traditionally presented and thoughtfully constructed on a span from jazzy folk to quite dark rock, and slathered in those signature stacked vocals, staking a claim to the West Coast soft-rock sound of Eagles and Toto in his choruses on ‘Dangerous Night’, and layering harmonies over a four-bar bridge of ‘What’s Broken’ like some manually-made Mellotron. A delight. JF Sound Quality: 85% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Though close-miked, compression is held in check by Croz’s engineers resisting the temptation to hit the 0dBFs limit, most peaks ending at a sensible –6dBFs to –3dBFs.