Hi-Res Downloads

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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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
This fourth album on the German label introduces a new drummer to the jazz trio: Per Oddvar Johansen, who replaces Knut Aalefjær after 13 years with classically-trained (Norwegian Music Academy) pianist Helge Lien and bassist Frode Berg. Recorded at RainbowStudio in Oslo, the ten tracks are all by Lien – whose cited influences are Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. Some of them I find a bit rambling, then suddenly it all makes sense. The last track, ‘Badger’s Lullaby’, is the most enjoyable with a final slowing into silence.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, BIS-2028 (supplied by www. eclassical. com) David Fanning sets out composer and public responses to these two complex and interrelated works from 1916/22 in a fine booklet note. These are symphonies I’ve struggled with over the years, in recordings by Jascha Horenstein, Neeme Järvi, Colin Davis, Leonard Bernstein, et al, and at last a superb new coupling where the conductor and his Stockholm orchestra hand me a key, opening the door at last.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2014
After recording for DG in the 1990s – with memorable versions of the Bartók Second Concerto with Boulez, the Brahms with Abbado and the Barber with Previn – Gil Shaham founded Canary Classics in 2004. This present compilation is from live recordings, apart from the Hartmann Concerto funèbre (where the strings are also directed by Shaham), made between 2008 and 2013 in Boston, Dresden, London and New York. Shaham seems able to identify with each of these markedly different scores – his Barbican Stravinsky is especially enjoyable – but it’s not an ‘audiophile’ package: the Britten has the best sound and brilliant accompaniment (Boston SO); the Berg is pretty good (Dresden); but the Hartmann is quite claustrophobically close-balanced. CB Sound Quality: 70% Hi-Fi News Lab Report The Stravinsky, Berg and Hartmann were recorded and delivered here at 44.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 449 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Linn already has a fine Mozart Requiem under Sir Charles Mackerras [BKD 211]. But that was using a version by Robert Levin, whereas this new production from Greyfriars Kirk Edinburgh is a reconstruction of the first performance, based on a new edition of Sussmäyr’s completion of Mozart’s score.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2014
96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Chandos CHSA 5134 (supplied by www. theclassicalshop. net) Jennifer Pike’s playing in the concerto is satisfying for the consistent purity of her intonation, although you need patience – it really needs more bravura, some of Heifetz’s nonchalance. The rest of the programme is mostly unashamedly popular Sibelius, but there’s no trace of routine.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2014
Described by several commentators as the most inventive jazz trio to have emerged from Europe in many years, the German/Dutch Torque Trio describes the jazz scenes of Amsterdam and Cologne as its ‘home turf’. Osmosis is a striking follow-up to the trio’s 2011’s debut Forward. Both are on Neuklang, a label owned by Bauer Studios, one of Germany’s largest studio complexes. This is a fine recording, with a good sense of space around the players who clearly enjoy keeping listeners on their toes with constantly shifting melodies and rhythms.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2014
Story has it that for her album of Dusty Springfield covers, American singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne insisted on having the legendary Phil Ramone produce Just A Little Lovin’, with recording engineer Al Schmitt at the controls in Capitol’s Studio A in Hollywood. This is an analogue recording made on 2in tape that LPs fans might want to own on Analogue Productions’ 200g vinyl [AAPP 041], while this recently-available 96kHz/24-bit download is perceptibly more dynamic and refined-sounding than the (already very good) Doug Sax-mastered CD issue that’s been an audiophile favourite since its 2008 release. In her interpretations of classics made famous by Dusty, Shelby Lynne makes the songs her own, with intimate vocals and refreshingly sparse arrangements. The title track you’ll find particularly revealing of system performance.

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