Hi-Res Downloads

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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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Pletnev’s first recording with the RNO, Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique [Virgin Classics, 1991] created a sensation. He went on to record a complete symphony cycle for Deutsche Grammophon, which included a 1993 Manfred, and currently a Pentatone cycle is under way. What’s interesting is to find this new recording – made in a Moscow studio last April – has consistently longer timings, Pletnev adding 5m+ to his previous reading. It’s the proper score, rather than the cut ’n paste various Russian conductors offer.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Not to be confused with the German DJ who founded Top Dog Records, this Tobias Becker is a young musician who recently completed studies in classical and jazz piano at Stuttgart’s University of Music and Performing Arts. Centred on his self-penned Life Stream Suite, a composition in four parts for 17-piece ensemble, the album is an impressive outing for Becker who has already garnered an impressive CV for his talent as a musical arranger. It’s vibrant and exhilarating big band jazz, redolent of Count Basie at his swingin’ best, albeit interspersed with a 21st century twist here and there. The album’s excellent sound quality, recorded in Bauer Studios in Ludwigsburg, has captured the vivid colours and textures of the Bigband ensemble most authentically.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Born in Milan in 1965, classical and jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia has recorded an astonishing number of albums during his varied career – more than 60 at last count. Songways, released on CD in 2013, continues his association since 2005 with Manfred Eicher’s ECM label, and his talented accompanists Salvatore Maiore on double-bass and Roberto Dani on drums. Battaglia describes Songways as ‘a new harmonic balance between archaic modal pre-tonal chant and dances, pure tonal songs and hymns, and abstract texture’. It certainly weaves a spell, often hypnotically ambient while sometimes exquisitely lyrical, for example on the enchantingly melodic ‘Mildendo Wide Song’.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
Pirouet’s studio complex in Munich is responsible for many fine audiophile recordings, this eclectic experimental jazz outing being no exception. The sound is intimate and beautifully balanced. Ronny Graupe’s Spoom is in fact the name of a working jazz trio founded a decade ago, comprising composer Ronny Graupe on electric guitar, Jonas Westergaard on bass and Christian Lillinger on drums. Graupe plays a seven-string guitar and his compositions are – how should I put this? – er, ‘difficult’.

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