Hi-Res Downloads

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J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 01, 2014
Steve Earle’s 15th release, featuring his cracking road band The Dukes (& Duchesses), was produced in collaboration with his ‘Twang Trust’ production partner Ray Kennedy. His fans couldn’t possibly be disappointed by the outcome, as the vitality and virtuosity of the band is abundant throughout the album’s 12 songs. Earle does what he always does best: tells world-weary stories that amuse, frustrate and infuriate in equal measure. It was recorded in one of the largest and most revered studio spaces in Nashville, the historic RCA Victor Nashville Sound Studios built in 1964 by Chet Atkins and acquired by Ben Folds (of Ben Folds Five fame) in 2003.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 432 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) This second Linn album by the young Japanese artist Kuniko Kato comprises arrangements, mostly for marimba, of well-known minimalist pieces by Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt. She also plays a solo work by Hywell Davies, Purl Ground, premiered by Kuniko at Cheltenham in 2011.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
The trio’s first full-length album from 1990 is delightfully presented despite the sampling issues (below), whether Cole’s preparatory throat-clearing on opener ‘My Foolish Heart’ or the fine ‘live to two-track’ mix which leaves Ms Cole’s vocal thrillingly tactile, warmed by only the lightest of reverb. Her team is terrific – it takes confidence to barrel-bang the keys as Aaron Davis does on ‘Girl Talk’ and to vamp so sympathetically as on ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ (this immediacy is well worth the occasional fluff and vocal pop). And on the slower numbers his softly recorded piano augmentations slide into synchronicity with David Piltch on bass, whose own spotlight comes when slam-dunking the dem-room delight of ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ and giving good wood for Smokey Robinson’s ‘Cruisin’’, with a sax solo from John Johnson. A tight trio tackled with integrity.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 430 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) The two hunting horns played by Anneke Scott and Joseph Walters make a glorious noise at the start of Concerto 1, and their duo in 1(v), 6m 25s-7m 27s, is as clean as a whisker. Similarly, 4(iii) seemingly holds no terrors for trumpeter David Blackadder.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
A new reissue of Oldfield’s fifth album from 1982, which saw him less prog, more folk and pop, along with Vocoder and Fairlight CMI moments aplenty, the marvels of their day. Newcomers may be surprised to encounter Hall & Oates hit ‘Family Man’, but it’s Oldfield’s song and this is where it first appeared – ably sung by Maggie Reilly, though less so on the bonus live set from Cologne. These 1982 live tracks (8-15) hardly merit the 24/96 treatment, though include a fine ‘Tubular Bells Pt 1’, and show how the multiple personalities of the 24-minute ‘Taurus II’ combined less incongruously in its live arrangement than in the studio, where it spasms between splices of jazz-rock, fusion and ye olde Robin Hood music. Note that the physical 2CD version comes with a DVD of surround mixes and 12-minutes of video.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
Authentically Norwegian as Torvik and trio may be, Tranquil Fjord commences just as you might fear, the opening title track plinking a New Age path into a gentle guitar-led arrangement, meandering slowly through shallows rather regimented in their quantisation, and underlain by an intrusively full-width soundstage granted to the percussion of Hermund Nygård – close-miked snare brushes lent distracting prominence. These two qualities, forward percussion and ‘swinglessness’, continue even on speedier pieces such as ‘Kryssande’ and ‘Land Veg Helm’, bass and guitar each lacking a fully resolved space in either soundstage or equalisation, all three performers instead firing from the same place. When Torvik gives his guitar synth a few directionless refrains at the close of ‘Endelaus Veg’, it encapsulates the general meaninglessness of it all. JF Sound Quality: 70% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Unlike the ‘96kHz’ Mike Oldfield: Five Miles Out download (reviewed here) the limited ~20kHz bandwidth of this 24-bit recording is perfectly in keeping with its claimed 44.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, VIVAT 103 (supplied by www. vivatmusic. com) Reviewing the CD from Tony Faulkner’s recordings for the new label, Vivat, produced at Stoke d’Abernon’s Menuhin Hall in April 2012 [HFN Sept ’13], I didn’t find space to mention occasional knocking noises, as one or other player caught the body of the instrument. These take on a more realistic, recognisable quality with the high-res download, and the extra £2.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
It is 30 years since Jarrett’s mesmerising Standards Trio with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette took its first try at taking known tunes to unknown places, but there’s nothing remotely stale in this 2009 performance recorded live in Switzerland. From the start the trio’s familial empathy allows a spectacular rise from an unpromising intro into Miles Davis’ ‘Solar’, while the big J’s melodic modifications of ‘Stars Fell On Alabama’ are as entrancing as the bastard rhythm slices of ‘Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ are baffling. The grail here is the central 20-minute coupling of Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’ with Jarrett’s own complementary composition ‘Everywhere’, the former’s bluesy sequences yielding rich plateaus of improvisation. All is enhanced by engineer Martin Pearson’s delivery of both ambient soundstaging and close stereo-miked piano clarity; you’ll never miss a moan.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
The severe stereo delivery of this 1960 recording (drums and piano hard left, bass and Coltrane hard right) prevents a natural soundstage here, but arguably preserves a channel-separated clarity through which Coltrane’s post-Miles quartet can deliver its early modal exploratory of two Gershwins, one Cole Porter, and that unlikely choice of kitten-friendly ‘Sound Of Music’ title tune which yielded an (edited) hit for the group. While this version of the quartet featured Steve Davis on bass prior to the long-term arrival of Jimmy Garrison, it still points a path towards ‘A Love Supreme’, being loaded with Elvin Jones’ free-flowing drumming and McCoy Tyner’s percussive piano comping plus extended solos, given generous space by Coltrane, who sits out a full five minutes of the title track while making his first recorded outing on soprano sax. Marvellous stuff. JF Sound Quality: 90% Hi-Fi News Lab Report The graph above shows the 96kHz digitisation of this vintage recording (a 192kHz rendering would not capture any more useful information).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
This is one of the analogue recordings produced and engineered by David Wilson now being distributed in high-res digital transfers via Naxos (in the States). These two sonatas appeared on LP in 1984 [W-8315] and were recorded at a hall in Oakland, California, using a simple Schoeps mic set-up suspended high over the players. Abel and Steinberg play respectively a Guarneri violin and a Hamburg Steinway D. It’s a pleasure to hear such clean, true piano sound, albeit with some pedal noise – although the violinist proves the more interesting interpreter.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
Devotees will need little convincing of the merits of HD Krall, resolving her soft dynamics and expanding the silences of this 1997 album of love song standards performed with her trio guitarist Russell Malone, whose rhythm figures verge on the subliminal at times, while Christian McBride returns to double bass duties provided previously for Ms Krall’s sophomore release, Only Trust Your Heart. Lacking that album’s percussion (though often retaining its high levels of vocal reverb – witness the sparse take on Billy Myles’ ‘My Love Is’), this fourth album’s vibe is even later-night and lighter, and Ms Krall’s confidence higher, her vocals pushing out for the Peggy Lee sass ’n’ swing of ‘I Don’t Know Enough About You’, but more often purring her parts with that delicious delicacy – her Chet vocal and sensitive piano dynamics a particular delight on ‘Gentle Rain’. JF Sound Quality: 85% Hi-Fi News Lab Report This 96kHz rendering shows the same slightly elevated (analogue) noise floor we’ve seen with other DK albums. Vocal harmonics (real or from a downstream limiter) often extend out to 20kHz.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2013
Recorded in a Tennessee Methodist Chapel during March, this is the debut album by a young American tenor, the programme comprising 26 short songs by American composers and with texts (not given in the booklet PDF) by American poets. Some of the names are unfamiliar but there’s Barber, Beach, Bernstein, Carter, Copland (‘Simple Gifts’), Griffes; with Irving Berlin’s ‘Change Partners’ and, by Stephen Foster, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and ‘Gentle Annie’ (with cellist Michael Samis – also in the Bernstein items). The balance with piano is good, and you don’t need the words as Bielfield’s diction means you miss nothing. A Juilliard graduate now with a wide-ranging repertoire, Bielfield has a ‘classical’ style which makes the Bernstein and Foster songs a touch too earnest.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
96kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC/WAV, moscd4010 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) It’s not uncommon that a recording identified as compromised in the Lab Report might still sound quite marvellous to these ears. Here, however, something was clearly wrong, with distortion hovering at the edge of audibility, pressuring the peaks and affecting image clarity on busier tracks like ‘Listen To Me’ and the surprising bottle-neck blues of ‘Dust My Broom’.
K. Kessler (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
96kHz/24-bit ‘Studio Master’ FLAC, Linn Records AKD 405 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) A natural for high-res downloads, Barker and band’s fourth album is the first issued on a label they don’t own. The one that they found to be simpatico is Linn, which paradoxically has embraced digital with similar force to its analogue worship (minus the politics).
S. Harris (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2013
Recorded for the German jazz label ACT at the end of 2012 at Nilento Studio, Gothenburg, this is Korean singer Youn Sun Nah’s third album (Same Girl, from two years before, is also available from highresaudio. com but so far not Voyage, from 2008). Lento takes its name from Scriabin’s E minor Prelude, Op. 16:4 and is the opening track.