Audiophile: Digital, March 2024

hfnalbum.pngBryan Ferry
BMG BMGCAT796TCD (three discs)

Ferry always delivers lush-sounding albums, especially when he's in a dark-ish mood, and this expanded 30th anniversary version of 1994's Mamouna is no exception. His first self-penned release, it took six years to finish, and this superb 3CD set sandwiches the remastered, ten-track original with the unreleased Horoscope, with two tracks that later appeared on Mamouna, and a collection called Sketches. This provides ten demos and works-in-progress used on both Horoscope and Mamouna, as well as one for 2014's Avonmore. This set begs questions, such as why was Horoscope left in the can, the booklet providing only lyrics and track info. That said, here are albums Ferry scholars will relish. KK


The Long Ryders
September November
Cherry Red CDBRED878

Alt-country fans know that one of the genre's most musically valid – and underappreciated – practitioners are the Sid Griffin-led Long Ryders. As is their wont, the songs are imbued with the spirit of The Byrds (especially the plaintive Gene Clark) and The Buffalo Springfield, but the 12 original tunes are not mere pastiches and 'Elmer Gantry Is Alive And Well' merits hitting the 'repeat' button. Yes, it's all a bit time-warp-y, Big Star-meets-Blood-On-The-Tracks-Dylan, but what's not to love? Count our blessings: they've only released five albums in 40 years. Sadly, this is their first without the late bassist Tom Stevens, but two tracks form a fitting tribute. KK


Alice Cooper
Billion Dollar Babies
Rhino/Quadio BA2 2685 (Blu-ray quadraphonic)

What you lose with this true-to-the-quad-CD4-mix of 1973 is the over-the-top packaging of an LP, but the fun is in the immersive soundstage if you've only ever heard it in stereo. I'm not enough of a 5.1 devotee to insist on remixing 4-channel originals to the later form; rather, I'm a purist who thinks this the album should be heard as intended if you want surround sound. It gave us the anthem-like 'Elected' and AC's signature tune of 'No More Mr Nice Guy', and the whole affair is so rocking that it's no surprise the album hit No 1 in the USA and the UK. Trigger warning: some song titles will terrify snowflakes (who ought to avoid Alice Cooper regardless). KK


Henning Sommerro
2L 2L-173-SABD (SACD + Blu-ray)

Some 2L releases fill me with dread, like watching a Scandinavian murder mystery with emphasis on the bleak. This one, however, comes across like the soundtrack to a marginally less troubling saga, not least because of the assuaging presence of harmonica. As with others from the series, the themes are mythical, rooted in European history. Composer Sommerro has devised three works for soloist and orchestra, but the liner notes will disabuse you of any notion that this is a funfest. It is, though, more grand and cinematic than its label mates, and you will have a blast exploring the various multichannel vs stereo mixes and resolution types. KK