Hi-Res Downloads, June 2023

hfnalbumDavid Chesky
The Great European Songbook (DSD64; 48kHz/24-bit, WAV)
theaudiophilesociety.com; Audiophile Society AS11

Recording artists don't come more audiophile than David Chesky, thanks to the eponymous label he founded with his younger brother, Norman, back in 1978. Through a series of superbly recorded releases, covering jazz, classical, world music and more, the label became the darling of hi-fi demos the world over, and this new 'Audiophile Society' project is just as striking. There's nothing too new here – the nine tracks are jazz takes on works by Bach, Beethoven, Strauss and Chopin – with Chesky joined by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Billy Drummond, but the musicianship and recorded sound are spectacular. The soundstage is wide-open and richly detailed, and the tracks, ranging from a snappy, swinging take on Bach to a blues imagining of the 'Ode To Joy' from Beethoven's 9th, and Strauss's Blue Danube A La Samba, are consistently attractive. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
Offered as a 48kHz/DSD64 package or as 'Hi-Res PCM', the test sample was a 48kHz file showing good dynamic range and with peaks limited to –0.5dBFs. Expect the DSD64 version to show requantisation noise rising >20kHz. PM

2761 X

Anders Jormin, Lena Willemark, Karin Nakagawa & Jon FÄlt
Pasado En Claro (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.ecmrecords.com; ECM 2761

Bassist Anders Jormin and singer/violinist Lena Willemark have been collaborating and recording for ECM since 2004, and were joined by Karin Nakagawa, who plays the traditional Japanese koto, in 2015. That oriental influence is apparent from the opening track of this album, 'Mist Of The River', and throughout the set the quartet, completed by drummer Jon Fält, with whom Jormin plays in the Bobo Stenson Trio, explores musical influences from the East to European and even Mexican. In another exemplary ECM recording, Willemark's voice sounds crisp and soulful, while the instruments have wonderful weight, detail and presence. This set is far greater than the sum of its parts, with a magical, ethereal feel throughout, bags of ambience and a sense that the silences between the notes are as considered as the music itself. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
Recorded in Gothenburg's Studio Epemin at 96kHz/24-bit, the ~48kHz bandwidth is well used by Willemark's voice (20kHz) and violin harmonics to 30kHz. Peaks are limited to –2dBFs but some tracks show spuriae at ~40kHz [black trace]. PM


Stephen Layton/Trinity College Choir Cambridge
Antognini: Come To Me In The Silence Of The Night (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.hyperion-records.co.uk; Hyperion CDA68425

Swiss composer Ivo Antognini came to choral music after an earlier career in composing for the screen – big and small – and writing jazz, having studied at the Swiss Jazz School with Joe Haider. In this lavishly-packed recording of works for voices, he's served well by the Trinity College choir under Stephen Layton, and a typically atmospheric Hyperion recording made in the great 15th century church of St Peter and St Paul, Salle, Norfolk. Antognini's compositions are both masterful and easily approachable, allowing the listener to enter the sonic landscape he creates and appreciate both the writing and the superb performances of the choir, which sounds completely at home with these works. This is a rich, luxurious-sounding set, and immensely enjoyable. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
This 'Studio Master' download from Hyperion is a genuine 96kHz file offering a very fine dynamic range and wide bandwidth. Although peaks rarely exceed –1dBFs there are rare low-level bursts of ultrasonic distortion [see Graph]. PM  


Fe Salomon
Living Rooms (48kHz/24-bit, WAV)
www.fesalomon.com; Drink Me Recordings DRINKME 1

If you expect debut albums by singer-songwriters to be a bit nervous and shoegazing, prepare to be dazzled and bamboozled by this set from Fe Salomon: working with producer and classical composer Johnny Parry, she's delivered something bold, confident and fabulous-sounding. Drawing on soundbites including submarine ping samples and a very early wax cylinder recording of Au Clair De La Lune, this is a fully-considered album with neat touches such as the powerful strings of 'Taxicabs'. Swinging from electropop to a weird take on country-meets-big-band, this album warrants repeated listens, not just for all the cleverness, but also for the appeal of Salomon's voice and songwriting. Try it once and you'll be impressed, listen again and you'll appreciate it even more. And with its rich, lush sound, this could be the start of something big. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
Released on the Drink Me label this debut album is normalised to the same high –0.3dBFs as the IST IST album [right], but with a peak-to-RMS ratio of at least 2-bits it enjoys an (audibly) greater dynamic range. PM


Protagonists (48kHz/24-bit, WAV)
www.ististmusic.com; Kind Violence Records KVR 011

Well, there's no mucking about with this one... The opening track 'Stamp You Out' launches itself with an angry, thundering, fuzzed-out bassline, over which the deep, deep vocals roar in. Even when things calm a little – but only a smidge – on 'Something Has To Give', Adam Houghton's unusual bass 'voice of doom' continues, this time more weary than aggressive. Yes, this is the third album by Manchester's IST IST, and anyone brought up on the likes of Joy Division is going to feel right at home here, even as 'Mary In The Black And White Room' lightens the mood a bit with synth-driven '80s and '90s pop stylings. Is this a spoof? You might think so after listening all the way through, so many old tracks does this recall, but the big-screen sound, for all its lo-fi moments and overly portentous lyrics, has a certain appeal. Not hi-fi, but absolutely big fun. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
Recorded and mixed at Milkshed Studios, this high energy third album has all its tracks normalised to –0.3dBFs. With an average peak-to-RMS ratio of just over 1-bit, dynamic range is unsurprisingly limited. The quiet tracks are loud! PM