LATEST ADDITIONS

A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2018
Appropriately, the veteran bass player’s second album with his trio starts with a delicate, considered bass-led piece, ‘Contact’. It starts with taut, cleanly-recorded solo bass, gradually joined by the slightest of shimmers from Joey Barron’s cymbals and the odd subtle chord from pianist Marc Copland, before settling into a more familiar piano trio form. Even then, Peacock is constantly busy in the background, and Barron rock-solid.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 28, 2018
Marc Coppey is a French cellist now 47, his talents first spotted by Menuhin, whose repertoire spans from Bach to Boulez and Carter. He plays a 1711 Matteo Goffriller cello – and here, of course, faces enormous competition in the Dvorák from the span of Casals to Fournier, Rostropovich and Isserlis.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 24, 2018
Unusually, a period-instrument recording with a large complement of cellos and basses, recorded (apparently over a whole week of sessions) at a Berlin studio. The booklet note is another of Currentzis’s indulgent addresses, this time largely to the composer. I thought his Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Kopatchinskaja [HFN Apr ’16] was a travesty of the music and other reviews warn that, here, he takes the music to extremes – The Times, though, welcoming ‘a return to subjectivity’ in interpretation.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 21, 2018
Even those who have recovered from the waves of affected horror attracted by Sam Smith’s title song for the last James Bond movie will find little comfort here. This is an album of relentless introspection and downbeat thinking, all plaintive vocals and mournful accompaniment, with nothing much to raise the spirits. Smith’s voice is undeniably a matter of taste, but is heard here in all its close-miked glory, albeit with more than a touch of sibilance to distract the ear. Or maybe irritate even more.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 17, 2018
Like other conductors, Stéphane Denève finds Prokofiev’s orchestral suites from Romeo And Juliet and the later, more traditional ballet, Cinderella, dramatically unsatisfactory and has prepared his own ‘Suites Romantiques’ that follow the story-lines more clearly. In the famous dissonances opening R&J his Brussels Orchestra articulates the brass writing with complete security, and these spacious readings – I have never heard the minuet with Paris and Juliet [trk 5, 1m 56s] taken so slowly before – allow every colour in the score to emerge with perfect clarity.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 14, 2018
Start to play this set by Polish saxophonist Obara, note the label on which it’s released, and you’ll be pretty sure what you’re in for – the opening track has all the tinkle, breathiness and ethereal plaintiveness you’d expect from an ECM release. But before one dismisses it on those grounds, listen a little longer, for while that opener may show off Obara’s sax and the sympathetic piano accompaniment of regular collaborator Dominik Wania, with Gard Nilssen’s cymbals pattering and shimmering away, things take on added textures when bassist Ole Morten Vågan steps up and plays a greater part.
S. Harris (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 10, 2018
For Souvenance, Anouar Brahem’s last release and HFN album of the month [HFN May ’15] this master of the oud enlisted a string orchestra to join some of his regular accompanists, but this time he’s started afresh. Having recruited the great ex-Miles bassist Dave Holland (who played on Brahem’s album Thimar in 1997), the renowned fusion drummer Jack DeJohnette was a natural choice. British composer Django Bates was suggested by ECM co-founder Manfred Eicher, who’d just been recording the pianist’s Belovéd trio, and though absent from the contemplative ‘Bahia’, Bates brings a wealth of ideas elsewhere. In the final, aptly-titled ‘Unexpected Outcome’, what seems at first a simple, even jazz pulse from Holland soon develops into something far more subtle.
C. Joseph (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 03, 2018
Like Mavis Staples, Gregory Porter brings an awareness of civil rights issues to his music, but this tribute to his hero, Nat ‘King’ Cole, was clearly made for the easy-listening Christmas market. The album opens with a swirl of strings as he launches into ‘Mona Lisa’. Porter’s voice has always sounded very much like that of Cole, of course, and his rich tones are undeniably warm and attractive. Yet his performance on many of these tracks is so note-perfect that it often feels like an impersonation rather than his own interpretation.
Barry Fox  |  Sep 01, 2018
Out of sight, out of mind and very much at risk... Barry Fox explores the preservation of digital music files and why you should take action now

The recent movie Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, nearly never got made. Which would have been a pity because it tells the intriguing story of how the glamorous film actress (legal name Hedy Kiesler Markey) and her husband, composer George Antheil, filed for a US patent in 1941 on the frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum communication technology that underpins modern wireless networking, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngThe Naim ‘platform for the future’ has brought new facilities, and a new look, to its network music player range – but have the signature sonic fireworks been retained?

There was a certain inevitability about it. Back in October 2016, when Naim Audio launched its four ‘new Uniti’ models, based around what MD Trevor Wilson described as the company’s ‘platform for the future’, the elephant was in the room throughout the press event. Eventually it was unleashed, and the question asked: would this new technology also be applied to the ND-series of network music players?

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