Hi-Res Downloads

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 15, 2017
From the off, this set by bluegrass/New Grass mandolin player Sam Bush explodes with the kind of authenticity sorely missing from Cyndi Lauper’s recent ‘Detour’ into country. The tongue is firmly out of cheek here, and instead we get realism thanks to Bush’s rootsy approach to the heritage of American acoustic music. It’s a wonderfully upbeat and affirmative set, from the ever-so-slightly funky ‘Everything Is Possible’ to the defiant ‘Carcinoma Blues’. Meanwhile, the instrumental track ‘Greenbrier’ finds Bush and his band working out with almost quartz-locked precision and superb interplay, and the quieter ‘It’s Not What You Think’ is simply beautiful, and almost classical in its scoring and performance.
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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016
The shadow of Diana Krall looms large over the school of female singer-pianists, but Sarah McKenzie, though still in her early 20s, brings a freshness and exuberance of voice, allied to delicious phrasing and some demon work on the keyboard, to make even familiar material shine anew. On this album, originally released by ABC Classics Australia and now picked up by associated label Impulse! for wider distribution, she also displays quite a way with a tune on the self-penned tracks. (Sarah McKenzie has a degree in jazz composition, after all. ) Together with compatriots Hugh Stuckey on guitar and Alex Boneham on bass, plus an international supporting cast, she makes a great job of the standards here, beside which her own songs stack up very well.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
192kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC, CKD 479 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Most collectors will have discovered the Mozart Divertimenti and Serenades via Decca and its mono/stereo LP series with various Viennese ensembles, from the time of Willi Boskovsky. Linn’s enjoyable programme with the SCO players – pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons – has more of an ‘outdoors’ style, fresh and open.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 421 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) The SCO’s young conductor (31) is following in his mentor Sir Colin Davis’s recording path with a Berlioz series for Linn. The testing ‘Scène d’Amour’ from Roméo et Juliette I hope doesn’t preclude a complete version: the leaner orchestral sound here works well in suggesting the defiant youth of the lovers.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2016
192kHz/24-bit, FLAC/ALAC; CKD512 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Three string orchestra transcriptions of Debussy (the Quartet arranged by the SE’s leader Jonathan Morton, the ‘Girl With The Flaxen Hair’ by Colin Matthews, and ‘Jimbo’s Lullaby’ from the Children’s Corner Suite by bassist James Manson – he plays on the recording too) alternate with film-associated music tracks by Takemitsu. His funeral march from Black Rain (emphatically not the Michael Douglas film) is followed by music for a boxer documentary, then Nostalghia, a homage to Tarkovsky.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 06, 2018
The time when the Manfred Symphony was cut (Toscanini, Kletzki) or worse, cut and pasted (Ahronovitch), has long gone; and it now seems it was Balakirev who first suggested replacing harmonium with organ in the finale – which nearly all conductors do (Markevitch excepted). In this marvellous recording from Prague’s ample Rudolfinum it’s the way Bychkov integrates all those finale episodes and flashbacks into a coherent whole that impresses most. Back in 1972 a HFN editorial review suggested that Decca’s earlier VPO/Maazel version ‘would be unlikely to be surpassed’ as an orchestral recording – but it clearly is by this one over 45 years later! Bychkov’s is a powerfully dramatic account with a glowing richness missing from Pletnev’s cooler Pentatone Manfred with the Russian National Orchestra, which we also reviewed in this section [Album Choice, HFN Jun ’14]. CB Sound Quality: 90% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Digital throughout (recording, mixing and mastering) and mercifully free of obvious distortion or compression, this file still shows some low-level (<–80dBFs) spuriae, particularly 20kHz-48kHz.
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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016
There’s no shortage of albums by drummers being released at the moment and this set is the third outing for Protocol, the outfit led by Simon Phillips and named after his first solo album of 1988. With as twenty years as part of Toto, Philips has also toured and recorded with the likes of The Who, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears For Fears and Roxy Music, to name just a few examples from an extensive CV. Recorded with the same core line-up as the previous Protocol album, with Steve Weingart on keyboards, guitarist Andy Timmons and bass player Earnest Tibbs, this album is more or less the definition of jazz/rock fusion, from Timmons’ wailing guitar to Phillips’ precise drumming. It opens with a little Indian percussion, but don’t let that fool you – this is a straight down the line powerhouse rocker, start to finish, and is treated to a clean, open sound quality throughout.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 23, 2018
We’re constantly being told times are tough, so if you’ve had to tighten the old belt and forgo this year’s cruise, then this one could be for you. Put yourself back in the ‘late night and rather overfed Ocean Bar & Lounge’ mood with this collection of ‘so lightweight they’re almost flimsy’ jazz covers. Austrian singer Kopmajer is big in Japan, and that’s not surprising, given that this is audiophile jazz at its finest, of the kind essayed by many a Japanese chanteuse. True, PM has his own observations on the provenance of some of the tracks – see his Lab Report below –, but there’s no denying the smoothness of the entire enterprise.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
You don’t get a booklet PDF with this download so you’ll need to see the web page for full track details. Obviously, there’s the Chopin Cello Sonata and the Grand Duo he co-wrote with cellist and friend Auguste Franchomme. Track 9 is a Nocturne by him, track 8 his setting of Chopin’s Op. 15:1.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 25, 2015
96kHz/24-bit WAV, ALAC, FLAC*, Naim CD195 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) Burn is the 2013 debut album from the winners of a MOBO award last year. Sons Of Kemet are a London-based band famed for rattling the rafters with boisterous and eclectic jazz-with-a-twist.
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)  |  Jan 01, 2015
Italian pianist Stefano Bollani has covered many musical styles since becoming a professional player at the tender age of 15, his jazz collaborations with trumpeter Enrico Rava gaining him international recognition. Recorded in NY’s Avatar Studios last year, but only recently released, Joy In Spite Of Everything sees Bollani alongside drummer Morten Lund and bass player Jesper Bodilsen (both from Bollani’s working trio) joined by Mark Turner and jazz guitar maestro Bill Frisell. From the laid-back calypso style of the opener ‘Easy Healing’, with a tremendous contribution from Turner’s tenor sax, this modern jazz quintet sparkles with musical inventiveness and tremendous playing throughout the album. A bit more ‘air’ to the sound would have been welcome, nevertheless the tonality and textures of the band’s instruments are colourfully depicted.