Hi-Res Downloads

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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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016
As albums overtaken by events go, this is pretty definitive. Released amidst much hoo-ha as The Dame’s first new work for ages, it almost immediately became a self-obituary, and was thus subjected to even more analysis and interpretation than previous Bowie releases. Recorded apparently in something of a hurry in the final part of Bowie’s life, the artist working when his illness permitted with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, this may explain its patchwork nature and the variable formats throughout. This may or may not be his swansong, as there are rumours of more recordings having been made.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 01, 2014
96kHz/192kHz/24-bit AIFF/ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Chesky Records (supplied by www. hdtracks. com) David Chesky is committed to fostering music education in young children and composed The Zephrytine as a fantasy ballet. The booklet PDF includes the narrative – in which a young boy meets a magical creature and travels to a utopian world where people are of all colours and ice cream grows on trees – along with vibrant illustrations by artist Ângela Vieira.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
His first monikered material for two decades is ‘solo’ though created over several years with adopted-out son James Raymond and accentuated by guests – a Mark Knopfler solo for opener ‘What’s Broken’, Chet Baker-soft trumpet solo from Wynton Marsalis on ‘Holding On To Nothing’, and underpinned almost throughout by fine beat-skipping rhythms from Steve DiStanislao. Unlike his 1993 album A Thousand Roads, however, those visiting don’t overstay their welcome – this is Crosby to its core, traditionally presented and thoughtfully constructed on a span from jazzy folk to quite dark rock, and slathered in those signature stacked vocals, staking a claim to the West Coast soft-rock sound of Eagles and Toto in his choruses on ‘Dangerous Night’, and layering harmonies over a four-bar bridge of ‘What’s Broken’ like some manually-made Mellotron. A delight. JF Sound Quality: 85% Hi-Fi News Lab Report Though close-miked, compression is held in check by Croz’s engineers resisting the temptation to hit the 0dBFs limit, most peaks ending at a sensible –6dBFs to –3dBFs.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Mar 11, 2016
Sounding much more like a Pink Floyd album than last year’s ‘Endless Album’ of cutting-room sweepings [Endless River; reviewed here], David Gilmour’s first solo outing for almost a decade has all the familiar traits and musical clues to keep the faithful more than happy. There’s the soaring guitar, and little things like the title track fading out into steam-hammer-like industrial sounds. Similarly, the track ‘Faces Of Stone’ might well have come from any Floyd album you care to mention. And Mrs Gilmour, Polly Samson, can write perfectly Floydesque lyrics! With exemplary production and sound, and a guest roster encompassing David Crosby and Graham Nash, Robert Wyatt and Jools Holland, this is just what you might expect from David Gilmour as he approaches the ripe age of 70 – although some might suggest that’s both its greatest strength and its major weakness.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
For baby boomers the world over whose teenage years were spent living on a diet of what’s now termed ‘classic’ rock, Deep Purple’s Made In Japan represents one of the world’s most visceral and energetic rock bands captured at their pinnacle performance-wise. The 2LP set issued in 1972 contained tracks recorded across three nights in Tokyo and Osaka a few months after the band had released Machine Head. When the applause dies down following ‘Smoke On The Water’, singer Ian Gillan asks his engineer to adjust the foldback monitors to make ‘everything louder than everything else’. This remains one of rock’s immortal moments, as does the band’s virtuosity in this timeless memento.
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.
B. Willis (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 19, 2018
Her breathy contralto and big compositions have long been the core of Diana Krall’s appeal, but this release goes in a sadly soporific direction. Her band almost starts swinging on a handful of tracks, including ‘Blue Skies’ and ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’, but it’s more tease than fulfilment. ‘Sway’ has huge interpretive potential, but here it’s given a ponderously intimate treatment loaded down by an overproduced cinematic ending. Krall’s singing isn’t quite up to the fine standard she’s set over the decades: frequently awkward phrasing made more apparent by shortness of breath on sustained notes, all while keeping the dynamic lid on tight.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
I guess when you get to your 12th studio album you might be forgiven for running out of steam a bit, but this latest package from jazz diva Diana Krall has been received with somewhat mixed reviews, since its belated release due to the singer/pianist’s illness. It’s a bit of an oddity, comprising mainly of ’70s ballads by the likes of Randy Newman, The Carpenters and Elton John, and with not much sign of the piano fireworks Krall has brought to bear on some of her previous outings. It may be the familiarity of so much of the material, or that these new recordings don’t bring too much we didn’t already know, but this does seem something of an exercise in treading water. Even a new song by Paul McCartney doesn’t help much, a duet on Georgie Fame’s ‘Yeah Yeah’ is only 50% successful(!) and, while the sound is workmanlike, even that doesn’t really stand out.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Nov 01, 2016
Ummm, yes, so it’s a children’s album – and one the Canadian jazz singer (and high-school French teacher) says she made because some of her fans were already playing her music to their kids. So you have a set that’s pitched at the younger end of the ‘kids’ brief, and featuring the likes of Muppet favourite ‘The Rainbow Connection’ (which arguably Kermit performed better), ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’, a setting of A A Milne’s ‘Halfway Down The Stairs’, and the lullaby ‘Hushabye Mountain’, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There are probably ad types already getting misty-eyed and visualising Christmas campaigns while listening to this album, as Panton has just the right fragility and breathiness of voice. However, for all the lushness of the sound here – and it is beautifully recorded – I found the whole saccharine enterprise sleep-inducing.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
Singing variously in English and French, Canadian-born jazz singer/composer Diana Ariadne Panton has an enchanting voice, To Brazil With Love being her fourth album, released in 2011. It’s a meticulously manicured collection of Brazilian-infused MOR material with which you might want to chill out late at night: a curiously eclectic mix including compositions from Panton, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Paul McCartney. Panton’s moving interpretation of ‘And I Love Her’ (here it’s ‘And I Love Him’, of course) is a notable highlight – if you’re not offended by classic Beatles numbers being sprinkled with a heavy helping of saccharine – featuring a delightful piano accompaniment by veteran multi-instrumentalist Don Thompson. This is a lovely, if artificially intimate recording with a sound balance that’ll sound great on any good hi-fi system.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2013
Check your levels before launching Morph – the opening kick-drum/bass note is pushed up to knock you down! The surround mix of this 2006 inter-Dan album from the funky-fingered Fagen won a Grammy, and the 24/96 stereo version remains a production showcase, laying fruity layers of backing vocals across crisp and cruisy grooves even when the matter under consideration is considerably grave – even the eponymous giant cat turns out to represent a growing brainwashed malaise hanging over America. This disquiet perhaps infuses a particularly pedestrian plod into several pieces, the groove pinched so anal tight as to squeeze out its swing. Elsewhere this could be Aja Dan: ‘Security Joan’, ‘Brite Nightgown’ and ‘H Gang’ are friction-free, while the hi-hat opening to ‘Mary Shut The Garden Door’ is breathtaking in both performance and portrayal. A semi-classic, in fine form.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2014
If you’ve got a system capable of suspending disbelief and you’re a fan of the blues, recordings don’t come much better than this. Dim the lights, turn up the wick and you’ll swear bluesman Doug MacLeod is sitting at the end of your room. Reference Recordings’ technical director ‘Prof’ Keith O Johnson has been a darling of the US high-end scene for more than 30 years, renowned for his audiophile recordings. This was his first blues project.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Apr 15, 2017
The concepts of down ’n’ dirty blues and fine sound don’t always go hand in hand, but that’s certainly the case with this set from singer/songwriter/guitarist Lance Lopez and producer/bassist Fabrizio Grossi. Of course, it helps if you can pull in the odd guest artist, and here they’re of the calibre of Warren Hayne, Walter Trout and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. However, it’s not a case of ‘sling in a flashy trademark solo’, as each meshes seamlessly into the band’s sound. As Grossi puts it, ‘It’s not a guest record, those guys are part of our family and just happened to show up on that song’.
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.