Hi-Res Downloads

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
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.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 03, 2015
As the highly variable sound quality makes clear, this album is a sort of travelogue/travel blog by Polish saxophonist Piotrowski. The essence of the album is inspired by the various musicians Piotrowski has met on his travels while building his One World Orchestra project and ‘leaving their messages on tape’. Trouble is, the whole ‘world music’ thing has rather been done to a turn by now, and what were once startling sounds from unfamiliar parts of the world are now well-known. Frankly, I’m not sure the whole new age ‘sax and ethnic’ concept sounds anything more than rather tired these days.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
This fourth album on the German label introduces a new drummer to the jazz trio: Per Oddvar Johansen, who replaces Knut Aalefjær after 13 years with classically-trained (Norwegian Music Academy) pianist Helge Lien and bassist Frode Berg. Recorded at RainbowStudio in Oslo, the ten tracks are all by Lien – whose cited influences are Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. Some of them I find a bit rambling, then suddenly it all makes sense. The last track, ‘Badger’s Lullaby’, is the most enjoyable with a final slowing into silence.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2014
The trio’s first full-length album from 1990 is delightfully presented despite the sampling issues (below), whether Cole’s preparatory throat-clearing on opener ‘My Foolish Heart’ or the fine ‘live to two-track’ mix which leaves Ms Cole’s vocal thrillingly tactile, warmed by only the lightest of reverb. Her team is terrific – it takes confidence to barrel-bang the keys as Aaron Davis does on ‘Girl Talk’ and to vamp so sympathetically as on ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ (this immediacy is well worth the occasional fluff and vocal pop). And on the slower numbers his softly recorded piano augmentations slide into synchronicity with David Piltch on bass, whose own spotlight comes when slam-dunking the dem-room delight of ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ and giving good wood for Smokey Robinson’s ‘Cruisin’’, with a sax solo from John Johnson. A tight trio tackled with integrity.
J. Ford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2013
44. 1kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC/WAV, Naimcd180 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) A fine example of how rock can benefit from retention rather than wholesale flattening of dynamics, Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman, Radio 2 DJ, TV panellist, writer and former marine Huey Morgan pours his life experience into a rich album, not so much ‘solo’ as with a group of long-term friends (‘my gang’).
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Feb 26, 2015
96kHz/24-bit WAV, ALAC, FLAC*, Absolute/Megaphonic megad007 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) As our Lab Report warns, there’s nothing ‘hi-res’ about the sound of Imogen Heap’s latest assemblage of sonic sculptures. Nevertheless she’s as inventive and eclectic as ever in her musical explorations in which she has cut ’n’ pasted a patchwork of myriad samples and ‘sound seeds’ (field recordings of mundane sounds sent in by her fans).
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Sep 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Linn Records CKD 455 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Silver medallist in the 2000 Warsaw Chopin Competition, Argentinian pianist Ingrid Fliter has made two Chopin CDs for EMI and on Vai Audio there’s an earlier live recital. This is her first recording for Linn where she’s partnered by Munich born Jun Märkl, who skilfully animates Chopin’s not always persuasive orchestral scoring – those slow-movement cantabiles for bassoon! The piano is boldly upfront, as the mic placements seen in the Usher Hall session photos (in the booklet PDF) would imply.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jan 01, 2015
192kHz/24-bit ALAC/FLAC, Linn Records CKD475 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Chopin collectors will (should) have the Preludes with Friedrich Gulda [Audite/DG, 1950s] or his one-time pupil Martha Argerich [DG, 1975]. Add fellow-Argentinian Ingrid Fliter to the list! Unsurprisingly, her Chopin readings have become more interesting since her 2008/09 EMI debut CDs with the Waltzes, etc.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 01, 2014
192kHz/24-bit; ALAC/FLAC/WAV, naimcd026 (supplied by www. naimlabel. com) Recorded live in Hamar, Norway in August 1997, this is the later of Iona Brown’s two Naim programmes with the orchestra, resampled from co-producer Ken Christianson’s original tapes [see also HFN Oct ’13, p103]. She had almost reached the point where arthritis stopped her from playing the violin and allegedy she was found to be a hard taskmaster by the young Norwegian players.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 01, 2016
96kHz to 192kHz/24-bit FLAC, CKD526 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Renowned baroque violinist and period-instrument ensemble director Monica Huggett is artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra, and they have recorded Bach programmes together for Avie and the RTÉ Lyric label. Here – harking back to a time when concerto soloists were members of the orchestra, rather than ‘star’ performers – she has chosen seven by no means familiar works by 17th-century composers (Fasch, Graupner, Heinichen, Telemann and Vivaldi) written for one or up to six solo players.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 17, 2017
Recorded in Paris in late 2015, this album by Israeli trumpeter Borochov has something of the life-story about it for even if the Middle Eastern sound is only really explicit in one track, the appropriately-titled ‘Eastern Lullaby’, there are hints of cultural fusion in other tracks. Surrounded by his tight four-piece band – his brother Avri on bass, Michael King on piano and Jay Sawyer on (decidedly punchily-recorded) drums and percussion – Borochov turns in performances showing his virtuosity and musicianship in equal part. It’s beautifully recorded, though I have some qualms with the fact the star turn is so relentlessly spotlit in the mix. Personally, I’d have preferred more sense of the ensemble playing together, rather than just providing the supporting act.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 12, 2018
There’s something familiar about this latest album from the surfer-turned-environmental activist, who appears on the cover surrounded by artfully-arranged plastics from the sea. Trouble is, it’s not comfortingly familiar in its continuation of the feel-good Hawaiian-tinged sounds of past offerings. Rather, it’s just more of the same, with Johnson showing little sign of moving on or developing, but instead just resting on his laurels. Or his palm-fronds, or whatever.
J. Bamford (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Dec 01, 2014
On And On (2013) was the second album from Hawaiian-born surfer Jack Johnson recorded in his own Mango Tree studios, since when he has released four further studio albums and three live recordings, as well as writing the songs for the 2006 animated movie Curious George, in between his extensive charitable activities which include education in schools about nature conservation, etc. It features his song ‘Gone’ which was covered by Black Eyed Peas (as ‘Gone Going’) on the band’s album Monkey Business where Johnson sang the chorus. The recording is up-front and intimate, Johnson’s voice and intricate acoustic guitar closely mic’d, while fellow players Merlo Podlewski (bass) and Adam Topol (drums) appear well balanced throughout these soulful and often spirit-lifting ballads. But is it worth having in a 96kHz/24-bit container? Probably not.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2015
See what they did with the album name? Hmmm – but obvious title aside, this is a striking set, combining the talents of guitarist Young with the piano of Marcin Wasilewski (whose trio also contributes bass and drums) and saxophonist Trygve Seim, to form a quintet clearly locked together and understanding each other’s every move. It works well, from the reflective opener, ‘I Lost My Heart to You’, through to the rather more upbeat ‘Bounce’, for which Young swaps acoustic for electric – and an electric with a lovely hollow-bodied tone – and the changing paces of 1970. The appeal is extended by a typically up close and personal ECM recording, though at times it does seem a little ‘hot’, with a bit too much sax breathiness and cymbal splash. However, it’s always interesting and involving, and the musicianship on offer here is peerless.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Oct 08, 2015
Hey, guess what? This sounds just as you’d expect from James Taylor – warm, charming, folksy in instrumentation, vocals and lyrics, and above all wistfully, reassuringly – well, James Taylor. As he sings on ‘You And I Again’, ‘I can’t escape this feeling/That we’ve been this way together, you and I’, anyone expecting something revolutionary will be sorely disappointed. But then this mix of fine performances and closely-observed recordings is the perfect milieu for what is both Taylor’s first new work for well over a decade and an unashamedly nostalgic look back over his life. Yes, he still has the ability to challenge, as he does on ‘Far Afghanistan’, but even this is hardly breaking new ground.