Hi-Res Downloads

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A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2016
Eithne Ní Bhraonáin is back with her eighth set, apparently five years in the making, inspired by the night sky over the small Channel Island of Sark, and nearly 30 years on from her 1988 album Watermark. The good news – for her legions of fans, at least – is that Dark Sky Island sounds every bit an Enya album. The potentially bad news is that it sounds exactly like an Enya album. .
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2016
Despite the name, Carrie Newcomer is far from, well, a newcomer. With more than 15 albums behind her, and a career stretching back 25 years, she’s both a performer and writer – of both songs and books – and even a US cultural ambassador, and has toured with the likes of Alison Krauss and Mary Chapin Carpenter. So as you might expect, this set (her debut for Germany’s Stockfisch label) is a mature, soulful album, beautifully recorded along with a large supporting group of musicians that cleverly showcase Newcomer’s rich, warm voice amidst what the label calls ‘a warm, autumnal glow’. It’s just the sort of ‘audiophile’ singer-songwriter album you might imagine, and I can see it cropping up in more than a few demonstrations.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2016
Well, this turned out to be an unexpected treat: Becca Stevens plays multiple instruments to an annoyingly high standard, but does so with such style and in so easy-going a manner that the result is anything but annoying. She also sings superbly, too: her voice is warm and lush, but packed with expression, and capable of wonderful harmonies with accordion/keyboard player Liam Robinson and bassist Chris Tordini. Oh, and she writes great songs into the bargain, such as the attractively clever title track of this, her third album, which was recorded in multiple studios (and indeed three separate states) by producer Scott Solter. It’s a fine multilayered crossover between jazz, folk and rock, combining Stevens’ originals with great covers – her version of Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ has both style and solid bass, and like the whole set an open, informative balance.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Aug 01, 2016
This young Italian pianist was silver prizewinner at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition and makes her Warner concerto debut with Pappano. They had not worked together before but in May are touring with the Tchaikovsky – which Rana had been playing for almost ten years. And 3-4m in she certainly hits her stride: arguably her first-movement cadenza is over-complicated but mostly this is as good as its gets – robust technique, a wide dynamic range and real bravura at the ends of (ii) and (iii). Pappano provides a big, even brash, accompaniment and the piano is well balanced in the big hall acoustic.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016
44. 1kHz to 192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, CKD456 (supplied by www. linnrecords. com) Only two Mozart pieces for bassoon remain: the concerto and this three-movement sonata from 1775, published later in Leipzig as for bassoon/cello – here, the cello is replaced by an unspecified fortepiano.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016
With a Bartók cycle to come, the Lyon-based string quartet has already recorded all of Shostakovich’s string quartets for Arion. The music here – the ‘Élégie’ Adagio a transcription from Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk – is their programme ‘Opus’ (ordered as listed above) an ‘acrobatic waltz’ [sic] which they have been giving with Australian performance group C!RCA; the Internet has video clips. They play with compelling concentration, certainly bringing out all of the rawness of the epic No 8, with its ‘DSCH’ quotations. And you might need to turn the level down, as they are recorded rather as the Juilliards were by CBS, each player seemingly with his own mic.
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 01, 2016
Part of the third and final tranche of Led Zep remasters, along with In Through The Out Door and the somewhat ragbag Coda, 1976’s Presence arrives in the second decade of the 21st century complete with a second ‘disc’ containing ‘reference mixes’ of four of its tracks plus a previously unreleased instrumental entitled ‘10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)’. That ‘new’ track really stands out against what is perhaps the band’s roughest album: it’s gentle and reflective, driven by delicate piano, but I’m not too sure that one novelty is sufficient to justify a purchase of this set, even if it is in spiffed-up 96/24. For all the remastering work, overseen by Jimmy Page and thus given the stamp of approval, this version doesn’t really bring too much to the party in terms of new insights or revelations. I guess if you’re a Led Zep completist, this is a must-have, however… AE Sound Quality: 75% Hi-Fi News Lab Report These are genuine 96kHz renderings from what are clearly analogue masters – hence the noise is some 30dB higher than a modern all-digital recording [see Graph, above].
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jul 01, 2016
The eighth album from this Philadelphia-based trio features the familiar line-up of Garrett Dutton (aka G Love) on guitar, harmonica and vocals, bassist Jim Prescott and Jeffrey Clemens on drums, and is a familiar mix of rock and blues styles. It opens with the slam into the title track, but soon settles down into a familiar groove, the three musicians as easy when laying down a good-time chug against which Dutton can solo as they are with the blues-boogie of ‘Back To Boston’ or the horn-laden ‘Let’s Have A Good Time’. But there’s little new ground being broken here, either stylistically or in terms of recording quality. This album may be delivered in 96/24, but there’s little to trouble a system’s hi-res capabilities, and the band’s usual laid-back, ‘rough round the edges’ sound isn’t the most obvious candidate for the audiophile polish treatment.
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)  |  Jun 01, 2016
As the British musicologist Michael Talbot explains in a lengthy note, Corelli was as influential a figure in organising performances in 17th century Rome as he was a composer. His appointed successor was Antonio Montanari, little of whose music has survived – five of the concertos here receive premiere recordings. The Paris-based Ensemble Diderot uses period or modern copy instruments, and, as a Toblach concert hall session photograph indicates, the players stand (where practicable) to play – the now fashionable method for Baroque performers. The concertos offer an adventurous, unconventional ride, ranging from the staccato Adagio of Op.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016
Kopatchinskaja is a ‘Marmite’ violinist, as anyone who has loved/suffered her Bartók and Prokofiev recordings will attest. And when you read the booklet at HRA and see its (in part informative) notes are couched in the form of artful love letters between soloist and conductor you might fear the worst from this 2014/13 Moscow/Madrid theatres coupling. All the singers in Les Noces are native and MusicAeterna uses period instruments. The authenticity tells in their marvellously sung, energetic Les Noces, and unusual timbres add to the concerto performance.
A. Everard (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  Jun 01, 2016
Satriani’s latest outing fair shoots out of the traps with the explosive opening of the title-track, placed at the beginning of the album as if to say ‘yup, this is what you’re in for – business as usual’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, at least provided you’re into the highly distinctive Satriani sound, but this 15th studio album is more like a small ensemble jazz outing, just rocked up a bit. Accompanied by Bryan Beller on drums, bassist Marco Minneman and Mike Keneally on keyboards, this of course is a showcase for Satriani’s guitar playing. Shockwave Supernova ranges from blues to more lyrical pieces, all mixed and mastered by long-time collaborator John Cuniberti, who has delivered a dense, somewhat retro sound.
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.
C. Breunig (Music); P. Miller (Lab)  |  May 03, 2016
The young Paris Conservatoire trained cellist’s 2014 debut CD Play was of salon pieces. A year on – Moreau almost 21 – he tackles 18th-century concertos with a period orchestra [see also HFN Album Choice Mar ’15]. The punning title means ‘young lad’. With the finale taken at a real lick, the Haydn C major is the one well-known work here.

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