Audiophile: Digital, May 2022

hfnalbum.pngJoni Mitchell
Archives Volume 2 – The Reprise Years 1968-1971
Rhino R2 653989 (five discs)

This second search through the vaults reaches the time that for many is the mother lode, when Mitchell established herself as a giant among singer-songwriters, dazzling her contemporaries. Its mainly unreleased contents date from the period when she recorded her first four albums – no, make that masterpieces – culminating in Blue [see p82]. The material includes home recordings, partial and entire live concerts, and sessions from the quartet of LPs. Exceptional from start to finish, it is perhaps too esoteric for all but true devotees, but, as with Vol 1, it sets new standards for archival compilations. Treats include rare TV appearances, an entire 1969 Carnegie Hall performance and a BBC broadcast from '70. KK


10 000 Hz Legend
Parlophone 0190296713392 (two CDs + Blu-ray)

Air, like their name, were only ever about atmosphere and artifice, and this almost embarrassingly French duo is marking the 20th anniversary of their second album with an inordinately lavish set. It contains two CDs, one with the original album and another with eight bonus live tracks and demos, while the Blu-ray gives you the original album with Dolby Atmos processing. Because of the synthetic nature of the music it lends itself to sound-system-showing-off, and as much as I want to hate it because it is so nauseatingly pretentious (eg, leaving out the comma in the title) I have to forgive any album with Jellyfish's Jason Falkner guesting on vocals. KK


Clandestine Amigo
Temporary Circumstances
Octave Records OCT-0002 (SACD hybrid)

PS Audio's offshoot, Octave Records, certainly knows how to remind us pensioners of the era of 'the audiophile record'. I haven't heard the LP version, but I can promise you that this female-vocal led, soft-rock/singer-songwriter-y affair, like Fleetwood Mac when at peace, shines as an SACD, with a decidedly analogue feel. This outfit is all about melody, harmony and feel, with virtuoso instrumentation that plays right into the craving listeners have – when hearing small works rather than orchestras – for intimacy. Recorded in pure DSD, it's another strong argument for SACD deserving not to go the way of CD, the days of which I keep hearing are numbered. KK


Jethro Tull
Chrysalis 019025201616 (four CDs + two DVDs)

While most Tull fans rank Aqualung or Thick As A Brick as the band's best, this transitional LP, their third and dating from 1970, is the one that hooked me. OK, so I'm daft enough to love 'Teacher', which wasn't even on the original UK release, but here's where Tull moved from a sort of blues band to an amalgam of hard rock, hippie drivel, British folk and too many other genres to pigeon-hole. Uniform with previous deluxe sets, this contains the remastered original album, demos, alternates, surround-sound mixes, singles and two live concerts, one a video. Fans will also want the gorgeous new book of the band's lyrics, Silent Singing (see KK