Hi-Res Downloads, July 2018

hfnalbum.pngJakob Bro
Returnings (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.highresaudio.com; ECM Records 670 5850

OK, so it's an ECM recording, and that already sets expectations of sound quality – richly realised in this set by Danish guitarist Bro, who combines an effortless command of his instrument with superb support from the other musicians here, and isn't averse to throwing in some studio trickery when required. You could be forgiven for thinking Bro was nothing more than a band member from the opening track, 'Oktober'. Here trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg evokes Miles Davis with his haunting playing, but the band, which also includes drummer Jon Christensen and bassist Thomas Morgan – who duet winningly on the opening of 'View' – is both tightly-knit and fully able to improvise, as the performers indulge to their advantage. That's much in evidence on the title track, complete with delay effects to make things even odder, and reinforce the album's fascination, which is as captivating as it is unusual. AE

Sound Quality: 90%


Lab Report
Superb use of the available dynamic range here, particularly in the percussion and drums throughout trk 4 ('View') and the trumpet in trk 2/3 [see Graph] but – not for the first time with ECM – clear evidence of spuriae, here at ~30kHz. PM


Jamison Ross
All For One (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)
www.highresaudio.com; Concord Jazz CJA 00085

Well, here's an album that sets its stall out right from the kick-off, opening with a funky take on Allen Toussaint's 'A Mellow Good Time', showing off both Ross's thoughtful but expressive drumming and his remarkable vocals. From the off, the music is somewhat raw and live-sounding, not in a brash or brittle sense but just in the way it instantaneously sounds spontaneous and hugely enjoyable. Dropping into the soulful 'Unspoken' allows the set to explore the emotion of Ross's voice, while the excellent band – including Rick Lollar on guitar, Chris Pattishall and Cory Irvin on piano and organ respectively and bass player Barry Stephenson – allows Ross to segue from a torchy 'Don't Go To Strangers' to the smooth groove of 'Safe In The Arms Of Love' without missing a beat. It's a good old-fashioned set in the best possible sense, and great fun, too. AE

Sound Quality: 85%


Lab Report
Recorded, mixed and mastered at three different studios, this 96kHz rendering has very low noise until the drum/percussion feed appears and it increases by 20-30dB [see Graph]. Trk 11 looks as if sampled at 32kHz [black spectrum]. PM


3 Chord Trick (192kHz/24-bit, FLAC; DSD64/128)*
www.highresaudio.com; Forward Music FMICA010011701

Coming to this album after a long weekend spent at Munich's High End Show [p18] was somewhat alarming: having heard far too much Dire Straits, I loaded up this one to hear more of the same. But then Legacy – the result of the DSL, or Dire Straits Legacy, project – is a band founded by former Knopfler sidesmen Alan Clark and Phil Palmer, who also count among their gigs work with the likes of Clapton, Dylan, Tina Turner and Elton John. Add in an all-star supporting cast, including Trevor Horn on bass, and you have the band for this album, which sounds either like Knopfler-lite or the long-lost Dire Straits set that never was. Gruff vocals, trademark guitar licks and all the familiar writing and performance tricks, all produced in a lush, meticulously soundscape that's equally familiar from Dire Straits albums of the past. It's nothing really new, but may delight fans AE

Sound Quality: 85%


Lab Report
Tested in DSD128 guise here, the levels of ultrasonic requantisation noise vary by up to 20dB from track to track (it was recorded in both LA and Rome). Spectral evidence suggests an LPCM 48kHz recording then remastered to DSD. PM


Kacey Musgraves
Golden Hour (96kHz/24-bit, FLAC)*
www.highresaudio.com; MCA Nashville B0027921-02

No, not an album about the urgent procedures of trauma medicine, but instead a reflective set of songs loosely based around the idea of the hour around sunset, and combining country sensibilities with lazy, hazy instrumentation shot through with synths and the odd groove. Musgraves' voice shines through, as one might expect, but the performances, harmonies and recording are impressive throughout, and the songs mix open emotions with a laidback vibe that's hard not to like. It's a perfect album for long summer evenings, being both undemanding and smooth, even if you're not the world's biggest country fan. Though the sound may not set any new standards, and isn't as 'hi-res' as one might hope, the recording is certainly lush and nicely detailed throughout, with a close focus on the performances within the general wash of music. AE

Sound Quality: 80%


Lab Report
This download may light the 96kHz LED on your DAC, and appear as '96kHz' on your PC/Mac music software, but spectral evidence suggests it's largely upsampled from 44.1kHz (CD) with aliasing distortion above 20kHz. PM


Corinne Morris/Scottish CO
Chrysalis – Works for cello by Couperin, Haydn, Monn (96kHz, 192kHz/24-bit, FLAC/ALAC)
www.linnrecords.com; CKD 562

Tutored by Paul Tortelier and Mstislav Rostropovich, Corinne Morris is heard here restored to health after severe injury and (thanks to a sponsor) reunited with her 1876 Miremont cello – the PDF booklet tells the whole story. She plays the more recently found Haydn Concerto in C, adding her own cadenzas, and Monn's G-minor – but not in the usual Schoenberg reworking. Musically more satisfying than the Monn, the Couperin Suite, Pièces en Concert, is a five-movement transcription written for Tortelier but where Morris says she's tried to keep the music as Baroque-sounding as possible with modern instrument accompaniments, working closely with SCO leader Stephanie Gonley. The solo cello sounds highly realistic but it's very close-mic'd in this otherwise enjoyable Usher Hall, Edinburgh, production. CB

Sound Quality: 80%


Lab Report
Recorded at Edinburgh's Usher Hall, this is as straightforward a downsample of a 192kHz master (to 96kHz/24-bit here) as you might wish for. Free of sampling artefacts and with peaks rarely exceeding –6dB, it's the real deal. PM