Maciej Obara Quartet : Unloved


96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; ECM 576 4562 (supplied by

Start to play this set by Polish saxophonist Obara, note the label on which it’s released, and you’ll be pretty sure what you’re in for – the opening track has all the tinkle, breathiness and ethereal plaintiveness you’d expect from an ECM release. But before one dismisses it on those grounds, listen a little longer, for while that opener may show off Obara’s sax and the sympathetic piano accompaniment of regular collaborator Dominik Wania, with Gard Nilssen’s cymbals pattering and shimmering away, things take on added textures when bassist Ole Morten Vågan steps up and plays a greater part. On ‘Echoes’ Obara and Wania are in full flight, trading blows to thrilling effect while the bass and drums power the track along. Inventive, ear-catching and innovative, this crisply-recorded set turns out to be so much more than just another ECM sax album. Thank goodness! AE

Sound Quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

While this is certainly a 96kHz rendering and one that avoids peak-level overload, spectral analysis reveals a clump of (digital?) spuriae around 28-34kHz [black spectrum]. We’ve seen similar ultrasonic patterns from other ECM recordings. PM