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Xandria - Sacrificium (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Artist: Xandria
Title: Sacrificium
Genre: Rock, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal, Power Metal
Label: © Napalm Records
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 2:17:33
Recorded: Sandlane Recording Facilities, The Netherlands, and Gate Studios, Germany


Following the release of the universally praised predecessor Neverworld's End and numerous sold-out shows, Xandria finally release their new album Sacrificium. The very first spin presents the listener with a bombastic Symphonic Metal masterpiece filled with passion and sweeping vocal lines. The new vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen delivers a breathtaking performance and gives each and every song on the album the right character and mood. Sacrificium will enthrall the listener with each and every second, and will let Xandria's star in the Symphonic Metal sky shine even brighter.
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Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (2007/2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz


Artist: Wilco
Title: Sky Blue Sky
Genre: Pop Rock, Country-Rock, Alternative, Indie Rock
Label: © Nonesuch Records
Release Date: 2007/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 50:56
Recorded: November 2006 – January 2007 at The Wilco Loft, Irving Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States


In 1999, Wilco willingly abdicated their position as one of the leading acts in the alt-country movement to dive head-first into the challenging waters of experimental pop with their album Summerteeth, and moved even further away from their rootsy origins with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, winning the group a new and enthusiastic audience along the way. So it might amuse a number of the band's earlier fans that in many respects Wilco's sixth studio album, Sky Blue Sky, sounds like the long-awaited follow-up to 1996's Being There -- while it lacks the ramshackle shape-shifting and broad twang of that earlier album, Sky Blue Sky represents a shift back to an organic sound and approach that suggests the influence of Neil Young's Harvest and the more polished avenues of '70s soft rock. Sky Blue Sky also marks Wilco's first studio recordings since Nels Cline and Pat Sansone joined the group, and they certainly make their presence felt -- with Cline, Wilco has its strongest guitarist to date, and while his interplay with Sansone on numbers like "Impossible Germany" and "Walken" lacks the skronky muscle of his more avant-garde work of the past, it's never less than inspired and he works real wonders with Jeff Tweedy's lovely melodies. Sansone's keyboard work also shines, adding soulful accents to "Side with the Seeds" and Mellotron on "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)," as does Mikael Jorgensen's piano and organ, and overall this is Wilco's strongest album as an ensemble to date. Tweedy's vocals boast a clarity and nuance that reveals he's grown in confidence and skill as a singer, and the songs recall Summerteeth's beautiful but unsettling mix of lovely tunes and lyrics that focus on troubled souls and crumbling relationships. Between the pensive "Be Patient with Me," the lovelorn "Hate It Here," and "On and On and On"'s pledge that "we'll stay together" squared off against the resignation of "Please don't cry/We're designed to die," Sky Blue Sky isn't afraid to go to the dark places, but Tweedy and his bandmates also find plenty of beauty, inspiration, and real joy along the way, and the album's open, natural sound is an ideal match for the material. Sky Blue Sky may find Wilco dipping their toes into roots rock again, but this doesn't feel like a step back so much as another fresh path for one of America's most consistently interesting bands. --Mark Deming
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Weather Report - Heavy Weather (1977/2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/176.4kHz


Artist: Weather Report
Title: Heavy Weather
Genre: Jazz, Fusion
Label: © Columbia Records | Sony Muic Entertainment
Release Date: 1977/2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 176,4kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 37:44
Recorded: Late 1976 – Early 1977 at the Devonshire Sound Studios in North Hollywood, California


Weather Report's biggest-selling album is that ideal thing, a popular and artistic success -- and for the same reasons. For one thing, Joe Zawinul revealed an unexpectedly potent commercial streak for the first time since his Cannonball Adderley days, contributing what has become a perennial hit, "Birdland." Indeed, "Birdland" is a remarkable bit of record-making, a unified, ever-developing piece of music that evokes, without in any way imitating, a joyous evening on 52nd St. with a big band. The other factor is the full emergence of Jaco Pastorius as a co-leader; his dancing, staccato bass lifting itself out of the bass range as a third melodic voice, completely dominating his own ingenious "Teen Town" (where he also plays drums!). By now, Zawinul has become WR's de facto commander in the studio; his colorful synthesizers dictate the textures, his conceptions are carefully planned, with little of the freewheeling improvisation of only five years before. Wayne Shorter's saxophones are now reticent, if always eloquent, beams of light in Zawinul's general scheme while Alex Acuña shifts ably over to the drums and Manolo Badrena handles the percussion. Released just as the jazz-rock movement began to run out of steam, this landmark album proved that there was plenty of creative life left in the idiom. --Richard S. Ginell
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Leonardo Vinci - Catone in Utica - Il Pomo d'Oro, Riccardo Minasi (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Сomposer: Leonardo Vinci (c.1690-1730)
Artist: Il Pomo d'Oro, Riccardo Minasi
Title: Catone in Utica
Genre: Classical, Opera
Label: © Decca is a Universal Music Company
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: prestoclassical.co.uk
Duration: 3:53:25
Recorded: Villa San Fermo, Lonigo, 27 February–7 March 2014


World premiere recording of an opera by a Neapolitan master fast gaining a first-rate modern reputation. Max Emanuel Cencic gathers around him an intoxicating mix of stratospheric countertenors, a top tenor, and an orchestra who sizzle with excitement for a performance of an opera that will appeal to all fans of Baroque music’s unsung heroes.
As March’s ‘Five Countertenors’ album showcased, the age of the countertenor is here. Max Emanuel Cencic has gathered around him, once again, a superb cast to bring Vinci’s “Catone In Utica” to vivid life.
“Vinci is the Lully of Italy: true, simple, natural, expressive”- for generations Leonardo Vinci was just another obscure Baroque composer: this first-rate recording will lift the veil from this forgotten genius of Italian opera, and from the mysterious all-male world of the 18th-century Roman stage.
With a libretto by Metastasio, Vinci’s opera was unveiled in Rome in 1728 with an all-male cast (women having been banned from the stage by the Pope): countertenors took the three heroic male roles as well as the female parts.
As well as Cencic (Arbace), the other superb countertenors are Franco Fagioli (Cesare), Valer Sabadus (Marzia), and Vince Yi (Emilia). Tenor Juan Sancho takes the title role (Catone) in this stage work about Julius Caesar’s defeat of the Republican forces led by Marcus Portius Cato in 46BC, and Riccardo Minasi, who enjoys a considerable reputation for his recordings of Baroque repertoire, conducts.
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Tony Williams - Foreign Intrigue (1985/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz


Artist: Tony Williams
Title: Foreign Intrigue
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Hard Bop, Post-Bop
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1985 (BT 85119)/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:43:27
Recorded: M&I Recording Studios, NYC, June 18, 19, 1985


Influential drummer Tony Williams recorded Foreign Intrigue in 1985 for the relaunched Blue Note label with pianist Mulgrew Miller and trumpeter Wallace Roney, who would both remain with Williams for the next few years in his quintet. Foreign Intrigue, featuring modern electronic instruments such as drum machines and synthesizers, also highlights the performances of veteran musicians Bobby Hutcherson on vibes and Ron Carter on bass.
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Tony Williams - Civilization (1987/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz


Artist: Tony Williams
Title: Civilization
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Hard Bop, Post-Bop
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 1987 (BT 85138)/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:48:41
Recorded: Capitol Studios, Studio B, Hollywood, CA, November 24, 25 & 26, 1986


Influential drummer Tony Williams rejoined Blue Note when the label was relaunched in the mid 1980s and recorded a series of albums with a quintet featuring pianist Mulgrew Miller, trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Bill Pierce and bassist Charnett Moffett, later replaced by Ira Coleman. This quintet was short-lived and only recorded four albums; Civilization released in 1986 was the first of those albums. Throughout his career Williams always considered his songwriting to be equally important to his drumming, so it's not surprising that this quintet mainly recorded Williams's original compositions, with a handful of covers and standards as exceptions.


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Tim Berne's Snakeoil - You've Been Watching Me (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Artist: Tim Berne's Snakeoil
Title: You've Been Watching Me
Genre: Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz, Modern Creative, Improvisation
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Player
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: highresaudio.com
Duration: 01:07:37
Recorded: December 2014 at The Clubhouse in Brooklyn, NY


Tim Berne’s third ECM album, You’ve Been Watching Me, sees the saxophonist-composer again leading his dynamic New York band Snakeoil, but now a quintet with the arrival of guitarist Ryan Ferreira, whose sound adds textural allure. The group’s 2013 release, Shadow Man, garnered Berne some of the highest praise of his career as a composer and bandleader. DownBeat said: “This music rocks and thinks, explores, deconstructs, and swings, in its own identifiably angular, Berne-ian way.” If Berne has hit a new peak with his writing on You’ve Been Watching Me, his band has reached a heightened state of collective interaction. Snakeoil can still be bracingly kinetic. But there is new space in these compositions and more lyrical focus to the improvisations, leading to a dramatic, even cinematic experience in such tracks as ‘Embraceable Me’. Berne’s music has never been richer or more arresting.
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The Postal Service - Give Up (2003/2013) (Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz


Artist: The Postal Service
Title: Give Up
Genre: Electronic, Alternative, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, IDM
Label: © Sub Pop Records
Release Date: 2003/2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 01:44:22
Recorded: December 2001 and 2002 at Dying Songs, Los Angeles and Computerworld, Seattle


You can spend all the time and money in the world trying to craft the perfect pop-music scenario, but sometimes the stars have to align all by themselves. Even though early on the members of The Postal Service jokingly referred to Such Great Heights as “the hit” on their debut album, Give Up, there’s no way anyone could have predicted the eventual impact made by a mail-order album designed in a pair of West Coast bedrooms.
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The Allman Brothers Band - 2014-10-24 - Beacon Theatre, New York, NY (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz


Artist: The Allman Brothers Band
Title: 2014-10-24 - Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
Genre: Blues Rock, Southern Rock, Boogie Rock, Hard Rock
Label: © MunckMix
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: munckmusic.com
Duration: 02:33:23
Recorded live at the Beacon Theatre, New York City, October 24, 2014.


The Allman Brothers Band returned to the Beacon Theatre for the third show of their six-night farewell run yesterday. As was the case on Wednesday, guitarist Derek Trucks once again took up Duane Allman’s long-lost (and recently rediscovered) 1957 Goldtop Les Paul for a number of tunes.
Highlights from the show included emotional first set takes on “No One to Run With” and “Soulshine,” marking the first time that the Warren Haynes-penned tune has appeared during the farewell run. Haynes also took up vocals for “Blue Sky” during the second set, which also featured extended takes on “Rocking Horse” and “You Don’t Love Me,” with the latter playing into a rare “Soul Serenade” to close things out. The farewell run’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” theme then continued as the band slipped the gospel classic into this week’s first “Whipping Post” for the night’s finale.
The Allman Brothers Band have just three more shows to go before calling it quits after 45 incredible years...
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Terence Blanchard feat. The E-Collective - Breathless (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz


Artist: Terence Blanchard feat. The E-Collective
Title: Breathless
Genre: Jazz, Fusion, Post-Bop, Crossover Jazz, Electric Jazz
Label: © Blue Note Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:17:57
Recorded: 2014-2015


Terence Blanchard's 2013 return to Blue Note, Magnetic, built upon his decades-long history of post-bop dynamism with a forward-thinking approach that blended edgy, modal improvisation with a sophisticated, genre-crossing compositional style. It was a concept he had been investigating on his previous efforts Bounce (2003), Flow (2005), and Choices (2009), and, though it had been years since Blanchard was considered a young lion, the eclecticism of the album matched the work of many of his younger contemporaries like trumpeter Christian Scott and pianist Robert Glasper, the latter of whom even played on Bounce. In keeping with this boundary-pushing trajectory, Blanchard's follow-up, 2015's Breathless, finds the New Orleans native jumping wholeheartedly into a funky stew of R&B, hip-hop, and fusion-influenced jazz. Blanchard is joined here by his band the E-Collective, an adroit group of young players centered around gifted keyboardist Fabian Almazan, the only carry-over from the Magnetic sessions. Along with Almazan, the E-Collective features Charles Altura (guitar), Donald Ramsey (bass), and Oscar Seaton (drums). Also showcased throughout is vocalist PJ Morton, who has released his own R&B- and contemporary gospel-infused albums and toured as a keyboardist with the pop group Maroon 5. Ambitious, adventurous, and steeped in the kind of sticky, psychedelic jazz-funk pioneered by trumpeter Miles Davis in the '70s, Breathless is Blanchard's most electrified album to date. While Blanchard has long drawn comparisons to Davis, they've mostly referenced the iconic trumpeter's classic quintet sides from the late '60s and not his effects-drenched fusion period. Similarly, while on previous efforts Blanchard has flirted with an electronic sound, he's never gone this far in a contemporary jazz direction. Here we get a very '90s hip-hop/jazz-infused reworking of Les McCann's classic 1969 socio-political anthem "Compared to What," several languid, new agey spoken word pieces with Morton, and some expansive, groove-oriented cuts like the bluesy midtempo "See Me as I Am" that allow for plenty of spaced-out solos. Also intriguing are Morton's several slow jam vocal numbers, including an inspired cover of Hank Williams' "I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time,' which replaces the country legend's cowboy twang and fiddles with sweeping, Stevie Wonder-esque orchestral synth backgrounds. Also compelling is the languid, dreamy ballad "Everglades," which impossibly balances Debussy-influenced impressionism with angular, synthy, '80s electro-funk. Ultimately, while Breathless is a break from the aggressive, acoustic swing that has marked much of Blanchard's career, it nonetheless retains all the jaw-dropping artistry and soulful creativity we have come to expect, albeit delivered in a vibrant, electric style. --Matt Collar
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