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Enrico Rava - New York Days (2009) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Enrico Rava
Title: New York Days
Genre: Jazz, Modern Creative, Post-Bop, Trumpet jazz
Label: © ECM Records GmbH | ECM Player | ECM Reviews
Release Date: 2009
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:17:05
Recorded: February 2008 at Avatar Studios, New York

A new transatlantic quintet headed by Italian trumpeter Rava, recorded in New York in 2008 and a first ECM appearance for US tenorist Mark Turner, whose distilled, lean sound references Coltrane, Warne Marsh, Wayne Shorter and others. Turner’s searching, analytical tone is in marked contrast to Enrico’s lyrical flourishes, but the two make a fascinating pairing - especially with the resolutely musical pianist Stefano Bollani finding points of contact, and making his own statements. Add in the gifted bassist Larry Grenadier (last heard on ECM with Charles Lloyd) and that most unpredictable of all drummers, Paul Motian, and you have here a truly remarkable band.
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Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Armed Forces (1979/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Title: Armed Forces
Genre: Rock, New Wave, Rock & Roll, British Punk
Label: © Elvis Costello/Universal Music Group
Release Date: 1979/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Duration: 40:03
Recorded: August 1978–September 1978, Eden Studios, London

#475 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 'The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time'
#45 on Q magazine's list of 'The 100 Greatest British Albums of All Time'

Largely written on tour in hotel rooms and on the bus, Elvis Costello's Armed Forces takes personal politics to a new level. A supremely melodic and hook-laden record, the 1979 set is a showcase of scintillating keyboard lines, sharp guitar work, and the most cohesive arrangements of Costello and the Attractions' career. In every way, this is a pop masterpiece, defined by hits such as "Accidents Will Happen," "Oliver's Army," and the anthemic "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding?" You need this record. While less musically intense than the preceding This Year's Model, Armed Forces doesn't let up in the lyric department. Costello's narratives are loaded with paranoia, irony, bitterness, and scathing humor. Originally titled Emotional Fascism, the singer's third consecutive masterpiece is inspired by billboard sign slogans, insular observations, and social behavior that Costello found applicable to his own situation. "Oliver's Army," "Green Shirt," and "Senior Service" address systemic governmental control. "Big Boys," "Two Little Hitlers," and "Accidents Will Happen" also concern control and betrayal – but that of the interpersonal nature. Given the luxury of six weeks in the studio, Costello and the Attractions responded with spacious arrangements and a few extra touches and instrumental colors that add to the songs' charm. Steve Nieve employs a monophonic Minimoog keyboard and pianos patterned after Abba's sweet pop; whispers are exaggerated into black comedy shouts on "Goon Squad"; layered and echoed vocals provide the illusion of several Costello voices on multiple tracks. The band is of a piece, constantly in harmony and on the same page.
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David Helbock Trio - Aural Colors (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: David Helbock Trio
Title: Aural Colors
Genre: Jazz
Label: © Traumton Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:49:51
Recorded: Traumton Studios, Berlin, June 2014

“It is a luxury, to be able to perform and develop pieces for some time before recording them”, David Helbock asserts happily. He met the partners for his most recent album, the two Viennese Raphael Preuschl and Herbert Pirker, back in 2010 when he moved from his old home Vorarlberg to the Austrian capital. “The two are very active in various formations and have been a well attuned rhythm section since 15 years”, Helbock says, “their playing goes perfectly with my compositions.”
In these years since 2010 the multi-award-winning 30-year old pianist created an international stir first and foremost with his non-conformist trio Random/Control. Its highly concentrated use of diverse brass and woodwind instruments presented and presents itself thus far on two albums and in many concerts as a virtuoso, witty anomaly. Helbock’s current trio shows unconventional and humorous facets as well. Raphael Preuschl (*1977) is not plucking a double bass or an electric bass, but a bass ukulele. „It sounds very loud and percussive, in some way quite African, which suits my music well“, Helbock explains happily. Herbert Pirker (*1981) plays his drums accordingly dynamical, sometimes almost eruptive. In lyrical passages highly sensitive, in fast moments with pronounced energy and hard beats that almost resemble rock esthetics. Pirker works with jazz-players (e.g. Louis Sclavis) as well as with pop bands, for example with the rapper Fiva alias Nina Sonnenberg from Munich. He is certainly not a quiet drummer; his powerful entries accentuate the occasionally ragged charm of Helbock’s pieces.
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David Friedman - Weaving Through Motion (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: David Friedman
Title: Weaving Through Motion
Genre: Jazz, Marimba Jazz
Label: © Traumton Records
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:57:33

“Solo records are a wonderful opportunity to create own textures”, David Friedman rejoices about his new album “Weaving Through Motion”. It is in fact only his second solo-CD and at the same time a kind of anniversary. 20 years ago Friedman’s first solo album named “Air Sculpture” appeared, also on Traumton. Of course the American hasn’t been deedless in Berlin before and since then; he played concerts and recorded albums with notables such as Chet Baker, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Dino Saluzzi, Jean-Louis Matinier, Bobby McFerrin and many others - just never alone. “Usually the label and the studio don’t give you much time to unhurriedly develop something”, Friedman explains. This was completely different on his current production. With the producer Wolfgang Loos he tried out many ideas, improvised, developed melodies and harmonies. By carefully overlaying individual motifs as overdubs “a vertical sound architecture” evolved in the end.
In other words: the pieces on “Weaving Through Motion” emanate an individual beauty. It shimmers gently, cryptically, decidedly stays away from heavy make-up or pretentious accessories. Thereby it immediately appears attractive, but not boastful. With each further regard - in this case of course with each further listening - the pieces allure a little more, reveal additional nuances. Some seem to eradiate a contemplative, almost Zen-like calmness, though without the strictness of a tee-ceremony or a calligraphy. Friedman’s music flows without haste, but with a distinct aim. “It was important to me, that every piece creates its own atmosphere”, he describes his basic idea. One could add: an atmosphere that competently combines lightness with depth.
Alone the encounter of the two instruments brings forth oscillating dialogs. The metal bars of the vibraphone develop a floating, sometimes airy sound; the rather dry patterns of the wooden marimba associate earthy timbres. Not as a harsh contrast, but rather a mutually enriching communication. This time he did without extra percussion, which Friedman had additionally played in 1994. Nevertheless, many pieces exhibit a sublime rhythmic energy, partly also groove, like on “No (Changes)”, a personal approach to the rock-band Yes. “Compared to my first solo album, I thought more freely this time and less in odd meters”, Friedman comments, “I was after the challenge of creating melodies out of nothingness that stay in your ear.”
Four non-originals, arranged in typical Friedman-style, are to be found on the CD. He had wanted to record Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight for a long time already, “only its main theme” however. Friedman also shows a forceful volition to reshaping in his interpretation of Michel Legrand’s “Windmills of Your Mind”. “I always thought his basic idea was kitschy and ingenious at the same time”, Friedman says, “now I have changed the harmonic structure and a couple of harmonies, left out a part and underlayed it with a groove in 7/4 instead of 4/4 time.” David Friedman used to play the piece Atom by Ferenc Snetberger together with the guitarist; the Hungarian temper is in his nature, because he has family roots in this region. David Friedman was born in 1944 in New York City and grew up in the jazz-metropolis. “Jazz was very important back then and present everywhere”, he remembers, “all of its pioneers who had defined the style were still alive. In Manhattan you could see really fantastic swing players playing in clubs even during the daytime. And if you dared going to Harlem… I played there with Hubert Laws as one of two white guys among many Afro-Americans.” In 1977 he performed at the festival in Moers for the first time, right after the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. This was a provocation for the local free jazz audience. Just like today Friedman was interested in the connection of melody, structure and improvisation at that time. “What has always fascinated me, is improvisation that is not atonal, but rather sounds tonal and harmonic”, he says drawing the connection to the melodic playing of Keith Jarret or Dave Liebman.
“If a piece doesn’t motivate dreaming, it seems shallow to me”, Friedman says, “it has to spur my imagination.” After all, that is the power of music: “To put people into a different mood, transferring them into a different world for a short time.” With a wink of the eye Friedman calls it “aural tourism” and declares: “the notes play a secondary role, as long as the atmospheric tension remains.”
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David Ackles - David Ackles (1968/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: David Ackles
Title: David Ackles
Genre: Rock, Folk Rock, Singer/Songwriter
Label: © Elektra Records
Release Date: 1968/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Duration: 38:08
Recorded: 1968

Ackles' self-titled debut LP introduced a singer/songwriter quirky even by the standards of Elektra records, possibly the most adventurous independent label of the 1960s. Ackles was a pretty anomalous artist of his time, with a low, grumbling voice that was uncommercial but expressive, and similar to Randy Newman's. As a composer, Ackles bore some similarities to Newman, as well in his downbeat eccentricity and mixture of elements from pop, folk, and theatrical music. All the same, this impressive maiden outing stands on its own, though comparisons to Brecht/Weill (in the songwriting and occasional circus-like tunes) and Tim Buckley (in the arrangements and phrasing) hold to some degree too. This is certainly his most rock-oriented record, courtesy of the typically tasteful, imaginative Elektra arrangements, particularly with Michael Fonfara's celestial organ and the ethereal guitar riffs (which, again, recall those heard on Buckley's early albums). As a songwriter, Ackles was among the darkest princes of his time, though the lyrics were delivered with a subdued resignation that kept them from crossing the line to hysterical gloom. "The Road to Cairo," covered by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, and the Trinity, is probably the most famous song here. But the others are quality efforts as well, whether the epics tell of religious trial, as in "His Name Is Andrew," or the mini-horror tale of revisiting an old home in "Sonny Come Home." --AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
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Frederic Chopin - Sonata No. 3; Polonaise-Fantaisie; Nocturnes - Charles Richard-Hamelin (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Сomposer: Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Artist: Charles Richard-Hamelin
Title: Chopin - Sonata No. 3; Polonaise-Fantaisie; Nocturnes
Genre: Classical
Label: © Analekta
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:53:40
Recorded: May 2015 at Salle Françoys-Bernier of the Domaine Forget, Québec, Canada

Charles Richard-Hamelin is one of today’s most promising Canadian pianists. He was the the winner of the 2011 Prix d’Europe and, in 2014, he won the second prize at the Montreal International Musical Competition. As well, in October 2015, Charles will compete at the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw.

The works of Chopin on this recording were composed between 1843 and 1846, a period in which Chopin’s final compositional style came to the forefront. He emerged from this period even more of a perfectionist than before. The spontaneity and passionate impulses of youth gave way to a more pensive, meditative mood that in turn could express a much wider palette of emotions. Accomplished virtuosity!
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Carrie Underwood - Storyteller (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Carrie Underwood
Title: Storyteller
Genre: Pop Rock, R&B, Country
Label: © 19 Recordings Limited/Arista Nashville
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Duration: 45:51

"Something in the Water," the new single tacked onto Carrie Underwood's 2014 compilation Greatest Hits: Decade #1, was an operatic blowout on par with her 2012 smash "Blown Away" -- something grand and melodramatic, suggesting Vegas as much as it suggested inspirational music. Storyteller, her fifth album and first since her career recap, certainly contains cinematic elements -- Underwood has been proud to be a diva ever since she prowled the stages of American Idol a decade prior -- but the title isn't a feint; she spends a good chunk of the album reiterating, singing about heartbreak, hair triggers, red wine, dirty laundry, and smoke breaks, the mundane details that turn life so joyous and tragic. Subtlety isn't Underwood's strong suit so the songs tend to be a bit on the nose, whether she's pledging devotion to her newborn son on the sweet closer "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted" or streamlining Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe" via the stomping "Choctaw County Affair," but that directness is key to her appeal: there are no greys in Carrie's music, only blazing primary colors. Appropriately enough, Storyteller gleams with steely assurance, perhaps the toughest and boldest record yet but one that hardly soft-pedals her softer side. Carrie isn't an unapologetic spitfire like her "Something Bad" duet partner Miranda Lambert. She is, as she says in her album title, a Storyteller, and there's an unmistakable distance between her theatrics and the subjects of her tunes; she isn't living these songs, she's performing them. Like a skilled actor, Underwood chooses her roles wisely -- she's comfortable swaggering through the leadoff pair of "Renegade Runaway" and "Dirty Laundry," while she eases into the comforting melancholy of "The Girl You Think I Am" -- and she knows how to deliver the essence of each song, modulating her performances not only so they match the grand productions of Jay Joyce, Mark Bright, and Zach Crowell but so they always are the focal point. That's no small feat and Storyteller is no small album: it demands attention and it deserves it, too. --AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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