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Nels Cline & Julian Lage - Room (2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/88.2kHz

Artist: Nels Cline & Julian Lage
Title: Room
Genre: Jazz, Modern Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Label: © Mack Avenue Records
Release Date: 2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 88,2kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 56:46
Recorded: December 1-3, 2013

Nels Cline is a major force as a guitarist and improviser, ever since he debuted on record in 1978 and as a leader in 1988. Named by Rolling Stone as one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Cline has gained his widest fame as a member of acclaimed rock band Wilco since 2004. He’s known for a certain cranked-up experimental mayhem, the kind sometimes heard from his extraordinary trio The Nels Cline Singers, which released the well-received MACROSCOPE on Mack Avenue earlier in 2014. But throughout his career, Cline has undertaken projects, sometimes acoustic or semi-acoustic duos, highlighting an intimate and reflective approach that’s just as central to his artistry.
With ROOM, Cline returns to Mack Avenue, creating a world of melodic beauty but also hard sonic edges and technical brilliance in the company of Julian Lage. At just 26, Lage has taken the world of jazz guitar by storm. The New York Times hails the “disarming spirit of generosity” in Lage’s music and notes the young guitarist’s “roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music.” In addition to his work with Mark O’Connor, the late Jim Hall, Anthony Wilson and a great many others, Lage leads his own groundbreaking groups as documented on the albums Gladwell and Sounding Point (the latter earning Lage a Grammy® nomination).
In a 2013 Q&A with JazzTimes, Lage described the Cline-Lage duo sound as “200 percent power,” and that’s exactly what comes through on ROOM: an inspired collection of originals and collaborative pieces that run the full range from intricately composed and complex to free and spontaneous. Cline builds on the strength of his previous duo work with the likes of Vinny Golia, Zeena Parkins, Elliott Sharp, Thurston Moore, Carla Bozulich, Marc Ribot and not least of all the late West Coast bassist Eric Von Essen, to which the gorgeous dual-acoustic showcase “Whispers From Eve” is dedicated. Lage, for his part, has worked in duo settings with David Grisman, Martin Taylor, John Abercrombie, Taylor Eigsti and others.
The setup on ROOM is simple. Lage is on the left channel, Cline on the right, and they play just four guitars total: Cline a 1965 Gibson Barney Kessel archtop and a 1962 Gibson J-200 acoustic; Lage his tried-and-true Linda Manzer archtop and a 1939 Martin 000-18 acoustic. The sound is pristine, alive with personality and contrast, improvisational daring and jaw-dropping precision. “These are all ‘live’ performances,” Cline adds—there are no overdubs.
From the rolling arpeggiated figures and tight unison lines of “Abstract 12” and the deep, grooving interplay of “Racy,” it’s clear that ROOM is not a casual free-blowing session, though it sacrifices nothing in terms of unbounded creative energy. “The Scent Of Light,” one of the two longest pieces, moves through varied emotional terrain, from poetic rubato musings and rough abstraction to sweeping, expansive harmonic patterns and passages of an almost mathematical rhythmic exactitude. “The climactic coda goes from strummed chord clusters (non-notated) in 7/8 to 11/8 on cue,” Cline says, noting a certain kinship with “Odd End”—which is “mostly in 7/8 with some good old 4/4 thrown in here and there. I never write in odd time signatures to be clever or anything. I just hear music that way.”
“Blues, Too,” inspired by the late Jim Hall, first appeared as a Nels Cline Singers piece on the group’s 2004 release The Giant Pin as well as the 2010 double-disc Initiate. “Since I met Julian through Jim,” Cline says, “it seemed fitting to try it with Julian playing the bass part. The song entails certain Jim Hall references, such as the theme itself, and the sudden direction to play blues in E-flat but only for a few seconds before going into a free section—a sort of chamber music/instant composition space redolent of the Jimmy Giuffre 3 and other innovations of late ’50s and early ’60s jazz. Later there’s an up-tempo drone section on an A7 chord, in whatever time signature and tempo we feel like that day—it’s an homage to Jim’s frequent use of Latin-tinged, open-string/idiomatic areas. With Julian, I feel that the piece is closest to my original idea and intent.” Indeed, all of ROOM is a dedication to Hall.
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Neil Young - Bluenote Cafe (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Neil Young
Title: Bluenote Café
Genre: Rock, Rock & Roll, Blues Rock, Roots Rock, Heartland Rock
Label: © Reprise Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Duration: 02:26:24
Recorded: November 1987 – August 1988

Bluenote Café is a live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, released on November 13 2015 on Reprise. The album is volume eleven in Young's Archives Performance Series, and features performances from Young's 1987-1988 American tour in support of his seventeenth studio album, This Note's for You (1988), with his then-backing band, The Bluenotes.
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Natalie Merchant - Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Natalie Merchant
Title: Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings
Genre: Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Singer/Songwriter
Label: © Nonesuch Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 56:39
Recorded at the Clubhouse, Rhinebeck, NY; Mixed at the Isokon, Woodstock, NY; Mastered at Masterdisk, New York, NY

When Natalie Merchant left 10,000 Maniacs in 1994, she had given the band two years notice and was ready to embark on a solo career. Given her high profile, she could have done anything she wanted -- and she did. She bucked conventional music biz wisdom, hired her own band, and self-produced the multi-platinum-selling Tigerlily. Some of its songs are still part of her live set and the classic album endures with fans and continues to find new ones. Twenty years later, Merchant presents Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings. It's completely re-recorded, re-arranged, and revisioned. The obvious question -- why mess with a classic? -- is answered convincingly. She's learned a lot about these songs in the interim. Her approach remains holistic; her optimism has not been tempered by time as much as deepened with it. The running order is very different. "Wonder," for instance, is now the album's closer. It has been stripped of electric instruments and adorned by acoustic piano, guitars, and a brushed trap kit. "River," an elegy for the late actor River Phoenix, remains a lament. The electric guitars are still there, but a string quartet bears up Merchant's voice. It continues to reflect her anger at the sensationalistic coverage of his death, but it's balanced now by an enduring sense of loss imbued with the weight of the heart's memory. A backing chorus featuring Gail Ann Dorsey and Elizabeth Mitchell adds spiritual resonance to her delivery. This version of "The Letter" is nearly twice as long. Merchant's vocal is accompanied only by an upright bass and the string quartet. "Cowboy Romance" offers a taut, upright bassline, a lonesome violin, a wafting accordion, and brushed snare. Merchant's voice is much deeper now, but also richer; it carries the authority of a personal truth that's been lived in. The wide-eyed innocent who delivered the line "...There's no man born that can rule me…" is gone. There is a nearly militant emphasis on those words here, offering the poignancy of experience as a testament. The rock & roll core of "Jealousy" has been replaced by a vintage R&B feel. Simi Stone's Motown-esque duet vocals and Sharel Cassity's tenor saxophone provide organic counterweights to Merchant's in-the-rear-view delivery and finally free of frustrated desire; the evidence of a lesson learned the hard way. On Paradise Is There, her songs thrive in new presentations. Their meanings have shifted and grown. This is not just a nostalgic look back at a classic album, but Merchant fully inhabiting the material in the present tense. The depth in these recordings makes it a welcome companion to Tigerlily. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
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Natacha Kudritskaya - Rameau (2012) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Сomposer: Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
Artist: Natacha Kudritskaya
Title: Rameau
Genre: Classical
Label: © 1001 Notes
Release Date: 2012
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: unknown
Duration: 00:58:54
Enregistré sur le CFX Yamaha, à la Fondation La Borie en Limousin

En 2009, le Festival 1001 Notes lance sa collection avec le projet du Maître et l'élève. Fort du succès de ce dernier, 1001 Notes décide de confirmer son soutien aux jeunes artistes et d’enregistrer le premier disque de la pianiste Natacha Kudritskaya consacré à Rameau.
Natacha Kudritskaya, pianiste ukrainienne, s’intéresse dès le Conservatoire de Kiev à la musique française et se passionne peu à peu pour Rameau dont on fêtera l’anniversaire des 250 ans de sa mort en 2014. En 2011, l’Abbaye de Royaumont, qui vient d’acquérir le plus grand fond de documentation sur Rameau, accueille Natacha en résidence. Elle effectue un travail de recherche approfondi sur Rameau et découvre de nouvelles œuvres et pistes d’interprétation de sa musique. Elle se penche tout particulièrement sur l’incroyable modernité de son écriture. L’enregistrement du CD se confirme et Natacha décide qu’elle jouera sur un piano moderne Yamaha. Elle explique son choix : « L’œuvre de Rameau pour clavecin constitue un trésor fondamental dans l’évolution de l’instrument et dans les techniques d’interprétation, cette richesse devienne une évidence lorsque les œuvres sont jouées sur une piano moderne, or très peu de ses œuvres ont été enregistrées sur piano moderne au XX°s.
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Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (1962/2015) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz

Artist: Nat King Cole
Title: The Christmas Song
Genre: Jazz, Swing, Easy Listening, Holiday, Christmas, Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz
Label: © Capitol Records W1967 | Audio Fidelity AFZ225
Release Date: 1962/2015
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Source: SACD ISO
Duration: 31:02
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.

Nat King Cole's flawless vocals combined with ever so sweet orchestrations and choral backings, provide a collection of standard Christmas carols, hymns and songs that gloriously captures the spirit of the season. Without fireworks, improvisations, catchy rhythms, or unusual variations, Cole sings songs full of love in his relaxed and unpretentious style. The orchestra and chorus under the direction of Ralph Carmichael are used to highlight Cole's vocal interpretations, instead of making their own statements, and the use of bells, bell lyre, flutes, and harp add depth to the background while adding emphasis to the lyrics.
The title track, beautifully sung to an accompaniment of piano and strings, has always been Cole's biggest Christmas hit, it has remained a perinnial and is possibly his most widely heard record.
There are other superb tracks including a stirring rendition of "Adeste Fidelis" in the original Latin. "O Holy Night," with a 27-string orchestra, maintains its sense of quiet awe. Add to that favorites like "Deck the Halls," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Away in a Manger," "Joy to the World," "Silent Night" and "O Tannenbaum" (in its original German language). The soothing and thoughtful "A Cradle in Bethlehem" is a perfect lullaby and the cheerful "Caroling, Caroling" conveys its snowy frolic in a wonderfully scenic, slightly bracing spirit, and Nat's jaunty rendering of "I Saw Three Ships" and "The First Noel" are sung with an a capella chorus. The Christmas Song was the best-selling holiday album released in the 1960s, and was certified by RIAA for shipments of 6 million copies in the US. According to BMI "The Christmas Song" is the most-performed Christmas song of all time. This is a masterwork, plain and simple, traditional and restrained, Cole's album honors the season and its message.
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Nat Adderley - Work Song (1960/2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/192kHz

Artist: Nat Adderley
Title: Work Song
Genre: Jazz, Post-Bop, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Guitar Jazz
Label: © Riverside Records | Concord Music Group
Release Date: 1960/2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 192kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 38:59
Recorded: January 1960 at Reeves Sound Studios, New York City

Nat Adderley led a double creative life at Riverside: featured on the highly successful working-group albums led by his brother Cannonball, and also devising several intriguingly different projects under his own name. Very possibly the most interesting was Work Song, which took its title from one of Nat's most widely known soulful compositions, and took its instrumentation from the younger Adderley's fertile imagination. Cornet, cello, and guitar make up a front line that will probably never be duplicated. The guitarist was his friend Wes Montgomery, just emerging towards jazz stardom; the cellist was the longtime bassist of Cannonball's band, Sam Jones.
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Claudio Monteverdi - Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria - Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Сomposer: Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Artist: Boston Baroque, Martin Pearlman
Title: Monteverdi - Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
Genre: Classical
Label: © LINN Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Duration: 176 minutes 10 seconds
Recorded at Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA 27–30 April 2014

Only three operas by Claudio Monteverdi have come down to us. L’Orfeo (1607), his very first, is generally acknowledged to be the earliest great opera. Then, after a gap of 33 years, during which Monteverdi wrote operas that are tragically now lost, we have two masterpieces from near the end of his life: Il ritorno d’Ulisse (1640) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (1642). Il Ritorno d’Ulisse is based on the story told in books 13–23 of Homer’s Odyssey, in which Ulysses returns home from the Trojan War after an absence of 20 years and slays his wife’s suitors, who have taken over his palace. The 73-year-old Monteverdi’s setting of Giacomo Badoaro’s libretto was premiered in 1640 during the carnival season in Venice, to such acclaim that it was revived the following season, an unusual distinction for an opera of the time. The first performances took place at one of the city’s new public opera houses, where, not only were production budgets severely limited, but where writing for a broader public affected the kinds of stories that were set to music. The story of Ulysses was familiar to the audience, and its abundance of blood and gore was a far cry from the nymphs and shepherds in the earlier Orfeo, which had been written for the Mantuan court. Not long after the premiere, Ulisse dropped from view until late in the nineteenth century, when a manuscript was rediscovered in Vienna, which appears to be a copy made for a later revival in that city. Initially there were doubts as to whether the newly discovered work was a genuine lost opera of Monteverdi. But by the mid-twentieth century, further documents were found which removed any doubts about the work’s authenticity. Il ritorno d’Ulisse is certainly the least well known and least performed of the three surviving operas, and that may have something to do with its relatively recent discovery and even more recent authentication. But another reason perhaps lies in the libretto itself, which some have suggested makes the work more difficult to put across than Monteverdi’s other late opera. Whereas Poppea is filled with brilliant dialogue between fascinating and deeply flawed historical characters, Ulisse is of necessity somewhat more formal in its portrayal of gods and heroes. The final act, which is largely devoted to the convincing of a reluctant Penelope that her husband has truly returned home, has been called anticlimactic by some critics; and some scenes digress, such as the one in Act II (often cut) where Telemachus tells his mother about the beauty of Helen, whom he has seen in his travels. But Monteverdi’s music transcends these difficulties, and of course later composers would conjure great works from less than perfect librettos. Il ritorno d’Ulisse is unquestionably one of the three pillars that place Monteverdi among the greatest of opera composers. --Martin Pearlman © 2015
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Monica - Code Red (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/48kHz

Artist: Monica
Title: Code Red
Genre: R&B
Label: © RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 48kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 00:52:30
Recorded: 2013–15

Rather than celebrate the 20th anniversary of her breakthrough single, Monica declares a Code Red order on the commercial airwaves that have squeezed out soul-rooted R&B. The first song on her seventh U.S. album is the title track, a scuttling assault produced by Polow and assisted by Missy Elliott, which involves the protest "Turn off the radio, damn right/We don't hear real shit no mo'." After that song fades, the next voice heard is that of Lil Wayne, whose most recent radio triumphs as a featured artist include "Truffle Butter." One can't be faulted for being confused by Monica's perspective. Later, she returns to the theme with "I Miss Music," a wistful ballad somewhere between mid-'90s adult alternative singer/songwriter material and Babyface's contemporaneous hits. Monica begins by listing departed legends, then mixes it up by citing some living and very active artists, including Babyface. It's odd. Not only does she long for the type of music that continues to be created in abundance, and with easy access, but a fair portion of it has come from her RCA label mates -- D'Angelo, Elle Varner, Miguel, and past songwriting collaborator Jazmine Sullivan among them. Subtract the mixed and muddled messages (another song features Akon, maker of "Smack That"), and Code Red is satisfactory. It's another Monica album that, at its best, draws from the past while remaining in the present, as heard in the luminous ballad "Deep," the Teena Marie-referencing electro/freestyle hybrid "Suga," and the pop-soul belter "Alone in Your Heart." Most of the collaborations with Polow, Danja, Pop & Oak, Philip Constable, and Fatboi handily surpass the three that involve Timbaland. What truly distinguishes Code Red from the rest of Monica's albums is that the singer is credited as co-writer of every track, not one, two, or three of them. Unsurprisingly, she sounds completely connected to every song. --AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
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Miles Davis - The Last Word: The Warner Bros. Years (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Miles Davis
Title: The Last Word: The Warner Bros. Years
Genre: Jazz
Label: © Warner Bros. Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44.1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 06:57:17

In 1985, Miles Davis shocked the music world by moving from Columbia to Warner Bros.. He immediately started working on an album called Perfect Way after a tune by Scritti Politti, later renamed Tutu by producer Tommy LiPuma. When Tutu (a tribute to Desmond Tutu) was released in 1986, it re-ignited Miles Davis’ career, crossing over into the rock and pop markets and winning Davis two Grammy Awards - the album was a key factor in raising Davis’ status to an international superstar.
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Melanie Martinez - Cry Baby (2015) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44.1kHz

Artist: Melanie Martinez
Title: Cry Baby
Genre: Pop, Indie Pop, Indie Electronic
Label: © Atlantic Records
Release Date: 2015
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 44,1kHz/24bit
Source: HDTracks
Duration: 57:08
Recorded: 2013–15

Building upon the conceptual ideas of her 2014 EP, Dollhouse, Melanie Martinez's 2015 full-length debut, Cry Baby, finds her taking the innocent imagery of youth and family ("Carousel," "Training Wheels," "Milk and Cookies") and subverting them into angular R&B and electro-infused anthems of familial strife, abuse, and romance gone wrong. An arty, self-assured singer with a style that falls somewhere between Beyoncé and Björk, Martinez first came to the public's attention singing Britney Spears' "Toxic" as a contestant on the third season of NBC's The Voice. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, her songs also fit nicely next to the work of contemporaries like Lorde and Lana Del Rey. As with Dollhouse, aiding Martinez on Cry Baby are a handful of hip-hop and pop-steeped producers including Kinetics & One Love (B.o.B, Pitbull, Neon Hitch), SmarterChild (Krewella, Usher, Tori Kelly), and Frequency (Eminem, Royce da 5'9", Slaughterhouse). Featured on Cry Baby are the singles "Sippy Cup," "Soap," and "Pity Party." --AllMusic Review by Matt Collar
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