A day after posting, "Now we need more content providers to step up to the plate giving us access to a wider selection of DSD downloads. I'd say it's only a matter of time.", this message greeted me in my Inbox:
We would like to welcome Fidelio Recordings to DSDFile.
First release is the classical master piece From The New World.
Anne Queffélec takes us on a tour of early 20th Century France, striking her piano's keys according to the direction of Charles Koechlin, Claude Debussy, Déodat De Séverac, Erik Satie, Florent Schmitt, Francis Poulenc, Gabriel Dupont, Hahn Reynaldo, Maurice Ravel, and Pierre-Octave Ferroud. And oh what a trip it is. The early 20th Century is one place in time I'd travel to if I had a time machine (as long as Owen Wilson wasn't there). Teaming with creative energy, the oughts and teens of the 1900s saw all kinds of new possibilities being explored by all kinds of people in all fields of endeavor. Picasso and Braque shattering the picture plane, Joyce fracturing the narrative, Wittgenstein's parsed propositions, Schoenberg's serial meanderings, and we all know about that crazy cat Einstein and what he did to time...
New from Gimell, Eric Whitacre's choral meditation Sainte-Chapelle was written to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Tallis Scholars and was first performed on the 7th of March 2013 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Typically, The Tallis Scholars do not perform the work of the living, but in Sir John Taverner's case and now Eric Whitacre's, they've made exceptions. Let's be thankful.
Miles Davis' In A Silent Way is near the top of any list I'd make. When I first listened to it decades ago my heart raced (literally) after the opening notes and things got more intense from there on in. The same still holds after countless listens. In A Silent Way, along with Bitches Brew and A Tribute to Jack Johnson helped me get over the passing of Jimi Hendrix and pointed toward a very bright future. I don't really care all that much as to whether or not In A Silent Way was the first 'fusion' album because the music speaks to matters beyond category. You simply need to sit and do nothing other than listen.
Just when I thought the bloom was off the rose, Devendra Banhart reaches way down (and as far back as the '50s) and pulls out a bouquet. Mala isn't for everyone, what is, but I've been streaming the entire thing for days for free from NPR's first listen and I've been smiling, laughing, and shaking my head at the crazy beat and banter of Banhart. This, his debut on Nonesuch Records and overall 8th studio album, is one freakin' fun listen.
Afro-Bossa from 1963 features Duke Ellington and His Orchestra riffing on some African and Latin themes. The sounds are infectious and fun and the supporting cast including Billy Strayhorn who wrote some of the pieces that make up this sweet suite, Cootie Williams, Ray Nance, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges, and Harry Carney are a powerhouse of musical invention. The overall feel is somewhat restrained, held captive by a slow driving groove punctuated by plenty of percussion that swings oh so gently. If you're looking for a stone cold classic that happens to sound particularly lovely, you've come to the right place.
Thanks to reader Martin O. for pointing us to this, the first new album from My Bloody Valentine since 1991's Loveless. That's a long time. m b v sounds just like My Bloody Valentine (how could it not even if it didn't?) which is a good thing to my ears all heavy and somber and hook-laden. The other noteworthy thing about m b v is the way its being released—you can buy the CD ($22), LP ($30.50 includes the CD), or download ($16) which is not uncommon but what is and shouldn't be is the CD and LP come with a free download and you get to choose between 320kbps MP3, 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV, and 24-bit/96kHz WAV versions. If you opt for just the download, you still get to choose the format for the same price. Nice.
Aaron Neville’s latest release, My True Story, is available as a hi res download from HDtracks (96/24, 192/24). Aaron is returning to his “roots” performing doo-wop rock ballads in this album. The recording also features Keith Richards on guitar with a great band. There are no lush strings behind Aaron’s smooth vocals; just a tight band with excellent backup singers including Eugene Pitt, Booby Jay, Dickie Harmon, and Joel Katz.
Over the years, I have found Patricia Barber to be an acquired taste. Her latest recording Smash, is for me, my favorite Patricia Barber recording. Her original songs are quite good and somewhat more melodic sounding than some of those found in her previous works. Smash was recorded and mixed by Jim Anderson who has done previous recordings for Patricia Barber including Companion, Modern Cool, and Café Blue. Unlike some of the recent Concord Jazz hi-res downloads I have purchased, this recoding is not dynamically compressed and comes in at a DR 11. The overall sound quality is excellent with the 192/24 version presenting an upfront sound to the vocal that is natural with a bit of warmth.
According to the Discogs database, there have been 76 releases of Pet Sounds. This total includes the original mono LP, numerous LP reissues, the mono CD, a stereo version first mixed for The Pet Sound Sessions engineered and produced by Mark Linett under the supervision of Brian Wilson, a HDCD, a DCC gold disc, a 5.1 surround mix on DVD-A also engineered by Mark Linett, a Mo-Fi SACD from 2012 again engineered by Mark Linett, and the latest stereo/mono CD from 2012 mastered by Mark Linett. We also now have the 2012 HDtracks 24/192 version. Here's what HDtracks has to say about it, "Stereo mix produced, engineered and mastered at 24bit/192kHz by The Beach Boys’ long time Grammy®-Award-Winning engineer Mark Linett under the supervision of Brian Wilson." That's all. So I figured I'd ask Mark Linett about Pet Sounds and see if we could get some more information. Mark was kind enough to answer a few questions about what is arguably (I would) one of the most important albums of our time, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds.
Never has a title been more apropos—The New York Rags. David Chesky composed this suite of 18 sumptuous rags performed on a Yamaha DCFX Mark IV Disklavier Pro concert grand piano and as he tells us in the liner notes, "You’re living in New York City … art reflects time and culture. So you take what’s around you and you write. And in the end, is it symphonic? Is it jazz? It’s a crossover. The way American music should be, like how Bernstein or Gershwin did it." The pace of Chesky's New York Rags is, for the most part, frenetic and mimics life in the big city with its many touches of spice and flavors from other times and places. I immediately heard traces of Conlon Nancarrow, Gershwin, Bernstein, and Joplin with the skeletal structure of the Second Viennese School barely containing the jaunt and roll. Nice.
Sessions From The 17th Ward is Amber Rubarth’s latest release on Chesky Records. While HDtracks refers to her music as folk, there is a wide variety of music on this download with songs written by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Amber’s own songs accompanied by her guitar. Along with Amber, is Dave Eggar:cello, Chuck Palmer: percussion, and Tim Snider: violin.