Jun 08

Sonic Youth – Washing Machine (1995/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:08:17 minutes | 2,55 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front Cover | @ Geffen Records, Universal Music

Sonic Youth’s ninth album Washing Machine is the first record to almost exclusively feature Kim on guitar rather than bass, and contains some of their lengthiest material since “Goo” and “Daydream Nation”, including the epic “The Diamond Sea” which drifts onward for an unprecedented 20 minutes, still the longest track on any SY album (excluding the SYR releases). Incidentally, “The Diamond Sea” would prove to be one of the band’s most popular songs, and it along with SY’s headlining spot on the summer Lollapalooza tour would introduce legions of new fans to their music.

After the regressive, low-key Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star, Sonic Youth appeared to be floundering somewhat, but Washing Machine erased any notion that the band had run out of things to say. Easily their most adventurous, challenging, and best record since Daydream Nation, the album finds Sonic Youth returning to the fearless exploration of their SST records, but the group has found a way to work that into tighter song structures. Not only are the songs more immediate than most of the material on their earlier records, the sound here is warm and open, making Washing Machine their most mature and welcoming record to date. It’s not a commercial record, nor is it a pop record, but Washing Machine encompasses everything that made Sonic Youth innovators, and shows that they can continue to grow, finding new paths inside their signature sound. ~~AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tracklist:
1. Becuz 04:43
2. Junkie’s Promise 04:02
3. Saucer-Like 04:25
4. Washing Machine 09:33
5. Unwind 06:02
6. Little Trouble Girl 04:29
7. No Queen Blues 04:35
8. Panty Lies 04:15
9. Becuz Coda 02:49
10. Skip Tracer 03:48
11. The Diamond Sea 19:36

Personnel:
Thurston Moore – vocals, guitar, production
Kim Gordon – vocals, guitar, bass, production
Lee Ranaldo – vocals, guitar, production
Steve Shelley – drums, production
Additional:
Kim Deal – additional vocals on “Little Trouble Girl”
Lorette Velvette – additional vocals on “Little Trouble Girl”
Melissa Dunn – additional vocals on “Little Trouble Girl”

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Jun 08

Alexander Scriabin – Symphony 1 & 4 – Russian National Orchestra, Mikhail Pletnev (2015)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,8 MHz MHz | Time – 01:16:40 minutes | 3,03 GB
or FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 00:39:42 minutes | 2,38 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Digital Booklet | © Pentatone Music B.V.
Genre: Classical | Recorded: DZZ Studio 5 in Moscow, Russia in March 2014. Organ has been recorded at the St. Ludwig-Kirche in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany

The Russian National Orchestra wishes to thank Ann and Gordon Getty and the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation for their support of this recording.

In 1899, Scriabin began writing his most ambitious composition to date: the First Symphony. The work still reflects the influence of the traditional four-movement formal scheme. The first movement, in sonata form (Allegro dramatico), is followed by a slow movement (Lento), a scherzo (Vivace) and an Allegro, again in sonata form. But Scriabin also framed the symphony with an introductory movement in a slow tempo and a monumental choral finale with a text of his own composition, and it is this movement that can be said to occupy the work’s interpretational centre of gravity. The First Symphony documents a search for salvation and unification, both of which can only be found in art: “May your mighty and free spirit reign all-powerfully on earth; and humanity, lifted up by you, perform a noble deed. Come all nations of the world and let us sing praises to art!”

Le Poème de l’extase debuted in New York on 10 December 1908, after a performance in Russia had to be cancelled due to the difficulty of the score.

However, when the Russian première finally did take place, on 1 February 1909, it wound up being a true spectacle. The then young composition student, Sergei Prokofiev wrote, “Myaskovsky and I sat next to each other and consumed the Poème de l’extase with the greatest of interest, although, at different moments during the performance, we were entirely confused by the newness of the music. We had expected something surpassing the divine Poème, which we both knew well and loved. But both the harmonic and thematic material of the work, as well as its contrapuntal voice-leading, resembled nothing we had ever heard before.”
Conductor Mikhail Pletnev surpasses the extreme with his Scriabin interpretation and draws what he needs from the Russian National Orchestra – the Moscow-based ensemble he founded in 1990. This results in a near perfect performance of both works. Blessed by the orchestra’s warm, vibrant playing, this CD is a real pleasure for everyone who adores the esoteric and unorthodox work of Scriabin. It is definitely THE Symphony No. 1 and Poem of Ecstasy to own: an ideal performance with sonic audio quality to match.

Tracklist:

Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)
Symphony No. 1 in E Major, Op. 26
1. I. Lento 07:47
2. II. Allegro dramatico 10:54
3. III. Lento 11:05
4. IV. Vivace 04:00
5. V. Allegro 07:56
6. VI. Andante 13:36
7. La Poeme de l’extase (The Poem of Ecstasy), Op. 54, “Symphony No. 4” 21:22

Personnel:
Svetlana Shilova, Soprano (track 6)
Mikhail Gubsky, Tenor (track 6)
Chamber Choir of the Moscow Conservatory (track 6)
Alexander Solovyev, Chorus Master (track 6)
Vladislav Lavrik, Trumpet (track 7)
Norbert Gembaczka, Organ
Russian National Orchestra
Conducted by Mikhail Pletnev
Alexander Bruni, Concertmaster

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Jun 08

Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Sinding: Suite – Itzhak Perlman, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Andre Previn (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 00:45:03 minutes | 830 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qovuz | Front Cover | © Warner Classics
Recorded: Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, USA, 23 & 24 February 1979

Jascha Heifetz (1901–1987), whose style and repertoire exerted a decisive influence on most twentieth-century violinists, had an insatiable curiosity for discovering and rehabilitating long-forgotten works. We have Heifetz to thank for having dusted off, and made the first recordings of, Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and Second Violin Concerto (see volumes 14 and 40), the concertos by Korngold and Conus (volume 27), and the two works featured here. He was also a key source of inspiration to the young Itzhak Perlman, who had not even turned twenty when he made his first recording of Sibelius’s Concerto in D minor (1966, RCA). Thirteen years later, he returned to the work for EMI, this time coupling it to great effect with the Suite in A minor by Christian Sinding, thereby paying tribute to a little-known composer who, alongside Grieg and Sibelius, was in fact one of the most authentic Scandinavian composers of his day.

Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) had studied the violin in his youth, and had even considered a career as a soloist. Hardly surprising, therefore, that his only concerto should have been written for his favourite instrument. He composed the first version in 1903 but, dissatisfied with the premiere (given by soloist Viktor Novácˇek under the composer’s baton), he revised it the following year, concerned that his original draft was simply too technically demanding. A second premiere was given, this time conducted by Richard Strauss in Berlin in October 1905, and it is the revised version that has been played ever since. Heifetz made the first recording in December 1934 under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, but failed to authorise its release. The following November he set down the first official recording, under Sir Thomas Beecham. The fact that a performer of Heifetz’s stature had taken up the cause of this concerto ensured its future success. Although it has not always earned unanimous enthusiasm — its finale was once memorably described as a “polonaise for polar bears” — the work has become part of the core violin repertoire, as demonstrated by the hundred or so recorded versions available.

By contrast, the number of recordings of the Suite in A minor, Op.10 by Christian Sinding (1856–1941) can more or less be counted on the fingers of one hand. After Heifetz’s first recording in 1953 (RCA), Ruggiero Ricci made the first stereo version in 1977, barely eighteen months before the performance by Perlman reissued here. A twelve-minute concerto in miniature, this work, subtitled “Suite in the old style”, is cast in three short movements. A blistering perpetuum mobile acts as introduction, yielding to a tender slow movement, which in turn gives way to a finale marked Tempo giusto which conjures up a lively Nordic atmosphere. Dated 1889 and originally published with piano accompaniment before being orchestrated, the Suite was the first of the many works for the violin (concertos, sonatas, romances and so on) that form part of Sinding’s overall production. Although he left a sizeable catalogue, taking in every genre, his work fell into total neglect, with the exception of one of his piano pieces, Frühlingsrauschen (Rustle of Spring). As wonderful as Perlman’s performance here is, it has not inspired others to follow his example —there are only a tiny number of other versions available, generally with piano rather than orchestral accompaniment, making this recording even more valuable. –Jean-Michel Molkhou

Tracklist:

Jean Sibelius (1865–1957)
Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47
1 I Allegro moderato 16.12
2 II Adagio di molto 8.49
3 III Allegro, ma non tanto 7.29

Christian Sinding (1856–1941)
Suite in A minor, Op.10 “Suite in the Old Style” orchestral version
4 I Presto 1.43
5 II Adagio 5.41
6 III Tempo giusto 5.09

Personnel:
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
André Previn, conductor

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Jun 08

Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba (1962/2011) 
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 00:33:32 minutes | 1,32 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Front Cover | © Verve Music
Recorded: Pierce Hall, All Souls Unitarian Church, Washington D.C., February 13, 1962

Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound from the original analog master tapes to vinyl and PCM. The DSD was sourced from the PCM. George listened to all of the different A/D converters he had before he chose which to use, and he felt the George Massenburg GML 20 bit A/D produced the best and most synergistic sound for the project.

The words “bossa nova” are often synonymous with the name Stan Getz. But North Americans might not have ever known the bright sound of bossa nova had it not been for Charlie Byrd. In 1961 Byrd returned from a tour of South America, where bossa nova music was thriving. The style was the invention of singer Joao Gilberto and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim – an adaptation of infectious Brazilian samba rhythms with the harmonic structures and “cool” surface of West Coast jazz. Byrd brought back records for Getz to hear, they planned a session, and the result was Jazz Samba – the first album of true bossa nova music by jazz artists and the one that broke the bossa nova wave in 1960s America.

Partly because of its Brazilian collaborators and partly because of “The Girl From Ipanema,” Getz/Gilberto is nearly always acknowledged as the Stan Getz bossa nova LP. But Jazz Samba is just as crucial and groundbreaking; after all, it came first, and in fact was the first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by American jazz musicians. And it was just as commercially successful, topping the LP charts and producing its own pop chart hit single in “Desafinado.” It was the true beginning of the bossa nova craze, and introduced several standards of the genre (including Ary Barroso’s “Bahia” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Desafinado” and “Samba de Uma Nota Só” [aka “One Note Samba”]). But above all, Jazz Samba stands on its own artistic merit as a shimmering, graceful collection that’s as subtly advanced — in harmony and rhythm — as it is beautiful. Getz and his co-billed partner, guitarist Charlie Byrd — who was actually responsible for bringing bossa nova records to the U.S. and introducing Getz to the style — have the perfect touch for bossa nova’s delicate, airy texture. For his part, Byrd was one of the first American musicians to master bossa nova’s difficult, bubbling syncopations, and his solos are light and lilting. Meanwhile, Getz’s playing is superb, simultaneously offering a warm, full tone and a cool control of dynamics; plus, Byrd’s gently off-kilter harmonies seem to stimulate Getz’s melodic inventiveness even more than usual. But beyond technique, Getz intuitively understands the romanticism and the undercurrent of melancholy inherent in the music, and that’s what really made Jazz Samba such a revelatory classic. Absolutely essential for any jazz collection. ~~ AllMusic Review by Steve Huey

Tracklist:
1 Desafinado 5:53
2 Samba Dees Days 3:36
3 O Pato 2:34
4 Samba Triste 4:48
5 Samba De Uma Nota Só 6:13
6 E Luxo Só 3:43
7 Bahia (aka ‘Baia’) 6:40

Personnel:
Stan Getz, tenor sax
Charlie Byrd, guitar
Keter Betts, bass
Buddy Deppenschmidt, drums
Gene Byrd, guitar, bass
Bill Reichenbach Sr., percussion

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Jun 08

Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto feat. Antonio Carlos Jobim – Getz/Gilberto (1964/2011)
DSD64 (.dsf) 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 00:33:50 minutes | 1,34 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds | Front Cover | © Verve Music
Recorded: March 18–19, 1963 at A&R Recording Studios, New York City

Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound from the original analog master tapes to vinyl and PCM. The DSD was sourced from the PCM. George listened to all of the different A/D converters he had before he chose which to use, and he felt the George Massenburg GML 20 bit A/D produced the best and most synergistic sound for the project.
The original master tapes for this title had not been used since 1980 previous to this reissue. Also, for this Analogue Productions reissue the decision was made to master and present this album as it was originally mixed to master tape. With very few exceptions all versions of this title to date, including the original, have had the channels incorrectly reversed. With this version, you’ll hear this title as it was intended to be heard, without the channels reversed. And again, those reissues you’ve heard up until now – definitely still breathy, warm and rich – were made from something less than the master. Prepare to hear the veil removed
Astrud Gilberto says that her husband, Joao, informed Stan Getz that she “could sing at the recording.” Creed Taylor recalls that it took Getz’s wife, Monica, to get both Astrud and Joao into the recording studio; Mrs. Getz had a sense that Astrud could make a hit. And Getz himself is on record saying that he insisted on Astrud’s presence over the others’ objections. So who’s right? What does it matter? The Gilbertos, Getz and the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim followed up the bossa nova success of Jazz Samba with this, the defining LP of the genre. With one of the greatest hit singles jazz has ever known – each one who hears it goes “Ahhh!”

One of the biggest-selling jazz albums of all time, not to mention bossa nova’s finest moment, Getz/Gilberto trumped Jazz Samba by bringing two of bossa nova’s greatest innovators — guitarist/singer João Gilberto and composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim — to New York to record with Stan Getz. The results were magic. Ever since Jazz Samba, the jazz marketplace had been flooded with bossa nova albums, and the overexposure was beginning to make the music seem like a fad. Getz/Gilberto made bossa nova a permanent part of the jazz landscape not just with its unassailable beauty, but with one of the biggest smash hit singles in jazz history — “The Girl From Ipanema,” a Jobim classic sung by João’s wife, Astrud Gilberto, who had never performed outside of her own home prior to the recording session. Beyond that, most of the Jobim songs recorded here also became standards of the genre — “Corcovado” (which featured another vocal by Astrud), “So Danço Samba,” “O Grande Amor,” a new version of “Desafinado.” With such uniformly brilliant material, it’s no wonder the album was such a success but, even apart from that, the musicians all play with an effortless grace that’s arguably the fullest expression of bossa nova’s dreamy romanticism ever brought to American listeners. Getz himself has never been more lyrical, and Gilberto and Jobim pull off the harmonic and rhythmic sophistication of the songs with a warm, relaxed charm. This music has nearly universal appeal; it’s one of those rare jazz records about which the purist elite and the buying public are in total agreement. Beyond essential. ~~ AllMusic Review by Steve Huey

Tracklist:
1 The Girl From Ipanema 5:22
2 Doralice 2:43
3 Para Machuchar Meu Coração 5:04
4 Desafinado 4:11
5 Corcovado 4:13
6 Só Danço Samba 3:42
7 O Grande Amor 5:24
8 Vivo Sonhando 2:52

Personnel:
Stan Getz, tenor sax
João Gilberto, guitar, vocals
Antônio Carlos Jobim, piano
Sebastião Neto, bass
Milton Banana, drums
Astrud Gilberto, vocals

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Jun 08

Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow, Joey Baron – Wisteria (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 1:07:02 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet | © ECM

Having collaborated in the past, jazz virtuosos Steve Kuhn, Joey Baron and Steve Swallow team up once again for the astounding jazz release, Wisteria. The trio exposes the emotional core of some familiar Kuhn classics including “Adagio,” “Morning Dew” and “Pastorale.” Complementing the yearning balladry is the exciting hard bop-track “A Likely Story” and the gospel-inspired “Permanent Wave.” This historic trio sails effortlessly creating a compelling set full of divine synergy.

Steve Kuhn has excelled in many settings in a career spanning over five decades, but he is at his best leading a trio. Like many top pianists, Kuhn interacts with his musicians rather than relegating them exclusively to the role of accompanists. By the time of this 2011 record date, he had worked with bassist Steve Swallow at various times for over a half-century and with drummer Joey Baron for over 20 years, but this marked their first recording together as a trio. Swallow’s sublime lyrical bass is always a welcome addition, while Baron has contributed to recordings by a diverse range of stylists. Kuhn contributed many of the songs, highlighted by his lyrical samba “Adagio” and the glistening, light-hearted “Morning Dew.” He also revisits several of his best compositions recorded for previous projects: the lush ballad “Romance,” the whispered “Pastorale” with Swallow playing lead in the introduction as Kuhn plays soft chords behind him and Baron’s light touch on brushes providing the perfect accent, along with the mellow yet hip “Promises Kept.” Swallow’s compositions are frequently used by leaders with whom he works. His “Dark Glasses” opens with a mysterious air but shifts quickly into a bright bossa nova. One can only imagine the inspiration for the title to “Good Lookin’ Rookie,” and this breezy number doesn’t disappoint, with Kuhn’s driving piano and Swallow’s intricate bass solo, along with Baron’s drum breaks. Highly recommended! ~~AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden

Tracklist:
1. Chalet 06:27
2. Adagio 07:06
3. Morning Dew 06:37
4. Romance 04:29
5. Permanent Wave 06:37
6. A Likely Story 06:44
7. Pastorale 06:19
8. Wisteria 05:50
9. Dark Glasses 05:53
10. Promises Kept 05:33
11. Good Lookin’ Rookie 05:54

Personnel:
Steve Kuhn, piano
Steve Swallow, bass
Joey Baron, drums

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Jun 08

Robert Schumann – The Violin Sonatas – Ulf Wallin, Roland Pontinen (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:14:06 minutes | 1,15 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: eClassical | Digital Booklet | © BIS Records

Music Web International March 2012: “With highly impressive playing, sound and presentation it is hard to find fault with this excellent release”.

Robert Schumann’s three Sonatas for violin and piano were all composed between 1851 and 1853. They – especially No.3 – have to some extent suffered from the same neglect and incomprehension that has been the fate of other works from this period in the composer’s life, only a few years before he died in a mental institution. During the same years a number of other works for the violin saw the light, including the Violin Concerto and the Fantasy for violin and orchestra. The concertante works were written for the violinist Joseph Joachim, but it may have been a letter from Ferdinand David, concert master of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, that provided the initial impulse to compose chamber works for the violin: ‘I am uncommonly fond of your Fantasiestücke for piano and clarinet; why don’t you write something for violin and piano? … How splendid it would be if you could write something of that kind, that your wife and I could play for you.’ Here the performers are Ulf Wallin and Roland Pöntinen, a team who recorded their first disc for BIS in 1991, and whose partnership has been described as ‘masterfully cultivated ensemble playing’ on website ClassicsToday.com. Wallin’s credentials in Schumann must also be regarded as firmly established, after his recently released recording of the violin concerto, the Fantasy and the arrangement for violin of the cello concerto. The reviewer in Daily Telegraph found it ‘hard to imagine more sympathetic and insightful performances of these wonderful pieces’, and his colleague on the German website Klassik-Heute agreed, describing Wallin as ‘violinistically brilliant and musically perceptive’

Tracklist:

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Sonata No.1 in A minor for violin and piano, Op.105
1. I. Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck 8’18
2. II. Allegretto 3’58
3. III. Lebhaft 5’09

Sonata No.2 in D minor for violin and piano, ‘Große Sonate’, Op.121
4. I. Ziemlich langsam. Lebhaft 14’16
5. II. Sehr lebhaft 4’33
6. III. Leise, einfach 5’59
7. IV. Bewegt 9’16

Sonata No.3 in A minor for violin and piano, WoO2
8. I. Ziemlich langsam 7’29
9. II. Intermezzo. Bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell 3’02
10. III. Lebhaft 3’28
11. IV. Finale. Markiertes, ziemlich lebhaftes Tempo 6’33

Personnel:
Ulf Wallin, violin
Roland Pöntinen, piano

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Jun 08

Schumann & Mendelssohn – Piano Concertos – Ingrid Fliter, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Antonio Mendez (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz  | Time – 60:55 minutes | 1,23 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: LINN | Digital Booklet | © LINN Records
Recorded: December 2015, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland

Ingrid performs repertoire that is very close to her heart: concertos by two nineteenth century heavyweights, Schumann and Mendelssohn.
Ingrid brings the lyrical romanticism of Schumann’s iconic Piano Concerto to life whilst perfectly navigating the shifting colours and technical demands of this brilliant showpiece. The sparkling passagework and charming melodies which characterise Mendelssohn’s innovative G minor concerto demonstrate Ingrid’s innate skill and pianistic instinct. Following Ingrid’s live performance of the Mendelssohn concerto one critic wrote: ‘In the beautiful second movement, time stood still.’

With both composers giving equal focus to soloist and orchestra, the musicality of the SCO’s award-winning musicians shines through as they partner Fliter perfectly. This also marks the recording debut of Antonio Méndez, who is fast becoming one of the most exciting conductors of his generation following engagements with a host of international orchestras.

‘…there’s still room for something fresh to be said with this evergreen music … in both the Mendelssohn and Schumann, Fliter plays with tautness and energy, fitting hand-in-glove with the smaller chamber-orchestra forces of the SCO and drier recorded sound. Heartfelt and intelligent, this is life-enhancing music, and as a bonus there’s The Fair Melusina Overture…’ –BBC Music Magazine

Tracklist:

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Piano Concerto in A minor Op 54
1. Allegro affettuoso[14’14]2. Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso –[5’21]3. Allegro vivace[10’49]

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
4. Overture ‘The fair Melusina’ Op 32[10’44]

Piano Concerto No 1 in G minor Op 25
5. Molto allegro con fuoco[7’25]6. Andante[5’43]7. Presto – Molto allegro e vivace[6’39]

Bonus track
8. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage[12:28]

Personnel:
Ingrid Fliter, piano
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Antonio Méndez, conductor

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Jun 08

Seal – 7 (2015) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz  | Time – 00:49:21 minutes | 591 MB | Genre: R&B
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks |  Front Cover | © Warner Bros. Records

On 7, Seal explores love and all of its implications, idiosyncrasies, and intricacies – subject matter he began to delicately approach as early as 2013, knowing exactly where he wanted to go. “The album concerns the most sung about, most talked about, and most documented emotion-love,” Seal says. “I tried to capture all of the wonderfully different dynamics of love, whether it’s the anger, the acceptance, the bliss, the sadness, the elation, or the recklessness. It’s this emotion and the ways it makes us feel. It’s about the extreme joy and the extreme regret as well as all of the crazy things love makes us do.”

Seal 7 followed the all-covers 2012 set Soul 2 and was the singer’s first set of original material since the 2010 release Seal 6: Commitment. More significantly, it was his first originals-oriented collaboration with longtime creative partner and friend Trevor Horn since 2003’s Seal 4, and it was made in the wake of the singer’s divorce from Heidi Klum. The first single, “Every Time I’m with You,” a grand and swirling ballad with an orchestral arrangement from Anne Dudley, showed that Seal had no desire to make his return all about romantic conflict, as it placed him in the setting of a new relationship, willfully abandoning caution: “I can lose it all, it won’t be daunting.” Another song that reached the public prior to the album, the Jamie Odell co-composition “Life on the Dancefloor,” also dealt with being swept up, though in the club through a low-key groove. As with Seal’s previous albums, however, Seal 7 does cover a range of emotions. The heavier songs, including the opening “Daylight Saving,” the almost overblown “Padded Cell,” and “The Big Love Has Died,” with a title and scope worthy of Seal 4 — are among the most resonant moments. While one could speculate how those songs and the remainder of Seal 7 relate directly to Seal’s life, it’s clear that the singer and Horn aimed, as they always have, for broad appeal; just about anyone can connect with the pain and elation they relate. They’ve stuck to the approach that has made them a successful duo since “Crazy,” all the way down to the dark synthesized undercurrents. The spirit of Seal 7 proves that they had no reason to change course. —AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman

Tracklist:
1. Daylight Saving 04:51
2. Every Time I’m With You 04:31
3. Life On The Dancefloor 05:15
4. Padded Cell 04:08
5. Do You Ever 04:37
6. The Big Love Has Died 04:30
7. Redzone Killer 04:23
8. Monascow 04:10
9. Half A Heart 03:55
10. Let Yourself 04:26
11. Love 04:35

Personnel:
Seal: vocals (all), programming (4, 7, 10)
Joel Peters: drums (1, 4, 5, 7), programming (4, 5, 9), percussion (7, 10)
Earl Harvin: drums (1, 2, 4), cymbals (4)
Ash Soan: drums (4, 5, 7, 9)
Abe Rounds: drums (8)
Aaron Horn: programming (1, 4, 7)
Stephan Moccio: piano (1), keys (1), programming (1)
Julian Hinton: keys (1), programming (6, 9)
Jamie Odell: keys (3, 8), programming (3, 4, 7, 8)
Cameron Gower Poole: programming (4, 5, 9, 10), percussion (7)
Dave McCracken: programming (4)
Justin Parker: keys (5), programming (5)
Anne Dudley: piano (5)
Tim Weidner: programming (5), sound FX (6)
Trevor Horn: bass (2, 3, 5, 7-9), keys (all), guitar (1, 4, 5), backing vocals (9)
Chris Bruce: bass (1, 2, 4, 6-8, 11), guitars (1, 4, 5, 7)
Jamie Muhoberac: bass (9, 10), piano (1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11), organ (2, 4, 9), keys (1, 2, 4, 5, 7-11), programming (1, 3-5, 7, 9-11)
Paul Turner: bass (4)
Simon Bloor: guitars (1-9), piano (4, 6, 10), keys (2, 7-10), programming (2, 3, 6, 10, 11)
Phil Palmer: guitars (2, 4-6, 8, 9)
Lol Crème: guitar (4, 7-9), percussion (9), backing vocals (9)
Josh Campbell: guitar (7)
Luís Jardim: percussion (1, 2, 5-7, 9, 10)
Paul Spong: trumpet (3, 8)
Steve Sidwell: trumpet (3, 8)
Andy Wood: trombone (3, 8)
Dave Bishop: saxophone (3, 8)
Minnetonka: backing vocals (4)
Mr Probz: backing vocals (4)
orchestral arrangement/orchestra conducted by Dudley (1, 2, 4, 6), Nick Ingman (5, 7, 10), Hinton (9)
additional orchestration: Hinton (6), Bloor (9)
brass arrangement: Sidwell (3, 8)

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Jun 08

The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys (1985/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 40:30 minutes | 1,41 GB | Genre: Pop
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Front cover | © Capitol Records

This self-titled 1985 album from the Beach Boys marked the beginning of a new era for the band: it was the first to be recorded following the death of Dennis Wilson two years earlier and it also brought the Beach Boys into the modern era of electronics, synthesizers, drum machines and 1980s production courtesy of Culture Club producer Steve Levine. Including the top 30 US hit Getcha Back, the album features guests Ringo Starr and Stevie Wonder, Culture Club member Roy Hay, rock guitarist Gary Moore and horn and string players.

The Beach Boys’ first new studio album in five years was a concerted attempt to regain old glories, which it did to an extent, selling better than any record since 15 Big Ones and spinning off the Top 30 single “Getcha Back” and the chart entry “It’s Gettin’ Late.” But despite the production sheen provided by Steve Levine (of Culture Club fame), this is another competent but uninspired effort. ~~AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Tracklist:
1. Getcha Back 03:02
2. It’s Gettin’ Late 03:27
3. Crack At Your Love 03:39
4. Maybe I Don’t Know 03:54
5. She Believes In Love Again 03:31
6. California Calling 02:52
7. Passing Friend 04:59
8. I’m So Lonely 02:52
9. Where I Belong 02:58
10. I Do Love You 04:20
11. It’s Just A Matter Of Time 02:25
12. Male Ego 02:31

Personnel:
Al Jardine – Vocals, Electric Guitars
Bruce Johnston – Vocals, Kurzweil 250
Mike Love – Vocals
Brian Wilson – Vocals, Yamaha DX1, Jupiter 8, Oberheim OB8, Piano
Carl Wilson – Vocals, Yamaha DX1, Electric Guitar
Additional:
John Alder – Guitars, Dobro
Graham Broad – Drums, Percussion
Stuart Gordon – Violin, Viola, Cello
Steve Grainger – Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Roy Hay – all instruments on “Passing Friend” except Saxophone and Programming
Simon Humphrey – Bass
Judd Lander – Harmonica
Steve Levine – Fairlight and Drum Programming
Julian Lindsay – Kurzweil 250, PPG Wave 2.3, Programming, Yamaha DX1, Oberheim OB8, String Arrangement, Organ, Acoustic Piano, Bass
Terry Melcher – Kurzweil 250
Kenneth McGregor – Trombone
George McFarlaine – Bass
Gary Moore – Guitars, Synthaxe
Ian Ritchie – Tenor Saxophone, Lyricon
Dave Spence – Trumpet
Ringo Starr – Drums, Timpani (all on “California Calling”)
Stevie Wonder – Drums, Bass, Fender Rhodes, Harmonica (all on “I Do Love You”)

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