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Month: April 2019

Frederic Chopin – Preludes & Piano Sonata No. 2 – Jean-Philippe Collard (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Frederic Chopin – Preludes & Piano Sonata No. 2 – Jean-Philippe Collard (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:58:01 minutes | 890 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © La Dolce Volta
Recorded: 9-11 avril 2013, Paris (Paroisse protestante luthérienne « Bon-Secours »)

It has taken him decades to feel comfortable with the composer. Today he is confident in his approach to this repertory and has no qualms about his interpretative options. Chopin’s music gives him two very powerful impressions. First of all, it interprets the sensation of being in love, an aspect he finds fascinating. Moreover, his language speeds up the process of communication between artist and audience.
He sees this disc as a break, a renewal. All his previous records were released on EMI. Today he has changed labels, repertory, sound engineer … These developments enable him to escape a certain routine, to put himself on the line.
There are countless benchmark versions in this repertory, but the French pianist has not sought to measure himself against them, and his approach to the composer is honest and totally sincere. Chopin represents a genuine challenge, for which Jean-Philippe Collard has identified a style that is his alone.

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Pacifica Quartet – Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries: The Soviet Experience Vol. 1-4 (2011-2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit]

Pacifica Quartet – Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries: The Soviet Experience Vol. 1-4 (2011-2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit | Digital Booklet | 7.07 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Cedille

Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, the Pacifica Quartet has gained international stature as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. The Pacifica tours extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia, performing regularly in the world’s major concert halls. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music in March 2012, the Pacifica also served as quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009–2012) — a position previously held only by the Guarneri String Quartet — and received the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance.

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Atomic Rooster – The Best Of (2002) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Atomic Rooster – The Best Of
Artist: Atomic Rooster | Album: The Best Of | Style: Progressive, Rock | Year: 2002 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit, Dolby AC3 5.1 48kHz/24Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 14 | Size: ~3.58 Gb | Recovery: 5% | Release: 5.1 Label Group | Silverline | Sanctuary (ASIN: B00006IT65), 2002 | Note: Not Watermarked

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Andrea Bocelli – Verdi: Arias (2003) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Andrea Bocelli – Verdi: Arias
Artist: Andrea Bocelli | Orchestra: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra | Conductor: Zubin Mehta | Composer: Giuseppe Verdi | Album: Verdi: Arias | Style: Opera | Year: 2003 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MPL 5.1 48kHz/20Bit, MPL 2.0 48kHz/20Bit, Dolby AC3 5.1) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 15 | Size: 3.86 Gb | Recovery: 5% | Covers: in archive | Release: Decca | Philips (464 600-2), 2003 | Note: Watermarked

Following the spiritually flavored Sacred Arias, Andrea Bocelli presents an album of the music of Giuseppe Verdi, covering arias from several operas, leaning heavily on Il Trovatore, La Triviata, and Rigoletto. Supported by the Israel Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta, Bocelli reprises his role as the crossover-friendly opera tenor, offering his interpretations with capability and grace and warmly embracing the songs with his familiar voice. Opera purists may find Verdi a little off-putting; for example, the album opener, “Di Quella Pira” from Il Trovatore (which serves as the rousing finale to the opera’s third act), sounds out of place as the opening track, and Mehta’s conducting is adequate but lacks passion. However, the album is not without its charms, and the ballads represented here (“La Donna e Mobile” and “Possente Amor” in particular) are wonderfully suited to his notoriously light tenor. Fans of Bocelli’s previous albums should be happy with Verdi, and will hopefully be awakened to the works of one of opera’s great composers.

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America – Homecoming (1972) [Audio Fidelity 2015] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

America – Homecoming (1972) [Audio Fidelity 2015]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 & DST64 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 34:00 minutes | Full Scans included | 2,78 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 33:37 mins | Scans incl. | 590 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround sound | Audio Fidelity # AFZ5 204

Homecoming, America’s finest album, refines and focuses the folk-pop approach found on their debut release. The songs here are tighter and more forthright, with fewer extended solo instrumental sections than before. The sound quality is clear and bright; the colorful arrangements, while still acoustic guitar-based, feature more electric guitar and keyboards. The performance quality is more assured, among the most urgently committed the group would ever put on vinyl. Verses are still sometimes banal and clunky (“You can’t disregard your friends/But life gets so hard when you reach the end”) or cryptic (“Sorry, boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain”), but a number of the song subjects here exhibit a yearning sense of wanderlust and love of the outdoors that proves to be highly evocative and compelling (particularly on “Moon Song,” “Ventura Highway,” “California Revisited,” and “Cornwall Blank”). Chordal progressions are sophisticated and contain many subtle surprises. A few new style wrinkles can be seen in the country-influenced “Don’t Cross the River,” the drivingly gutsy “California Revisited” (perhaps the hardest-rocking song the group would ever produce), and the hushed yet mildly funky “Head & Heart.” Chart hits from this release include “Ventura Highway,” “Only in Your Heart,” and “Don’t Cross the River,” but each song here has something to recommend it. This top-flight album is a very rewarding listen.

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America – America (1971) [Audio Fidelity 2013] {PS3 ISO + FLAC}

America – America (1971) [Audio Fidelity 2013]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:16 minutes | Scans included | 1,88 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 886 MB
Mastered by Steve Hoffman | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-167

America’s debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg. Crosby, Stills & Nash are the group’s obvious stylistic touchstone here, especially in the vocal harmonies used (compare the thick chordal singing of “Sandman” and “Children” to CS&N’s “You Don’t Have to Cry” and “Guinevere”) and the prominent use of active strummed acoustic guitar arrangements (contrast “Riverside” to CS&N’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”). America’s intricate interplay of acoustic guitar textures is more ambitious than that of their influences, however. Performance quality is usually good, though on occasion sloppily executed or out of tune (especially on the openings to “Donkey Jaw” and “I Never Found the Time”). Lengthy instrumental introductions (“Donkey Jaw”), middle improvisatory interludes (“Here”), and closings (“Clarice”) are frequently encountered. Most of these selections boast highly unusual and inventive chord progressions that work well without drawing undue attention to themselves. Lyrics are sometimes trite (“I need you/Like the flower needs the rain”) or obscure (“He flies the sky/Like an eagle in the eye/Of a hurricane that’s abandoned”), but the music more than makes up for any verse problems; only the odd “Pigeon Song” seems an unsalvageable misstep. Sound quality here has a covered, intimate feel that lends a ghostly aura to this release. Chart hits from this album include the spectrally loping “A Horse with No Name,” the squarishly tuneful “I Need You,” and the nervously dour “Sandman.” Other highlights include the buoyantly charming “Three Roses,” the yearningly lovely “Rainy Day,” and the quietly ringing “Clarice.” In spite of its flaws, this platter is very highly recommended.

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3 Doors Down – Us And The Night (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

3 Doors Down – Us And The Night (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 37:55 minutes | 848 MB| Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  – Source: Q0buz | © Universal Music GmbH

Grammy-nominated multiplatinum Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down release their 6th album, Us And The Night. Following 2011’s Time of My Life, which landed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, the band continued its global non-stop tour. The group recorded the album at Rivergate Studios in Nashville, TN with producer Matt Wallace.

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3 Doors Down – Seventeen Days (2005) [DVD-Audio ISO]

3 Doors Down – Seventeen Days
Artist: 3 Doors Down | Album: Seventeen Days | Style: Post-grunge, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal | Year: 2005 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MPL 5.1 48kHz/24Bit, MPL 2.0 96kHz/24Bit, Dolby AC3 5.1, Dolby AC3 2.0) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 16 | Size: 3.69 Gb | Covers: in archive | Release: © Universal Records | Republic Records, 2005 | Note: Watermarked

The stronger songwriting on 3 Doors Down’s multi-platinum sophomore effort, Away from the Sun, was encouraging, especially after the rote post-grunge of their 2000 breakthrough, “Kryptonite.” But the hit single “When I’m Gone” resonated in particular with American military personnel and their families, who identified with lyrics like “Hold me when I’m here” and “Love me when I’m gone” as deployment to Iraq became imminent in spring 2003. That populism guides Seventeen Days, the Mississippi band’s third full-length album. Its liner notes connect to a cross-section of U.S. culture, thanking NFL quarterbacks and major league ballplayers alongside Tim McGraw, Metallica, Dale Earnhart Jr., and “our troops everywhere.” And Away from the Sun’s Southern rock flourishes have been broadened to create an album that’s purely American, built from meaty power chords and everyman lyrics that search for redemption in plain-faced terms. It’s no surprise that Bob Seger, heartland crier from another era, guests on “Landing in London.” It’s not the weary traveler’s anthem Seger’s “Turn the Page” is — “London”‘s keening strings can’t replace the pain and longing of Alto Reed’s saxophone wail. But 3 Doors Down try their best, and Seger’s rough tenor riding shotgun makes the song more memorable. “When I’m Gone”‘s template repeats throughout “Seventeen Days.” Lead single “Let Me Go” has the usual quieter verses building to a strong chorus, with easily identifiable lyrics like “You love me/But you don’t know who I am.” “Be Somebody” and “Real Life” use similar pieces, aligning thick distortion choruses next to brooding verses and lyrics about finding one’s own road. The harder-charging guitars of “Never Will I Break” and “Right Where I Belong” reference Alice in Chains’ legacy, “Father’s Son” is a morality tale in more quiet/loud dynamics, and “My World” amplifies Southern rock capably. 3 Doors Down have hit on a formula that works very well for them. It’s a great framework for Brad Arnold’s earnest lyrics, and the heavy bass and rousing guitar melodies ensure plenty of radio play. It’s not unique, and the songs tend to run together. But they’re heartfelt, and easily fill the average American’s rock & roll quota.

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America – Homecoming (2001) [DVD-Audio ISO]

America – Homecoming
Artist: America | Album: Homecoming | Style: Folk Rock | Year: 2001 [1972 original] | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit, MLP 2.0 192kHz/24Bit, Dolby AC3 5.1) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 10 | Size: ~3.17 Gb | Recovery: 5% | Covers: in archive | Release: Rhino | Warner Archives (8122-74367-9 GEMA), 2001 | Note: Watermarked

Homecoming, America’s finest album, refines and focuses the folk-pop approach found on their debut release. The songs here are tighter and more forthright, with fewer extended solo instrumental sections than before. The sound quality is clear and bright; the colorful arrangements, while still acoustic guitar-based, feature more electric guitar and keyboards. The performance quality is more assured, among the most urgently committed the group would ever put on vinyl. Verses are still sometimes banal and clunky (“You can’t disregard your friends/But life gets so hard when you reach the end”) or cryptic (“Sorry, boy, but I’ve been hit by purple rain”), but a number of the song subjects here exhibit a yearning sense of wanderlust and love of the outdoors that proves to be highly evocative and compelling (particularly on “Moon Song,” “Ventura Highway,” “California Revisited,” and “Cornwall Blank”). Chordal progressions are sophisticated and contain many subtle surprises. A few new style wrinkles can be seen in the country-influenced “Don’t Cross the River,” the drivingly gutsy “California Revisited” (perhaps the hardest-rocking song the group would ever produce), and the hushed yet mildly funky “Head & Heart.” Chart hits from this release include “Ventura Highway,” “Only in Your Heart,” and “Don’t Cross the River,” but each song here has something to recommend it. This top-flight album is a very rewarding listen.

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Al DI Meola – Flesh on Flesh (2002) [DVD-AUDIO ISO]

Al DI Meola – Flesh on Flesh
Artist: Al Di Meola | Album: Flesh on Flesh | Style: Fusion | Year: 2002 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 8 | Size: ~3.25 Gb | Recovery: 3% | Release: transfer of SACD by Telarc, 2002 | Note: Not Watermarked

Al di Meola continues to broaden his musical horizons with Flesh on Flesh, his fourth release for the Telarc recording label. The great guitarist is joined by two members of his World Sinfonia acoustic group — Gumbi Ortiz on percussion and Mario Parmisano on keyboards — in addition to such stellar musicians as Gonzalo Rubalcaba, flutist Alejandro Santos, and bassist Anthony Jackson, who recorded with di Meola on his 1977 best-selling album, Elegant Gypsy. Offering classic guitar lines on an array of guitars (including a vintage Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Conde-Romano acoustic), di Meola is memorable, timeless, and true to the beauty, culture and sensual imagery that inspired him to compose and arrange these eight great songs. Each song is a masterpiece, and such compositions as “Flesh on Flesh” (which features him on five different instruments), “Zona Desperata,” and “Fugata” (which showcases di Meola trading with Gonzalo Rubalcaba on their Fender Rhodes solo in part three) are just three of the musical statements befitting all who’ve been lucky enough to see or hear di Meola’s phenomenal sound “live.” To hear that same energy and excitement recorded “live” on Flesh on Flesh is especially gratifying since the music is developed and takes place in a new context, space, and time. You’ll find that every graceful musical curve, every dynamic concept, every technological update heard on Flesh on Flesh is a celebration of new forms and functions, of strict rhythmic reinterpretation and the inimitable di Meola sound and guitar virtuosity. A must-have.

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