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Category: DVD-A

Neil Young – Hawks & Doves (1980/2003) [DVD Audio to FLAC 24bit/176,4kHz]

Neil Young – Hawks & Doves (1980/2003)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/176.4kHz | Time – 00:30:33 minutes | 908 MB | Genre: Rock
Source: DVD-Audio (Watermarked!)  | Front cover | © Reprise Records
Recorded: 1974–77, 1980 at Quadrafonic, Nashville; Village Recorders, LA; Indigo Recording Studio, Malibu; Triad Recording Studio, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Gold Star Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA

Following the triumph of Rust Never Sleeps, Hawks & Doves benefited from the enormous critical goodwill Neil Young had amassed, though fans and critics nevertheless were baffled by its set of obscure acoustic and country-tinged songs. The seven-plus-minute “The Old Homestead” (copyright 1974) was interpreted by some as an allegory for Young’s relationship to CSNY, perhaps because that was the only way to make any sense of the most mysterious Young lyric since “The Last Trip to Tulsa.” In retrospect, now that it’s known Young was distracted by domestic medical concerns while working on the album, its theme of perseverance in the face of adversity, both in a personal context of family commitment (“Stayin’ Power,” “Coastline”), and in a national context of hard work and patriotism (“Union Man,” “Comin’ Apart at Every Nail,” “Hawks & Doves”) seems more apparent, as does the sense that Young may have been trying to fulfill his recording contract (even with the inclusion of trunk songs like “The Old Homestead,” the album runs less than half an hour) while devoting a bare minimum of his time and attention to the effort. The result is correspondingly slight. –William Ruhlmann

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Kate Bush – Aerial (2005) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Kate Bush – Aerial
Artist: Kate Bush | Album: Aerial | Style: Pop, Alternative Rock, Art Rock | Year: 2005 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1, 96kHz/24Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 16+1 bonus | Size: 3.91 Gb | Release: upmix | Note: Not Watermarked

Fierce Kate Bush fans who are expecting revelation in Aerial, her first new work since The Red Shoes in 1993, will no doubt scour lyrics, instrumental trills, and interludes until they find them. For everyone else, those who purchased much of Bush’s earlier catalog because of its depth, quality, and vision, Aerial will sound exactly like what it is, a new Kate Bush record: full of her obsessions, lushly romantic paeans to things mundane and cosmic, and her ability to add dimension and transfer emotion though song. The set is spread over two discs. The first, A Sea of Honey, is a collection of songs, arranged for everything from full-on rock band to solo piano. The second, A Sky of Honey, is a conceptual suite. It was produced by Bush with engineering and mixing by longtime collaborator Del Palmer.

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Blue Oyster Cult – A Long Day’s Night (2002) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Blue Oyster Cult – A Long Day’s Night
Artist: Blue Oyster Cult | Album: A Long Day’s Night | Style: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal | Year: 2002 | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit, Dolby AC3 48kHz/16Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 13 | Size: ~6.83 Gb | Recovery: 3% | Release: 5.1 Label Group / Sanctuaty / Silverline (67662-88126-9-3), 2002 | Note: Not Watermarked

Shortened by six songs from its accompanying video, Blue Öyster Cult’s fifth live release is a rugged and often exciting trawl through their 30-year career. Featuring songs from their debut like the inescapable “Cities on Flame” and even a few tracks from works such as 2001’s sadly underappreciated Curse of the Hidden Mirror, the album also serves as a reasonable career summation. Guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser’s chops are in fine form, as the six-and-a-half-minute “Buck’s Boogie” proves, and the band plays passionately throughout. Recorded at a single Chicago show in June of 2002, there seems to be few overdubs patching up this exuberant performance. Although only three of the original five bandmembers (Roeser, Allen Lanier, Eric Bloom) remain, there is no mistaking the sound. From dreamy to bone-crunching, Blue Öyster Cult retains a knack for melody, even on the newer tracks like Roeser’s “Harvest Moon” and “Dance on Stilts.” A ten-minute “Astronomy” highlights the band’s sci-fi origins and never gets boring. Nor do extended versions of the set-closers “Godzilla” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Digging deep into their catalog, they emerge with “Perfect Water” and “Lips in the Hills” (from Club Ninja and Cultosaurus Erectus, respectively), two forgotten gems that sound just fine dusted off for this concert. Excepting a few crowd-pleasing, Spinal Tap-ish moments in the closing minutes of “Cities on Flame” and the lumbering bass and drum solos in “Godzilla,” Blue Öyster Cult remains one of the more enjoyable relics of a time when hard rock bands ruled the airwaves. Three decades of shows have only sharpened their attack..

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Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (2000) [DVD-Audio to FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now (2000)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 51:15 minutes | 1,16 GB | Genre: Pop, Rock
DVD-Audio Rip | Sourced track: LPCM 24/96 | Artwork: Full scans

Joni’s 2000 album, which won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, finds the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and nine-time Grammy®-winner performing a stunning set of orchestral jazz. Mixing jazz standards like “Stormy Weather” and “At Last” with Mitchell’s own classic “A Case of You” and more in a band that includes jazz greats Herbie Hancock and Peter Erskin. Features orchestral arrangements by Vince Mendoza, who won a Grammy® for Best Instrumental Arrangement for his work on the album.

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Blue Man Group – Audio (2000) [DVD-Audio + AUDIO-DVD]

Blue Man Group – Audio
Artist: Blue Man Group | Album: Audio | Style: Experimental, Alternative, Progressive Rock | Year: 2000 [1999 original] | Quality: DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 15 | Size: ~3.25 Gb | Recovery: 3% | Covers: in archive | Release: Blue Man Group Records | Virgin Records (7243 4 77893 9 7), 2000 | Note: Not Watermarked

Blue Man Group’s debut album, Audio, reflects over a decade’s worth of musical and theatrical innovation. While its whimsical, visually involving stage performances have been popular since the early ’90s, the group waited to make an album until it could find a recording space large enough to house its unique instruments, which include walls of drums, networks of plumbing pipe, and different lengths of vibrating fiberglass rods. Audio incorporates all of these instruments, along with baritone guitars, Hungarian cimbaloms (which are similar to dulcimers), and Chapman Sticks, into 14 eclectic instrumentals. These songs were written specifically for Audio and have never been performed at a Blue Man stage production. Though the spectacle of the group playing its sculptural, surreal-looking instruments is absent from the album, the complex, resonant sound of Audio is engaging enough on its own. In fact, the swooshing of the sword poles on “Utne Live Wire” and the fluttering angel poles on “Endless Column” sound even more alien without the visual accompaniment. Some of Audio’s pieces (“Drumbone,” “PVC IV”) spotlight a specific Blue Man-made instrument, while others (“TV Song,” “Club Nowhere”) display the group’s avant-garde pop sensibilities. “Rods and Cones,” “Cat Video,” and “Opening Mandelbrot” are other standout tracks from Audio, an album that proves the Blue Man Group is as innovative in the studio as it is onstage.

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Lou Donaldson – Lou Takes Off (1957) [DAD Reissue 2001] [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Lou Donaldson – Lou Takes Off (1957) [DAD Reissue 2001]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 38:36 minutes | 906 MB | Genre: Jazz
DAD to Hi-Res FLAC – Source: Classic Records’ DAD 1026 | No Artwork

The influence of Charlie Parker can be heard in virtually every modern jazz musician, particularly players of the alto saxophone. Although considered to be one of “Bird’s children,” Lou Donaldson absorbed and synthesized other pre-Parker influences, such as Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter. This recording marks a period in his development prior to a stylistic shift away from bop and toward a stronger rhythm and blues emphasis. Three up-tempo tunes are pure bebop; the remaining number is a medium blues in B flat, quite characteristic of the hard bop period. The front line on this set includes Donald Byrd and Curtis Fuller; the rhythm section is Sonny Clark, George Joyner, and Art Taylor. Overall, Lou Takes Off breaks no new musical ground, but it is a solid, swinging session of high-caliber playing.

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The Alan Parsons Project – Eye In The Sky (1982) [DAD Reissue 2005] {FLAC 24bit/192khz}

The Alan Parsons Project – Eye In The Sky (1982) [Reissue 2005]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 42:41 minutes | 1,62 GB | Genre: Rock
DAD to Hi-Res FLAC – Source: Classic Records’ HDAD 2011 | Cover

Eye in the Sky provided the Alan Parsons Project with their first Top Ten hit since 1977’s I Robot, and it’s hard not to feel that crossover success was one of the driving forces behind this album. The Project never shied away from hooks, whether it was on the tense white funk of “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” or the gleaming pop hooks of “Games People Play,” but Eye in the Sky was soft and smooth, so smooth that it was easy to ignore that the narrator of the title track was an ominous omniscient who spied either on his lover or his populace, depending on how deeply you wanted to delve into the concepts of this album. And, unlike I Robot or The Turn of a Friendly Card, it is possible to listen to Eye in the Sky and not dwell on the larger themes, since they’re used as a foundation, not pushed to center stage. What does dominate is the lushness of sound, the sweetness of melody: this is a soft rock album through and through, one that’s about melodic hooks and texture. In the case of the spacy opening salvo “Sirius,” later heard on sports talk shows across America, or “Mammagamma,” it was all texture, as these instrumentals set the trippy yet warm mood that the pop songs sustained. And the real difference with Eye in the Sky is that, with the exception of those instrumentals and the galloping suite “Silence and I,” all the artiness was part of the idea of this album was pushed into the lyrics, so the album plays as soft pop album — and a very, very good one at that. Perhaps nothing is quite as exquisite as the title song, yet “Children of the Moon” has a sprightly gait (not all that dissimilar from Kenny Loggins’ “Heart to Heart”), “Psychobabble” has a bright propulsive edge (not all that dissimilar from 10cc), and “Gemini” is the project at its dreamiest. It all adds up to arguably the most consistent Alan Parsons Project album — perhaps not in terms of concept, but in terms of music they never were as satisfying as they were here.

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Yes – Magnification (2002) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Yes – Magnification
Artist: Yes | Album: Magnification | Style: Progressive Rock | Year: 2002 [2001 original] | Quality: DTS 5.1 (.wav+.cue) + DVD-Audio (MLP 5.1 96kHz/24Bit, PCM 2.0 96kHz/24Bit, Dolby AC3 5.1) | Tracks: 10+1 live bonus | Size:  7.96 Gb | Recovery: 5% | Covers: in archive | Release: © Rhino | WEA, 2002 + DTS ремукс DVD-Audio | Note: Watermarked

Many call Yes’ brand of progressive rock “symphonic rock.” The term means that the group produces arrangements in the vein of a symphony using typical rock instrumentation. With Magnification, Yes has taken that a step further, adding a symphony orchestra. The orchestra is not simply thrown over the top, though; the songs were written for this particular grouping. Yes has flirted with this type of thing before. Released in 1970, the Time and a Word album featured a string section, but the complete integration is what makes Magnification a superior work. The material on the CD is pretty standard modern Yes fare, but the addition of that symphony really does create a whole new texture. It also seems as if it inspired the band, and some members put in performances that are head and shoulders above their recent work. The album does have its weak moments and gets just a little over the top at times, but there are a lot more moments that shine than dull ones.

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Vince Gill – High Lonesome Sound (2003) [DVD-Audio ISO]

Vince Gill – High Lonesome Sound
Artist: Vince Gill | Album: High Lonesome Sound | Style: Bluegrass, Country | Year: 2003 [1996 original] | Quality: DVD-Audio (MPL 5.1 88.2kHz/24Bit, MPL 2.0 88.2kHz/24 Bit, AC3 5.1 48kHz/16Bit, PCM 2.0, 44.1kHz/16Bit) | Bitrate: lossless | Tracks: 11 | Size: 3.41 Gb | Recovery: 5% | Covers: in archive | Release: MCA Nashville (SEL:B0001121-19), 2003 | Note: Not Watermarked

Vince Gill takes off on a tour of American music on High Lonesome Sound. The title cut steps back to a time he hasn’t visited in a while, drawing on his days as a bluegrass singer and guitarist to create a soaring, harmony-driven sound that applies Appalachian drive to modern country rhythms. Most of the rest of the album’s journey treks in new directions. The aggressive guitar riff that opens “One Dance with You” is straight Chicago blues, while the jaunty feel that enlivens “Down to New Orleans” draws on the Windy City’s funky rhythms with a deft touch worthy of Little Feat — with Lowell George, that is. “Tell Me Lover,” also bearing the trace print of Little Feat, dances through a swampy groove. The arrangements by Gill and producer Tony Brown give traditional sounds a modern sheen while maintaining a distinct regional flavor. Gill gets much more room to show off his impressive guitar prowess than on his past records. A pair of small complaints are that his lyrics don’t match the music (they are steeped in the modern country topical schemes) and he can overly sweeten the blues. Elsewhere, he uses the clichéd aspects of Cajun music in paying homage to Louisiana’s musical heritage (R&B and New Orleans second-line rhythms aren’t here and should be, because he’s musically sophisticated enough to pull them off). Therefore, this album works best when he’s not straining for authenticity: “Worlds Apart,” “Given More Time,” and “Pretty Little Adriana” leaven his tried-and-true formula into arrangements that are more progressively atmospheric than his past hits. Gill owns too many strengths to need to transform himself into Lowell George or Bonnie Raitt at this point in his career; he can leave his own mark on any music he chooses to play and — for the most part — does so here.

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Michael Ball – Coming Home To You (2019) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Michael Ball – Coming Home To You (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz  | Time – 50:29 minutes | 974 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Decca (UMO) (Classics)

Coming Home to You sees the first solo album from British stage and television star Michael Ball in some four years, after the release of two successful albums with fellow vocalist Alfie Boe. Featuring a number of standards, the album also includes material written by Ball himself. The up-tempo single “Home to You” is included. ~ Rich Wilson

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