Category Archives: Hi-Res

The Beach Boys – Beach Boys’ Party! (1965/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

The Beach Boys – Beach Boys’ Party! (1965/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 31:07 minutes | 1,34 GB | Genre: Pop Rock, Surf Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks |  @ Capitol Records

Newly remastered for vinyl and in hi-res by Kevin Gray from the original master tapes, Beach Boys Party! is presented here in stereo.

The album is the tenth by the band, and featured the hit single “Barbara Ann”. The album peaked at #6 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and although it was recorded in a studio, was meant to sound like it was an impromptu live recording of a party.

Capitol, which had already released ten Beach Boys albums in three years, was bugging the group for product that it could release in time for the 1965 Christmas season. To buy time while Brian Wilson began conceiving the Pet Sounds masterpiece, the group issued a set of covers, mostly of the ’50s rock and R&B they had listened to as schoolboys. Packaged as if it had been recorded at an actual party, it was in fact recorded in the studio, with friends and romantic partners adding sounds and vocals to create an informal atmosphere. With the exception of a bass guitar, all the instruments were acoustic; the acoustic guitar-and-bongo arrangements, in fact, give this a hootenanny campfire feel. In recent years, this album has gone up a few notches in critical esteem, praised for its loose, casual feel and insight into the group’s influences. Realistically, though, its present-day appeal lies mostly with dedicated fans of the group, as fun and engaging as it is. Others will find the material shopworn in places, and the presentation too corny. It does have the massive hit “Barbara Ann,” which actually features Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean) on much of the lead vocals; other highlights include “Mountain of Love,” an unexpected version of “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” and three Beatles covers.

Continue reading The Beach Boys – Beach Boys’ Party! (1965/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

The Carpenters – Singles 1969-1981 (2004/2013) [ProStudioMasters 24-96]

The Carpenters – Singles 1969-1981 (2004/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:17:10 minutes | 1,5 GB | Genre: Pop Rock, Soft Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: ProStudioMasters | @ A&M Records

In 1990, Richard Carpenter revised and expanded the Carpenters’ 1973 compilation LP Singles 1969-1973 for the CD era, retaining that album’s 12 tracks and adding nine more in his survey of his and his sister Karen’s run on the pop chart. Now, the set included all of the duo’s 12 Top Ten hits (and their holiday chart-topper, “Merry Christmas Darling”), but it did not contain all their Top 20 hits, eschewing “Solitaire” and “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World),” along with Top 40 hits “I Need to Be in Love” and “All You Get From Love Is a Love Song” in favor of minor chart entries “Ticket to Ride” (their chart debut), “Bless the Beasts and Children” (the B-side of “Superstar”), and “I Believe You,” as well as the non-charting B-side “This Masquerade.” Richard Carpenter also took the opportunity to re-sequence the collection, giving a sense of the retrospective tone by starting with “Yesterday Once More,” followed by the introductory “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Both songs are in the Carpenters’ familiar ballad style, with Richard Carpenter’s piano prominent in the mix along with Karen Carpenter’s (or Hal Blaine’s) drums in the center of the mix, and strings and background vocals (by Karen and Richard) in the back. Gradually, the tempos of the songs increase and other instruments appear, such as the electric guitar solo by Tony Peluso on the fifth track, “Goodbye to Love,” the flute by Bob Messenger on the eighth track, “This Masquerade,” and the pedal steel guitar by Buddy Emmons on the country-inflected “Top of the World.” The sequencing relieves the sameness of Richard Carpenter’s arrangements at least somewhat. Of course, the group’s real draw remains Karen Carpenter’s melancholy alto, which makes even the happier lyrics seem heartbreaking. The 2005 reissue on an SACD hybrid disc adds clarity and, in its three versions (CD audio, SACD stereo, and SACD Surround Sound), increases space between the instruments so that each part can be focused on separately. This is not always an advantage, since it sometimes tends to make music that sounded lush and full in its old, compressed analog form seem surprisingly spare and austere. But Karen Carpenter’s vocals benefit from the central attention they receive. –Review by William Ruhlmann

Continue reading The Carpenters – Singles 1969-1981 (2004/2013) [ProStudioMasters 24-96]

The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980/2012) [DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz + FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980/2012)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 40:42 minutes | 1,6 + 1,75 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: AcousticSounds |  © Arista Records
Recorded: Late 1979 – mid 1980 at Acousti Studio, Paris

“I’ve often, in common with many other writers, been inspired at the oddest of moments and one of the things that did start the creative juices flowing was actually sitting in casinos in Monte Carlo, with the din going on of people with machines, people talking, people moving about, and all the hustle and bustle that goes on there. It stimulated the writing of the track in particular ‘Turn of a Friendly Card’ and of course the track ‘Snake Eyes.’” —Eric Woolfson

 

With two of the Alan Parsons Project’s best songs, the lovely ballad “Time” and the wavy-sounding “Games People Play,” The Turn of a Friendly Card remains one of this group’s most enjoyable albums. Parsons’ idea, the subject of the album’s six tracks, centers around the age-old temptation of gambling and its stranglehold on the human psyche. On “Games People Play,” vocalist Lenny Zakatek sounds compelling and focused, giving the song a seriousness that aids in realization of the album’s concept. With “Time,” it is Eric Woolfson who carries this luxurious-sounding ode to life’s passing to a place above and beyond any of this band’s other slower material. The breakdown of human willpower and our greedy tendencies are highlighted in the last track, entitled “The Turn of a Friendly Card,” which is broken into five separate parts. “Snake Eyes,” sung by Chris Rainbow, is the most compelling of the five pieces, and ties together the whole of the recording. As in every Parsons album, an instrumental is included, in this case an interesting number aptly titled “The Gold Bug.” Like most of the band’s instrumentals, its flow and rhythm simulate the overall tempo and concept of the album, acting as a welcome interlude. Although short, The Turn of a Friendly Card is to the point and doesn’t let down when it comes to carrying out its idea. –AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne

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The Alan Parsons Project – I Robot (1977/2012) [24-192]

The Alan Parsons Project – I Robot (1977/2012)
FLAC 24-192 (DSD64 to FLAC) | Time – 00:40:58 minutes | 1,8 GB | Genre: Rock
DSD64 Source: Official Digital Download from AcousticSounds |  © Arista Records

Recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios, London, between December 1976 and March 1977.

The man behind the recording of Dark Side of the Moon is none other than Alan Parsons. If you want to hear what is his definitive recording and a bit of the Dark Side then this is it. I Robot was produced and engineered by Alan at Abbey Road Studios and is an audiophile’s dream recording. Transferred on an all-tube cutting system from the original 1/4″ analog master tapes at Bernie Grundman Mastering.

 

Alan Parsons delivered a detailed blueprint for his Project on their 1975 debut, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, but it was on its 1977 follow-up, I Robot, that the outfit reached its true potential. Borrowing not just its title but concept from Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi Robot trilogy, this album explores many of the philosophies regarding artificial intelligence — will it overtake man, what does it mean to be man, what responsibilities do mechanical beings have to their creators, and so on and so forth — with enough knotty intelligence to make it a seminal text of late-’70s geeks, and while it is also true that appreciating I Robot does require a love of either sci-fi or art rock, it is also true that sci-fi art rock never came any better than this. Compare it to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, released just a year after this and demonstrating some clear influence from Parsons: that flirts voraciously with camp, but this, for all of its pomp and circumstance, for all of its overblown arrangements, this is music that’s played deadly serious. Even when the vocal choirs pile up at the end of “Breakdown” or when the Project delves into some tight, glossy white funk on “The Voice,” complete with punctuations from robotic voices and whining slide guitars, there isn’t much sense of fun, but there is a sense of mystery and a sense of drama that can be very absorbing if you’re prepared to give yourself over to it. The most fascinating thing about the album is that the music is restless, shifting from mood to mood within the course of a song, but unlike some art pop there is attention paid to hooks — most notably, of course, on the hit “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You,” a tense, paranoid neo-disco rocker that was the APP’s breakthrough. It’s also the closest thing to a concise pop song here — other tunes have plenty of hooks, but they change their tempo and feel quickly, which is what makes this an art rock album instead of a pop album. And while that may not snare in listeners who love the hit (they should turn to Eye in the Sky instead, the Project’s one true pop album), that sense of melody when married to the artistic restlessness and geeky sensibility makes for a unique, compelling album and the one record that truly captures mind and spirit of the Alan Parsons Project. –AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Continue reading The Alan Parsons Project – I Robot (1977/2012) [24-192]

Diana Krall – All For You (1996/2013) [HDTracks 24-96]

Diana Krall – All For You: A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio (1996/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 60:02 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre; Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | @ Impulse Records

This Diana Krall album pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio with a set of ballads, medium and up-tempo tunes including “If I Had You”, “Frim Fram Sauce”, and “Deed I Do”.

Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as “I’m an Errand Girl for Rhythm,” “Frim Fram Sauce,” and “Hit That Jive Jack.” Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber “I’m Through With Love” and “If I Had You.” Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of “Hit That Jive Jack,” although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall’s vocal on “If I Had You,” and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.

Continue reading Diana Krall – All For You (1996/2013) [HDTracks 24-96]

Diana Krall – All For You (1996/2013) [HDTracks 24-96]

Diana Krall – All For You: A Dedication To The Nat King Cole Trio (1996/2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 60:02 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre; Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | @ Impulse Records

This Diana Krall album pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio with a set of ballads, medium and up-tempo tunes including “If I Had You”, “Frim Fram Sauce”, and “Deed I Do”.

Pianist/vocalist Diana Krall pays tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio on her Impulse! set. In general, the medium and up-tempo tunes work best, particularly such hot ditties as “I’m an Errand Girl for Rhythm,” “Frim Fram Sauce,” and “Hit That Jive Jack.” Krall does not attempt to directly copy Cole much (either pianistically or vocally), although his influence is obviously felt on some of the songs. The slow ballads are actually as reminiscent of Shirley Horn as Cole, particularly the somber “I’m Through With Love” and “If I Had You.” Guitarist Russell Malone gets some solo space on many of the songs and joins in on the group vocal of “Hit That Jive Jack,” although it is surprising that he had no other opportunities to interact vocally with Krall; a duet could have been delightful. Bassist Paul Keller is fine in support, pianist Benny Green backs Krall’s vocal on “If I Had You,” and percussionist Steve Kroon is added on one song. Overall, this is a tasteful effort that succeeds.

Continue reading Diana Krall – All For You (1996/2013) [HDTracks 24-96]

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4, Romeo and Juliet Overture – Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (2004) [DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz + FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4, Romeo and Juliet Overture – Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer (2004) 
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz | Time – 01:01:15 minutes | 2,41 + 2,49 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic |  © Channel Classics Records B.V.
Recorded: The Italian Institute, Budapest, 11-14 February 2004

One of the most wondrous friendships in musical history was the one between Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovski and a rich noblewoman, Nadjezhda von Meck. She worshipped Tchaikovski from afar and initiated a correspondence which, over the years, would amount to some 1200 letters. Madame Von Meck became Tchaikovskis patroness and granted him a generous yearly allowance. In this way it became possible for Pyotr Ilyitch to resign his detested job as a professor at the Moscow conservatory, concentrate on composing, and travel, preferably abroad. The two agreed that they would never meet, in order to avoid any emotional complications which might arise. Thanks to the extensive correspondence, we are well informed about numerous details of Tchaikovskis life, including the background to his Fourth Symphony in f, op. 36, from 1877. Around this time, Tchaikovski had unexpectedly rushed into a marriage in order to avoid revealing his homosexuality. After a week with his bride, the composer suffered a nervous breakdown and made an attempt at suicide, after which the marriage was dissolved on medical advice. It was against this backdrop that the Fourth Symphony was composed…

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Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium (1982/2012) [HDTracks 24-192]

Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium I (1982/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 86:01 minutes | 3,41 GB | Genre: R&B
Studio Master, Official Digital Download  | Source: HDTracks | Artwork: Digital booklet | @ Motown

Chart History/Awards
– The tracks “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,” “Superstition,” “Living For The City” and “I Wish” won GRAMMY® Awards.
– Features the chart-topping singles, “Superstition,” “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Living For The City,” “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,” “Higher Ground,” “Sir Duke,” “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “Boogie On Reggae Woman,” “That Girl,” “I Wish” and “Do I Do.”
– Reached #4 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on Billboard‘s Top R&B Albums.

Original Musiquarium is Stevie Wonder’s 1982 double-album masterpiece. The Gold certified work captures several of Wonder’s most popular ‘70s hits and peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums. This tremendous compilation includes the hits “Superstition,” “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Living For The City,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Higher Ground,” “Sir Duke,” “Boogie on Reggae Woman” and “I Wish.” Original Musiquarium highlights everything Wonder does well, absolutely essential.

 

Released in 1982, the double-album Original Musiquarium I summarizes Stevie Wonder’s classic period of the ’70s, concentrating primarily on the hits, but adding a few album tracks to hint at the depth of his albums, as well as four new songs (one for each side, all pleasant, none particularly remarkable). Though there could be some dispute about the album tracks, this does wind up as an excellent overview of Wonder’s period of greatest activity, and it’s a terrific listen to boot — any record that sports such hits as “Superstition,” “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Living for the City,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Higher Ground,” “Sir Duke,” “Boogie on Reggae Woman,” and “I Wish” is guaranteed to be a great listen, and it is. Wonder remains a quintessential album artist, but this record is a terrific snapshot of the highlights.

Continue reading Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium (1982/2012) [HDTracks 24-192]

Steve Hackett – Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011) [HDTracks 24-88,2]

Steve Hackett – Beyond The Shrouded Horizon (2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 86:47 minutes | 1,51 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Hackettsongs.sandbag.uk.com | Digital Booklet

Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis) returns with Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, his new studio album. Mostly, this piece offers Hackett signature style of melodic, sometimes progressive, rock bolstered by symphonic notes. Seems he only gets better with age. Strongly recommended for fans and guitar connoisseurs.

At 61, Steve Hackett continues to fly the flag of early Genesis-style British progressive rock on his ambitious 2011 studio album, Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. He reminds listeners of his majestic approach to electric guitar playing at the outset on “Loch Lomond,” and then alternates the heavy rock playing with delicate acoustic work, starting with the brief “Wanderlust,” actually an introduction to the longer “Til These Eyes.” Some of the songs have vocals with ethereal lyrics, on which Hackett’s modest singing voice is supported by several others, including that of his brother, co-songwriter, and flute player John Hackett. A Middle Eastern flavor is added on “Waking to Life” (with guitarist Amanda Lehmann on vocals), while “Looking for Fantasy” has a stately, classical feel, with Hackett contributing nylon-string guitar, leading into the Renaissance-styled “Summer’s Breath.” But “Catwalk,” which follows, is one of the disc’s more raucous rockers, and the nearly 12-minute “Turn This Island Earth” encapsulates many of the styles that have gone before. The album’s first disc is accompanied by a second CD running just under 29 minutes that is more of a guitar showcase, with vocals only on a couple of tracks. Again, Hackett alternates full-on rockers with soft acoustic passages, even pausing in mid-disc for the classical piece “Pieds en l’Air,” composed by Peter Warlock. The album ends with the martial rhythms of “Eruption: Tommy” and another shredding extravaganza, “Reconditioned Nightmare.” The guitarist remains at the peak of his powers, and if listeners have heard much of this kind of thing before, they are not likely to be disappointed by hearing more of it.

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Stereophonics – Keep The Village Alive {Deluxe} (2015) [HDTracks 24-48]

Stereophonics – Keep The Village Alive (2015) [Deluxe Edition]
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 1:07:36 minutes | 875 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: HDTracks | @ Ignition Records

Keep The Village Alive is the ninth studio album from Stereophonics following the critically acclaimed, platinum selling Graffiti On The Train in 2013. Once again Kelly Jones has written all the songs and shared production duties with long time collaborator Jim Lowe. The album was recorded at ICP Studios in Brussels and at their own Stylus Studios in London. The album includes the superb brand new single “C’est La Vie.”

“It’s quite an optimistic album,” Kelly says of the record, which holds the fine art of storytelling at its heart. “That’s the key to the ‘Keep the Village Alive’ phrase.  Everywhere I went as a kid, what we were learning through life or whatever was through storytelling. You were always listening to somebody’s version of events.” Keep The Village Alive (Deluxe) features 6 further tracks not included in the regular album.

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