The Doors – The Best Of The Doors (1973) [Audio Fidelity 2015] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

The Doors – The Best Of The Doors (1973) [Audio Fidelity 2015]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 & DST64 4.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 44:03 minutes | Full Scans included | 3,12 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | 44:07 mins | Scans included | 825 MB
Features 2.0 Stereo and Quadrophonic surround sound | Audio Fidelity # AFZ5 206

In 1970, Elektra Records released a Doors hits collection called 13. In 1971, the Doors scored two more hits, “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm,” and their lead singer, Jim Morrison, died. In 1972, Elektra released a two-LP anthology containing “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm,” along with a lot of album tracks. But there was no single-LP compilation that contained all the Doors’ hits, from “Light My Fire” to “Riders on the Storm.” This 11-track 1973 album was an attempt to address that problem, and at the time of its release, containing seven of the Doors’ eight Top 40 hits (the exception being “The Unknown Soldier”), it was the best Doors greatest-hits collection on the market.

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The Doors – The Doors (1967) [Japanese SACD 2011] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

The Doors – The Doors (1967) [Japanese SACD 2011]
PS3 Rip | ISO | DST 64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:58 mins | Scans included | 3,47 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,08 GB
SACD Hybrid reissue release from The Doors. Features 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 multichannel surround.

A tremendous debut album, and indeed one of the best first-time outings in rock history, introducing the band’s fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz, and poetry with a knock-out punch. The lean, spidery guitar and organ riffs interweave with a hypnotic menace, providing a seductive backdrop for Jim Morrison’s captivating vocals and probing prose. “Light My Fire” was the cut that topped the charts and established the group as stars, but most of the rest of the album is just as impressive, including some of their best songs: the propulsive “Break on Through” (their first single), the beguiling Oriental mystery of “The Crystal Ship,” the mysterious “End of the Night,” “Take It as It Comes” (one of several tunes besides “Light My Fire” that also had hit potential), and the stomping rock of “Soul Kitchen” and “Twentieth Century Fox.” The 11-minute Oedipal drama “The End” was the group at its most daring and, some would contend, overambitious. It was nonetheless a haunting cap to an album whose nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension would never be equaled by the group again, let alone bettered.

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Styx – Paradise Theater (1981) [Audio Fidelity 2014] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Styx – Paradise Theater (1981) [Audio Fidelity 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:43 minutes | Scans included | 1,64 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 796 MB
Mastered by Kevin Gray | Audio Fidelity # AFZ-174 | Genre: Rock

After successfully establishing themselves as one of America’s best commercial progressive rock bands of the late ’70s with albums like The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight, Chicago’s Styx had taken a dubious step towards pop overkill with singer Dennis DeYoung’s ballad “Babe.” The centerpiece of 1979’s uneven Cornerstone album, the number one single sowed the seeds of disaster for the group by pitching DeYoung’s increasingly mainstream ambitions against the group’s more conservative songwriters, Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young. Hence, what had once been a healthy competitive spirit within the band quickly deteriorated into bitter co-existence during the sessions for 1980’s Paradise Theater — and all-out warfare by the time of 1983’s infamous Kilroy Was Here. For the time being, however, Paradise Theater seemed to represent the best of both worlds, since its loose concept about the roaring ’20s heyday and eventual decline of an imaginary theater (used as a metaphor for the American experience in general, etc., etc.) seemed to satisfy both of the band’s camps with its return to complex hard rock (purists Shaw and JY) while sparing no amount of pomp and grandeur (DeYoung). The stage is set by the first track, “A.D. 1928,” which features a lonely DeYoung on piano and vocals introducing the album’s recurring musical theme before launching into “Rockin’ the Paradise” — a total team effort of wonderfully stripped down hard rock. From this point forward, DeYoung’s compositions (“Nothing Ever Goes as Planned,” “The Best of Times”) continue to stick close to the overall storyline, while Shaw’s (“Too Much Time on My Hands,” “She Cares”) try to resist thematic restrictions as best they can. Among these, “The Best of Times” — with its deliberate, marching rhythm — remains one of the more improbable Top Ten hits of the decade (somehow it just works), while “Too Much Time on My Hands” figures among Shaw’s finest singles ever. As for JY, the band’s third songwriter (and resident peacekeeper) is only slightly more cooperative with the Paradise Theater concept. His edgier compositions include the desolate tale of drug addiction, “Snowblind,” and the rollicking opus “Half-Penny, Two-Penny,” which infuses a graphic depiction of inner city decadence with a final, small glimmer of hope and redemption. The song also leads straight into the album’s beautiful saxophone-led epilogue, “A.D. 1958,” which once again reveals MC DeYoung alone at his piano. A resounding success, Paradise Theater would become Styx’s greatest commercial triumph; and in retrospect, it remains one of the best examples of the convergence between progressive rock and AOR which typified the sound of the era’s top groups (Journey, Kansas, etc.). For Styx, its success would spell both their temporary saving grace and ultimate doom, as the creative forces which had already been tearing at the band’s core finally reached unbearable levels three years later. It is no wonder that when the band reunited after over a decade of bad blood, all the music released post-1980 was left on the cutting room floor — further proof that Paradise Theater was truly the best of times.

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Styx – Paradise Theater (1981) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88.2}

Styx – Paradise Theater (1981) [Japanese SHM-SACD 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 40:39 minutes | Scans included | 1,65 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 804 MB

One album before Styx cut loose with an honest-to-goodness concept album, Kilroy Was Here, they flirted with the idea on Paradise Theater. The concept here has something to do with the decline of America in the ’70s, based on the condemnation and destruction of the Paradise Theater, a famous showplace in the band’s hometown of Chicago. Truth be told, the concept hasn’t held together that well, though the individual songs have, led by the optimistic ballad “The Best of Times,” and the rockers “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Snowblind.” Dennis DeYoung gives some of his most theatrical performances throughout, presaging his overly ambitious Kilroy concept, but also his successful run performing in the legitimate theater, as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. Paradise, meanwhile, was about as good as it got for Styx. –Daniel Durchholz

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Yellow Magic Orchestra – YMO Ultimate Collection (2003) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Yellow Magic Orchestra – YMO Ultimate Collection (2x SACD, 2003)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 136:06 minutes | Scans included | 5,5 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 2,63 GB
Genre: Synth-pop

The trailblazing force behind the emergence of the Japanese techno-pop sound of the late ’70s, Yellow Magic Orchestra remains a seminal influence on contemporary electronic music – hugely popular both at home and abroad, their pioneering use of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines places them second only to Kraftwerk as innovators of today’s electronic culture.

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Wynton Marsalis – Hot House Flowers (1984/2001) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Wynton Marsalis – Hot House Flowers (1984) [Reissue 2001]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 41:55 minutes | NO Scans | 1,68 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans NOT included | 770 MB
Genre: Jazz

Wynton Marsalis, very much in his Miles Davis period, plays quite melodically throughout this ballad-dominated outing with strings. Branford Marsalis (on tenor and soprano), flutist Kent Jordan, pianist Kenny Kirkland, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jeff Watts are strong assets but it is Wynton’s subtle creativity on such songs as “Stardust,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia,” and “I’m Confessin’” that makes this recording special. The arrangements by Robert Freedman generally keep the strings from sounding too sticky and Wynton’s tone is consistently beautiful.

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Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978) [Japanese SACD 2001] {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978) [Japanese SACD 2001 #SRGS 4563]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 36:27 minutes | Scans included | 1,5 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 672 MB
Genre: Country

Country crooner’s classic collection of easy-going pop standards features the songs Moonlight In Vermont, All Of Me, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore & others. It was arranged by Booker T. Jones & recorded in Willie’s inimitable style in Emmylou Harris’ house.

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Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker – Wagner: Overtures, Preludes (2001) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Richard Wagner: Overtures, Preludes – von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker (2001) 
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 77:22 minutes | 3,11 GB
FLAC 2.0 Stereo (PS3 ISO extract / Weiss Saracon conversion) 24bit/88.2 kHz | 1.4 GB
Japan Esoteric Import | Year: 2001 | Full Scans | Genre: Classical

Esoteric have produced a remarkable transfer that preserves beautifully the hall sound, spatial information and detail. The brass and mass strings have excellent detail, revealing a lot of subtle harmonies and variation – a boon for anything Wagner. This contributes to an overall impression of sophistication and restraint and goes perfectly with Karajan’s Wagner.

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Vanessa Fernandez – When The Levee Breaks (2016) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Vanessa Fernandez – When The Levee Breaks (2016)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 51:17 minutes | Scans included | 2,1 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Full Scans included | 0,98 GB
Genre: Alternative, Indie

Vanessa Mary Fernandez is a singer and radio presenter from Singapore. She released several albums with the now defunct hip-hop groups, Urban Xchange and Parking Lot Pimp and is now more popularly known by her moniker, Vandetta on Mediacorp Radio’s 987FM.

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Various Artists – The World’s Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings (2006) {SACD-R + FLAC 24-88,2}

Various Artists – The World’s Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings (2006)
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 46:14 minutes | Covers | 3,18 GB
or FLAC(converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Covers included | 803 MB
Features Stereo & Multichannel Surround sound | Chesky Records SACD 323 | Genre: Jazz, Vocal

If you’re into vocal recordings, or want a sampler of Chesky’s material, or if you just want something that sounds great so that you can impress friends with your stereo, get this disc. I play it a lot – for all of the above reasons. I listen to many tracks on this disc, but I’m always drawn back to Livingston Taylor singing Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Through the OMD-28s, the richness and vibrancy of Taylor’s voice were startlingly realistic, with no chestiness or overhang. Furthermore, his voice was tight and focused”. – Doug Schneider Soundstage

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