This week is for audiophiles exclusively. Any of songs below will sound better on DAC and headphones with double the price.
Das Kapital — Vive La France
A jazz trio from Sweden named ‘Das Kapital’ has released an album of ‘Vive la France’. Sounds bizarre, as it is. Although, if you’re looking for a small amount of silliness, then you’ve come to the right place.
This album is trying to mock all the genres at the same time. The choice of instruments makes it jazz, but, let critics to define it, it’d be avant-garde polka.
Yet, the album is quite interesting sound-wise. A little of garage in scene, but very transparent in the instrumental layering. Tenor saxophone recorded with breathing sounds louder than a tone. And the extremely panoramic sound, at the verge of binaural recording.
Kendrick Scott Oracle — A Wall Becomes A Bridge
The 80s and the beginning of 90s were a time of metal flourishing. Yet, ‘metal’ was an umbrella term for a whole bunch of sub-genres. The only thing in common was a harsh guitar sound.
Then something interesting has happened in the mid-90s. American bands rusted a bit and slowed down. But Scandinavian bands for some reason have mostly jumped on a train of trip-hop.
The very similar thing is happening nowadays to some US jazz musicians. Kendrick Scott is very prominent drummer. He played with legends like Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Jazz Crusaders, etc. Then, he has decided to avoid the fate of being mentioned just as a performer and has chosen his own distinctive way.
‘A Wall Becomes A Bridge’ is very easy to apprehend, that not diminishes the overall complexity of the work. It is sophisticated from the ground-up: the track names, harmony, mixing. On different tracks same instruments could be clamped by compression, either expanded as wide as possible. The recording is properly accentuated by brass section. Once, clear and transparent, and ruined under pile of effects, seconds later.
But drums stand off, author isn’t going to deprive himself of that.
Coltrane ‘58: The Prestige Recordings
There is a bunch of audiophiles who do not want to listen to old recordings — especially, from mono and first-steps-stereo era. In last 60 years the level of recording hardware has stepped up that high, that it is reasonable to mention while speaking about old recordings: ‘They are good, for the time’.
The reissued Prestige Recordings are a rare exemption. The mastering is so neat, it is impossible to pick on. There is neither HF clipping nor the upright bass timbre easing. Even the notorious ’sand’ — the often guest on old recordings — is not annoying, as it usually is. Especially on bright-tuned balance armature IEMs.
Sound engineers have made something impossible. It is not only a restoration, it is more a customization for modern sound hardware. Finally, new-born audiophiles can savor the sound of the time, when the grass was greener, the light was brighter, and the jazz was much darker. Literally.