Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cold Roses (2005/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Cold Roses (2005/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 75:55 minutes | 1,76 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover
Genre: Rock

Cold Roses was originally released on May 3, 2005 and is the sixth album by Ryan Adams. It is also the first album with his backing band The Cardinals. Cold Roses was produced by Tom Schick and peaked at #26 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

Last time we received a dispatch from Ryan Adams, the self-styled savior of rock & roll, it was in 2003, when he delivered his straight-up rock & roll record (aptly titled Rock N Roll) and his two-part mope-rock EP (later combined as one LP) Love Is Hell. Admirable records both, but not quite the sequel to Heartbreaker that fans craved. They also weren’t quite as successful as all the hype surrounding their release suggested that they would be, so Adams briefly retreated from the spotlight to regroup, heading back in 2005 with a planned triptych of new albums, the first of which is the double-album Cold Roses, recorded with his new backing band the Cardinals and released at the beginning of May. Three albums in one year is overkill even for an artist predisposed to releasing his every whim, and while it’s too early at this writing to judge whether he needed to release all three of the records, it’s safe to say that Cold Roses is the record many fans have been waiting to hear — a full-fledged, unapologetic return to the country-rock that made his reputation when he led Whiskeytown. Not that the album is a retreat, or a crass attempt to give the people what they want, but it’s an assured, comfortable collection of 18 songs that play to Adams’ strengths because they capture him not trying quite so hard. He settles into a warm, burnished, countryish groove not far removed from vintage Harvest-era Neil Young at the beginning and keeps it going over the course of a double-disc set that isn’t all that long. With the first disc clocking in at 39:39 and the second at 36:29, this could easily have been released as a single-disc set, but splitting it into two and packaging it as a mock-gatefold LP is classic Ryan Adams, highlighting both his flair for rock classicism and his tendency to come across slightly affected. As always, he’s so obsessive about fitting into classic rock’s long lineage that he can be slightly embarrassing — particularly on the intro to “Beautiful Sorta,” which apes David Johansen’s intro to the New York Dolls’ “Looking for a Kiss” in a way that guarantees a cringe — which is also a problem when he drifts toward lazy, profanity-riddled lyrics (“this sh*t just f*cks you up” on “Cherry Lane”) that undercut a generally strong set of writing. But what makes Cold Roses a success, his first genuine one since Heartbreaker, is that it is a genuine band album, with the Cardinals not only getting co-writing credits but helping Adams relax and let the music flow naturally. It’s not the sound of somebody striving to save rock & roll, or even to be important, but that’s precisely why this is the easiest Ryan Adams to enjoy. The coming months with their coming LPs will reveal whether this is indeed a shift in his point of view, or just a brief break from his trademark blustering braggadocio.

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Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:38 minutes | 1,01 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Rock

Following up his 2011 album Ashes & Fire, which was the best reviewed and highest charting of his career, Ryan Adams’ returns with his self-titled Blue Note debut. Recorded at his PaxAm studios and produced by Adams, the album represents another leap forward in his development as both songwriter and performer. Easily his most fully-developed musical statement, the album takes Adams’ inspired songcraft and brings it into a more hard driving rock direction that will please the hardcore Ryan devotee but will also turn on a broader audience.

Even the most prolific artists need a break and so it was with Ryan Adams. After a great burst of creativity that resulted in four albums’ worth of material in two years — Orion plus the double-LP III/IV in 2010, followed by Ashes & Fire in 2011 –- Adams took a three-year hiatus, dabbling in side projects and productions, breaking up his longtime backing band the Cardinals, and eventually re-emerging in 2014 with a self-titled album. The old canard says an eponymous album released well into a career suggests a rebirth, and that’s somewhat true of Ryan Adams, which largely ditches the Dead obsessions, ragged country-rock, and occasional noise squall for precision-tuned audio straight out of 1981. He still finds space for the spare “My Wrecking Ball,” an intimate piece of acoustica that recalls the spartan Heartbreaker, but not unlike Jenny Lewis’ The Voyager, which Adams also produced, craft is the order of the day here, from the expertly carved bones of the songs to the fathomless shimmer of the album’s surface. Unlike Love Is Hell, which wallowed in murk, or the self-styled dazzle of Gold, Ryan Adams is designed for comfort, placing as much import on the rolling aural waves as what lays within a song. This suppleness is quite alluring: Ryan Adams is a record that can slip into the background, providing the soundtrack to anything from heartbreak to a lazy Sunday morning. If Ryan Adams was merely sonic candy, it would’ve been enough, but this is also one of Adams’ cannily constructed records, one that runs deliberately lean. Whenever the soft shimmer of his Yacht Rock resurrection yields, it’s to draw attention to his vulnerability: “My Wrecking Ball” and the Springsteen rockabilly homage “I Just Might,” the bittersweet twilight coda “Let Go,” all seem stronger because they’re departures from the purposeful polish. These songs puncture the gloss, so they make the greatest first impression, but that glimmer remains the reason to get lost within Ryan Adams: his blend of song and studio craft turns this eponymous album into the equivalent of a substantive, new millennial version of the Eagles’ Long Run.

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Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger (2007/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger (2007/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 38:55 minutes | 873 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover
Genre: Rock

Easy Tiger is Ryan Adams’ ninth studio album and was produced by Jamie Candiloro. It was released on June 25, 2007 and features The Cardinals as his backing band. The album peaked at #7 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

Easy Tiger has a “slow it down there, pal” undertone to its title — and who needs a word of caution other than Ryan Adams himself, who notoriously spread himself far and wide in the years following his 2000 breakthrough Heartbreaker. After celebrating his 30th birthday with a flurry of albums in one year, Adams decided to pull back, hunker down, and craft one solid album that deliberately plays to his strength. As such, Easy Tiger could easily be seen as the album that many of his fans have wanted to hear since Heartbreaker, a record that is tight and grounded in country-rock. Easy Tiger is focused, but so have been some of the other thematic albums Adams has delivered with such gusto — when he tried to run with the Strokes on Rock N Roll, mimicked the Smiths and Jeff Buckley on Love Is Hell, even turned out a full-on country album in Jacksonville City Nights, complete with knowing retro cover art, he stayed true to his concept — but the cumulative effect of the records was to make him seem scattered, even if the records could work on their own merits. With each album since the wannabe blockbuster of 2001′s Gold, his restlessness has seemed not diverse but reckless, so even his good albums seemed to contribute to the mess. Easy Tiger intends to break this perception by being concise, right down to how every one but one of these tight 13 songs clock in somewhere between the two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half minute mark. For somebody as doggedly conceptual as Adams, this is surely a deliberate move, one designed to shore up support among supporters (no matter if they’re fans or critics), which Easy Tiger very well might. Surely, it is a welcoming album in many ways, partially due to the relaxed Deadhead vibe Adams strikes up with his band the Cardinals, reminiscent of 2005′s fine Cold Roses. But if that CD sprawled, this one is succinct, as Adams flits through country-rockers and weepers — plus the occasional rock detour, like anthemic ’80s arena rocker “Halloween Head” or the spacy “The Sun Also Sets,” a dead ringer for Grant Lee Phillips — containing not an ounce of fat. Adams benefits from the brevity, most notably on the sweetly melancholy “Everybody Knows,” the straight-up country of “Tears of Gold,” or on “Two,” which mines new material out of the timeworn “two become one” conceit. Here, his songs don’t stick around longer than necessary, so they linger longer in memory, but the relentless onward march of Easy Tiger also gives the performances an efficiency bordering on disinterest, which is its Achilles’ heel. As fine as some of the songs are, as welcoming as the overall feel of the record is, it seems a bit like Adams is giving his fans (and label) “Ryan Adams by numbers,” hitting all the marks but without passion. This is when his craft learned from incessant writing kicks in — he can fashion these tunes into something sturdy and appealing — but it also highlights how he can turn out a tune as lazily as he relies on casual profanity to his detriment. Ultimately, these flaws are minor, since Easy Tiger delivers what it promises: the most Ryan Adamsy Ryan Adams record since his first.

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Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire (2011/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire (2011/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:21 minutes | 923 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover
Genre: Rock

Ashes and Fire was Ryan Adams’ first release with Capitol Records. The alternative country singer’s 13th studio album, it was his latest record after the Cardinals disbanded. The record featured numerous guest artists, including Norah Jones and Mandy Moore. Ashes and Fire broke the top 10 Albums Charts in Ireland and the UK in 2011 and produced the single “Lucky Now”.

Returning refreshed after a three-year hiatus — 2010’s III/IV dating back to 2006 sessions — Ryan Adams dives headfirst into early-‘70s Dylan with Ashes & Fire, his first record since disbanding the Cardinals. Adams developed an easy, graceful chemistry with the Cardinals, a connection as apparent on loping homages to the Grateful Dead as it was on approximations of honky tonk, a connection absent yet still felt on Ashes & Fire, which retains a similar relaxed gait as the Cardinals at their softest. Unlike all his albums with the Cardinals, this isn’t a record where the musicianship is placed at the forefront, this is a singer/songwriter record, the music — including exquisite coloring from Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench — serving as a warm bed for Adams’ rambling words. Tempos are never quick — at best, “Chains of Love” skips along amiably — and the melodies remain fuzzily in focus, so Ashes & Fire winds up as ever-shifting mood music, sustaining an appealingly lazy haze residing somewhere south of melancholy. Adams may have his sad moments, he may look outside his window and see signs of doom, but he’s not torturing himself, he’s finding comfort in being blue because most of the time, he’s relaxed within his skin.

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Ronald Brautigam – Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (2014) [eClassical 24-96]

Ronald Brautigam – Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas (2014)
9 Releases | FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1/88,2 kHz | Time – 654:22 minutes | 6,87 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Covers & Digital booklets

Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam divides his interpretive energies equally between the fortepiano and the conventional concert grand. Born in Amsterdam, Brautigam first studied with Dutch pianist Jan Wijn and later studies took him to the U.K. and to America, where he took classes with Rudolf Serkin. Brautigam first came to prominence in 1984 when he was awarded the Netherlands Music Prize, the highest distinction the Netherlands bestows on musicians.

The 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven are often referred to as the ‘New Testament’ of the keyboard literature, following on the ‘Old Testament’ of J.S. Bach’s 48 preludes and fugues in the Well-Tempered Clavier. Composed over a period of almost three decades, from 1795 to 1822, the sonatas constitute a fascinating panorama of an artistic career which underwent numerous changes – not to say upheavals – but nevertheless remained remarkably consistent.

Ever since the first recording of the entire cycle, by Artur Schnabel in the 1930s, a number of the world’s leading pianists have given us their performances of this monumental collection on disc. One of the latest cycles is that of Ronald Brautigam, released on single discs between 2004 and 2010. Performed on the fortepiano, as part of a series of Beethoven’s complete solo keyboard works, Brautigam’s recordings have been described as ‘riveting’, ‘compelling’ and ‘revolutionary’. The eight discs with the 32 sonatas are now being released as a boxed set, along with a ninth disc containing the early, unnumbered sonatas.

Contributing factors to the ‘refreshing directness’ that reviewers have experienced in these performances are the widely praised recorded sound and the carefully selected instruments, built by Paul McNulty after originals from 1788-1819 by the foremost Viennese makers of fortepianos. For this boxed set, the original SACD format has been retained – along with the possibility of listening to the performances in surround – thus offering the opportunity of sharing the experience of one reviewer: ‘One has almost the impression of being a contemporary of Beethoven’s: one of the first, infinitely startled – not to say shocked – witnesses to this music’ (Süddeutsche Zeitung).

Producer for this Bundle, as indeed basically all records with Ronald Brautigam, is Ingo Petry.

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Roland Maria Stangier – English Town Hall Organ (Holst, Handel, Vierne, Bridge, Elgar, Franck, Gardonyi) (2010) [FLAC 24-192]

Roland Maria Stangier – English Town Hall Organ (Holst, Handel, Vierne, Bridge, Elgar, Franck, Gardonyi) – 2010
Classical | Flac. Tracks, 24/192 | Covers | 2.71 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: Acousence Classics | TT: 01:18:26

The first solo album of the new Eule organ of the Philharmonie Mercatorhalle. Well-known original works for organ as well as transcriptions of famous orchestral works by Holst, Handel, Vierne, Elgar, Bridge, Franck and Gárdonyi.

In 2009 the venue of the Duisburg Philharmonics, the Philharmonie Mercatorhalle, received a new concert organ in the anglo-late romantic style, modeled after the English Town Hall organs of the time. We now present the first solo album featuring the new instrument, with Roland Maria Stangier at the organ.
While most people first and foremost associate the sound of the organ with the instruments used in church, the organ looks back at a long tradition of being employed in the concert hall as well – in the form of the concert organ. These instruments can be characterised by an immense dynamic range and a great number of tonal colours. The abundant pedal, with a forceful and voluminous sound is typical, as well.
The multi-faceted programme with original works for organ as well as transcriptions of famous orchestral works, which are typical for the heyday of these instruments in the 19th century, topped with some improvisations, perfectly illuminates the capabilities of the instrument and promises a sonic adventure of a truly special kind.

Roland Maria Stangier

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Max Emmanuel Cencic – Rokoko: Hasse Opera Arias (2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Max Emmanuel Cencic – Rokoko: Hasse Opera Arias (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.19 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: HDtracks

Launching his new recording contract with Decca Classics, critically-acclaimed countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic performs arias from the finest of Hasse’s dramatic works. From the exquisite delicacy of the aria di sostenuto to the fiery passion of the aria di bravura, Cencic’s sensational performance brings Hasse’s greatest works to a new audience, brilliantly fresh and with maximum effect.

Rokoko follows on from Cencic’s incredibly well received Alessandro on Decca Classics. Critics from the world’s leading press recognised the album’s outstanding qualities: Gramophone described it as “an essential purchase”; Opera News observed that Cencic “commands the music totally”, while Diapason awarded it Diapason de l’or de l’année and it also won recognition in the International Opera Awards in London

For this new recording Cencic is accompanied by the superb Armonia Atenea under their internationally-renowned conductor George Petrou.

Composer: Johann Adolf Hasse
Performer: Max Emanuel Cencic, Theorodos Kitsos
Conductor: George Petrou
Orchestra/Ensemble: Armonia Atenea

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Robert Plant – Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar (2014) [HDTracks 24-44.1]

Robert Plant – Lullaby And… The Ceaseless Roar (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 50:00 minutes | 534 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Digital Booklet
Genre: Rock

lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar is Plant’s first record since 2010’s Band of Joy, which followed 2007’s six-time Grammy Award–winning collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand. Justin Adams and John Baggott of The Sensational Space Shifters appeared on Plant’s 2002 release Dreamland, while all but Camara and Smith appeared on 2005’s Mighty Rearranger. The new-album line-up recently toured the world before recording lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar at Helium Studios in Wiltshire and Real World Studios in Bath, UK. The track “Rainbow” was recorded in Contino Rooms in London. Tchad Blake mixed all but three tracks on the album.

Returning to his native England after an extended sojourn in America, Robert Plant heavily reconnects with his homeland’s mysticism on 2014′s lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar. Despite the shift in geography, the singer is picking up a thread he left hanging with 2010′s Band of Joy. On that album, Plant blurred boundaries between several musical styles, playing covers with a group assembled by producer Buddy Miller, but here he shifts that omnivorous aesthetic to a collection of originals performed with his ever-changing band the Sensational Space Shifters. Certain flourishes sound familiar — he remains equally enamored of English and Moroccan folk while retaining an enduring obsession with American blues and psychedelia — but the feel is different, not as robust as Band of Joy or warmly joyous as Raising Sand. The Ceaseless Roar may not get loud — usually, when it rocks it sounds like a kissing cousin to a folk rave-up; sometimes, as on “Somebody There,” it’s chiming, crystalline, and bright like the Byrds — but it is intensely meditative, finding sustenance within mystery. Plant is reflecting on where he’s been — singing “And if the sun refuses to shine” on “Pocketful of Golden,” he tips a hat to his Zeppelin past; elsewhere he speaks of getting lost in America — yet gingerly avoiding questions of mortality and resisting the allure of easy sentimentality. It’s possible to hear the weight of his years on lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar — it is, in the best sense, mature music, dense in its rhythms and allusions, subtle in its melodies — but he never feels weary, nor does he traffic in false nostalgia. He’s building upon the past, both his own and the larger traditions of his homeland, both spiritual and actual, and that gives lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar a bewitching depth. It’s an album to get lost in.

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Goetzel, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic – Rimsky-korsakov: Scheherezade; Balakirev: Islamey (2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Goetzel, Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic – Rimsky-korsakov: Scheherezade; Balakirev: Islamey (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.47 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: HDtracks

Since it was founded, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra has worked to develop not only as a symphony orchestra but as a showcase for music from different traditions – a multicultural mosaic where each little stone is carefully placed with the utmost respect for its neighbour, making a unique contribution to its surroundings. Our first two CDs have reflected this, combining music of composers from different backgrounds with a similar musical language. We now embark on another exploration of the eastern musical roots of Europe in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, identifying elements of the eastern side of the Bosphorus which have influenced the Western cultural background of most of these composers.

Composer: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Mily Balakirev, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, Ulvi Cemal Erkin
Performer: Pelin Halkaci
Conductor: Sascha Goetzel

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Jean-Fery Rebel & Francois Rebel – Rebel de pere en fils – Ensemble les Surprises (2013) [Qobuz 24-88.2]

Jean-Fery Rebel & Francois Rebel – Rebel de pere en fils – Ensemble les Surprises (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.26 GB | 01:12:21
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Label: ©  CCR d’Ambronay
Recorded at the Espace culturel C. J. Bonnet, chapel of Jujurieux (01), France — 25th-31th March 2013

Marrying stage ‘drama’ and chamber ‘concert’, this début album from Les Surprises, devised by Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas and Juliette Guignard, draws on 18th century French opera. Exploring a dynamic repertoire variously familiar and forgotten, bringing theatre into the salon, these enlightened, intimate arrangements will astonish, inspire and surprise.

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