John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Sometime In New York City (1972/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Sometime In New York City (1972/2014)

FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 1:31:13  | 1.96 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Art Rock, Pop Rock, Rock & Roll  | Label: © Yoko Ono Lennon , Capitol Records , Calderstone Productions | Source: HDtracks

Recorded: Studio: December 1971 – 20 March 1972; Live: 15 December 1969, at Lyceum Ballroom, London; 6 June 1971, at Fillmore East, New York City

Some Time In New York City was originally released in 1972 and is John Lennon’s third post-Beatles solo album, as well as his fifth album with Yoko Ono. Produced by Phil Spector, the album did not fare as well as Lennon’s two previous solo albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine.

The first album co-billed to John Lennon and Yoko Ono to actually contain recognizable pop music, Some Time in New York City found the Lennons in an explicitly political phase. This was understandable — at the time, Lennon was neck-deep in his struggle to remain in the United States, a conflict rooted in his antiwar and antiestablishment politics and the enmity of the Nixon administration. At the same time, having written, recorded, and released the music on the Plastic Ono Band and Imagine albums — and musically exorcising many of the emotional demons associated with aspects of his past, and working out a musical and publishing “divorce” from Paul McCartney — he was now reveling in the freedom of being an ex-Beatle and exploring music and other subjects that he’d never felt fully free to delve into during the first decade of his career. This album was actually a long time in coming, as there had been hints of Lennon moving in this direction for years — he’d long looked upon Bob Dylan with unabashed envy, emulating his sound at moments (“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”) and striving for some of the same mix of edginess and depth, once the group got beyond its original two-guitars-bass-drums and love songs sound; “Revolution” (and “Revolution No. 1″) and the anthems “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” saw him trying to embrace outside subjects in his work, and Some Time in New York City carried his writing a step further in this direction, introducing John Lennon, protest singer — true, he was ten years late, in terms of the musical genre (even Joan Baez and Judy Collins were doing pop-style records by then), but it was a logical development given the time in Lennon’s life and the strife-filled era with which it coincided. Seeking his own voice in all of its permutations, and living amid the bracing pace of New York City (which made London, much less Liverpool, look like a cultural and political backwater), Lennon entered a phase similar to Dylan’s 1963-1964 period, represented by songs such as “The Ballad of Hollis Brown,” “The Death of Emmett Till,” and “Talking John Birch Society Blues.” Except that where Dylan had toned down that side of his work, never officially releasing his versions of two of those songs (the two most confrontational, in fact), Lennon didn’t hold back, delivering his topical songs with both barrels smoking, expounding on such topical subjects as radical feminism, the Attica prison riot, the treatment of activists John Sinclair and Angela Davis, and the rising strife in Northern Ireland (which was on its way to becoming for the British the same kind of military and political quagmire that Vietnam was for America). Lennon had some advantages in getting heard, as an ex-Beatle, not an up-and-coming talent as Dylan had been a decade earlier, and if the subject matter of his new songs puzzled or alienated some fans, he also still had a huge amount of rock & roll street cred, which was only enhanced at the time by his having made Nixon’s enemies list; at the time, there were a lot of people to whom that mattered more than his past as a Beatle — at the April 24 antiwar rally in New York in 1971, where he appeared with Yoko Ono and the Elephant’s Memory Band, he showed himself to be among the few musicians who could get a quarter of a million or more people singing and chanting spontaneously, in unison. And Some Time in New York City was a logical progression from that event. Especially in the case of Lennon’s songs, there is an appealing rock style to the material here, even if the lyrics limit the record’s appeal. And even Yoko’s songs have something to recommend them, “Sisters, O Sisters” representing a peculiar form of reggae-pop, “Born in a Prison” possessing a strange pop ambience, and “We’re All Water” offering a preview of late-’70s punk/new wave rawness (Lena Lovich may well have worn out that track). At the time of its release in June of 1972, all except the most devoted fans were put off by the album’s topicality and in-your-face didacticism, and the bonus live disc was challenging in other ways. Heard today, the studio disc rocks in enough of the right places, as well as drawing on influences ranging from blues to reggae, to surprise listeners and even delight them — the relatively tuneless “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” manages to favorably recall elements of “Come Together,” and both it and “New York City” have some of the best electric guitar ever heard on a Lennon album, while “John Sinclair” shows off Lennon’s blues playing (on a steel National guitar, no less) brilliantly. Even those who were of the left at the time may wince at “Angela” some decades on, but “We’re All Water” has lost none of its intellectual or musical resonances, even if Nixon and Mao are long dead. The Elephant’s Memory Band may not be the best set of musicians that Lennon could have been working with, but that was less important than the fact that he seemed to respond to their club band R&B and jazz background with a roots-oriented approach to songwriting that’s ultimately refreshing. Co-producer Phil Spector gives most of the music a larger-than-life ambience, with a reverb-drenched, rhythm-heavy approach recalling his Wall of Sound productions, which gives a lot of even the most didactic songs a big-band pop/rock smoothness, when the songs weren’t lean and stripped down like “John Sinclair” (which sounds in terms of texture like a Furry Lewis side from 1930). Some Time in New York City was released with a “free” bonus disc containing a live medley of Lennon’s “Cold Turkey” and Ono’s “Don’t Worry Kyoko,” from an antiwar rally at the Lyceum in London with George Harrison, and an appearance by the Lennons at a Mothers of Invention concert from the Fillmore East. The Lyceum tracks were well recorded and, apart from both going on too long, exude a certain power; these may not be the songs you’d have had performed at the one recorded post-Beatles concert appearance by Lennon and Harrison, but “Cold Turkey” is good, if a little disorganized near the end, and “Don’t Worry Kyoko” has some pretty fair rock & roll jamming going on behind Ono’s vocal acrobatics; the Fillmore stuff sounds less good technically, and captures a spontaneous moment that’s mostly wasted, though not without a moment of personal musical reflection from Lennon in “Well (Baby Please Don’t Go).” Alas, the presence of the second disc now makes this the most expensive of all Lennon’s CD releases, virtually ensuring that it remain the least known of his mainline albums, especially for any fans who weren’t around in 1972. –Bruce Eder

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John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Milk And Honey (1984/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Milk And Honey (1984/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 36:50 minutes | 742 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital bookletGenre: Pop Rock  | Label: © Yoko Ono Lennon , Capitol Records , Calderstone Productions  | Source: HDTracks

Recorded: August–December 1980, 1983 at Hit Factory, A&R Studios & Sterling Sound, New York, New York, & The Automatt, San Francisco

Milk and Honey was released in 1984, nearly four years after John Lennon’s death. It was created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the last months of Lennon’s life, during and following the sessions for Double Fantasy. The album was assembled by Yoko Ono, and features a number of songs presented in their demo form.

The sessions for 1980′s Double Fantasy were supposed to yield two albums, the second to be released at a future time, but Lennon’s assassination tragically halted the project in its tracks. A bit over three years later, Yoko Ono issued tapes of many of the songs planned for that album under the title Milk and Honey, laid out in the same John-Yoko-John-Yoko dialogue fashion as its predecessor. Not unexpectedly, it’s a rougher, less polished product, lacking the finishing touches and additional takes that Lennon most likely would have called for. Nevertheless, Lennon’s songs at this point in their development were often quite strong, tougher than those on Double Fantasy in general, and the ad libs and studio chatter that might not have made the final cut give us more of a glimpse of Lennon’s delightfully quirky personality. “Nobody Told Me,” the advance single off the album, is a rollicking, quizzical piece of work, maybe the best thing to come out of John’s 1980 sessions, despite the unfinished-sounding transition to the chorus. “Borrowed Time,” another single, is a thoughtful, sparely worded meditation on growing older attached to a Caribbean beat. Yoko’s contributions, while not as strong as John’s, are surprisingly listenable — the reggae-based “Don’t Be Scared,” in particular — and more current in texture, and her lyrics do tend to answer John’s songs. As the album comes toward the close, the tone turns sentimental, culminating with one of John’s loveliest tunes, “Grow Old With Me,” as presented on a home-recorded cassette in lieu of a studio recording. The ironies of this song and some of the other Lennon material are obviously poignant in the light of the cruel events of December 8, 1980; that and the fact that these songs haven’t been as exposed as much as those on Double Fantasy lead some to prefer this sequel. –Richard S. Ginell

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John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy / Stripped Down (1980/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon, Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy / Stripped Down (1980/2014)

FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:31:21  | 1.99 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Art Rock, Pop Rock  | Label: © Yoko Ono Lennon , Capitol Records | Source: HDtracks

Recorded: 7 August 1980 – 22 September 1980 at The Hit Factory, New York.
Remastered: ‘Stripped Down’: Re-Mixed at Avatar Studios, New York City. Re-Mix preparation at West End Sound NYC. A/D transfers done at Sony Battery NYC. Mastered at Sterling Sound NYC.
‘Original Album’: Recorded and remixed at Hit Factory, New York. Single remix at Record Plant, New York. Mastering at Sterling Sound, New York. Remastered at Sterling Sound, 2010.

Released on two CDs 2010 and now available in hi-res, this release of Double Fantasy contains the digitally remastered version of the 1980 Double Fantasy album plus a never before released ‘Stripped Down’ version produced by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas. Includes ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’, ‘Woman’, ‘Watching The Wheels’, ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’ and more.

Double Fantasy was recorded between July 7 and September 22, 1980 at The Hit Factory in New York City. The initial single “(Just Like) Starting Over” was released on October 20, 1980 and initially peaked at #7 in the US. After the death of John Lennon in December of 1980, the single reached #1 in both the US and UK. The album was released on November 17, 1980 on Geffenrecords. The initial critical response to Double Fantasywas mostly negative, although the album was later awarded Album of the Year in 1981, with the award being given to producer Jack Douglas and Yoko Ono.

This digital remaster of Double Fantasy was transferred from Protools 192 kHz (Prism AD8) into an analogue EMI TG12410 desk, into Sadie at 96kHz/24bit.

The one unreleased item among Apple/EMI’s exhaustive 2010 John Lennon reissue campaign was Double Fantasy Stripped Down, a revision of the original 1980 album supervised by Yoko Ono and producer Jack Douglas. The intent of this new mix is to give the recording a greater sense of intimacy, but Double Fantasy isn’t Let It Be: it doesn’t have a heavily bootlegged original early incarnation, it only exists in its final form; it’s not an album that was designed as a raw back-to-basics record, it was constructed as a slick studio affair. Stripped Down attempts to take only one coat of varnish off of Double Fantasy, stripping away reverb and backing vocals, dampening some of the brighter colors and adding some studio chatter to give the illusion of eavesdropping on the studio, trimming the length of some tracks slightly, lengthening a couple other imperceptibly, boosting John’s voice to the front of the mix. Apart from “(Just Like) Starting Over,” where the removal of the doo wop backing vocals undercuts the loving oldies homage of the song, the changes are so subtle that they’re felt more than heard, cumulatively not affecting the impact of the album all that much. Ultimately, Stripped Down sounds like a rough mix waiting for all the polish that made Double Fantasy feel like a full, complete album. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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John Lennon – Walls And Bridges (1974/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon – Walls And Bridges (1974/2014)

FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 46:20 minutes | 996 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock | Label: © Capitol Records , Calderstone Productions | Source: HDTracks
Recorded: July–August 1974 at Record Plant East, New York

Walls And Bridges? That was beautiful, one of the best albums he made. It’s one of the masterpieces of classic rock.” Yoko Ono, 2010

By the summer of 1974, John had been living apart from Yoko for nearly a year. Quartered in Los Angeles as he entered a boisterous spell tagged “Lennon’s Lost Weekend”. He had mislaid his creative focus, too. There were chaotic attempts to record an album of rock’n’roll oldies with Phil Spector, party to forestall a lawsuit from one Morris Levy.

The Spector sessions collapsed, and the legendarily eccentric producer withdrew, taking the tapes with him. This “oldies” project quietly shelved, John consoled himself in the company of famous friends and a lover, May Pang, an assistant to the Lennons in New York. He arranged to produce an album for the great singer Harry Nilsson, called Pussy Cats. And slowly, amidst the turmoil, John regained his musical purpose.

One aspect of this recovery was a return to New York, the city that still connoted, for John, serious work and responsibility, unlike the rootless hedonism that beguiled him in LA. The Record Plant East was booked and work began on the fresh material John was amassing. Like its predecessor Mind Games, the new album would be self-produced. As to the musicians, among familiar names like Jim Keltner, Klaus Voormann and Nicky Hopkins was a host of Lennonesque pseudonyms (Dr. Winston O’Reggae, Rev. Fred Ghurkin, Booker Table & The Maitre D’s, etc.) and a couple of luminary guests that included Nilsson and the hottest rock star of the moment, Elton John.

It was Elton who spotted the chart-topping potential of “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night”, a storming track to which he contributes. Indeed, he won his friendly bet that this song would be Lennon’s first solo Number 1 – for which his “price” would be a guest appearance by John at Elton’s Madison Square Garden show. The album’s second highlight is the mesmerising “#9 Dream”, which is both a nod to John’s abiding affinitywith that number and a brilliant evocation of the lucid state between sleep and awaking. Its untranslatable “Ah! Bowakawa poussé, poussé” is, in fact, a mysterious fragment from such a dream.

Those songs already nudge Walls And Bridges towards greatness but they are only two of many. There is the charming diversion “Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)”, and that rarest of rarities, a Lennon instrumental, this one called “Beef Jerky”. A fascinating curio is “Steel And Glass”, so reminiscent of Imagine‘s “How Do You Sleep?”, and plausibly assumed to be about John’s estranged manager Allen Klein.

By far the biggest part of the album, though, is occupied by music of loss and loneliness. It is impossible not to characterise Walls And Bridges as “the Lost Weekend album”. We are pointed to the thought that such unhappiness did, at least, give John a musical shot in the arm. Be that as it may, Walls And Bridges really is the great overlooked record of John Lennon’s solo years.

This digital remaster of Walls And Bridges was transferred from Protools 192 kHz (Prism AD8) into an analogue EMI TG12410 desk, into Sadie at 96kHz/24bit.

Walls and Bridges was recorded during John Lennon’s infamous “lost weekend,” as he exiled himself in California during a separation from Yoko Ono. Lennon’s personal life was scattered, so it isn’t surprising that Walls and Bridges is a mess itself, containing equal amounts of brilliance and nonsense. Falling between the two extremes was the bouncy Elton John duet “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” which was Lennon’s first solo number one hit. Its bright, sunny surface was replicated throughout the record, particularly on middling rockers like “What You Got” but also on enjoyable pop songs like “Old Dirt Road.” However, the best moments on Walls and Bridges come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on “Going Down on Love,” “Steel and Glass,” and the beautiful, soaring “No. 9 Dream.” Even with such fine moments, the album is decidedly uneven, containing too much mediocre material like “Beef Jerky” and “Ya Ya,” which are weighed down by weak melodies and heavy over-production. It wasn’t a particularly graceful way to enter retirement. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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John Lennon – Rock ‘N’ Roll (1975/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon – Rock ‘N’ Roll (1975/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 39:49 minutes | 828 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Rock  | Label: © EMI Records | Calderstone Productions | Source: HDTracks
Recorded: A&M Studios, October 1973; Record Plant Studios (East), 21–25 October 1974

Rock ‘n’ Roll is the sixth studio album by John Lennon. Released in 1975, it is an album of late 1950s and early 1960s songs as covered by Lennon. Recording the album was problematic and spanned an entire year: Phil Spector produced sessions in October 1973 at A&M Studios, and Lennon produced sessions in October 1974 at Record Plant Studios (East). Lennon was being sued by Morris Levy over copyright infringement of one line in his song “Come Together”. As part of an agreement, Lennon had to include three Levy-owned songs on Rock ‘n’ Roll. Spector ran away with the session recordings, later being involved in a motor accident, which left the album’s tracks unrecoverable until the beginning of the Walls and Bridges sessions. With Walls and Bridges coming out first, featuring one Levy-owned song, Levy sued Lennon expecting to see Lennon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll album.
The album was released in February 1975, reaching number 6 in both the United Kingdom and the United States, later being certified gold in both countries. The album was supported by the single “Stand by Me”, which peaked at number 20 in the US, and 30 in the UK. The album’s cover was taken by Jürgen Vollmer during the Beatles’ stay in Hamburg. The album was Lennon’s last until 1980; he took a hiatus from recording to raise his son, Sean Lennon.

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John Lennon – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 39:33 minutes | 843 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock | Label: © Capitol Records , Calderstone Productions | Source: HDTracks
Recorded: 26 September – 23 October 1970, Abbey Road Studios & Ascot Sound Studios

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band is the debut solo album by John Lennon. Produced by Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Phil Spector, the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Ascot Sound Studios and used the same musicians and production team as Yoko Ono’s album Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band. Considered to be one of Lennon’s best solo albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was ranked at #23 by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The cliché about singer/songwriters is that they sing confessionals direct from their heart, but John Lennon exploded the myth behind that cliché, as well as many others, on his first official solo record, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Inspired by his primal scream therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, Lennon created a harrowing set of unflinchingly personal songs, laying out all of his fears and angers for everyone to hear. It was a revolutionary record — never before had a record been so explicitly introspective, and very few records made absolutely no concession to the audience’s expectations, daring the listeners to meet all the artist’s demands. Which isn’t to say that the record is unlistenable. Lennon’s songs range from tough rock & rollers to piano-based ballads and spare folk songs, and his melodies remain strong and memorable, which actually intensifies the pain and rage of the songs. Not much about Plastic Ono Band is hidden. Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles — “Mother,” “I Found Out,” “Working Class Hero,” “Isolation,” “God,” “My Mummy’s Dead” — illustrate what each song is about, and charts his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It’s an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon’s catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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John Lennon – Mind Games (1973/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon – Mind Games (1973/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 41:02 minutes | 875 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Rock, Pop Rock Label: © Capitol Records | Calderstone Productions | Source: HDTracks
Recorded: Record Plant Studios, New York, July–August 1973

John Lennon’s Mind Games was recorded and released in 1973. The album was Lennon’s first self-produced album and although it was initially poorly-received by critics, it was eventually met with favorable reviews. Mind Games reached #13 on the UK charts and #9 in the US, where it was also certified gold. Lennon wrote all of the songs for the album in one week, and the album was recorded in July and August of 1973.
This digital remaster of Mind Games was transferred from Protools 192 kHz (Prism AD8) into an analogue EMI TG12410 desk, into Sadie at 96kHz/24bit.

After the hostile reaction to the politically charged Some Time in New York City, John Lennon moved away from explicit protest songs and returned to introspective songwriting with Mind Games. Lennon didn’t leave politics behind — he just tempered his opinions with humor on songs like “Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple),” which happened to undercut the intention of the song. It also indicated the confusion that lies at the heart of the album. Lennon doesn’t know which way to go, so he tries everything. There are lovely ballads like “Out of the Blue” and “One Day (At a Time),” forced, ham-fisted rockers like “Meat City” and “Tight A$,” sweeping Spector-esque pop on “Mind Games,” and many midtempo, indistinguishable pop/rockers. While the best numbers are among Lennon’s finest, there’s only a handful of them, and the remainder of the record is simply pleasant. But compared to Some Time in New York City, as well as the subsequent Walls and Bridges, Mind Games sounded like a return to form. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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John Lennon – Imagine (1971/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

John Lennon – Imagine (1971/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 39:44 minutes | 862 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet
Genre: Rock | Label: © EMI Records | Calderstone Productions | Source: HDTracks
Recorded: 11–16 February and 23 June – 5 July 1971, at Ascot Sound Studios, Surrey; Abbey Road Studios, London; Record Plant, New York

Imagine is the second album by John Lennon. Recorded and released in 1971, it tended towards songs that were gentler, more commercial and less primal rock than those on his previous album, the critically acclaimed John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The album is considered the most popular of his works. In 2012, Imagine was voted 80th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Just a year on from the implosion of the Beatles, John Lennon’s life had yet to settle. In 1971, while lawyers picked over the remains of his old band, he travelled with Yoko to meet her family in Japan, and to America pursuing custody of Kyoko, her daughter by ex-husband Tony Cox. Within John’s own, ever-enquiring mind, a war of ideas was raging.

In London and New York he had been drawn to the radical underground, where hippy ideals of the 1960s met the hard-edged politics of a new decade. But this being John, nothing was cut and dried. In parallel he was cultivating an almost mystic line of thought, much of it inspired by the art and poetry of Yoko Ono.

John’s first post-Beatles album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, had emerged in late 1970 to critical praise but only muted approval in the marketplace. The conclusions were, to him, pretty obvious. He might be a trail-blazer in all kinds of ways, but he was at heart a populist – an artist but also an entertainer. The task was to frame his deas in music that listeners loved and took inside their hearts Plastic Ono Band had been admired, but often from a distance. The role of the next album – the record that became Imagine – was an attempt for maximum communication offering hopes to the bleeding, battered world.

On the musical level he certainly succeeded. Imagine is the best-loved album of his solo career, while its title track is perhaps his most revered. By contrast to its austere predecessor the new music had melodies in abundance, and colour and variety. It had flashes of broad humour and moments of absolute joy.

This digital remaster of Imagine was transferred from Protools 192 kHz (Prism AD8) into an analogue EMI TG12410 desk, into Sadie at 96kHz/24bit.

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Jef Neve – One (2014) [B&W 24-44,1]

Jef Neve – One (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 74:43 minutes | 698 MB | Genre: Classical
B&W Society Of Sound @ SOS-77

After an incredible journey as the driving force behind the award-winning jazz group, Jef Neve Trio, acclaimed Belgian pianist Jef Neve has recorded his debut solo album, One, at the legendary Abbey Road Studios…

The album, One, was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and after more than a decade travelling around the world, playing with all sorts of different bands, and being the driving force behind the award-wining jazz group the Jef Neve Trio, this is Neve’s first release as a solo artist. One piano, a pianist and the silence of the hall. Jef Neve has written a number of unique interpretations and new pieces too. The musical wealth extremely striking, so don’t be surprised if you recognize Goose or Joni Mitchell.

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Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexander Melnikov – Beethoven: Complete Works for Violoncello & Piano (2014) [eClassical 24-96]

Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexander Melnikov – Beethoven: Complete Works for Violoncello & Piano (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 138:42 minutes | 2,22 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Digital booklet | Source: eClassical

There are curiously few complete cycles of Beethoven’s five sonatas for cello and piano, given that the five, unlike the violin sonatas, were almost equally distributed among the composer’s early, middle, and late periods, and that each one was in its way a formally daring work. The last two sonatas in particular, with their mysteriously lyrical third relations and compact finales, fugal in the case of the Cello Sonata No. 5 in D major, Op. 102/2, might be regarded as having inaugurated Beethoven’s late period. Cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and pianist Alexander Melnikov (here playing a modern piano unlike on the trio recording the pair made with violinist Isabelle Faust) have an efficient, quick, tough style that beautifully fits these late sonatas. They do well in the two sonatas of Op. 5, not trying to impose an artificial shape on what must have been at the time shockingly long opening movements. The Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69, might want a bit more broad middle-period sweep and lyricism, but you get several bonuses here: a trio of variations for cello and piano from the years around 1800 that are almost never played, and uncannily direct sound from Harmonia Mundi, working in Berlin’s Teldex Studios. A worthy Beethoven cello set in every way.

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