Rush – Rush – 40th Anniversary (1974/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Rush – Rush – 40th Anniversary (1974/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 40:21 minutes | 1,34 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Mercury Records
Recorded: Early-1973 (beginning of the sessions) and November 1973 (ending of the sessions) at Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto, Canada

Rush was released in March of 1974 and is the first studio album by Canadian rock band Rush. It was produced by the band and was well-received upon its release. It peaked at #105 on the US Billboard 200 chart and has been certified Gold by both the RIAA and CRIA.

The album that started it all. Original drummer John Rutsey performed all drum parts on the album. The recording sessions were produced by Dave Stock at Eastern Sound in Toronto, recorded late at night because the studio rates were the cheapest (they recorded the album on their own dime). The band was unhappy with the quality of the first sessions, so they moved to Toronto Sound Studios and produced the next sessions themselves to get a better sound.

“The first stab at the album was done in eight hours following a gig. We were warmed up after the show, and it came very easy. Then it was recut in November in about three days, including mixing time. We were lucky in that most of the songs came in two or three takes.” – Alex Lifeson, 1974

Rather than sign with an existing label, Rush created their own, Moon Records, and pressed a few thousand copies. Cleveland DJ Donna Halper at WMMS was instrumental in making “Working Man” a cult hit and helped bring the band to the attention of Mercury Records.

Rush’s self-titled debut is about as uncharacteristic of their renowned heavy progressive rock (perfected on such future releases as Hemispheres, Moving Pictures, etc.) as you can get. Instead of complex arrangements and thoughtful lyrics, Rush sounds almost identical to Led Zeppelin throughout — bluesy riffs merged with “baby, baby” lyrics. The main reason for the album’s different sound and direction is that their lyricist/drummer, Neil Peart, was not in the band yet, skinsman John Rutsey rounds out the original line-up, also consisting of Geddy Lee (bass/vocals) and Alex Lifeson (guitar). It’s nearly impossible to hear the anthemic “Finding My Way” and not picture Robert Plant shrieking away, or Jimmy Page riffing on the jamfest “Working Man,” but Rush was still in their formative stages. There’s no denying that Lee and Lifeson were already strong instrumentalists, but such predictable compositions as “In the Mood” and “What You’re Doing” prove that Peart was undoubtedly the missing piece to the puzzle. While longtime Rush fans can appreciate their debut because they never returned to this style, newcomers should stick with their classics from later years. –Greg Prato

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Rush – Caress Of Steel – 40th Anniversary (1975/2015) [HDTracks 24-192]

Rush – Caress Of Steel – 40th Anniversary (1975/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192kHz | Time – 45:24 minutes | 1,49 GB | Genre: Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Mercury Records
Recorded: June–July 1975 at Toronto Sound Studios in Toronto, Canada

The third studio album by Rush, Caress Of Steel was released in 1975 and featured the singles “The Necromancer: Return of the Prince” and “Lakeside Park”. The album was certified Gold in the US and Canada by the RIAA and CRIA.

Although the band initially had high hopes for Caress of Steel, it was considered a disappointment by the record company. The album eventually became known as one of Rush’s most obscure and overlooked recordings. Die hard fans feel the record is underrated.

Caress of Steel featured long pieces broken up into various sections and long solo passages. It is often considered notable for the inclusion of the band’s first two epic pieces, “The Necromancer” and “The Fountain of Lamneth.”

“I Think I’m Going Bald” was written for Kim Mitchell, who at the time was the frontman of the band Max Webster and a close friend of the band. Track three, “Lakeside Park,” was a reference to a park in St. Catharines, Ontario where Neil grew up and worked during the summer as a teenager.

When Rush finished their third album, Caress of Steel, the trio was assured that they had created their breakthrough masterpiece. But when the album dropped off the charts soon after its release, it proved otherwise. While it was Rush’s first release that fully explored their prog rock side, it did not contain the catchy and more traditional elements of their future popular work — it’s quite often too indulgent and pretentious for a mainstream rock audience to latch onto. And while Rush would eventually excel in composing lengthy songs, the album’s two extended tracks — the 12½-minute “The Necromancer” and the nearly 20-minute “The Fountain of Lamneth” — show that the band was still far from mastering the format. The first side contains two strong and more succinct tracks, the raging opener, “Bastille Day,” and the more laid-back “Lakeside Park,” both of which would become standards for their live show in the ’70s. But the ill-advised “I Think I’m Going Bald” (which lyrically deals with growing old) borders on the ridiculous, which confirms that Caress of Steel is one of Rush’s more unfocused albums. –Greg Prato

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Various Artists – Round Nina – A Tribute to Nina Simone (2014) [Qobuz 24-44.1]

Round Nina – A Tribute to Nina Simone (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz | Time – 00:52:14 minutes | 564 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Classics Jazz France , Verve Music Group
Recorded: All songs recorded Studio PlusXXX, Paris, France. Excepted Lilac Wine recorded Studio Alhambra Colbert, Rochefort, France & Black Is The Color (Of My True Love’s Hair) recorded Studio Gang, Paris, France. All strings recorded at Studio Alhambra Colbert, Rochefort, France. Mixed Studio PlusXXX, Paris, France, August 2014. Mastering Bernie Grundmanmastering, L.A. USA, September 2014

Round Nina is a tribute to Nina Simone. Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21 st , 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, Nina Simone led several lives, drifting wherever she triumphed or foundered in her dreams of becoming Clara Haskil, Katherine Dunham, or an American Miriam Makeba, perhaps. Maria Callas, too. While Nina lived, she never tasted the recognition that was offered to her models. Too wild. Bared. Unstable. Agressive.
Her violence (contained or not) was intimidating. She would go against the currents introduced or followed by her peers. In the end, her century unfairly turned its back on the woman who instigated a form of “Great Black American Music” that was her own, daring, synthesis of blues, soul and classical music. Her most ample merits? They were only fully recognized after her passing, in the south of France in 2003. While she lived, there were so few to admit that the art of Nina Simone con- cerned principally hope, rather than tears or revolt; it was a universal grammar that would be her sole legacy, one for which her memory is still celebrated today, everywhere.

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Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn (2015) [PonoMusic 24-96]

Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow Is My Turn (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 43:49 minutes | 961 MB | Genre: Folk , Blues
Official Digital Download – Source: PonoMusic | © Nonesuch Records
Recorded by Vanessa Parr at The Village, Los Angeles, CA; and House Of Blues, Nashville, TN; Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA; “Angel City” Recorded by Mike Piersante; Additional Recording by Jason Wormer and Chris Wilkinson

Stepping away from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens teams up with producer T-Bone Burnett for her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn. Giddens previously worked with Burnett on Lost on the River, an album where musicians added new music to lyrics Bob Dylan left behind during The Basement Tapes, and she also appeared in a concert he shepherded for the Coen brothers’ folk revival opus Inside Llewyn Davis — two projects steeped in history, as is Tomorrow Is My Turn. Here, Giddens expands upon the neo-string band of the Carolina Chocolate Drops by crafting an abbreviated and fluid history of 20th century roots music — along with the older forms that informed it — concentrating on songs either written or popularized by female musicians. As a torchbearer, not a revivalist, Giddins isn’t concerned with replicating either the sound or feel of the past, so she comfortably slips a subdued hip-hop drum loop into “Black Is the Color,” a standard here credited to Nina Simone, and blurs country and soul boundaries on Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You.” These two are the most overt tamperings with tradition but Giddens is sly throughout Tomorrow Is My Turn, giving Elizabeth Cotten’s “Shake Sugaree” a deceptively lively little lilt and casting Dolly Parton’s “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” as a rolling progressive folk tune that creates an invisible bridge between past and present. Much of Giddens’ work on Tomorrow Is My Turn demonstrates the benefits of such careful, deliberate sculpting, making it a nice fit for Burnett’s handsome acoustica. Thankfully, the austereness that sometimes creeps into T-Bone’s new millennial work is nowhere to be found; there’s a warmth that radiates from Giddens, which is crucial to the success of the record. Her easy, welcoming touch is a balm every time Tomorrow Is My Turn is played, but it’s upon successive spins that the intricacies of Giddens’ construction — not to mention her subtle political messages — begin to take hold. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Various Artists – Red Hot + Bach (2014) (Deluxe Version) [HDTracks 24-96]

Various Artists – Red Hot + Bach (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 02:05:34 minutes | 2,33 GB | Genre: Classical, Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Masterworks

NEW YORK, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Red Hot + Bach charts a new pathway into the musical universe of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Through the collaboration of performers, producers, DJs and artists from around the world and across the spectrum of contemporary music, different facets of Bach’s centuries-old masterpieces are transformed with fresh energy and modern virtuosity that know no limits. Red Hot + Bach is available everywhere June 17, 2014, from Sony Music Masterworks.

The creators of Red Hot + Bach embrace Bach as a living artistic force, as real and as vital today as he was when he lived (1685-1750). They range across nineteen freely imagined tracks from mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, The Punch Brothers), singer/songwriters Gabriel Kahane and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), jazz legend Ron Carter,DJ/producer King Britt and the Icelandic band amiina, to imaginative classical artists such as the Kronos Quartet, composerMax Richter, violinist Daniel Hope and organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter.

Red Hot, a not-for-profit production company, has been shaking up great music in just this way for twenty-five years, in projects that celebrated the music of geniuses as diverse as Anthony Carlos Jobim (Red Hot + Rio), Cole Porter (Red Hot + Blue), a meeting of jazz and hip-hop artists (Red Hot + Cool), Duke Ellington (Red Hot + Indigo), and Fela Kuti (Red Hot + Riot). The work of Red Hot continues to serve a social purpose – raising awareness and money in the ongoing fight to stop AIDS. For more information please visit www.redhot.org.

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Rachmaninov, Grieg, Liszt – Romantic Sonatas – Boris Giltburg (2013) [HRA 24-96]

Rachmaninov, Grieg, Liszt – Romantic Sonatas – Boris Giltburg (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:12:17 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: highresaudio.com | © Orchid Classics
Recorded: Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, Herefordshire, UK on 1-3 July 2012

After Vladimir Horowitz’s 1982 barnstorming Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Sonata on last month’s BBC Music Magazine cover disc, I was struck by the space and the sense Boris Giltburg finds in this titan. Admittedly he embraces the composer’s compact 1931 revision where Horowitz played a splashier composite version of that and the 1918 original. But this makes total, thematically interconnected sense. The passages of melancholy introspection bathe in a gentle air, and the climaxes – especially the bell ringing clamour at the heart of the first movement – never disappoint, though Giltburg’s is not an obvious bravura. I’d have liked a little more of the exuberant hoof-stampings in the finale, where Simon TrpΩeski’s EMI alternative – my top choice of the 1931 version for Radio 3’s Building a Library some years back – scores highest.

There’s no denying the fullness and resonant bass register of Giltburg’s pianism as recorded in Andrew Keener’s splendid production. Virtuosity never swamps clarity of argument, and the flyaway transcendentals gild especially the reprise in the opening Allegro moderato of Grieg’s early Sonata – a piece Giltburg tells us in his fine notes that his grandmother used to play. Its scherzo is a winner. The ultimate challenge of Liszt’s hell and heaven gets perhaps the finest performance of all, showing us the structure and effortlessly painting the poignancy and pride of redemption. With Giltburg, Yevgeny Sudbin and Denis Kozhukhin leading the way, we’re already in a new golden age of grand pianism, with hopefully many years of amazement ahead. –David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

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Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances / Stravinsky – Symphony in three movements – London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (2012) [B&W 24-48]

Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances / Stravinsky – Symphony in three movements – London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz | Time – 58:33 minutes | 528 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Bowers & Wilkins | © LSO Live
Recorded: May 2009 at Barbican, London, United Kingdom

The Symphonic Dances, an orchestral suite in three sections, was the last work Rachmaninov completed and proved one of his most popular compositions. Although rarely sentimental, it draws on many of the composer’s reminiscences of Russia, from where he emigrated in 1917. It is characteristically lyrical with vivacious rhythmic sections, reminiscent of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and the composer’s own Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini.
Gergiev couples the Symphonic Dances with another work in three movements by a Russian émigré to the USA. Stravinsky’s Symphony in three movements was written between 1942-45 and was the first work Stravinsky completed after his arrival in the USA. Although he claimed it was a ‘War Symphony’, his true inspiration was typically vague.

‘How beautifully blended and responsive [the LSO] are under Gergiev’s direction … there is much to enjoy here, not least an orchestra that is at the very top of its game under its charismatic conductor’ (International Record Review)
‘Valery Gergiev is one of the most exciting conductors recording today. His previous Rachmaninoff Second Symphony for LSO Live was a knockout, and both of these symphonic works will likely take first place [of multichannel options]’ (Audiophile Audition,)

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Sergei Rachmaninov – Heritage: Works For Two Pianos – Alexander Kobrin, Frederic D’Oria-Nicolas (2013) [Qobuz 24-88.2]

Sergei Rachmaninov – Heritage: Works For Two Pianos – Alexander Kobrin, Frederic D’Oria-Nicolas (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88.2kHz | Time – 01:23:55 minutes | 1,32 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Fondamenta
Recorded: Arsenal Concert Hall of Metz, France on 21-24 February 2012

Frédéric D’Oria-Nicolas and Alexander Kobrin present a musical event: “Heritage”, a double album devoted to Rachmaninov’s works for two pianos. The two pianists met at Moscow’s Gnessin Academy as students of Tatiana Zelikman. In 2005, while Alexander moved to the United States and won the prestigious Van Cliburn competition, Frederic was named “Artist of the Year” by the Resmusica magazine. In 2009, they performed to a full house in a recital for two pianos at the Salle Gaveau in Paris. The recital was broadcast in 39 countries on the French television channel Mezzo.
It was then that the idea of recording Rachmaninov’s two Suites and his Symphonic Dances – the composer’s last work – was conceived. The project was designed to paint a kind of portrait of Rachmaninov through these three works for two pianos written at different times in his life, and thereby create a reflection of all his work.

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Richard Strauss – Tone Poems – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck (2013) [HDTracks 24-176.4]

 

Richard Strauss – Tone Poems – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/176.4kHz | Time – 59:24 minutes | 2,18 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | © Reference Recordings
Recorded: June 8 – 10, 2012 at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh, PA

Thrilling live performances from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in brilliant audiophile sound! This release is planned as the first in a series of multi-channel hybrid SACD recordings on FRESH! from Reference Recordings. Several additional recordings for the PITTSBURGH LIVE! series are already completed and we expect to release two per year. The next title planned is Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony, for spring 2014.

“Richard Strauss was a master when it comes to combining orchestral timbres with deep philosophical concepts, and his orchestration skills are second to none. Even in the darkest and quietest passages of this work there glows an energy like a candle in the black of night. The final ten minutes or so are most impressive, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra players produce a sound to match. And if the mountain of sound they build isn’t enough of a jaw-dropper, it’s in the final blissful minute or so, that the ever so soft brass section shines so much they almost glow…Definitely a series off to a great start and one to follow.” –Jean-Yves Duperron, Classical Sentinal (Canada)

“Now that the Pittsburgh Symphony has signed on with this pioneering label, let us hope they get some more exposure…because they are clearly one of the very best orchestras in the world right now…Finally, a Eulenspiegel that actually sounds as merry as the title suggests ends the disc on a delightful high. Again, the brass play their hearts out, but the other sections are just as well captured and virtuosic. The winds dance, the strings sing, and not for a moment are you bored. Again, Honeck has a really strong sense of what he wants to do; he let’s his orchestra do the talking and stays out of the way…Superlative, and a great start to an exciting new partnership.” –Brian Wigman, Classical.net

“Honeck is already well known as an extremely fine Strauss conductor, but also one with very definite ideas on how these pieces should be interpreted…his admiration for these works is self-evident from the incandescent playing that he elicits from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra…The 5.1 channel recording was made and post-produced in 64fs DSD and the disc also includes HDCD encoding. This is without doubt an impressive start to what promises to be an exciting showcase for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra” –Graham Williams, SA-CD.net

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – 14 Studio Albums (1984-2008) [FLAC24-48]

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – 14 Studio Albums (1984-2008)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz | Time – 16:10:52 minutes | 10.5 GB | Genre: Rock
Source: DVD | © BIS Records AB

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds:
Current lineup
Nick Cave – vocals, piano, organ, harmonica, percussion, electric guitar, string arrangements (1983–present)
Thomas Wydler – drums, percussion, vocals (1985–present)
Martyn P. Casey – bass, vocals (1990–present)
Conway Savage – piano, organ, vocals (1990–present)
Jim Sclavunos – percussion, drums, organ, melodica, vocals (1994–present)
Warren Ellis – violin, fender mandocaster, loops, mandolin, tenor guitar, viola, bouzouki, accordion, flute, lute, piano, programming, percussion, string arrangements, vocals (1997–present; as guest, 1994–1997)
Former members
Mick Harvey  – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, organ, percussion, piano, loops, string arrangements, vocals (1983–2009)
Blixa Bargeld – electric guitar, slide guitar, pedal steel guitar, keyboards, vocals (1983–2003)
Hugo Race – electric guitar, vocals (1983–1984)
Anita Lane – lyrics (1984)
Kid Congo Powers – electric guitar, slide guitar (1986–1990)
Roland Wolf (deceased) – piano, organ, electric guitar, vocals (1986–1989)
James Johnston – organ, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals (2003–2008; as guest, 1994)

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