Michael Tilson Thomas, The San Francisco Symphony – The Mahler Project (2010) [24-96]

Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco SO – The Mahler Project (2010)
11 Releases | FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 907:08 minutes | 16,1 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: SFS Media | Covers & Digital booklets
Genre: Classical

Michael Tilson Thomas is among today’s foremost interpreters of Mahler, and critic Mark Swed, writing in the Los Angeles Times, has called MTT and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra “The most exciting Mahler combination anywhere right now”. The Mahler Project in Studio Master including all of Mahler’s Symphonies and Songs as recorded by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas. This collection’s recordings have been awarded a combined seven Grammy Awards.

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Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – Bridge The Gap (2013) [HRA 24-44,1]

Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – Bridge The Gap (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 46:10 minutes | 564 MB
Official Digital Download – Source: HighResAudio.com | Front cover
Genre: Hard Rock

‘Bridge The Gap’ – the first studio album of award winning guitar legend Michael Schenker featuring his new band Temple Of Rock. The band which consists of ex-Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell and bassist Francis Buchholz, vocalist Doogie White (ex-Rainbow) and Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards) marking the first time Schenker, Rarebell and Buchholz appeared on the same album together since the Scorpions’ 1979 Lovedrive.

Michael Schenker as composer and Doogie White as Lyricist managed to get a balance between songs that are heavy, fast and melodic, complimented by his signature guitar solos. Result: Powerful songs steeped in shades of dark and light. Musically and lyrically, the new album shows a re-energised guitarist at the top of his game, surrounded by top drawer musicians.

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Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:22 minutes | 932 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover
Genre: Pop

Off the Wall marked Michael Jackson’s departure from Motown Records and was an enormous success, and has been listed among the Definitive 200 Albums of All time by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (#80). A blend of R&B, pop, disco, funk, and soul, Off the Wall had five singles, four of which peaked in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album was produced by Quincy Jones and featured the songwriting talents of Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney, in addition to Jackson and Jones. To date, the album is certified 8x Multi-Platinum in the US (8 million units sold) and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

Michael Jackson had recorded solo prior to the release of Off the Wall in 1979, but this was his breakthrough, the album that established him as an artist of astonishing talent and a bright star in his own right. This was a visionary album, a record that found a way to break disco wide open into a new world where the beat was undeniable, but not the primary focus — it was part of a colorful tapestry of lush ballads and strings, smooth soul and pop, soft rock, and alluring funk. Its roots hearken back to the Jacksons’ huge mid-’70s hit “Dancing Machine,” but this is an enormously fresh record, one that remains vibrant and giddily exciting years after its release. This is certainly due to Jackson’s emergence as a blindingly gifted vocalist, equally skilled with overwrought ballads as “She’s Out of My Life” as driving dancefloor shakers as “Working Day and Night” and “Get on the Floor,” where his asides are as gripping as his delivery on the verses. It’s also due to the brilliant songwriting, an intoxicating blend of strong melodies, rhythmic hooks, and indelible construction. Most of all, its success is due to the sound constructed by Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, a dazzling array of disco beats, funk guitars, clean mainstream pop, and unashamed (and therefore affecting) schmaltz that is utterly thrilling in its utter joy. This is highly professional, highly crafted music, and its details are evident, but the overall effect is nothing but pure pleasure. Jackson and Jones expanded this approach on the blockbuster Thriller, often with equally stunning results, but they never bettered it.

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Michael Jackson – Bad (1987/2014) [Acoustic Sounds 24-96]

Michael Jackson – Bad (1987/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 48:14 minutes | 1,0 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover
Genre: Pop

Bad is the seminal masterpiece by one of music’s most influential artists. It has sold over thirty-five million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling albums of all time. The album includes five #1 singles: “Bad,” “Man In The Mirror,” “Dirty Diana,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Michael Jackson is among two artists to have five #1 singles from one album. The GRAMMY Award-winning album is included on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

The downside to a success like Thriller is that it’s nearly impossible to follow, but Michael Jackson approached Bad much the same way he approached Thriller — take the basic formula of the predecessor, expand it slightly, and move it outward. This meant that he moved deeper into hard rock, deeper into schmaltzy adult contemporary, deeper into hard dance — essentially taking each portion of Thriller to an extreme, while increasing the quotient of immaculate studiocraft. He wound up with a sleeker, slicker Thriller, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not a rousing success, either. For one thing, the material just isn’t as good. Look at the singles: only three can stand alongside album tracks from its predecessor (“Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”), another is simply OK (“Smooth Criminal”), with the other two showcasing Jackson at his worst (the saccharine “Man in the Mirror,” the misogynistic “Dirty Diana”). Then, there are the album tracks themselves, something that virtually didn’t exist on Thriller but bog down Bad not just because they’re bad, but because they reveal that Jackson’s state of the art is not hip. And they constitute a near-fatal dead spot on the record — songs three through six, from “Speed Demon” to “Another Part of Me,” a sequence that’s utterly faceless, lacking memorable hooks and melodies, even when Stevie Wonder steps in for “Just Good Friends,” relying on nothing but studiocraft. Part of the joy of Off the Wall and Thriller was that craft was enhanced with tremendous songs, performances, and fresh, vivacious beats. For this dreadful stretch, everything is mechanical, and while the album rebounds with songs that prove mechanical can be tolerable if delivered with hooks and panache, it still makes Bad feel like an artifact of its time instead a piece of music that transcends it. And if that wasn’t evident proof that Jackson was losing touch, consider this — the best song on the album is “Leave Me Alone” (why are all of his best songs paranoid anthems?), a tune tacked on to the end of the CD and never released as a single, apart from a weirdly claustrophobic video that, not coincidentally, was the best video from the album.

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Meshell Ndegeocello – Comet, Come To Me (2014) [HDTracks 24-44.1]

Meshell Ndegeocello – Comet, Come To Me (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz |  Times – 47:04 |  514 MB
Genre: R&B, Soul | Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks

Mercurial and masterful, Meshell Ndegeocello has survived the best and worst of what a career in music has to offer. She has eschewed genre for originality, celebrity for longevity, and musicals trends for musical truths. She has lived through the boom and bust of the industry and emerged just as she entered – unequivocally herself. Fans have come to expect the unexpected from Meshell, and faithfully followed her on sojourns into soul, spoken word, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, rock, all bound by a lyrical, spiritual search for love, justice, respect, resolution, and happiness.

Groove driven, infectiously melodic and lyrically meditative, Meshell’s latest album, Comet, Come To Me, finds her returning to the same well of creativity that launched her career. Her 11th release, it is possibly a culmination of all previous work: lush, vocal, seeking, wise, collaborative, and driven by the signature bounce and precise pocket of Ndegeocello on bass. The album features special guests Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) and Doyle Bramhall, along with long-time collaborators Christopher Bruce (guitar) and Jebin Bruni (keys), and Earl Harvin on drums. Assured of her place as an authentic musical thinker and an uncompromising artist, Comet continues to discover, examine, and explore all that music has to offer her and how she can return the gift.

“Comet, Come To Me was a little labor but a lot of love. It was made with my favorite collaborators, and it felt good to channel the sounds in my mind after having Nina in residence for a while,” ” says Meshell, referencing her last album, a tribute to Nina Simone. She is especially inspired by the collaborative process that comes with making an album. “When I’m writing songs and recording the demos, I’m having my own awesome experience in my attic, or on a plane, or in a hotel room, just making my beats on my laptop. Then I get together with these people that I have an intimate musical relationship with, and we bring the songs to life.”

In addition to the twelve new tracks on Comet, Come To Me, fans of Meshell’s will no doubt be intrigued by her cover of Whodini’s “Friends”, a seminal hip-hop track originally released in 1984. Commenting on her inspiration for choosing this song, Meshell explains: “I play with a lot of people who play improvisational music and jazz, and I thought it would be fun to take something that they might think of as easy or straight-forward, and do something different with it. I also like how language is morphing, and ‘friends’ is such a malleable word, I don’t even know what it means anymore.”

A vast array of influences have informed all of Meshell’s albums, and there are traces of her native go-go, hip hop, R&B, new wave and punk in each. Each album has been a step away from the last, each used as a chance to investigate and integrate new sounds and ideas, and fans have been treated to everything from the deep-funk of Plantation Lullabies to the raw and confessional Bitter to the melodic, lyrical Weather. Possessed with instrumental gifts as diverse as her interests, Meshell composed, arranged and produced a jazz record in 2005. Her most recent release paid homage to Nina Simone, a kindred musical spirit and among Meshell’s most cherished inspirations.

A bass player above all else, Meshell brings her warm, fat, and melodic groove to everything she does and has appeared alongside the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston, and Chaka Khan. As for her own bass-playing influences, she credits Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Family Man Barrett, and Stevie Wonder. Meshell was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Bass Player magazine and remains one of few women who write the music, sing the songs, and lead the band.

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White, Weimann, Tempo Rubato – Meine Seels: German Sacred Music (2014) [HRA 24-96]

White, Weimann, Tempo Rubato – Meine Seels: German Sacred Music (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.22 GB
Genre: Classical | Official Digital Download – Source: Highresaudio

On Meine Seele (My soul), Canadian countertenor Matthew White breathes new life into sacred cantatas by German composers who preceded Bach. Listeners are invited to rediscover forgotten works by such 17th-century German masters as Franz Tunder, Christoph Bernhard, and Philipp Heinrich Erlebach. Alexander Weimann is one of the most sought after harpsichordists, ensemble directors, soloists and chamber music partners of his generation.

The ensembleTempo Rubato owes its name to the musical practice of diverging from the unrelenting and gradual rhythm for a short period of time in a piece, allowing for solo freedom. Its historical origins go back to baroque sources, where it was first detected.

This recording features the compositions of JS Bach, Franz Tunder, Erlebach, Rosenmuller, JM Bach, Bernhard, Muffat, and Schutz.

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Tunder, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Rosenmüller, …
Performer: Matthew [Countertenor Vocal] White
Conductor: Alexander Weimann
Orchestra/Ensemble: Tempo Rubato

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McCoy Tyner Quartet – New York Reunion (1991) [HDTracks 24-96]

McCoy Tyner Quartet – New York Reunion (1991)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 74:38 minutes | 1,66 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: | Digital Booklet
Genre: Jazz

An instantly classic jazz album, and not so incidentally, the best jazz audiophile album ever made. This is one profoundly natural-sounding presentation of an acoustic jazz quartet. New York Reunion is the finest album in years liy both Tyner and Henderson, and it’s Chesky’s most important work to date.

Pianist McCoy Tyner and tenor-saxophonist Joe Henderson had not recorded together in over two decades when they finally met up for this Chesky Records’ album. With strong assistance from bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, Tyner and Henderson make for a perfect team on four originals by group members (including the tenor’s classic “Recorda Me”) and four superior standards. The advanced hard bop music is as rewarding as one would expect.

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McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy (1967/2012) [HDTracks 24-192]

McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy (1967/2012)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 37:21 minutes | 1,52 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: | Digital Booklet
Genre: Jazz

The Real McCoy is an engaging and energizing set that finds the extraordinary pianist in peak form. The album highlights his development as both a composer and a performer. For his first album on Blue Note Records, McCoy is joined by Elvin Jones, Ron Carter and Joe Henderson. The quartet performs riveting tunes including “Passion Dance” and “Four by Five”.

Two and a half years after his last recording as a leader for Impulse, pianist McCoy Tyner emerged to start a period on Blue Note that would result in seven albums. Having left John Coltrane’s Quartet in late 1965, Tyner was entering a period of struggle, although artistically his playing grew quite a bit in the late ’60s. For this release, the pianist is teamed with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Elvin Jones for five of his originals. Highlights of the easily recommended album include “Passion Dance,” “Four by Five,” and “Blues on the Corner”.

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McCoy Tyner – Expansions (1969/2014) [HDTracks 24-192]

McCoy Tyner – Expansions (1969/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 46:26 minutes | 1,6 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Jazz

Of pianist McCoy Tyner’s seven Blue Note albums of the 1967-1970 period, Expansions is the most definitive. Tyner’s group (comprised of trumpeter Woody Shaw, altoist Gary Bartz, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter on cello, bassist Herbie Lewis, and drummer Freddie Waits) is particularly strong, the compositions (four Tyner originals plus Calvin Massey’s “I Thought I’d Let You Know”) are challenging, and the musicians seem quite inspired by each other’s presence. The stimulating music falls between advanced hard bop and the avant-garde, pushing and pulling at the boundaries of modern mainstream jazz.

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Mastodon – Remission (2002/2014) [HDTracks 24-96]

Mastodon – Remission (2002/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 50:30 minutes | 1,18 GB
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover
Genre: Rock

On the heels of the release of Mastodon‘s latest album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, comes word that their debut album will be reissued. The deluxe version of Remission will be released August 5 via Relapse Records…

Mastodon exploded onto the scene in 2002 with their debut LP Remission, a record that would immediately establish them as one of the most important bands in the history of heavy music. Combining an unparalleled level of musicianship together with songwriting sophistication that simply did not exist amongst their peers, were it to be initially released today Remission would still be nothing short of mindblowing. Over a decade after its release Remission remains one of the most important titles in Relapse’s rich catalog, and it is with that appreciation that the label is proud to present a super-deluxe version of this classic record put together with the cooperation of the band themselves. The album has been fully remixed by original producer and engineer Matt Bayles and remastered by Ed Brooks at RFI.

The Atlanta-based foursome play a very aggressive stoner rock hybrid that at times reminds of the non-death metal excursions by Entombed, but with a complex slant that nears prog rock proportions. The jazzy drumming and clean guitar that go on for most of “Ol’e Nessie” is a Southern-sounding sprawl that could be the Allmans if the brothers bludgeoned with the “Whipping Post” instead of just tying folks up to it. Even though their homeland’s influence is more subtle the rest of the way, it’s still there if you look beneath the Sab-Stooge-Motörhead Gristle, and that, along with the technical ecstasy, helps make Mastodon stand out amongst a ton of other post-Man’s Ruin Stonehenge rockers.

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