Music Disc Reviews

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Ken Richardson  |  Oct 08, 2013  |  0 comments
Whatever you think of Miley Cyrus these days, she does have you thinking. In other words, she got your attention. Which, in the current era of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and elder shockwoman Britney Spears, is the first order of business, and I do mean “business.”

The thing is, what if she’d gotten our attention another way?

Ken Richardson  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  0 comments
Also reviewed: Joan Jett, Haim, Quasi, and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Plus: the scoop on boxes from Rush and Vladimir Horowitz. And much more.

Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 16, 2007  |  0 comments
Wide Open
The Doors’
Perception breaks on through. The Doors’ self-titled first album was in an altogether darker, more theatrical, sinful, and sexual musical realm than anything heard in 1967. It was one hell of a debut, and, 40 years on, it still sounds incredibly unique. The band functioned with a collective spirit, and its four members—Jim Morrison, vocals; Ray Manzarek, keyboards; Robbie Krieger, guitar; and John Densmore, drums—shared songwriting and arranging credits on most of the tunes.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Apr 13, 2007  |  0 comments
We’ve all made mix “tapes” of our favorite tunes, and now the Beatles’ producer, Sir George Martin, has made his—Love was conceived for the Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas stage show. Or perhaps Love was inspired by the infamous Danger Mouse/Jay-Z mashup, The Grey Album, but, whatever the reason, I’m thrilled with Love, it’s all you need, after all.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Aug 16, 2006  |  0 comments
It's not just cables anymore.

It was in the late 1970s when Noel Lee, a laser-fusion design engineer, started a little company, Monster Cable, which soon spawned, well, the entire high-end audio-cable industry. Over the decades, Monster maintained their dominance in the cable market as it branched into power conditioners and M•Design home theater furniture. Now, with Monster Music, they're jumping into the record business with a line of High Definition Surround SuperDiscs. Noel Lee's passion for multichannel music—and frustration with the stillborn SACD/DVD-Audio formats—pushed him to extract the best sound from Dolby- and DTS-encoded music. Monster Music claims that the SuperDiscs are the first music releases certified by THX for sound quality.

Adrienne Maxwell  |  Apr 05, 2006  |  0 comments
This DVD-Audio has been a long time coming. Many a planned release date came and went before this one finally hit the shelves back in November, but I assure you that it was worth the wait. The high-resolution, multichannel audio soundtrack allows an already great album to realize its full potential.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Dec 16, 2005  |  0 comments
I guess I shouldn't have counted him out, but, after Neil Young's last few efforts—Silver & Gold, Are You Passionate?, and Greendale—I was starting to feel like he was in a rut. The recordings had their high points, all right; but, when I'm in the mood for Neil, I'll spin Comes a Time or Sleeps With Angels. Although I've only spent a few weeks with Prairie Wind, I think it'll stand beside Young's earlier triumphs. It's that good.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Dec 02, 2005  |  0 comments
Brothers in Arms was a monster seller of the 1980s and yielded Dire Straits' MTV anthem, "Money for Nothing." Beyond the pop successes, the band's music was coveted by audiophiles for its sweet sound; back in the day, I wore out countless Brothers in Arms LPs at my job selling high-end audio gear. Reconnecting with the music in this new 20th Anniversary Edition, remastered to DualDisc, was a total pleasure.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Oct 04, 2005  |  0 comments
Sergei Rachmaninov's second piano concerto demands both a virtuoso pianist and a huge, supple orchestral sound. It gets both in this multichannel recording from Deutsche Grammophon, which pairs Lang Lang with a venerable Russian orchestra.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Oct 04, 2005  |  0 comments
Isn't it a little odd to squeeze a whole symphony orchestra into a living room? The great thing about chamber music is that it's designed to be played in the home, correctly scaled to your personal space. It's best heard live, of course-but, if you can't invite musicians over for tea, the next best thing might be to feed your universal disc player this well-recorded pair of Beethoven chamber works.
Chris Lewis, Geoffrey Morrison  |  Oct 28, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 28, 2005  |  0 comments
HT's audio and video editors share the test and demo discs they use to put a system through its paces.

Audio Test Discs

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 26, 2005  |  0 comments
Imagine the score for a 33-minute film noir with nonstop action. That's Béla Bartók's The Miraculous Mandarin in a nutshell, although it's actually a one-act dance suite. The story concerns three thugs who use a young woman as bait to rob a series of victims, culminating in the Mandarin. They murder him—but not before he consummates his passion for the girl. The plot had enough sex and violence to get it banned immediately upon its 1926 debut in Köln, Germany.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 04, 2005  |  0 comments
Even people who know nothing about Brazilian music recognize the urbane Latin syncopation of the bossa nova beat. The language, of course, is Portuguese, not Spanish. The key names in Brazilian pop music are Jobim and Gilberto; in orchestral and chamber music, Villa-Lobos. Arguably, the most alluring voice in Brazilian music today belongs to Rosa Passos, who partners with jazz bassist Ron Carter on this audiophile release.
Adrienne Maxwell  |  Jan 11, 2006  |  First Published: Jul 11, 2005  |  0 comments
I don't know how many banjo players you can name, but I can come up with two: Bela Fleck and Roy Clark (and I had to cheat to get Roy Clark-before a trip to IMDB.com, it was "that guy from Hee-Haw"). Even if you've never heard of Bela Fleck, you've probably heard his music, as he's appeared on a ton of pop and jazz albums. He's won Grammys in the country, jazz, classical, and pop categories, but his roots are pure bluegrass.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 11, 2006  |  First Published: Jul 11, 2005  |  0 comments
A trembling flute figure drifts into the air and hangs there, sensuously falling and rising. It's one of the most celebrated moments in orchestral music, and the free, blissful, agile development that follows does not disappoint. Nor does Telarc's multichannel recording of this sumptuous work.

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