Every so often I hear things that really standout, in various ways, sometimes in more than one way, e.g emotionally, musically, lyrically, production values, musicianship, tone. And I thought I’d share these here.
Typically these are recordings that made me take notice and I definitely want to hear them again.
Fair warning, some of these recordings need a music system that I would describe as accurate and highly resolving, ideally able to reproduce evenly frequencies down to 40hz, better still 35hz, with ease, and clarity all the way to 20Khz with balance on the top end and pretty accurate in between these extremes. Otherwise the detail is lost. You need this to hear the triangles without obstruction.
The 1st recording that touched me, recently, enough to highlight here, was Gregory Porter’s – One night only live at the Royal Albert Hall – 2018.
Comments: This is not about perfection, as on a highly resolving system, I can hear things that I would have loved to correct in a studio recording, but for a live recording, this album captures the essence of being there, in row 1, sitting right in front of Gregory, pretty much the same distance between us, as the distance between me and the speakers I am listening to.
A recording which you want to turn up, and hear in surround, the limitations of stereo as good as it is are apparent. But that’s the best you can do, a recording that makes you want to hear more.
This is probably the best recording of his voice I have heard, not in its accuracy, but in its authority and clarity. It’s difficult to go back and listen to other things after this.
What I’m trying to say is : this is a keepsake, a beautiful recording, that simply propels you into the virtual Albert Hall, to the limit of your speaker placement.
Very open, life like, very clever use of compression, which is not immediately apparent. IMHO, this is a watermark to compare any other recordings to. This one will test your sound system to the limit, especially in low end clarity… And the audience hand claps are like they are all around you. Superb….
It’s warts and all, some plosives are apparent, but worth the excess to assure capture of that rich deep dark bold masculinity, I think Gregory’s nickname should be the Lion King, cos on this album, he roars majestically , from the speakers, to overwhelm every sense. There is nothing I have ever heard that sounds quit like this. The smoothness of the orchestra, as an enveloping backdrop, to the rasp in his every syllable, periodically explosive, there may never be anything else like it again.
One night only. Very true, I doubt that Gregory himself can repeat this. You can sense the inspiration and elation – it must have been a special day for him also.
This would be even more amazing to hear in 24bit/96Khz…..
It is the most dynamic collection of music I have heard for some time, for the geeks, it had crest factors as high as 13.5 dB. A lot of pop music has a dynamic range – by crest factor of only 6 dB. This one needs turning up the sound system, so you can hear it as intended – life like, but then the voice becomes larger than life. What a performance – one man and an orchestra – absolutely no backing vocals. Awesome..
You can listen to this a million times, and hear something different every time, the 1st time I heard it, I did not bother with the words, the music was simply so enthralling. Oh and no Auto Tune (pitch correction by a computer algorithm) in this one, you can hear all the inflections, its a man singing. He’s human, enhanced by microphone and audio production technology, to sound flatteringly superhuman on this recording, imperfectly perfect. This is real music. and live – no retakes….
On the songs that I know well from his previous albums, there is no sense of formulaic sameness, each song is fresh, and this applies to his vocal delivery. I must check – did he win a Grammy for this one, cos if he did it was well deserved.
Seriously this sets a new standard… for what modern recording and expert musicianship can achieve.
Good music is definitely not dead. Vintage, Classic, yet rendered with space age sonic authenticity.