Closer than a Brother

Depth. I could write this word a thousand times, and it captures the essence of the “Brothers in Arms” album by Dire Straights.

Again I caveat, you need to hear this on a really good highly resolving  sound system, no headphones in my humble opinion can do justice to this work of irreplaceable art.

One more masterpiece where the words are not important, for you to enjoy it (it could have been sung in Swahili and you would still enjoy it without limitations) .

Layers of sonic overlay, lathered from front to back of the virtual hall(Z), from left to right(X), from bass to tinkly sparkly percussion(Y), were talking 3 dimensions here, of spectacular sonics laid bare in front of you. The melody is a 4th dimension, harmonies a 5th, lyrics a 6th, arrangement a 7th, and putting it all together its transparency and indelible impact and residue of emotions, is akin to an 8th dimension. It should not be possible – from a stereo source. I never felt the need for a higher definition version, extremely realistic presentation, truly like being in the studio – a cliche but true- the band is right there in front of you.

Whatever audio processing has been applied was done skillfully augmenting rather than taking away, balance, always an easy listen, what an ear test/sonic exploration. Textures ad infinitum, soft , hard, mushy, spiky, subdued, struck, pinched, tension, release, enveloping – 2 speakers felt like I had a surround system, filling the whole space and room with sound, and I could hear every note from anywhere, beyond space, beyond time, effortlessly, like having a magnifying glass.

Unconstrained, like peering through a completely opaque vista, no screens between you and the performers – live, dare I say it, this is better, much better than watching it live, cos you can enjoy this on your own, without an audience interrupting soak in all the sounds.

I had listened to a few tracks, before my mind attempted to consider the genre, but that was now irrelevant – it did not matter, this was art, using a medium to express something very human, a message from one mind to another, not needing an intermediary or translation. And the message was understood, without having to think of meaning, felt not just heard, every thump, snap, growl, pick, and synthesizer zips appearing in Money for Nothing, from beyond momentarily like shooting stars. Really serous about the caveat, on a good system, all these things stand out, not subtle at all, bold, and you wonder, I never heard all these sounds before. Is this really what Soul to Soul means, telepathic communication with the musicians, and the speakers literally disappeared, all I was left with was the music and its impact.

I listened to another album by a leading lady of pop which was released in 2008, and then I understood, this other pop album which was very well received almost sounded like a mono version, in comparison, gone were the highs and lows, and gone were the dimensions, and gone was the meaning.

Brothers in Arms should be compulsory listening for Audio Engineering students – this is how good a finished work of recorded audio can sound, like butter.

Art that conceals the science and engineering within it. No seams. Timeless. Very Satisfying.

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