The decision to award a Qobuzism is made unanimously by the Qobuz team. In most cases, a Qobuzism is given to a “crossover” album in the best sense of the term, in that it will speak to all of our users.

By awarding a Qobuzism, we aim to draw attention to standout albums across a wide range of genres. In theory a Qobuzism is intended to alert you to an artist’s debut which has ventured into unexplored territory; but albums which merit this distinction can, in practice, come from anywhere! In each instance Qobuz endorses the album entirely, working with the artist in order to give them the greatest exposure possible – both within and outside of Qobuz. 

What we love is to give our Qobuz users the chance to discover recordings which are not necessarily what they would normally go for.

Albums

134 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 2017 | La Castanya

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Psych pop, surf music, shoegaze and dream pop isn’t just confined to America or the UK. Even in Barcelona they master the notions of this blend of electronic notes and dreamer harmonies. There in the heart of the Catalonian capital, we find two Chileans and two Spaniards; all experts in sugary melodies oozing with dreamlike guitars and reverb, The Zephyr Bones have concocted a superb sun-drenched record. The aptly named album Secret Place is a little island of hedonistic pop where the crystalline six-strings and muffled voices make the rules. A refined treaty that brings together a blend of their contemporary influences (DIIV, Beach House, Black Lips, Wild Nothing, Real Estate, Beach Fossils) while retaining a very personal tone. This warm and sunny Qobuzissime is more than perfect to keep you toasty as winter comes creeping in... © MZ/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 13, 2017 | Universal Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
In the latest edition of the hipster series, Lawrence Rothman seems to be the world champion. An androgynous face (and voice) made for the glossy pages of fashion magazines, a passion for the noteworthy transformations in Cindy Sherman’s photography (Rothman changes his look with every clip!) and packed full with friends who came to lend a helping hand (Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, Angel Olsen, Marissa Nadler, Duff McKagan from Guns’N’Roses, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, Tom Krell a.k.a. How To Dress Well, the bassist Pino Palladino, Kristin Kontrol from Dum Dum Girls…the list goes on!). To our ears, Rothman sounds like the soul dandy/R&B from the 80s. Talk Talk often comes to mind, as well as David Bowie, Depeche Mode or sometimes Prince and, a little closer to home, Ariel Pink and How To Dress Well. But under the glitzy varnish, this début album holds songs with staggering melodies. Some compositions bring a rather cathartic style of writing with which Rothman displays his personal quest for an identity that he defines as non-binary (gender queer). This Californian, who was born in Los Angeles 35 years ago and who claims to love Charles Bukowski just as much as R. Kelly and Tupac Shakur as much as Leonard Cohen, has assured that The Book Of Law is one of the most moving albums of 2017. A highly refined Qobuzissime. © MZ/Qobuz
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Quartets - Released October 13, 2017 | BMC Records

Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Homer, James Joyce and Kafka, these are the three authors Peter Eötvös has chosen for his Sirens Cycle, composed 2016. It is a string quartet with an added soprano coloratura voice, just as Schönberg did in his Second Quartet, Berg in the vocal version of his Lyrische Suite, or Wellesz in his Sonnets for Elisabeth  Barrett-Browning.  The composer illustrates three very different literary versions of the mythological Ulysses meeting the sirens, each entrusted to the singer in the respective languages they were written in : Greek, English, German. The first and longest part, Joyce, has seven movements in which Eötvös freely transcribes Joyce’s "interior monologue". On the other hand, Homer’s Odyssey and Kafka’s Silence of the Sirens uses the exact original text, even though Homer is assigned a Lied form, Kafka a kind of recitative. “Each language, by its rhythms and own consonants, its accents and its inner architecture, implies a very peculiar musical character”, says Eötvös. With regards to his first quartet, Korrespondenz composed in 1992, it is a kind of “mini-opera” without singers or singing. Its starting point was an exchange of letters between Mozart and his father Leopold in 1778, when the 22-year-old composer was unhappily living in Paris. In the quartet’s three “scenes” the viola represents Wolfgang and the cello Leopold, both with music that mimics the inflexions of what they write in their letters, while the two violins attempt to mediate between them. Eötvös assigns each vowel of the text to an interval, diphthongs become glissandi, while the consonants are expressed by different ways of playing; for instance, ‘r’ is always a trill or a tremolo. This technique would appear to place severe restrictions on the composer, but Eötvös feels that the more he has to compose within limitations, the wider opens the store of infinite possibilities. The work is divided into three scenes: Leopold trying to dissuade his son from pursuing his passion for the soprano Aloysia Weber; Wolfgang complaining that the Parisians are indifferent to his music; and Wolfgang tells his father of his mother’s death in Paris. The score contains the complete text but the listener does not know it, yet the string instruments communicate in a startlingly human fashion. Eötvös’s music “reads between the lines”, so to say. A fascinating composer, two of his fascinating works, both played with passion by the Calder Quartet, joined by Audrey Luna for the Sirens. © SM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 6, 2017 | Abbey Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
England possesses a unique capacity to reinvent the wheel of rock’n’roll. Although it seems to have been said time and time again, the country regularly gives birth to young groups that come to add their unique stone to an already solidly constructed building. And even if the influences may seem obvious from the outset, each personal touch elbows its way through to the front. Pale Seas belongs to this breed of musicians - the type whose music bursts on the palate from the very first taste. By the sea in Southhampton, the singer Jacob Scott, guitarist Graham Poole, bassist Mathew Bishop and drummer Andrew Richardson drew from the early albums from the likes of Radiohead and Suede in order to establish their own rock’n’roll rulebook. But even though this distinct taste for the English rock of the 90s jumps to mind throughout Stargazing For Beginners, this British foursome manages to draw up a guitar landscape, making their first album truly original. Largely recorded at night in an old Abbey, here’s a Qobuzism disc that teases the animal instincts of guitar band fans. A true revelation. © CM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 29, 2017 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
For their first recording, the Arod Quartet has selected Mendelssohn, one of the pillars of the quartet's art, in particular his masterpiece, the Fourth Quartet in E Minor of June 1837 - more Mozartian than Beethovian in its structure and development, to be sure, even if it bears Mendelssohn's hallmark from the first note to the last. To find the influence of the deaf genius, we have to look in the Second Quartet Op. 13 of 1827, a work written shortly after Beethoven's death, the full extent of whose innovations Mendelssohn was only just discovering. The Arod Quartet continues its album with Four Pieces for Quartet, assembled posthumously and numbered Op. 81 by Mendelssohn's successor at the Gewandhaus, Julius Rietz, and based on four disparate pieces from various eras. Finally, the album closes with the Arod's re-interpretaton of a Lied, sung here by Marianne Crebassa, whose theme takes in several passages from Beethoven note for note, a real homage from the young composer to his illustrious elder. It’s worth noting that the Arod Quartet, only founded in 2013, has shot to global prominence, having performed at the Paris Philharmonic, the Louvre Auditorium, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Metz Arsenal, and further afield the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Zurich Tonhalle, London's Wigmore Hall, as well as in Tokyo, Finland, Switzerland... the list goes on! © SM/Qobuz
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Electro - Released September 21, 2017 | Houndstooth

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
At first glance, post-rock and techno were hardly made for one another. Guy Andrews would beg to differ. By fusing his two passions, the two major influences on his music, the young British producer has created his second album, Tåke, which means fog in Norwegian. This is an atmospheric journey, viscerally linked to nature. Andrews says plainly that the single Fjell was inspired by a walk on Cadair Idris, a Welsh mountain. It was inspired by the climbs. The challenge of the ascent. And the pride in reaching each peak... Another escapade, this time in Norway, offered added fuel for his record. It gave a power that has influenced this captivating work from beginning to end. Guy Andrews plays with atmospheres (his first works were very much rooted in ambient music) and alternates between Northern Lights and violent hurricanes. Each composition on Tåke is in fact a kind of miniature sonic documentary, inspired by the writer's many wanderings. Here, even more than on his 2016 debut album Our Spaces, Andrews is a painter. He is sketching out an electro landscape with diverse textures and hypnotic effects. No surprise that the Londoner's art has been hailed by big names such as Massive Attack, Scuba, Bonobo, Max Cooper and others. Tåke depicts a vast sound tapestry, mottled by rhythms and lit up by the colours that Andrews offers. Fog has never looked so radiant. © MD/Qobuz
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Africa - Released September 8, 2017 | Bonsound Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Breaking down borders, a total musical mix, eclecticism à go go: without a doubt, Pierre Kwenders is a creative of his time. With Makanda At The End Of Space, The Beginning Of Time the Canadian multi-instrumentalist of Congo origin (he was born in Kinshasa in 1985 and has lived in Quebec since 2001) unites rumba from his home soil with pop and electro. A multitude of languages bubble from his mouth: Lingala, French, English, and Tshiluba. Kwenders devises a stupendous pan-African symphony that one would be tempted, out of sheer laziness, to label as ‘world music’ - a term that brings him out in a rash! Produced by Tendai Maraire from Shabazz Palaces (an intriguing rap group made up of Ishmael Butler, otherwise known as Palaceer Lazaro who sings on a track in this album), Makanda At The End Of Space, The Beginning Of Time commands the listener to simply let go. Allow yourself to be carried along by the versatile rhythms and changing melodies where Congolese rumba meets contemporary sounds. An incredibly groovy nimbleness that doesn’t obscure the powerful intention behind this album. For Pierre Kwenders, this is above all a homage to the important women in his life. Four strong personalities: his mother, grandmother, aunt and little sister. It follows that the Tshiluba word ‘Makanda’ translates as ‘force’. A human and sensory kaleidoscope for a completely unique album.
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Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
"Handel goes wild", that’s putting it mildly: in Christina Pluhar’s album, he goes wild to quite some extremes! Indeed the Austrian harpist, theorbist, and lute player picked a handful of Handel’s (and a bit of Vivaldi’s) arias, concerto movements and overtures, and put them not only in the hands of baroque musicians of the L’Arpeggiata Ensemble, but also of half a dozen jazz musicians of various styles. The result is a reinterpretation, in turn gypsy, Klezmer, salsa, New Orleans jazz, lounge, blues and so on, that everyone can either love or hate depending on their own degree of adaptability. Undeniably using a clarinet and piano in this language can be confusing for some… But Pluhar’s approach is simple: Handel himself reused, reshaped, tinkered, disguised, ransacked and rewrote, using both the works of other composers and his own, always with his own personal approach and the most immediate style of his time. So why not do the same nowadays?! In any case, this mixture of baroque instruments and voices with 20th-century instruments and genres is breathtaking. The artists invited include clarinettist Gianluigi Trovesi, pianist Francesco Turrisi and bass player Boris Schmidt in the field of jazz, but also countertenor Valer Barna-Sabadus and soprano Nuria Rial. © SM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 21, 2017 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 7, 2017 | Vertigo Berlin

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime

Rap - Released June 30, 2017 | Pineale Prod - Grand Musique Management

Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2017 | ATO Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
First of all, that voice. Anything but refined, Nick Hakim's singing is cloaked in a kind of otherness. A distant song, as if from another galaxy: the American who grew up in Washington before casting anchor in Brooklyn unfurls around her a diaphanous soul. And it certainly is soul that lies at the heart of her magnificent first album Green Twins. It is as if Nick Hakim had resuscitated Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, but taking care to make them over a little, with a dash of folk here, or a blush of pop there. Through the melody there runs here an unexpected rhythm or there a surprising instrument: her musical imagination is vast enough to take in South American music she heard at home (her mother is Chilean and her father is Peruvian), or hip-hop from her teenage years... On Roller Skates, a deliberately rickety drum-machine backs up a piercing guitar, itself sickly-sounding, while Nicky Hakim's voice, in a halo of reverb, transforms the song into a waking dream. Every melody on Green Twins is bathed in a softness (never blandness) that reinforces the music's dreamlike quality. Because even if Hakim's voice could thrill fans of Curtis Harding, Cody Chesnutt, Roland Gift and Bilal, the music here is all very much her own, so much so that one wonders if she has in fact invented the gospel music of the third millennium. To be sure, this is the most spellbinding Qobuzissime of the year. © MZ/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 14, 2017 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Vespers for the Blessed Virgin by Monteverdi – Vespro della Beata Vergine – is, so to speak, a work made up of many works. The composer seems to have put everything he had into this piece, which appeared in Venice in 1610. It is as if he wanted to use it as an immense catalogue of all his skills: his facility with ancient and modern styles; with the strict and the flamboyant; with instrumentals, vocals, choruses, solos, parody masses, the magnificat, psalms... Perhaps he wanted to use the work as a CV in Venice, where he would indeed land a job as choirmaster in 1613? The fact that several passages are written for two choirs would seem to support this idea. Elaborate job application or not, in this work Monteverdi has produced one of his most durable masterpieces, which forms a bridge between the late Renaissance - with passages taken from prima practica, the style developed by Palestrina - and the nascent Baroque style, and its seconda practica which was so dear to Monteverdi, and which would free the use of dissonance from its old straitjacket. For this recording, Giuseppe Maletto has brought together the rich talents of La Compagnia del Madrigale and the Cantica Symphonia and La Pifarescha ensembles, because it takes a whole lot of talent to give the Vespers the treatment it deserves.
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French Music - Released April 7, 2017 | Barclay

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
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Folk - Released February 24, 2017 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Rhiannon Giddens has always been keenly aware of the arc of American history -- the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the 2000s band she once led, was designed as a critique of the darker moments of Americana -- but Freedom Highway, her second solo album, puts her intent into perspective. Where her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was essentially a covers album, gaining its importance through context, Freedom Highway relies on originals, but the past is never far behind. This should be expected from Giddens, who is at her core a folk artist building upon -- and expanding -- tradition, but it's still startling to realize how she establishes a vernacular at the outset of Freedom Highway, then explores all of the possibilities of African-American folk music on the album. "At the Purchaser's Option," the song that inaugurates Freedom Highway, explicitly evokes slavery, and it's spare and haunting, standing in contrast to the title-track closer, a funky number that illustrates how far African-Americans have traveled during the course of the history of the United States. Throughout Freedom Highway, Giddens plays with this idea -- how oppression gave way to freedom -- and it's not just through her lyrics, but how the music expands as the album reaches its conclusion: at the outset, it seems austere, but by its conclusion it's a robust celebration of all the weird, wonderful parts of America. This isn't an accident. Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase "Black Lives Matter" can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine