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

136 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 12, 2018 | Kitsune Musique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The story of Parcels is both a childhood dream and a wonderful human adventure. Formed just four years ago, for what is the “first real band” for each of its members, the quintet (music-lovers and Steely Dan-addicts) quickly sold out their first concerts in Byron Bay, a surfing spot on the East coast of Australia. But despite being half a world away, the smell of Berlin nights lured them over to try their luck in Europe. Good move: the international music hub that is the German capital lead them to a signing with the Parisian label Kitsuné. After two EPs where they demonstrated their compatibility, Thomas Bangalter came to congratulate them and give them some advice following a concert in Paris, producing their single Overnight a few months later. Now equipped with Daft Punk’s totem of protection, the Aussies have launched their debut album with an emphasis on the collective – symbolised by the title of the album, Parcels – a pop-funk wave that sounds like an album by The Beatles with Nile Rodgers on the guitar. Amongst these twelve tracks (three of which have already turned heads: Tieduprightnow, Bemyself and Lightenup), you realise that this group really is a group in the true sense of the word and that these guys love nothing more than jamming out. The lyrics on Lightenup were written collectively – proof that Parcels plan to head down this road together (or at least that their lead singer isn’t a complete megalomaniac). And as long as they keep their spirits up this high, nothing will stop them from cruising on down this sunny highway. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released October 5, 2018 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Qobuzissime
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Electro - Released October 5, 2018 | [PIAS]

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Following a fallow period in 2017, the German producer of Italian origin David August launched his own label in 2018 (99CHANTS), on which he this year released an ambient album called DCXXXIX A.C., as well as this album, D'ANGELO. Inspired by Italian master painter Caravaggio, David August uses the light-dark technique throughout the six tracks (+ an interlude). The 9-minute-long THE LIFE OF MERISI  starts with a 90s techno/trance beat, a Moroder synthesiser and a deep, hollow voice, before dying off and coming back to life with the clear harmonics of an acoustic piano, his favourite instrument. The ballad 33CHANTS and the title song D'ANGELO were composed with the same electro/acoustic approach. An approach David August has embraced since his very first album Times, in which he reconnected with the piano following a few “functional” maxis for Diynamic Music, Solomun’s label. Prior to D’ANGELO August showed off his talent with two exceptional live performances at the Boiler Room in 2014 and 2016 (accompanied by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra for the second performance). This album envelops us in a bubble that feels just right. If we were to remain trapped in this bubble for eternity, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. © Smaël Bouaici
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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
The first solo album from the excellent youngster Julien Behr, who has already played at the Paris Opéra, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Bordeaux and Lyon Opera Houses and cities such as Salzburg, Vienna, London, Cologne and many other great venues as well as making recordings of various lyrical works including L’Enfant et les sortilèges with Bavarian Radio. As debut albums go, he has made a daring choice in selecting some of the more unknown areas of French opera rather than the more popular pieces from Don José, Romeo, Faust and other big names. Instead, he has taken some gems from the Romantic repertoire (if we extend it up to the First World War for the sake of argument) which are little-heard of. From Gounod, he has selected Cinq-Mars ; from Bizet, La Jolie fille de Perth (one of Bizet's most exquisite passages); from Thomas, Mignon; and then, better-known but still uncommon, Léhar The Merry Widow; Godard, Jocelyn; and Delibes Lakmé. His diction is utterly impeccable; his transparent and airy voice evokes Heddle Nach or Jussi Björling, which serves the repertoire perfectly. The album closes with a few hits from the Romantic repertoire such as Vous qui passez sans me voir by Charles Trenet – well, the lyrics are from the Fou chantant, while the music is by Johnny Hess and Paul Misraki, and the song was originally written for Jean Sablon – evidence of Behr's love of lighter genres, for sure. . © SM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Jazz Village

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
Dying today. In Creole, mo jodi. The title says it all for Delgres’ first album, an impeccable trio that could easily be compared to what would happen if the Black Keys dropped their anchor in the Antilles… Delgres for Louis Delgrès, an abolitionist infantry colonel born in Saint-Pierre, famous for his anti-slavery proclamation, a high point of Guadeloupe’s resistance against Napoleonic troops who wanted to restore the slave trade. When Louis Delgrès and his 300 men realised all was lost when faced with Bonaparte’s soldiers, they decided to commit suicide using their explosives, by virtue of the revolutionary emblem live free or die… However, this historic name doesn’t constrain Pascal Danaë, Baptiste Brondy and Rafgee to only be a “band with a message”. Delgres proudly waves its name and the ideals that go with it, but focuses first and foremost on making rock with a touch of garage, fed with some primitive blues, raw soul music and sounds from New Orleans. Combining dobro guitar, drums and sousaphone – an atypical tuba popular in the carnival fanfares of the Antilles and New Orleans −, the trio assert their originality. In his writing too, Danaë goes back and forth − with great ease − between Creole and English, blurring the lines between his influences, which he has always treated with taste throughout his long career (he was for instance involved in Rivière Noire, best World Music album at the 2015 Victoires de la Musique). A stylistic kaleidoscope, illustrated by the ballad Séré mwen pli fo, sung in duo with Morcheeba’s Skye Edwards. In its edgier moments as well as nostalgic and absorbing sequences, Mo Jodi talks about History, but also hope, and builds bridges between continents and centuries to create a blissful journey of rock’n’blues’n’soul that will take you by the guts! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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House - Released August 31, 2018 | Neverbeener Records - Grand Musique Management

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
Kiddy Smile wants to bring house to the masses. While vintage house has come roaring back over the last few years, and twenty years have passed since French Touch conquered the charts, this totem of the ballroom scene and Parisian voguing makes no secret of his ambitions for this first album. After putting audiences on notice with 2016's Let A B!tch Know, Kiddy Smile, on the much-publicised label Defected, is aiming higher and brings in Robin S, Armand Van Helden and Mojo, his points of references for songs, aiming perhaps for a career like that of Sylvester, American gay icon who wrote the global hit You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) in 1978. But that doesn't mean he's giving up on house, which forms the foundation of almost all the tracks on this album, in particular the vocal house of Ron Trent and Frankie Knuckles in particular, who sent the genre mainstream in the US of the 1990s, with their remixes of soul/pop hits. Can the model work in France? We'll see. But Kiddy Smile, assisted by Julien Galner of Château Marmont on production, brings all his talents to the table, like on Be Honest featuring Rouge Mary, a superbly soulful track, or One Trick Pony, produced by Boston Bun (Ed Banger), an alluring pop/R&B crossover. Two tracks with great potential, accompanied by club hits that are sure to fill dancefloors (House of God, Burn the House Down), and the single Dickmatized, which recalls the powers of the Italian fidget duo Crookers. All the elements of success are brought together here. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Electro - Released July 27, 2018 | Brainfeeder

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
His second EP You’ll Understand, released in 2016 on Distant Hawaii, a sub-division of the London label Lobster Theremin (spearhead of lo-fi house) and his melancholic yet rousing track Talk To Me You’ll Understand made it clear: Ross From Friends has gold at his fingertips! He has spent his time over the past two years fine-tuning the tiniest details for this 50-minute album that is sure to satisfy those who have fallen for the charm of his silky house, as well as ensure him a new base of devout fans. Ross From Friends’ music is somehow addictive, as confirmed by Thank God I’m A Lizard, a shamanic house with Pink Floyd-like guitars, while Wear Me Down sounds more fluid and reminiscent of the Argentine Ernesto Ferreyra and Luciano's sweaty dancefloor label Cadenza. In addition to the hypnotic aspect of his minimal techno, Ross From Friends adds an extra touch of soul, drawn from his family history. His parents were keen travellers, the kind of Englishmen to roam around Europe in the 80s with a sound system to diffuse the first electronic experiments (hi-NRG, italo-disco…). The Knife offers a kind of soulful synth-pop that plunges us straight back into the atmosphere of the 80s, before he switches up the BPM for the techno track Project Cybersyn. "Every time I started working on a song, I was immediately caught up in the most emotional aspect of things," he explains. It's certainly one of the most important parts of the work around the album, trying to tap into those emotions, that emotional instability." This approach is reminiscent of that of another British producer of the new generation, Leon Vynehall, who built his latest album Nothing Is Still around the history of grandparents with an equally moving result. The superb track Parallel Sequence and its breakbeats also show that the Englishman is not fixated on the kick and that, unlike so many others, he does not put the drum machine at the centre of his music. It would be difficult to define a rotary axis, as his songs seem to emanate from an idea, from a concept. The rest of the album is just as bewitching, and we let ourselves be carried from one end of the twelve tracks to the other in this cotton blanket that Ross From Friends has wrapped us in. It's only summer, but this is probably already one of the albums of the year and for sure a perfect Qobuzissime record. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released June 22, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Qobuzissime
Why yes, it is still possible to discover Bernstein scores, or in this case the chamber version of A Quiet Place, adapted by Garth Edwin Sunderland, conducted and recorded for the first time by Kent Nagano, at the Montreal Symphony House. The final stage score by the American composer, first performed at the Houston Grand Opera in 1983, it was revisited by the librettist Stephen Wadsworth, and the composer who added several fragments from the one-act piece Trouble in Tahiti, from 1951; this addition would see two new performances (the Scala in Milan, and Washington). Another draft – this one definitive – was performed at the Vienna Opera House, conducted by the composer, in 1986. Fascinating in more ways than one, rather like a modern-day Intermezzo by Strauss, the work depicts American society by way of an existential crisis faced, first by one couple, (Trouble in Tahiti) and then by one family. Bernstein borrowed from Mahler for the structure, with a final movement whose "grave nobility" recalled the final movements of the Third and NinthSymphonies by his much-admired forebear. As is often the case with this composer, Bernstein's mix of styles (jazz, chorale, Broadway, Mahler, Berg, Britten, Copland…) provides an explosive cocktail, which has about it more of a musical conversation than grand opera – and, paradoxically, that's what makes this work so unique... And so charming. This is well worth a re-discovery, this time under the baton of Bernstein's faithful former pupil, Kent Nagano, at the head of top-flight solo singers, who point the way to that "quiet place", where "love will teach us harmony and grace". © Franck Mallet/Qobuz
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Maghreb - Released June 15, 2018 | Glitterbeat Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
An escapee from the collective Bargou 08, Tunisian electro musician Sofyannn Ben Youssef took on the pseudonym Ammar 808 to release his hair-raising first album. As with 808 State, English pioneers of the Manchester acid movement, the name is a reference to the legendary TR 808 drum machine, which was the pride of any electro or hip-hop producer's arsenal in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And while this machine teams up with traditional North African instruments (guembri lute, gasba flute, zukra pipes), it doesn't impose a dominant retro feel on the album. The crafty producer has also brought along a few of the most remarkable voices of the North African scene: his compatriot Cheb Hassen Tej (Ichki lel Bey, El Bidha Wessamra), the Moroccan Mehdi Nassouli (Boganga & Sandia, Layli), found here alongside Titi Robin, and the Algerian Sofiane Saïdi (Zine Ezzine), with whom Ammar 808 pursues a fruitful dialogue, which was begun in the company of Mazalda on the very winning album El Ndjoum. Ammar 808 lines up covers of traditional pieces, but dresses them in futurist combinations. Already excited by the good surprises thrown up by the electro chaabi movement, and by the Acid Arab collective, this Maghreb United shows that in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, clubbers will still be filling the dancefloors. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 8, 2018 | Easy Eye Sound

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
After buccaneering around the West Coast with the Clams, Shannon Shaw has headed to Nashville, as Dusty Springfield did in 1968. With a clear nod to Dusty in Memphis, this first solo effort marks the beginnings of an emancipated life. Shannon & The Clams is a group from Oakland, California, which owes as much to Primus as it does to Devo, Missing Person or Roy Orbison. They have mastered the art of disguise, putting out absurd shorts, and invite journalists into their tiny rooms. They're signed on Burger Records. Their poetry is written in punk, rockabilly, doo-wop and garage. Even punkier, and rawer, were Hunx and His Punx, which Shannon joined at Seth Bogart's invitation. Now flying solo, Shannon is showing us a different face. Her husky voice has the doo-wop soul of the great girl groups, the Ronettes, Shirelles and the Shangri-Las: you could already hear it on the Clams' Onion, produced by Dan Auerbach. And though Shannon's still on bass, now she has centre stage. A fan of the Clams, the Black Keys singer invited Shannon to do a turn in his Easy Eye Sound studio. With six songs in her pocket, our glamorous blonde leapt at the chance to join a clique off over-qualified musicians, and to fulfil her destiny. These old-timers recorded with Aretha, Elvis and Dusty... Which must have raised the pulse. And here they raise the ghosts of her broken, sorry loves, and push the great singer's feline, charming voice to its limit. Scintillating sixties melodies, cinematic arrangements straight out of James Bond: Auerbach has crafted this album painstakingly. It's classy, and classic, with a little touch of glockenspiel, vibraphone and some chimes, and a faintly musty retro whiff. Dan has played Phil Spector, and brought out Shaw's genius, and revealed the diva. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 25, 2018 | Edition Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Right hook, left jab, uppercut! The first album from Enemy makes a radical entrance. Behind the name is the young trio of; pianist Kit Downes, bassist Frans Petter Eldh ​and drummer James Maddren. Three young faces of the international jazz scene who have already made a name for themselves in solo careers or alongside other pathbreakers. They have joined forces in order to give free rein to their creative impulses and their hunger for freedom. Produced by Eldh himself, this album is very physical: a tidal wave of contemporary jazz. It's a polyrhythmic storm which will delight fans of power trios in the style of the Bad Plus. With a bubbling brew of influences running from Keith Jarrett to Oscar Peterson, Kit Downs sketches out some mind blowing multicoloured improvisations. But the strength of the Brit's piano clearly lies in the way it sticks so closely to the rhythms of Eldh and Maddren, who are the core of this jazz reactor. But Enemy isn't just a byword for power and racing rhythms. When the trio take on ballads, they also unleash a captivating narrative force. Enemy: much friendlier than they look… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 18, 2018 | Marathon Artists

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
Courtney Barnett’s second studio album is as magnificent as it is simple. But not simplistic, no, just simple. The young Australian creates a rock’n’roll of an almost disarming purity and clarity. For the simple reason that the songs presented here are absolutely brilliant. Indeed, songs. That “detail” that can make or break an album… Just like the compilation of her first two EPs ( A Sea of Split Peas), her first album (Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit), and her duo album with Kurt Vile (Lotta Sea Lice), this Tell Me How You Really Feel strings together ten trips that perfectly blend cynical humour and sincere confession. Most importantly, Courtney Barnett appears more introspective than in years past. And because things are firing on all cylinders for her, both in her career (with an impressive critical and popular success on the global stage) and personal life (she’s been sharing her life with her peer Jen Cloher for quite a long time now), it becomes clear that the Australian artist took her time to polish perfectly each of these ten compositions. Even more impressive as she combines well-worn themes (her loves, anxieties, frustrations and opinions) while never sounding cliché. As per usual, Courtney Barnett wraps her prose in an impeccable indie rock on the guitar, that never feels overproduced. She’s been influenced by big names such as Lou Reed, Kurt Cobain, Neil Young and Jonathan Richman, including a collaboration on two tracks with the Deal sisters, Kim and Kelley, from The Breeders. What was Neil Young saying again on his famous Hey Hey, My My? Rock’n’roll can never die? © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Arts & Crafts Productions Inc.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
A 31 year-old Canadian, Jean-Michel Blais is no stranger to the neoclassical stage. After a first album bearing the sober title "II", on Caroline Distribution, this offering consists of a new collection of tracks, (most of which have already been released separately over recent weeks) which are possessed of an irrepressible lyricism. On board his piano, which he has transformed into a magical music box, he travels with the winds, following the currents of his own insatiable creativity. In the middle, Blind, perhaps the most seductive track of these forty-five minutes (alongside sourdine…), immerses us in an ideal vision of a music which mixes acoustics and machines into a soothing and velvety whole. god(s) takes us somewhere else, to church perhaps: but the return of synths shows that Jean-Michel Blais might perhaps have different gods in mind. igloo could have been a spiritual, even pantheist, track, but Blais, who isn't above a little caustic wit, is quite urban about it: the "igloo" in question is a reference to contemporary cities, full of "caverns", where everything is stacked over everything else. Henceforth, Blais's name will be synonymous with unique sonic flavours. But there is something here of that bitter, fraternal, soft and sensual melancholy that runs through much of North American music, and which permeates the sonic spaces of a Copland (Quiet City) or a Bernard Herrmann (Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro) and the obstinate figures of a Steve Reich (The Four Sections) or the curling wisps of one of the most imaginative representatives of Canadian pop, like Patrick Watson ― think of the latter's Lighthouse where we find that same vision of the instrument, as if stripped of its hammers. Jean-Michel Blais takes his time, discreetly. Under his elegant veneer, he knows how to be tenacious: his quotations (from the entrancingly slow movement of Rachmaninov's Second Concerto, for example, on roses) make for salutary and soothing escapes. Blais is holding out his hand to you. It would be rude to turn him down. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Vocal Jazz - Released May 4, 2018 | Silvertone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
She loves Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot and she doesn't care who knows it. But Hailey Tuck does have a little something of her own up her sleeve. It's a personal touch that makes this young Texan, who has made landfall in Paris, an attractive voice in its own right, and not a pale imitation of anyone else. Larry Klein, who produced her two idols, even agreed to put together the first album of this starlet who shares a hairdresser with Louise Brooks, and a wardrobe with Josephine Baker. Klein even put together a perfect and never over-produced backdrop, with the help of some five-star studio musicians like drummer Jay Bellerose (Elton John, Robert Plant) and guitarist Dean Parks (Joe Cocker, Steely Dan)… In terms of their repertoire, the eclecticism and quality of these covers also displays thoroughgoing good taste. And the fact that she revisits That Don't Make It Junk by Leonard Cohen, Cry To Me, made famous Solomon Burke, Cactus Tree by Joni Mitchell, Some Other Time by Leonard Bernstein, Underwear by Pulp, Alcohol by the Kinks, Junk by Paul McCartney, I Don’t Care Much from the soundtrack to Cabaret and indeed the wonderful Say You Don’t Mind by Colin Blunstone, Hailey Tuck deploys her voice intelligently and with a dash of retro in every word and every phrase. Let this beautiful and timeless Qobuzissime carry you away... © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 6, 2018 | Transgressive

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Adventurer. Storyteller. Artisan. Collector. And above all, Writer. Cosmo Sheldrake is all that. And more! A virtuoso one-man orchestra, master of an indecent number of instruments, the young Brit crafts magical and genre-defying little symphonies. These songs evoke Beirut's fanfare (a thing we often find ourselves thinking about) as much as they do repetitive minimalist music, world music, the baroque pop of the Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society and the late sixties, the iconoclast Moondog and countless other sounds. These are sounds that Cosmo Sheldrake merrily collects from across the globe, with his little tape recorder in hand. But the power of The Much Much How How And I lies in its refusal to wallow in experimental self-indulgence. On the contrary! Songs, real ones, with a beginning, middle and end – plus a chorus and a melody – remain his holy grail. His album is touching and beautiful because it was conceived with this unique goal in mind. With electro producer Matthew Herbert at the console, himself no stranger to bizarre collages, The Much Much How How And I has all the fertile imagination of a Lewis Carroll story, and all the colours of the rainbow. This has to be the most Cosmo-politan Qobuzissime yet! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 6, 2018 | Okeh

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
They knew what they were doing when they named this record Nordub. Nor for North, represented here by Nils Petter Molvaer. In 1997, when the label ECM brought out the stunning album Khmer, this Norwegian trumpeter shook the jazz world by bringing electronic music into his atmospheric musical world. Nor is also his fellow countryman, guitarist Eivind Aarset and Finnish electro-tinkerer and DJ Vladislav Delay. As for the three letters of Dub, they stand for the genre's most classic duo: Sly Dunbar on drums and bassist Robbie Shakespeare. In 2016, this motley crew made up of the Jamaican tandem and Nils Petter Molvaer hit the stage. It was quite a warm-up for their studio session in Oslo. In essence, Molvaer's world has always been a hybrid, bringing together textures that were never exclusively jazz. His playing style uses different atmospheric controls without ever losing the creative strength of his improvisations or compositions. Here, the trumpeter even works his way into the unique Sly & Robbie sound with a perfectly natural air. And that is surely the strength of Nordub. No-one takes over, or tries to overpower the other. The fusion is total, and sincere. We even feel that our two old Jamaican long-distance travellers have strayed out of their normal comfort zone to take part actively in this music as it takes shape. Just like Aarset and Delay's work, every part is a vital component of the final result. Together, our five sound adventurers produce a fine symphony of truly singular dub and jazz. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Electro - Released March 9, 2018 | Ed Banger Records

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
A specific and a lasting reading disorder that occurs during childhood and adolescence, dyslexia is recognized as a dysfunctional learning disability. No doubt that 10LEC6 just learned ... differently? The Afro-post-punk collective has first and foremost digested a number of influences quite impressively. From funky post-punk like ESG and Liquid Liquid hailing from New York in the 80's. But also disco, house, punk from Bad Brains, afrobeat, high-pitched electro and very solid tribal rhythms. Since 2004, the group of varying geometries formed around the street artist Simon and the producer and DJ Jess (a member of the duo Jess & Crabbe) and they make fusion like no other! A fusion that was formed with the arrival in 2014 of a new voice, Nicole, who sings in Bulu, a Bantu language which is spoken in the south of her native Cameroon. With Bone Bame, rhythm takes control of the body and the brain. This third album that appears on Ed Banger, the label of Pedro Winter, is above all a long percussive and electronic trance where the heavy bass and the incantatory voice of Nicole makes it totally elusive. All that is left to do is to let yourself go with delight on this singular and cosmopolitan dancefloor that is like no other. An all round Qobuzissime! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released March 2, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte - Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Nowadays it might seem rather strange to describe a composer as a “singing master”, but, during the eighteenth century, this was not the case at all. In Italy, almost every composer worthy of the name wrote opere serie (Porpora wrote at least forty- ve): serious opera was the dominant musical genre, glorifying the human voice above everything else. It was the maker or breaker of musical reputations, with its nest singers the rst superstars of music. Therefore composers, though generally eclipsed by the fame of their leading men and women, needed to understand the human voice and all its remarkable capabilities, both technical and histrionic, in order to be able to exploit the possibilities of the operatic form at a time when those “machines made for singing”, the castrati, had brought the vocal art to a pitch of perfection never known before, nor equalled since. Though this recording is bringing Porpora’s name to public attention again on the 250th anniversary of his death, his fame as a singing teacher has probably obscured, until recently, his remarkable qualities as a composer, quite simply because two of the most famous castrati were among his many pupils, namely Gaetano Majorano, known as Caffarelli, whom Porpora once called “the nest singer in Europe”, also famed for his amorous antics and arrogance on- and off-stage, and the even more celebrated Carlo Broschi, who, under his stage name of Farinelli, amazed audiences and set hearts a- utter for fteen years throughout Europe, before being called to Spain to heal a crazed King by the power of his voice. Max Cencic remarks: “Porpora was a severe teacher, I think, maybe almost sadistic in his demands — you need 120% control of breath, brain and voice”. Legend indeed has it that he taught Caffarelli one page of exercises, and those alone, for six years. The formal alternation of aria and recitative in opera seria conceals a great range of emotional expression, that varietas that Erasmus famously described as “so powerful in every sphere that there is absolutely nothing, however brilliant, which is not dimmed if not commended by variety”. In such forms as the orid aria di bravura or the lyrical aria di sostenuto, the composer’s fantasy only provided a framework for the singer to embroider: the performer’s skill in ornamentation and other emotional devices was of paramount importance. Porpora’s many years of both teaching and composing experience made him, in Max Cencic’s opinion, “one of the top ten composers of Italian Baroque opera. I chose the arias for this recording almost by instinct, by what ‘felt right’. There is no way one can encompass a composer of such quality in one album, and each piece is a treasure in its own right. Though technical display is everywhere — leaps, rapid scales, trills, long phrases — Porpora’s special and utterly captivating melodic gift always shines through.” The arias are all taken from works composed at the height of Porpora’s fame, from Ezio (Venice 1728; “Se tu la reggi al volo” is a semiquaver spectacular) to Filandro (Dresden 1747, with a ravishing siciliano in “Ove l’erbetta tenera, e molle”), including three of the operas he composed for London during the 1730s, in direct competition with Handel (Arianna in Nasso 1733, Enea nel Lazio 1734 — real reworks here in “Chi vuol salva” — and I genia in Aulide 1735). The Teatro San Carlo in Naples, perhaps the most famous of all opera houses at that time, saw the premiere of Il trionfo di Camilla in 1740, and the two arias recorded here show Porpora at his best: the music of “Va per le vene il sangue” evocatively matches its darkly suggestive text, while “Torcere il corso all’onde” combines rapid- re coloratura with elegance of line. In the three arias from Carlo il Calvo (Teatro delle Dame, Rome 1738) the singer is similarly called to match Porpora’s varietas with his own: from the scurrying oriture of “So che tiranno io sono” to the high-lying phrases of “Se rea ti vuole il cielo”, and the beguilingly hypnotic sostenuto of “Quando s’oscura il cielo”. Porpora’s orchestral writing is also remarkably varied, all the more so in that he generally uses only strings, nowhere better than in the elaborate lines of “Torbido intorno al core” from Meride e Selinunte (Venice 1726), where voice and violins entwine in an elaborate and emotionally suggestive web of divisions. However, sometimes he pulls out all the sonority stops, as in the martial “Destrier, che all’armi usato” where, at the rst performance in the Teatro Regio, Turin in 1731 trumpets and horns vied with the unmatchable power of the voice of Farinelli. As Max Cencic has said: “How can we emulate the great castrati? That is hard to pin down, but these voices were the very soul of Porpora’s music.” -Nicholas Clapton © 2018 – Decca Group Limited
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€7.99

Alternative & Indie - Released March 2, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Distinctions Qobuzissime
Confusion guaranteed! They are Australian, Japanese, English, Korean and they have dropped their anchor in the UK capital. They love the pop of yesterday as much as the pop of today. They make musical collages look as easy as breathing in and out. What if Superorganism were THE group that captured all that's best in our times? This young collective of international musicians, all big fans of pop culture, met on YouTube; and they composed, recorded and produced their first album in a studio in East London, where they now live together! This sunny record is a rainbow of minimalist indie pop, synthetic and racing, as extravagant as it is kaleidoscopic, bringing praise from artists like Frank Ocean and Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend. For some this will bring to mind those distant cousins of the The Avalanches, The Go! Team or I'm From Barcelona: but Superorganism has a light touch and a dreamlike, soothing quality which are all their own, and which have made this album a heartwarming Qobuzissime. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
€13.49
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Jazz - Released February 9, 2018 | Brownswood Recordings

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Qobuzissime
And here we go again: London Calling! But this time, the call doesn’t come from the rock ‘n’ roll’s hungry depths but rather from the jazz’ ones. A jazz which we can only label as special so much the young London scene compiled on this We Out Here was built on mixed influences, soul as well as Afrobeat, fusion or electro. To center in on this new generation, Brownswood Recordings, Gilles Peterson’s label, entrusted the album’s artistic direction to the most publicized among them: saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. Recorded over three days, the selected musicians and bands display a jazz spirit rather than jazz form. Therefore, drummer Jake Long and his formation Maisha play at being voodoo masters in the style of a Pharoah Sanders. Fela’s Afrobeat provides a fertile ground to the Ezra Collective from drummer Femi Koleoso but also to the Kokoroko Collective. While another drumming ace, the charismatic Moses Boyd, wraps up his rhythms in a brilliantly hypnotic electro loop before coming back to the paths of an invigorating libertarian jazz. This Qobuzism colorful like never before, includes instrumentals from the likes of Theon Cross, an impressive tuba marathoner (and incidentally an accomplice of Shabaka Hutchings within the Sons Of Kemet), Nubya Garcia, a saxophonist possessed by Charles Lloyd’s lyricism, and also Joe Armon-Jones, a keyboard mad scientist who knows Herbie Hancock like the back of his hand… With We Out Here, and the new London jazz scene pens a manifesto as dynamic as it is eclectic. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz