Albums

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 18, 2019 | Polydor Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
James Blake has come a long way! Things have changed a lot since the beginning of the decade when he was playing around with post-dubstep beats. Although he’s now one of the most popular producers of mainstream music (having worked with Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak), the sound of James Blake is still unmistakeable both for the magnificent melancholy of each one of his songs and his ability to express emotion through music. This new album is certainly no exception. It starts off simply with piano arabesques and the vocals from the title track and then come two tracks with Metro Boomin, the most highly rated producer of US hip-hop who is also a songwriter and DJ. Travis Scott on the mic is a hit on Mile High, while Moses Sumney proves why there’s so much hype around his name on Tell Them, which is proof of the saying less is more. Another great track is Barefoot in the Park featuring the Catalan Rosalía, the singer and songwriter behind the hit Malamente. Her vocals are as delicate as ever as she sings in unison with Blake for this lovely chorus with the faint sound of velvety-smooth piano chords playing in the back. But the real highlight of the album is the feature with Andre 3000 from Outkast who bursts in with all guns blazing on Where’s the Catch?, a track with instrumentals that are both heavy and delicate at the same time, a musical oxymoron that only James Blake would be capable of. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 11, 2019 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Best New Reissue
For fans of Bob Dylan's wide-ranging Bootleg series, More Blood, More Tracks (Vol. 14) is an entryway into one of the most mysterious, tangled stories in his recording career. These six discs contain the complete recordings sessions for 1975's Blood on the Tracks, 87 tracks in all, the vast majority unreleased. This box assists in offering a view of the process behind one of the songwriter's most enigmatic albums. On September 16 of 1974, Dylan entered Columbia's Studio with engineer Phil Ramone, with songs at once seething with anger, brokenness, and vulnerability. Written and recorded during his eventual divorce from first wife Sara, Dylan shrouds these songs in alliteration and metaphor, stretching time itself as past and present, commingling in numerous locations; they separate and return in new configurations. His protagonists speak in first and third person, often in the same verse. Once encountered, however, they're impossible to shake. Presented here are the complete sessions of the four days in New York, chronologically recorded, and, for the first time at the proper speed (Dylan had Ramone bump the master tape speed to make the tunes faster for radio play), and without the substantial reverb on the original tapes. These tunes were cut in a fit of white-heat inspiration, first by Dylan solo, and then with a band of folk-associated sidemen in Eric Weissberg & Deliverance. By the time you reach discs three through five, all the accompaniment, save for Dylan's guitar, harmonica, Tony Brown's bass, and occasional pedal steel and organ, are stripped away, resulting in what was then thought to be the completed album. Scheduled for late December release with a promotional campaign drafted, printed cover, and test pressings distributed, Dylan wasn't satisfied. Ultimately, he kept only one band track, "Meet Me in the Morning." He spent Christmas in Minnesota with his producer brother David Zimmerman, who was also less than enthused with the tracks. Dylan called his label and insisted on holding the album back. On December 27, he and a band of hastily assembled local players re-recorded five songs to complete Blood on the Tracks (captured on disc six). Since nearly half-a-million copies of the cover were already printed, the Minnesota musicians remained uncredited until now. This is exhaustive but fascinating material that sounds fantastic due to a painstaking remixing job -- nothing here sounds like a rough demo. Check the nine takes of "Idiot Wind," some offer different words, all roil with anger and bitterness. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is gradually revealed as one of Dylan's finest love songs in a dozen more takes. "You're a Big Girl Now," in 15 takes, is peeled away from its sarcasm to reveal a man saddled with regret. Multiple versions of "Tangled Up in Blue," "Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts," and "Simple Twist of Fate" offer proof that there were many versions of the songs before they assumed their final incarnations. Dylan's constant rewriting and creative flow are captured warts and all in false starts, stuttering alternate takes, studio conversation, and flowing inspiration in complete versions. There are hours of fascination awaiting listeners, and the music poses as many new questions as it does answers surrounding the album's mythos. As for the autobiographical nature of the content, it remains, thankfully, unclear. The enclosed photo book is as essential as the liner essays in the deluxe package. By any measure, More Blood, More Tracks is a monumentally important document in the history of popular music and a gem in Dylan's catalog. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Sanctuary Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Jazz - Released October 19, 2018 | Gazebo

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Eric Le Lann and Paul Lay return to the roots of jazz here. THE root even. With Thanks a Million the trumpeter and pianist embark on a pilgrimage to planet Louis Armstrong. They obviously aren’t the first to celebrate and pay homage to this brilliant music, but their refined approach deserves respect. Besides the wonderful elegance in their interpretations of these pieces, Le Lann and Lay display a fascinating knack for complicity, putting their own original spin on the pieces (which have been heard many times over). With some great piano/trumpet duos this album is a superb Paso Doble that closes with Farewell to Louis, an original composition that’s drenched in melancholy. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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World - Released October 19, 2018 | Molpé Music

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Soul - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
1968 was a pivotal year in Stax Records' history and a fascinating story in itself. Otis Redding (their biggest star) and four members of the Bar-Kays were killed in a plane crash in December 1967. Their distribution agreement with Atlantic Records was dissolved, resulting in the loss of several more artists from Atlantic, and in the loss of their entire back catalog to Atlantic, which meant Stax earned no revenue from its previous recordings. Then, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis exacerbated racial tensions not just nationwide, but acutely in Stax's hometown of Memphis (King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers). Rising from the ashes, Stax had an ambitious plan to create an entirely new catalog in just over a year. Otis Redding's posthumous classic "Dock of the Bay" was a tremendous help in getting the label off the ground again. But the model of a house band and single producer that had given Stax their legendary sound was not going to work for the amount of material that had to be created in order to give them a solid catalog. To that end, they had to bring in outside producers, which began to upset what had essentially been a cooperative up to that point. At the same time, the music business was shifting from singles sales to album sales, and Stax was keen to make that transition as well. All this is extensively chronicled in the accompanying book. As far as the music, it's all top-notch, but you can hear the change in sound taking place. Of course, there are songs you recognize, but there are at least as many that you probably don't. Despite the pervasive unrest, the songs never get overtly political. Even "Tribute to a King" isn't about Dr. King, but about the King of Soul Music, their friend Otis Redding. The music stands on its own, of course, but the story behind it all is remarkable and largely untold. Stax '68 is a great collection of music, and this excellent set places it in a proper historical context, telling the story of the rebirth of one of America's great soul labels. ~ Sean Westergaard
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Rock - Released October 12, 2018 | Concord Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
From the release of his debut album, My Aim Is True, in 1977, Elvis Costello expressed his musical gluttony by mixing explosive pub rock, reggae tones, almost country-like ballads and pop songs sculpted with crystalline arpeggios. It was this eclecticism that allowed him to work with people as diverse as George Jones (the godfather of country music), Burt Bacharach (the master of pop lounge), the mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, the jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, and even the rappers from The Roots, just to name a few… Forty years later, the elusive spectacled Brit (having always been fond of concept albums), releases Look Now with the Imposters, featuring Steve Nieve on keyboards, Davey Faragher on bass and Pete Thomas (already the drummer of his group Attractions). This group, with whom he recorded Momofuku in 2008, give him the chance to get his writing pen out once again… and it’s as sharp as ever. Here he has shared the writing responsibilities with the great Carole King on Burnt Sugar Is so Bitter, co-written 25 years earlier, as well as with Bacharach on Photographs Can Lie and Don't Look Now. Once again, it feels like Costello is searching for the perfect pop song. He takes an approach that screams 1960s. However, the timelessness of the album anchors the songwriter well in his time, in 2018. Costello succeeds in writing melodies and lyrics that stick in his listeners’ heads. A good song, as we all know, is ageless and Elvis Costello certainly reminds us of that here... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released October 12, 2018 | Sunnyside

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Even if the Oblique Quartet are moving forward together, Dave Liebman looks like a leader. The fact that his name appears on more than 300 albums and his CV includes “freelancing” for Miles Davis and Elvin Jones, to name but a few, gives an indication to the calibre of this saxophonist from Brooklyn. Fortunately for Liebman, who is now 72 years of age, he quickly succeeded in establishing his own name away from his famous employers. He is joined by pianist Marc Copland, double-bassist Drew Gress and drummer Michael Stephans, who is in fact the real mastermind behind this quartet and adds a Coltrane-esque air to a repertoire essentially comprising of classics, three of which are written by Miles (Nardis, All Blues and So What) and one by Duke (In a Sentimental Mood). Recorded live at the Deer Head Inn in Delawere Water Gap, Pennsylvania, this is a wonderful array of improvisations that were never very well-known or acclaimed. A real instrumental whirlwind to be experienced right the way through in one go. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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World - Released October 12, 2018 | Glitterbeat Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released October 12, 2018 | Ramée

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
The present recording constitutes more than just a new version of the Vespers. It is the first recording of the Vespers in the alternative version proposed by the composer, without concertato instruments. It reveals the underlying matrix of the work we all know, the ‘original version’ to which Monteverdi added concertato instruments for use in large-scale performances. Respecting the structure of the Office of Vespers, Ludus Modalis has chosen to frame the psalms with the antiphons corresponding to a Marian ceremony. The interpretation proposed here is one influenced by the Renaissance tradition. It places the work in perspective in a musical world at the point of equilibrium between prima and seconda prattica, between the achievements of tradition and the contributions of modernity. © Alpha/Outhere
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Solo Piano - Released October 5, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Pianist Igor Levit moved from Russia to Germany when he was eight, but there's still a lot of Russian in his outlook: an attraction to the pure virtuoso tradition, and a tendency toward big statements and the big questions. Nowhere has this been more true than on Life, an album that succeeds both thematically and as a thrilling embodiment of late-Romantic pianism at its best. The title, and the contents, refer to the album's memorial function: Levit chose the program to honor a close artist friend who died in an accident. The music is monumental enough to live up to its death-haunted theme, rising out of silence in the Fantasia after J.S. Bach of Busoni and continuing with a remarkably sustained mood of soberness and dignity, punctuated by frenetic outbursts. Busoni is one major presence on the program; the other is Liszt, and the two come together in the Busoni transcription of the Fantasy and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam of Liszt, originally for organ and an impressive virtuoso task on the piano. So the program works well also as a revival of pure late-Romantic pianism: you can easily imagine that Liszt would have loved this, and loved to play it. A third theme interweaving the works on the program is that of reinterpretation, as in the Brahms transcription of the Chaconne from the Bach Partita for solo violin in D minor, BWV 1004; the fact that Levit has played these works in different orderings in recital testifies to the program's remarkable cohesiveness. There is music by Frederic Rzewski in a memorial vein, and Bill Evans' serene Peace Piece is a lovely conclusion. Bravo!

Reggae - Released October 5, 2018 | Yotanka Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 5, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
A guitar held up by the neck, a child's head pressed against the holder's body. Cat Power reveals a lot with the cover of her tenth album. The American is up and running again and now she is a mother. At 46, Chan Marshall seems to be doing... better? Well, It's not as if her life, which has been studded with internal chaos, turbulence, a lot of moving around, depression and addiction is going to be all plain sailing from here on in, but Wanderer contains some of her most beautiful songs yet. Stripped-down compositions. A simple piano. A few notes on a guitar. A lean rhythm section. It's clear that the message here is "less is more." Perhaps her aim is to return to the roots of her old folk and blues mentors. Bringing a child into the world during the Trump era is enough to get anyone thinking again... And Cat Power hasn't sung for years. Her tones with their bluesy style, unmistakeable from the first syllable, reach sublime heights here. After a slightly electro detour with Sun, mixed by Zdar from Cassius, she doesn't give us too many surprises here in terms of the pretty classical form of her songs, but the surprise comes in the sheer quality of the tracks. One of her biggest fans, Lana Del Rey, makes an appearance on the album on the track Woman maintaining the sober feel to this beautiful and honest record. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz  
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Eight years have passed since the Californians of Cypress Hill’s last album yet the band are still all over the scene, both with solo projects and collaborations. Cypress Hill’s energy on stage is unparalleled, which guarantees them a place at most festivals around the world. The promise of this new album, “Elephants on Acid”, is primarily based on the return of DJ Muggs, their brilliant producer, who is picking up right where he left off, between sixties psychedelics, blazing breakbeats and smoky mysticism. Just like on the very detailed gothic album cover, Muggs unearths a monster buried deep underground and resurrects the legend of “Temple of Boom”, the band’s labyrinth album released in 1995. Between drugs and spirituality, B-Real, the main rapper, reinterprets Cypress Hill’s rather dark repertoire, halfway between Los Angeles Latino culture and hallucinating fantasy à la H.P. Lovecraft. With a few more recreational tracks like “Crazy” or “Oh Na Na”, which make the group sound like a mutant gypsy marching band, Cypress Hill are revitalised, though slightly removed from the saturated guitars of their earlier releases. Ending on “Stairway To Heaven” which is reminiscent of the ethereal soul of Portishead or Massive Attack, “Elephants on Acid” is a multi-layered journey around the mind, in which listeners can both lose and find themselves. © Aurélien Chapuis/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 28, 2018 | Cracki Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Rock - Released September 28, 2018 | Lupus Lounge

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Naive

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Jazz Village

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
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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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Jazz - Released August 31, 2018 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
To say that Vincent Peirani shook the world of jazz accordion is an understatement... In 2015, his album Living Being further broke down the preconceptions of the instrument. "I wanted to start my own band, in which I needed to feel confident", explained the accordionist. I wanted to feel like a "family". That’s why I got in touch with four musicians who are good friends of mine". Peirani teamed up with Emile Parisien, his partner from the duo Belle Epoque, as well as the bassist Julien Herné, the drummer Yoann Serra and the keyboardist Tony Paeleman... The compositions by Peirani and the covers of Michel Portal and Jeff Buckley make Living Being an incredibly holistic album. These young musicians succeed in closing the gap that sometimes exists between composition and improvisation. Vincent Peirani's writing is touching and imaginative yet also surprising and elusive. The accordionist is from a generation that draws its inspiration from various musical sources, hence the albums’ richness. Three years later, with the same group members, Living Being II (Night Walker) is also wonderfully rich. Peirani also includes four covers alongside his eight compositions: Bang Bang by Sonny Bono, What Power Art Thou, an extract from King Arthur by Purcell and two hits by Led Zeppelin, Kashmir and Stairway To Heaven. His approach towards this atypical choice of covers is fascinating, as is the way in which his instrument adapts the score of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Living Being II (Night Walker) is principally the success of a group who are in perfect equilibrium. Osmosis at its best. © Max Dembo/Qobuz