Albums

685 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
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Folk/Americana - Released February 15, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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The American dream is an inexhaustible subject. It is approached head-on, sideways, from behind, above and below. It is the ultimate fuel for hordes of songwriters; even when they weren’t even born in America. As is the case for J.S. Ondara. This young Kenyan, who his label calls "the link between Tracy Chapman and Michael Kiwanuka" (an easy claim but not wrong), went there to try his luck. In 2013, Ondara dropped anchor at his aunt's house in Minneapolis. Having only previously known his native Nairobi, the musician took his songs into bars, clubs and even out onto the street, equipped with only his voice and a simple acoustic guitar, perhaps in the hope of becoming a third millennium Bob Dylan. The Dylan of The Freewheelin', his favourite record; Springsteen's Nebraska also being one of his top picks... But to limit himself to cloning those giants wouldn’t be very interesting. And Tales of America avoids that. First of all, J.S. Ondara has his own voice. His plaintive tone is a little androgynous and makes him truly unique. On the instrumental side, he adds some more daring flavours with the help of the great Andrew Bird, Griffin Goldsmith from Dawes and Joey Ryan from the Milk Carton Kids duo. In a divided America and a crisis-riddled world, J. S. Ondara's songs are more than just bandages, they’re powerful balms that penetrate the skin and warm the heart. This is a Qobuzissime that we needed... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Hard Rock - Released February 8, 2019 | Debemur Morti Productions

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Chamber Music - Released January 25, 2019 | B Records

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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | harmonia mundi

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A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary. © harmonia mundi
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 18, 2019 | Polydor Records

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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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Asia - Released January 18, 2019 | Glitterbeat Records

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Jazz - Released January 11, 2019 | JMS Productions

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91 years old and still loves... to play? On his album Improvised Stories (Words and Music), Martial Solal shows us the rules of the game, the rules of his game: "I improvised about twenty pieces, rather short ones, each one inspired by a name or a few words written on 52 small squares of paper picked out of a hat. All I had to do was close my eyes and pick one, and that would be my starting point. The whole thing was recorded in a single take, which explains why there are some repetitions and some wild, unexpected pieces... I played the same way I would at home in the morning, just wandering around on the keyboard." The result shows how Solal is a modest master of jazz piano, or just the piano full stop. Each piece lasting from one to five minutes, these delicious sequences don’t only tell the story of a musician, a city, an instrument, a track or whatever, but most of all the story of Solal himself. And as usual with his recordings, some of his younger colleagues would be wise to listen to these wonderfully fresh and incredibly intelligent improvisations. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 11, 2019 | Mirare

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Opera - Released November 30, 2018 | LSO Live

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Symphonic Music - Released November 30, 2018 | Aparté

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The four Nations by François Couperin (also known as "Couperin the Great") consist of France, Spain, the Empire and Piedmont (Italy, therefore), though it would be rather futile to look for any truly national characteristics in each of the movements of these four suites. And all the more so due to the fact that many of the pieces had already been composed well before the collection’s publication in 1726, and they were simply renamed... Yes, throughout the thirty-six movements of the work we do hear the French style on the one hand and the more Italianising style on the other, but the many interpolations make it, in fact, a kind of mixed European collection. At most, Spain is entitled to a few rare and truly Iberian turns of phrase, even though they are only visible under a microscope. Christophe Rousset and his musical ensemble Les Talens Lyriques approach these "trios" with joy and respect, knowing that the term "trio" does not necessarily imply three musicians; in fact, the melodic parts are entrusted to two oboes, two flutes and two violins, both together and alternately, while the continuo is played by the bassoon, harpsichord, gamba and theorbo, again either together or in various combinations depending on the musical texture. In this way, the thirty-six movements demonstrate the immense musical richness of these various nations, with all the diversity and contrasts that Couperin has assigned to them. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released November 30, 2018 | Sony Classical

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Looking at the program here, you may not have been aware that Robert Schumann contributed so many works to the cello repertory. He didn't; the two central works were originally written for other instruments and are presented here in versions for cello and piano. Nevertheless, there is no hint of the program being scraped together. This is because Argentine cellist Sol Gabetta has assembled a group of mostly late Schumann works (the Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73, might be called transitional) that aren't terribly common, probably have never been heard together before, and offer all kinds of insight into the late Schumann style that heavily influenced the young Brahms. The contrapuntally dense Konzertstück für Cello und Orchester, Op. 129, generally rendered as Cello concerto in English, was one such work; it's a thorny work that Schumann's contemporaries wouldn't touch, but Brahms would later write concertos that would similarly be accused of not favoring the soloist enough, but that continued to rethink the concerto form. The work gets a fine performance here, influenced by historical-instrument readings, from Gabetta and the Kammerorchester Basel under Gabetta's frequent collaborator Giovanni Antonini. Sample the first movement for an idea of the clarity they bring to Schumann's gnarly textures. Of course, another periodic aspect of the Brahms style was an interest in folk-like melodies, and here that's anticipated by a very rarely heard Schumann work, the Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op. 102 (Five Pieces in Folk Style). This one is worth the price on its own; the five works move progressively away from folk models, and really the work is unlike anything else in the repertory. The two middle works are played well enough by the cello, and all in all this is a fine, even revelatory Schumann recital even if the cello concerto, recorded two years earlier than the other pieces, seems to inhabit a different sonic world.
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Classical - Released November 23, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Pop - Released November 16, 2018 | Elea

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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

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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

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 19, 2018 | Communion Group Ltd

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
It wouldn't be right to reduce Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad simply to an heir of Jeff Buckley with hints of Radiohead from their earlier years. The Belgian songwriter, only 21 years old, offers much more than that on his first album, even if Colin Greenwood, the bassist from Radiohead, does feature on the album... Tamino, an Antwerp-native and John Lennon-admirer, has always kept his Egyptian origins preserved in a corner of his head, under his jet-black mane. The Arabic music that his mother played at home must have been all the more influential when it was the work of Muharram Fouad, his singer-actor grandfather, a star in Cairo in the sixties... This eclecticism is at the heart of Tamino's music, which owes as much to Buckley folk music as it does to Beatles pop and even to the nonchalant melancholy of Leonard Cohen, another one of his idols. To fuse these disparate influences, the mysterious young man possesses a deadly weapon: his voice. It’s an equally versatile organ, capable of stretching slowly and transforming itself into a stunning falsetto, an impressive technique that he never abuses. It is this voice that transforms Amir into a long and poignant novel. A coming-of-age story that alternates between the dreamer (the pure folk on Verses) and the lyrical poet as on So It Goes, Each Time and Intervals, conceived around a section of Arabic strings. A Qobuzissime album that’s oozing with original and touching poetry. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Classical - Released October 19, 2018 | Glossa

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One of the great composing figures from the French Baroque, Michel-Richard de Lalande is starting to receive his just dues through modern recordings, and Glossa is happy to unveil a new release featuring Olivier Schneebeli directing Les Pages et Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles in three of Lalande’s sumptuous “grands motets”. Very much a favoured composer during the reign of Louis XIV, Lalande progressively assumed – from the 1680s onwards – more and more of the principal court offices, and was called upon to provide sacred music for the Chapelle Royale within the Château de Versailles. Although the new (and ‘definitive’) chapel was not consecrated until 1710, the trio of “grands motets” (extended multi-movement choral and solo settings, typically of Psalms, with instrumental accompaniment) recorded here will have been conceived of according to the chapel’s architectural and acoustical characteristics. Thomas Leconte, from the CMBV, provides an illuminating historical backdrop in his booklet essay. Much detailed performing information from Lalande’s time is known today – including number of instrumental forces used and about the composer’s later revisions of his scores – and Venite, exultemus Domino, De profundis and Dominus regnavit all receive expressive and meticulously-prepared performances within the Chapelle Royale itself. To the quality of preparation of the CMBV “maîtrise” can be added the presence of a quartet of vocal soloists deeply experienced in the style of music from this time: Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Reinoud Van Mechelen, François Joron and Lisandro Abadie. Likewise, the contribution of Jana Semerádová’s Collegium Marianum provides exemplary instrumental support to Schneebeli’s direction in this new CMBV production. © Glossa
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Dub - Released October 19, 2018 | Jarring Effects

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Jazz - Released October 19, 2018 | Gazebo

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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

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