Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


ISO Records/Parlophone Records CDTOYBOX 1/0190296773372
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

In the summer of 2000, David Bowie performed four live shows, including an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival on June 25. That performance, in front of an estimated 250,000 people, was a triumph; the following month, Bowie and the members of his touring band began recording in New York City. The group had been together since the previous year, when they toured in support of Bowie’s then recently released Hours . . . (1999).

Intervention Records/A&M Records IR-030/B0027737-01
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****1/2

Sound Quality
*****

Overall Enjoyment
*****

When I reviewed the Hybrid SACD reissue of Joe Jackson’s Body and Soul, I closed with the hope that Intervention Records would soon release the album on vinyl. Sixteen months later, I’ve gotten my wish. The Intervention vinyl reissue is, like the SACD, sourced from the original digital PCM files. Once again, Kevin Gray handled the mastering, and he cut the vinyl at 45 rpm for a two-disc, four-sided release.

Discipline Global Mobile DGM5022
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****

The current lineup of seven musicians who make up King Crimson has been touring, off and on, since 2013, with minor personnel changes. Although this version of the band hasn’t released any studio recordings, its life as a touring group has been well documented in a series of live albums released through Discipline Global Mobile, the label overseen by Crimson’s guitarist and leader, Robert Fripp. Music Is Our Friend (Live in Washington and Albany, 2021) is the latest of these releases.

Jem Records PSL 1025
Format: LP

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

The Grip Weeds have been making great rock’n’roll for nearly 30 years now, writing and performing music that shows a reverence for the great bands of the ’60s and early ’70s. Their songs contain hints of everyone from The Who to Paul Revere & The Raiders, but the band’s recordings are strong enough to stand on their own. Despite their affection for an earlier period in pop-music history, the Grip Weeds don’t sound retro. They make music that is fresh and vital.

ATO Records ATO 0573
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
***1/2

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

After releasing The Waterfall in 2015, My Morning Jacket went on hiatus. Guitarist and singer Jim James released five solo albums, guitarist Carl Broemel completed two solo projects, and other members of the Louisville, Kentucky, band found their own ways to keep busy. My Morning Jacket regrouped to play a small number of live shows over the last couple of years, and compiled unreleased material from the sessions for the earlier album for The Waterfall II in 2020.

2L 2L-164-SABD
Format: Hybrid SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****1/2

Overall Enjoyment
****1/2

It’s not exactly news that the COVID-19 pandemic threw things into confusion, and one of its impacts was on the delivery of mail. The US Postal Service’s own internal issues compounded this with further delays and backlogs. Near the end of January 2021, I received a holiday disc that had been released in November 2020 by 2L, a Norwegian audiophile label. Normally, I wouldn’t review a disc that has been available for a year, but Stille grender is a collection that is worthy of your attention at this time of year.

Libertino Records
Format: 24-bit/48kHz FLAC download

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

One of the ways I choose what I’ll review for the SoundStage! Network is to check the new releases listed on various music sites, including AllMusic.com. I read the summary review for a description of the band or musician, then I stream the album to see if I think it would be of interest to readers. If I do, I buy the disc.

Concord Records CRE01816
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

Earlier this year, Esperanza Spalding debuted three songs she wrote, arranged, and recorded as part of a project she calls the Songwrights Apothecary Lab. She says the lab “seeks to respectfully dip into the healing seas of music/musicianship/song, and distill a few grains of piquancy which carry the life-renewing flavor of the unfathomable ocean of human resiliency.” Spalding’s new recording is named for the project, and Songwrights Apothecary Lab includes those original three songs, along with nine more compositions.

ECM Records ECM 2681
Format: CD

Musical Performance
****

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

At age 81, jazz drummer Andrew Cyrille continues to make music. He’s not just coasting, either. The News, his third release for ECM Records, is challenging and fresh. Guitarist Bill Frisell plays on the album, as he did on Cyrille’s other ECM discs, The Declaration of Musical Independence (2016) and Lebroba (2018). Bassist Ben Street and pianist David Virelles complete the quartet for this album. Street was a member of the quartet on The Declaration of Musical Independence, and Virelles co-led a session, Continuum, with Cyrille in 2010.

Sunset Blvd Records CD-SBR-7003
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
***

Overall Enjoyment
***1/2

When Marshall Crenshaw heard the live tracks from the early 1980s that comprise disc 1 of his new two-CD collection, The Wild, Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live in the 20th and 21st Century, he was pleased to find that so many of the songs came from his album Field Day (1983), which he describes in his liner notes for this new set as his “ill-fated but legendary second album.”