CD Reviews - June 2000



Audiophile Latin Guitar


A special 24bit / 96K mastered piece from H.K. Although entitled "Latin Guitar", the instrumentation has closely interwoven jazz rhythms with the piano, flute & saxophone playing alongside. Recommended tracks are: Maria Elena (Track 1), Concierto De Aranjuez (Track 5) and Its Now or Never (Track 9).The former two are acoustic guitar pieces, which showcases the best of the 24bit mastering system. With a better than average playback set, one can feel the "bits" spitting out. Track 9 breaks off from the acoustic guitar routine with the saxophone, piano and electric guitar coming in. One minus side of this recording is that the music and playing style becomes predictable after a few songs. Audiofidelity wise however, this piece is amongst the best (If not the best) of any guitar piece in todays audiophile acoustic repertoire. Retailing at $22.50.




The Acoustics Collection


Finally available in Singapore - An acoustics galore with 17 exquisitely different selections from the British Acoustics Catalogue. Basically playing English folk traditional pieces, the selections do give a variety that range from bluegrass to a taste of Wolfgang Amadeus. Track 4 (Plum Blossoms in the Snow: Gerald Garcia & Simon Mayor) gives a preview of the unique collaboration from 2 world class instrumentalists - one with the guitar and the other, the mandolin. Tune to Track 6 (Searching for Lambs: Hilary James) for Hilary's sweet folk vocals and find out why music critics feel she has no peers where folk songs are concerned. Audiofidelity wise, a collectible that will bring out the best in your system. A word of caution - stay away if you do not like the acoustics of the mandolin.






Sit back and let Lisa Ono, of Japanese descent entertain you to a mix of old jazz favourites. Singing in Portugese and English, Lisa starts off with "On The Sunny Side of The Street" (track 1), taking you through Cole Porter's "Night and Day" (track 5) and ending with the 1941 hit "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" (track 13). The tracks are certainly Latin inspired and adds a new twist to these oldies. Singing with a slightly nasal overtone, she sounds like an upbeat Astrud Gilberto. Audiofidelity wise this Japanese pressed CD will make small speakers sound big. Musically, she could have done better with some variety in approach.




TAG McLaren Test Tracks


Striving for excellence both musically and sonically, TAG McLaren Audio Components has released this disc to complement their Audio CD player. This disc should stretch your system to the limits of its capabilities and the helpful synopsis on each track should show you how to listen and be more discerning. My favourite track is track 3 "Scarborough Fair/Norwegian Wind" (Joe Beck & Ali Ryerson). As they suggest, listen out for the sound of fingers on string and of the flautists breathing. Check out if the speed of your system is sufficient as the percussion enters at 1min. 7sec. certainly even more compelling than its original DMP version. Even Sara Ks "Brick House" (track 8) appears to be more analogue than its original Chesky version. Check out Bill Morrisseys "Youll Never Get To Heaven" (track 10) and get bowled over with his unique throatiness and singing style. Audiofidelity wise, this disc compares with that of ALR Jordan. At two-third her price, it is a steal and certainly value for money. A must buy!


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