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Reviews: David Elias - The Window

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Reviews: 9

Review by muzikwebgal October 3, 2003 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Muzik Reviewz.com
by Mary Rudy

David Elias and his CD 'The Window' is the most spectacular and superb piece of art I have ever heard. Like a fine painting, he has taken and put all the strokes of the brush to the canvas and the outcome of this is the production of 'The Window'.

An Art collecting friend once commented that every home should have at least one piece of art in it, that is when you come to appreciate the talents, love and energy that an artist puts into his work. Well Folks! This is that piece of art you need, and believe you will appreciate every second, every minute, every instrument, every verse, every lyric.

David has the most unusual voice I have ever come across, he has a softness yet almost angelic-like sound and at the same time he brings in a bit of raspy tones. You can not help but fall in love with his voice. David Elias totally grabbed my heart and soul with his vocals, instruments and lyrics. What a awesome experience.....

There is NOT one part of this CD that is NOT done with professionalism. The musicianship that is responsible for the success of this splendid cd is:
David Elias - guitar, vocal, harmonica.....Sally Van Meter - dobro, weissenborn, lap steel.....Matt Flinner - mandolin, bouzouki.....Ross Martin - electric and baritone guitars.....Eric Thorin - upright bass.....Marc Dalio - drums and percussion.....John Magnie - accordion and keyboards. We can not let this review go without mentioning the excellent Producing by David Elias and KC Groves....and the DSD Recording by Gus Skinas.

Each musician did super work on this CD and deserves to be commended for giving their 'TOTALLY ALL' to this project. The engineering of this CD is outstanding and of course this is not your typical standard CD, it's a SACD (super audio cd). Which is based on a new high resolution recording technology called DSD, you can read more on it at http://www.sony.com/sacd

I truly loved every single song on this cd, but the one that really pulled me in, was the title track 'The Window', with all the instruments I was totally astounded at the outstanding clarity of each one. It grabbed me and took me away. I closed my eyes and honestly felt like I was right there in the studio. And with vocals like David Elias possesses, it's not hard to be taken away, believe me.

I can not say enough about this cd and the musicianship that is involved. Let me put it this way before bringing this review to a close, if David Elias and those involved in the creation of this masterpiece, David Elias and his 'The Window' Crew would walk away with every single music award possible in every single category. That is how strong I feel about the making of this excellent written, engineered, instrumental expertise, and the talents, energy, stamina and love for his music that David Elias has within his being. Please do yourself a humongous favor, go to the David Elias Website at: http://www.davidelias.com to take a listen and then purchase the Art Masterpiece of Music that you need.

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Review by Kaisafir October 6, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Who can describe these songs and do them justice? Not to worry, The Window is not dependent on praise. Like a pillar, it is going to be visible in the musical landscape for a very long time. First of all, the lyrics represent in their own right a beautiful collection of poetry, deserving of profound pondering and close reading, and achieving a perfect balance between sadness and stoicism, on the one hand, and black humour interspersed with melancholy carpe diem motifs, on the other. At the same time, these tracks offer a display of musical accompaniment and contemplative instrumental interludes by a group of kindred souls perfectly tuned to Eliasís material. While in complete control, these musicians miraculously bring out the energy and the vigour of the songs in the form of the laid-back and the almost subdued. All in all, The Window has all the immediacy and genuine unedited atmosphere of a successful concert recording and the fantastic sound quality of the studio. ~ Peter Fjagesund, Telemark, Norway

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Review by Chris Garrett October 13, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
I received this disc a couple of weeks ago and didn't really know what to expect apart from the fact that it was comprised of acoustic instruments and recorded with multi-channel 5.1 in mind. Since I really don't do MC music, I was hoping that the STEREO mix would be worthwhile and I can't say that I'm disappointed.

Since this is a website devoted to SACDs, whether they be derived from analogue tapes, PCM or pure DSD, I'll briefly state that the redbook layer possesses very nice sonics, tone and timbre and won't make one cringe when listening to it in the car, a discman or in somebody else's system, should they lack an appropriate SACD player. There is very nice soundstaging, separation of instruments and plenty of air and studio ambiance.

The SACD layer improves on detail, transparency and hall acoustics to more or less, greater effect and this shouldn't be too surprising for those that have compared redbook layers to their DSD/SACD counterparts.

Now, to the music. Since I'm not a musician and since I'm not really a big 'folk music' proponent, my comments need to be taken in context. I do have more than a few titles from this genre and I'd say that this is a very 'relaxing' disc to listen too. You might not break it out at your next frat party kegger, but on a slow, sleepy Sunday morning, while having coffee and reading the paper, it's just the ticket, in my opinion.

Of the tracks I call my favorites, we have SOMETHING ABOUT YOU--a nice blending of acoustic and electric guitars, kind of reminding me of slide guitar, but hey, I said that I'm no musician. The sing-songy vocals compliment the music nicely.

We then move into probably my favorite song, actually the first of two 'two-parters'--HALF AN HOUR AWAY. The song in this song reminds me of some old Irish titles that I have, musically at least. The music has almost a haunting sound to it and it's one that I play quite often.

Finally, my next favorite is the title track--THE WINDOW, the other two parter and one having an 'intro' that is kind of spacey. Like HALF AN HOUR AWAY, it is somewhat brooding and has a somewhat melancoly tone, musically, which suits me fine.

All in all, I don't think that anyone will be disappointed in this release and it does have some historical value to it, being the first independently financed/produced SACD disc. Also, the packaging is first rate and a lesson to others wanting to record their ART to disc--it can be done and done quite nicely.

My hats off to David Elias and I know that 'we' all wish him strong sales and the best of luck.

Thanks for reading, Chris Garrett

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Review by Mhantra February 16, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
Wow, a SACD that made me listen and love folk music. Never thought it would happen. Most of the things I would have said have been said (see below) but I can say the artistic value inherant here is phenomenal in both the music and technical areas. This is a prototypical SACD. I have only heard one that surpasses it for SACD sound, a little known one from Romero called "Un Segundo Una Vida." It is the highest fidelity recording I have heard on SACD. Period. It is half and half vocal/intrumental, in flamenco and latin jazz style. I received the two of them together (from CDbaby.com, great company) and have never had a day as jaw dropping as the day that I received these both and played them back to back in the dark with the volume pumped...

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Review by bruser June 28, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
This SACD has been praised to the heavens almost everywhere you go to read about it. I found it very listenable if not entirely captivating. It's a q-u-i-e-t, folk oriented session with some excellent songs ("Her Name is A," Something About You"). Some of the other tunes stuck in my memory after repeated listenings. The recording is good, but you need to turn the lights down, get quiet, and hunker down into your serious-listening mode to fully appreciate the nuances of Elias' rather subdued approach to each tune. It's a recording that doesn't work very well for me as background music, but it does reward intense listening.

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Review by DSD September 11, 2004 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Very realistic SACD of absolutely wonderful Folk Music. Never heard of David Elias, his SACD "The Window" was recommended by several posters on the High-Rez Highway as one of the best SACDs for music and sonics. I agree all the instruments sound REAL and David Elias has of the most beautiful voices in folk music. And all the Songs are fantastic, every single one! This is one of my favorite SACDs! Highly, highly recommended!

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Review by DrOctodivx October 22, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
Excellent music, folksy but with many influences, so I recommend it to a broader class of listener. Beautiful and immersive sound quality and the music itself is quite addictive.

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Review by Dan Popp January 30, 2005 (7 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Great albums are collections of great songs and inspiring performances. All of that is subjective, of course, but surely we can hold up some attempts at "art" against others and come to some relative judgements about their merits?

The lyrics of a David Elias could be put next to those of a Paul Simon or a Joan Baez and some comparison could be made? The melody, the vocal performance, the recording quality likewise?

Here are some lyrics from Elias' "The Window":

"I am a mirror I am the side of some old barn
I cannot hear you I am far farther than long gone
Patience and practicals may never have been
That is the means of emulation
In the season of the fall" ("Season of the Fall," cut 10)

This is a more-or-less typical verse from the material on this album, although some verses do rhyme - at least some of the time. The meter often falters and fails completely. And is it just me or does anyone have a guess as to what he's singing about? If there is a fine line between profundity and nonsense, Elias unapolagetically strays well over that line. A great lyric is more than just a string of poetic phrases, such as the disjointed images that greet us on "The Window."

David's singing voice is not much over a whisper, and even that often peters out before the end of the phrase. This may or may not be a problem - sometimes the unconventional bleat of a Dylan or Willie Nelson serves the song just fine. But he should not be labelled a great singer.

Sonically, in stereo the instruments sound "good" or at least realistic. The vocal mic has a bit too much character for my taste and is almost always mixed too hot (loud). This is what an above-average indie record sounds like. If you think the record companies and mastering engineers are killling music, you will dig this a lot. I personally miss the polish of a major-label release.

After listening to this disc, one gets the impression that David Elias is probably a really, really nice guy. A little goofy or loopy maybe, but engaging in his own laid-back way. I can certainly hear why this work appeals to some people. The 5.1 image may put it over the top. But in my view it is unjustified and in the end unfair to Elias to class this among the great singer/songwriter recordings out there. He may have the right musical stuff, but if so, we'll have to find that out on a later attempt.

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Review by doublestops March 1, 2005 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Reviews by their nature often say less about the artist and his/her works than about the reviewer themselves. I would simply like to say that I found David's latest cd " The Window" lived up to the many praises I have heard about it. I thought the recording was very "lifelike ie. I could imagine with my eys closed while listening to this cd that I was in fact in the room with these talented musicians while the music was being played.This is I think in large part is due to the DSD recording but also due to the arrangements and the use of acoustic instruments more than electric instruments. I also found that David's lyrics to be thought provoking and very accessible/universal. This is an album that I am highly recommending to those who enjoy listening to music that has a down to earth, honest approach, and that celebrates the human condition. ie. love,sadness,hope,joy. rather than much of today's contemporary music that seems to focus so much negativity ie. money,crime,politics,religion, or just singing about cars/sex/partys etc. etc. etc.

Alan Wagner
Kelowna, BC.
Canada

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