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Reviews: James Taylor: Hourglass

Reviews: 5

Review by Tom March 3, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Here's the James Taylor of today, still producing great music. The sonics are reference quality and I find the music enjoyable.

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Review by JW October 17, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The 'New England' sound. Or the thinking man's sound. Definitely more 'Neal Stephenson Novel' than 'NASCAR' :-) How would you characterize James Taylor's voice ? His voice has a feelgood factor for me that is both reminiscent of New England as well of an era well before the 1997 date of this album. Plus he is clearly engaged because his songs are about something, either relationships, politics or the environment. And he's got something to say about these things. The music and sound I would describe as a rich and voluptuous with delicate touches of the strummed acoustical guitar, the short, shrill shrieks of a penny whistle or Yo Yo Ma's cello or Mark O'Connor's fiddle. Most of the songs have a beautiful string arrangement that fills up the back of the soundstage and that anchors the entire tune (listen for example to 'Another Day'). The album has some really deep bass, both in some of the sound effects as in the bowed E-string on the cello, bass and kick drums. Very nicely done. The mix is very even. Nothing stands out and there are no audiophile tricks I can hear. Sonically the entire album excudes unity and wholeness.

Jw

One more thing: this album has a 13th ghost song :-) - it's called 'Hangnail' and it's neither featured on the backcover nor in the booklet.

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Review by uffemannen October 18, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
I second the opinion of the last reviewer - both regarding the music and the technical audio issues. Though I have to add one thing that I do not like - and that is that JTs lead vocal is really dead center in the center channel with no leaking at all to the front left and right. I happened to play this one first and then swift to Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, where the lead vocal is spread over Front L/Center/Front R which makes it sound so much more natural - the voice is just there and does not seem to come out from any specific speaker.

Still a very good recording though...

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Review by 24-96 Mastering January 11, 2005 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
2 years after purchase and 100 SACDs later, this disc is still one of my favourites.

It is a mystery to me, how the single channels, each sounding incredibly unspectacular, can make up such a warm and overwhelming picture.

Musically, the album starts off great but loses a lot towards the end.
The songs past track 9 or so seem more filler material than feature, both musically and from a production point of view. In light of the greatness of the previous tracks, this is easily excusable, in my view.

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Review by djcowboy February 13, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is one of my favorite SACD releases and sonically superior to most out there. I think I like having JT's voice in the center...I do not have a center channel speaker...which makes the stereo ghost image seem more natural. This along with proper use of the rears allow for a interesting but not overdone multi-channel mix.
It's nice to know that someone still puts some thought into their music and lyrics without being Preachy, Judgemental, Violent, Sampled or Exploitive. I appreciate his songs and the music more now than ever because really good music is hard to find. Maybe it's just my tastes have not kept up with the times. I just think that James' voice is comforting and most of his songs are captivating. Some in a joyous way and others in a more somber tone.

To the Audiophiles out there, music can be intellectual, interesting, upbeat and sonically superior all at the same time. By the way it does not have to cost a fortune either.

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