Review by Christine Tham May 9, 2004 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
|This is the first of two mid-priced Super Audio CDs from the HighNote Records label. It's a compilation of tracks from previously released CDs on the HighNote and Savant labels (Savant is a "sister" label).
The somewhat "cheesy" title is a good description of the kind of music featured in this compilation. The cover is a side profile of a naked woman, partly silhouetted, and the packaging is a somewhat unusual Q-pack plastic job with cardboard inserts glued onto the case.
There are no liner notes apart from a track listing (including band line-ups and track durations), plus minimal production credits. I would have liked to know some technical details on the recordings - in particular whether these tracks were originally recorded on analog or digital. My guess would be that these are originally PCM recordings but it's hard to tell.
The back cover and inner blurb says "It's funky! It's fun! It's a groove that will move you. It never goes out of style. It makes you feel good. It puts you in a pleasure zone. This music will do it every time." Hmmm ...
Given that this is a compilation album, the tracks are surprisingly consistent. All tracks are instrumental numbers. Besides the usual guitar, saxophones, bass, drums and percussion, many of the tracks feature a B-3 electric organ, whilst others have pianos and vibes. Fortunately the music is not as cheesy as the title or blurb would suggest. All tracks are quite listenable, even if some are a tad too long for my liking. None particularly stood out for me.
The album seems to be mixed at a level slightly below "normal", probably about 2-3 dB below a typical disc. Extreme high frequencies seem to be slightly rolled off, resulting in a slightly recessed and "inoffensive" presentation.
This kind of music tends to present well on CDs, so I wasn't expect the DSD stereo layer to yield a dramatic improvement. Careful listening, however, revealed some differences. The instruments seem slightly better defined in DSD, and surprisingly the bass was more prominent and better articulated.
The cymbals were slightly louder and more noticeable on the CD layer. However, I did notice that the cymbals were better defined on DSD, with better dynamics and decay, which kind of makes up for the slightly "dull" sound.
Given the price, I would say this disc is worth getting if you like this kind of music. However, I wouldn't say that this is a "demonstration" or "audiophile" quality title to impress your friends.
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