Simonide Braconi – Ghedini: Musica da Concerto, Musica Concertante, Hindemith: Fünf Stücke, Op. 44 No.4 (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Simonide Braconi – Ghedini: Musica da Concerto, Musica Concertante, Hindemith: Fünf Stücke, Op. 44 No.4 (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 54:08 minutes | 571 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Brilliant Classics

New recordings of unfamiliar, imposing concertos by an Italian contemporary of Prokofiev.

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Sigrid Aase – Come Closer (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Sigrid Aase – Come Closer (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 26:08 minutes | 511 MB | Genre: Indie Pop, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Jansen Records

Come closer and let yourself be embraced by Sigrid Aase’s music. You might recognize her magical voice as one of two singers in indie band Hajk. Aase have been writing and working on her own material for years, and time has finally come to release music under her own name. Her new album was created in collaboration with acclaimed Norwegian artist and producer Hanne Hukkelberg.

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Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Wilms: The Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Ronald Brautigam, Die Kölner Akademie & Michael Alexander Willens – Wilms: The Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:22:28 minutes | 1,46 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © BIS

Born in the vicinity of Cologne, only two years after and some sixty km distant from Beethoven, Johann Wilhelm Wilms was once a musical force to be reckoned with. In Amsterdam, where he lived from the age of 19, his music was actually performed more frequently than Beethoven’s at one period, and his orchestral works were played in such musical centres as Leipzig. Besides chamber music and solo sonatas Wilms composed several symphonies and solo concertos (for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and cello) as well as piano concertos for his own use, five of which were published between 1799 and 1820. (Two more have been lost.) He also appeared regularly as soloist in concertos by other composers.

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Rokas Vaitkevičius, Pavel Giunter, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra & Karolis Variakojis – Žibuoklė Martinaitytė: Ex tenebris lux (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Rokas Vaitkevičius, Pavel Giunter, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra & Karolis Variakojis – Žibuoklė Martinaitytė: Ex tenebris lux (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:15:14 minutes | 1,23 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Ondine

This second Ondine recording of music by ibuokl Martinaityt (b. 1973) is devoted exclusively to works scored for string orchestra, all of which were composed in the last three years. These works are performed by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, one of the most internationally well-known orchestras from Lithuania, conducted by Karolis Variakojis.

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Pasquale Grasso – Solo Standards (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Pasquale Grasso – Solo Standards (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 54:57 minutes | 868 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Okeh

This collection of standards spanning various jazz sub-eras is a superlative performance. The only reason that I did not give it 5 stars is because Grasso drives with his foot to the floor the whole time. It is brilliant playing but fatiguing. At moments I was worried he might even be trying to impress us.

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Orgone – Lost Knights (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Orgone – Lost Knights (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 34:23 minutes | 400 MB | Genre: Soul, Funk Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © 3 Palm Records

With a signature sound signified by lockstep rhythms and a deep grasp of soul and funk, Orgōne has built a reputation over the past 2 decades as being one of the tightest, fieriest live bands in the country & a top notch crew in the studio. On their new album Lost Knights, Orgone offer up a collection of heavy-duty psychedelic funk-rock anthems created to be played loud and raucously. The release features lead vocal contributions from Orgōne’s ever expanding extended family of some the finest soulful singers on the West Coast – Terin Ector, Jamie Allensworth, Phil Diamond, with special appearances from Jesse Wagner (The Aggrolites) and Kelly Finnigan (Monophonics). A first of sorts, for the band, in featuring an all male fronted lineup on an album. The tough, punchy, hard hitting production highlights a body of work both “head banging”-ly satisfying and eminently groovy.

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Nurit Stark – Bartók, Ligeti and Others: Works for Violin & Viola (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Nurit Stark – Bartók, Ligeti and Others: Works for Violin & Viola (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:18:22 minutes | 1,42 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © BIS

The works on this album were written between 1935 and 2019 by four Hungarian composers: Béla Bartók, who was the teacher of Sándor Veress, who taught György Ligeti, who in turn was an early but formative influence on Péter Eötvös. Their compositions all share the idea of a dialogue between cultured and popular elements, between a Western music tradition and folk music, particularly of Eastern Europe. This idea was formulated in the early 20th century by Bartók himself, who considered the use of folk elements in a piece of art music not only as a tool to revitalize the Classical tradition but also as a mean to unite different cultures.

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Naima Joris – Tribute to Daniel Johnston (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Naima Joris – Tribute to Daniel Johnston (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 32:09 minutes | 599 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © [PIAS]

Naima Joris only sang her first songs when she was 27. After several years of being a backing singer her father Chris Joris (a well-known Belgian jazz musician) encouraged her to further discover her own voice as a lead singer. She took ample time to give that voice its own repertoire and debuted in 2021 with a first untitled EP. A gripping and impressive journey through the most intimate depths of her heart. Five black-rimmed, intense songs that try to give a place to the pain and sadness of the loss of someone dear. Fragile and personal stories that touch a universal chord and from which we, as listeners, could draw comfort, understanding and strength.

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mxmtoon – rising (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

mxmtoon – rising (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 32:54 minutes | 396 MB | Genre: Folk, Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © mxmtoon

Where EPs ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’ showcased an artist that embraces distinct parallels, ‘rising’ maximises mxmtoon’s sharp pop acumen, now leaning into a complete, rounded personality in the form of disco-tinged verdant self-love anthems. Maia has always been an open book, but songs like ‘learn to love you’ and ‘sad disco’ are particularly revealing, as she sings on the former: “Once in a while, it feels like there’s too much to prove in this life” before a glowing, fuzz guitar chorus envelops the track. On ‘victim of nostalgia’ she asks “Will I always be the words I wrote when I was 17?” reinforcing the album-wide sentiment of reflecting on artistic progression, evident alone by the title itself. ‘rising’ eventually moves from lamenting the past, to embracing the status quo (’growing pains’), and finally rebirth on the finale (’coming of age’). It tells an indulgent and personal story of subsistence through her candid lens. What makes the record so enchanting is that Maia isn’t cosplaying as a confessional teenager, but in fact at 21 she holds first-hand experience of growing up ‘stranded’ by a pandemic, and the growing pains therein. Maia is to indie-pop what Olivia Rodrigo is to pop-punk – a fresh and welcome face that disregards gatekeeping in favour of utilising nostalgia to captivate new audiences, bridging a gap that ignores the omnipotent zeitgeist for confessional, shimmering accessibility.

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Mono – My Story, The Buraku Story (An Original Soundtrack) (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Mono – My Story, The Buraku Story (An Original Soundtrack) (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 42:19 minutes | 726 MB | Genre: Ambient, Soundtrack
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Temporary Residence Ltd.

Enduring Japanese post-rock band MONO ditch the quiet-loud histrionics on their debut feature-length soundtrack, focusing on delicate ambient arrangements and airy cinematic bliss.

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Melissa Weikart – Here, There (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Melissa Weikart – Here, There (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 22:22 minutes | 421 MB | Genre: Art Pop, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Northern Spy

There are countless intimate, fret-noise-fuelled records from singer-guitarists across the history of modern popular music, but solo piano and voice releases remain a comparative rarity – It’s hard to imagine an artist better equipped to contribute to this canon than France-based singer, keyboardist, and composer Melissa Weikart.

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Maria BC – Hyaline (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Maria BC – Hyaline (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 42:00 minutes | 417 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Dreampop, Ambient, Female Vocal
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © fear of missing out records

Hyaline is the debut album from Ohio-born, Oakland, CA-based artist and songwriter, Maria BC. Following last year’s debut EP Devil’s Rain which received critical praise from Pitchfork, BBC Radio 6 Music, KEXP and more, Maria created Hyaline across their untreated Brooklyn apartment in Summer 2021, like a wandering spirit gaining energy from different spaces. Their classically-trained mezzo-soprano voice soars over raw, etherial guitars; audio samples from Prospect Park – now almost unrecognizable – settle alongside tender, transformative harmonies. Mixing together different sessions, tracks recorded directly into their phone and samples collected over the years, Maria BC likens Hyaline to a “sonic collage.” It’s a project of patience and trusting the process. For fans of Cocteau Twins, Grouper and Dreampop.

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Mallrat – Butterfly Blue (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Mallrat – Butterfly Blue (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 36:18 minutes | 684 MB | Genre: Pop
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Nettwerk Music Group

In 2015, a Brisbane teenager named Grace Shaw uploaded a song titled “Suicide Blonde” to SoundCloud. Shaw’s debut single as Mallrat offered more intrigue than the ordinary lo-fi ditty: The track addresses a woman who once appeared in the music video for INXS’ song of the same name and now struggles with depression, addiction, and an eating disorder. Lyrics name-dropping Cameron Diaz and the late INXS singer Michael Hutchence were exacting and empathetic. A year later, Shaw released her debut EP, Uninvited, a skittering, upbeat collection of songs about suburban ennui and feeling like an outcast. Massive streaming success, buzzy singles, and gigs opening for Post Malone and Maggie Rogers followed. After three EPs, the now 23-year-old Shaw’s long-awaited debut, Butterfly Blue, establishes her as an artist with ambitions bigger than the bedroom-pop genre that once defined her.

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Leonardo García Alarcón & Cappella Mediterranea – Sacrati: La Finta Pazza (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Leonardo García Alarcón & Cappella Mediterranea – Sacrati: La Finta Pazza (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:28:18 minutes | 2,76 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Château de Versailles Spectacles

The story of the incredible success of La Finta Pazza in Venice in 1641 is often attributed to the presence of the diva Anna Renzi and to Torelli’s incredible stage machinery. However, a show with an excellent singer and an impressive machinery is nothing without remarkable music. As soon as I discovered this score, which has almost never been performed recently, I immediately understood the surprising quality of this music and why it had such an impact on young King Louis XIV. It offers something new in the history of music, just as the opera was becoming accessible to the public, with an extremely sophisticated relation between music and text. The quality of the music is the reason why La Finta Pazza was the first opera performed at the French court in 1645, at a time when the genre was completely unknown.

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Le Balcon & Maxime Pascal – Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Le Balcon & Maxime Pascal – Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:02:59 minutes | 667 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © B Records

The Song of the Earth is Gustav Mahler’s most personal composition, as the composer himself revealed. It takes on all it’s twilight hues with Stéphane Degout’s vocal performance. Ardently conducted by Maxime Pascal, Le Balcon delivers a performance which sets the standard, using Arnold Schönberg’s pared-down transcription in the royal acoustic setting of the Basilica of Saint-Denis. Le Balcon and the Saint-Denis Festival have a long history, which began in 2014 with a recital by the soprano Julie Fuchs in the Music Pavilion of the Maison Education de la Légion d’honneur. Since then, all Le Balcon’s concerts given in the Basilica of Saint-Denis have left their mark on our respective histories: whether it be Monteverdi’s Vespers in 2015 (with a sound system and an electric guitar in the orchestra, a historic first for this repertoire), the final scene of Stockhausen’s Samstag aus Licht in 2016 (impressively rigorous, it literally transfixed the audience) or Mahler’s seventh symphony in 2017. Freedom, innovation, creativity but total respect for the works and composers are the words that immediately come to mind when thinking of Le Balcon, whose collective ad-venture is the basis of a faultless career.

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