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Vinylla fudge.

Loose Fur: Born Against in the USA (Drag City DC 309)

You've got to love the fact that the RTI pressing plant is still in business, pressing audiophile-grade 180-gram records made from analog sources. You also have to love the fact that there are audiophiles such as your truly willing to buy their products. I really appreciate new releases such as this--there are only so many reissues I can buy. This Wilco side project that is as good as any Wilco record I've ever heard. Head Wilco Jeff Tweedy has teamed up with his Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and producer and Sonic Youth member Jim O'Rourke to create one of 2006's best rock albums so far. I'm not just saying that because of the excellent sound quality and the fantastic pressing, either. But it certainly doesn't hurt

Tortoise & Bonnie Prince Billy: The Brave and the Bold (Overcoat Records oc27)

I don't think I can name many instrumental rock bands that has ever been that successful. Jazz combos and classical music ensembles do it all the time, but rock bands need a singer. But I'm a pretty big fan of Tortoise--I've even have had the pleasure of hearing them perform live in the 1990s. With the addition of vocals, this record really brings out the best in them, and I think they are going to earn a larger audience because of it. All the tunes on the album are covers, but they have such a unique sound that many of them are just about unrecognizable other than the lyrics. My favorite is Elton John's "Daniel," but that might be due to it being so identifiable. This isn't audiophile vinyl or an audiophile recording, but it is still very well done and very enjoyable because of all the work that obviously went into this project.

Berlioz: Requiem Utah Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maurice Abravanel (Vanguard/Classic Records VCS-10070)

This release has a lot going for it. The heavy vinyl is as quiet as I've ever heard (or not heard, but you know what I mean), and the sound quality is nothing short of astounding. I'm not just saying that because the low end is so authoritative when the basses and tympani sound off during my favorite second movement or during the finale, either. There are passages throughout the piece, from the most quiet to the fortissimos where it is a perfect example of audiophile sound. But where the entire piece falls short is the performance and interpretation, where I'm afraid every other recorded version I've ever heard betters it. The other versions of this piece that I have on LP, Maazel (Decca) and Fremaux (EMI); on CD, Dutoit (Decca); and on SACD, Munch (RCA) easily outclass this version by a mile. It is a perfect case of every note being played at just the right pitch at the right time at the right volume, but yet the reading lacks the energy, emotion, and spirit that could set it apart from the rest of the field. Call it a blase performance with excellent sound.--TL
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Title Annotation:Loose Fur: Born Against in the USA; The Brave and the Bold; Berlioz: Requiem Utah Symphony Orchestra
Author:Lyle, Tom
Publication:Sensible Sound
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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