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Author Topic: Best / Interesting Albums of 2017  (Read 6767 times)
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Scroobius
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« on: January 15, 2018, 09:01:27 pm »

Every year it gets harder to find good quality, interesting and original material to listen to. Well so it seems to me!!  So rather than post about hi-fi technicalities for a change I thought I would list a few albums I liked from 2017. It would be great to get some feedback and hear what interesting music others on this forum have come across!!!

First a tribute to Geri Allen. What a sad loss in June 2017 and only in her sixties. I was fortunate enough to see her at the Barbican. She was a truly great jazz artist and there aren't many left now so she is a huge loss.

I try to find albums by new or little known artists - and for that reason I exclude classical from this list. I found a few new (to me) artists this year but not many unhappy   Starting with the lesser known and working down to the well known:

Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway. An artist I had not heard of before and could be the find of the year. With plenty of awards to her name she is a quality musician and looking at her education a very smart girl. She also was a founder of the "Carolina Chocolate Drops" a quality country group.

Robert Finley - Going Platinum. Better late than never Robert Finley released this album in his early sixties. This is his first properly put together album with top quality supporting musicians and only happened because he was "discovered". What a voice! great blues - enjoy.

Battle of Santiago - La Migra. If complex African rhythms are your "bag" you could like this. They are Canadian  Happy Happy Happy.

Baxter Dury - Prince of Tears. Maybe this should not be in the list on musical merit but how could an album by Ian Dury's son not be mentioned. There are some attractive riffs and Baxters voice is unerringly like that of his father in fact if you didn't know ...........  I would love to see Max perform with the Blockheads that would really be something but I suppose that would be anathema to Max  unhappy unhappy unhappy

Sleaford Mods - English Tapas. OK its a 2016 album but hey rules are for bending. WARNING make sure your wife has taken the kids to her best friends for a chat before you put this on. You will for sure think I have gone completely mad. But hey I am sucker for simple bass lines - and they don't get simpler than this. Just drums and bass guitar on most tracks. But oh those simple bass lines I just love em and they sound FANTASTIC on Orelo's.

James Holden - The Animal Spirits. This is genuinely unlike anything else currently out there. Don't be fooled by the simple ambient first two tracks things will get much more complex. I love this for its originality and, well, I just like it. That's good enough for me.

Vijay Iyer Sextet - Far From Over. Mmmm. Tricky. I suspect most will turn this off soon after putting it on. But I have persevered and the more I listen the more I like. Not easy - but then the best things in music are not easy. At least this is a jazz group trying to push boundaries. Something that does not happen in jazz now which is a sad thing for sure.

OK above are the lesser known artists the following are well known.

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream. I just like em. Nuff said. Anyway James Murphy provided many musical ideas to BlackStar album of David Bowie a really great album of 2016 so he has proper street cred.

Bjork - Utopia. I like this album. Best not to overthink, just let it flow. If ever there was a descendant of the 2nd Viennese School then surely this is it. This is Bjork somewhat happier than she was. Anyway Bjork can do no wrong as far as I am concerned.

Bob Dylan - Triplicate. Its Bob no other words necessary.

Jeff Beck - Loud Hailer. This is angry Beck, angry with politics but the old master can still pick a guitar.

John Mellencamp - Sad Clowns and Hillbillies. I guess the overriding reason I like this album is the way the organ plays a thread through the music. Very similar to The Band of old. Not that much to the music but pleasant to listen to.

Neil Young - Hithchiker. This is NY at his best and sounding much like he did in the seventies. This is a good album.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. This could be one of his best and that is saying something as NC is pure class. Tragically Nick Cave's son died during the period of time this album was being made. There is much feeling portrayed. Can be a tear jerker.

Willie Nelson - God's Problem Child. An excellent musical album WN gets better with age.

The National - Sleep Well Beast worth a listen

The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding as is this

There are many other good albums not mentioned here and it is difficult to know where to stop but of the other albums nothing really stands out above this little selection.

It would be great to hear from others that have discovered interesting music in 2017!!!!

Cheers

Paul





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toddn
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 03:55:34 am »

Hey Juan,

    I just wanted to commend you on recommending Rhiannon Giddens. I came across her music towards the beginning of 2017 by chance when on the Computer Audiophile website under a “Female Vocalists” forum thread.

    I saw her in concert in a small theater venue in Atlanta, GA  on May 6th, and she truly was one of the best concerts I’d been to in years! Unbelievably good voice plus she is a banjo virtuoso, & a very good violinist! She was recently awarded the 2017 MacArthur Foundation Musical Genuis Award and received a $625,000 grant.  

    The concert was a surprise from me sweet wife, Sandra, who said it was my birthday present, even though my birthday is in September!(Looking back at it she was just trying to get in as much as possible since she had just been diagnosed with a terminal malignant brain tumor and she didn’t survive until September.)

    I vowed to see her again this year because she was so good and try to meet her to tell her my wife’s story, especially as another strong black woman. I did get to see her again in Cincinnati, OH in October when she was a guest artist with the Cincinnati Pops and they were recording it live for an upcoming CD. I also got to meet her and tell her my wife’s story, and she was unbelievably compassionate and gracious!

I’ve been a female vocal lover for 30 years and she is the “Real Deal.”

Cheers,
Todd
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 08:11:32 am »

Hi there Todd,

Just wanted you to know that Scroobius doesn't speak Spanish (as far as I know).  Wink

Regards,
Peter
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 08:37:04 am »

Quote
The concert was a surprise from me sweet wife, Sandra, who said it was my birthday present, even though my birthday is in September!


Dear Todd,

When I read out the emphasized part I already had the shivers and saw it coming. And indeed ...
Actually I am sitting here for a few minutes, not knowing what to type further.
I must be careful because more and more I seem to get involved with you guys and things like this. In this case this started with a "since last week my dear wife is behaving strange" and although this was the about last message about it, I keep on being involved.

So Todd, let's say that out of everyone, me (and you) know the very best how "loaded" your post is. I so much can imagine everything. With my text here, I hope that people reread yours and envision your expression.

This is also what music can do / does to us. It keeps us remembring all the extra nice and special - and just the same severe moments throughout life.

...

Peter
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Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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PeterSt
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 08:51:11 am »

Hi Paul,

Nice initiative !
I myself seem to be stuck in the old stuff forever. But it is also quite difficult to listen to the unknown while you actually "must" listen every day for tweaks working out for the better or not.
Later I will go through my newest "Nice Stuff" (sort on date) and see whether there's anything interesting in there. Sure, there's sufficiently enough new in there, but I doub't whether this is new stuff as such.

And I will try yours !

Btw, about Neil Young ... try The Visitor. I think it is very special and this one is really from the old days (that good) - but better.

Regards,
Peter

PS: I recall Loud Hailer as explicitly failed (squashed vocoded modern) so YMMV anyway.
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W10-14393.0 - Oct 31, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 10/20 cores) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 140.19  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 35 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^2*A:B-W-Y-R, B:B-W-R* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> *Blaxius^2 A:B-R, B:B-R* Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 12:24:43 pm »

Hello Todd, whether your intention was to direct Rhiannon Giddens recommendation to me personally or to Paul, I want to thank you deeply. I have always felt a special predilection for female voices and I have even written about it in the forum. Truly,  Rhiannon Giddens has an impressive voice but not only that. I am convinced that from now on, for me and for the other members of this forum, her voice will be forever associated with your feelings. Even without knowing Sandra, I thank you for showing us so generously what a true love is.

Juan
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 01:59:52 pm »


Thanks for posting your story Todd an unexpected and very moving response but which I found life affirming.

Rhiannon G is performing in Oxford later in the summer I will certainly try to get along to see her live. If I am lucky enough to see her I will for sure be thinking of your story.

Cheers

Paul
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 05:08:52 pm »

I wanted to briefly just thank you all for your kind words and not get off track from Paul’s outstanding recommendations.

I just really couldn’t find a way to separate my admiration for a wonderful singer/musician (I really didn’t want devalue that) and what was going on with my wife.

 I’ve always found sanctuary in listening to music that moves me, and Peter’s quest for the best possible recovery of the artist’s intent has vastly improved that emotional connection! As all of us here know, it’s way more significant than the mere physical improvements in sound!

All I can add is that music and my faith are what got me through my the hardest but most profound point in my life and continues too! We all imbed memories with the music we hear throughout our lives, so of course Rhiannon Giddens, especially after speaking with her, will always evoke a connection to my wife and her grace! I have no doubt that to all here, music is intertwined with our lives and we really can’t separate the two!

Paul & Juan, sorry for the confusion, but I’m certainly glad you appreciate where I was coming from!

One quick last happy note: Sandra told me, that if things didn’t turn out well, she wanted me to go on with my life and find someone else and have children since we couldn’t. And I am currently seeing a young(relative to my 54 yrs.)singer/songwriter, who is super talented and I hope to be able to make a “check out this artist” here in the future! We both believe my wife had some part in us meeting and is smiling down on us from Heaven!


Todd
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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 10:12:42 am »

So here is my little list of newly obtained "Nice Stuff" and then for the part which may tell you something. And please notice : these albums were new to me. Not new in absolute sense.

I must add that when an album is not "SQ compliant" it will never make it to my Nice Stuff Gallery.

In sequence of appearance :

Boris Vanderlek - Blues news
Boris Vanderlek - Blue and Sentimental
Chet Baker - In Milan
Yello - Toy
Paul Hattink - No limits {this is the guy behind Hatfield's End}
Hans Zimmer - Crimson Tide
Eric Vloeimans - Gatecrashin'
Baba Blues - Fishermen {I didn't know this guy - really good}
Odd Børretzen - Kelner
Hans Theessink - Slow Train
Keb' Mo' - Bluesamericana
Christian Willisohn - Heart Broken Man
Christian Willisohn - Blues on The World
Roger Waters - Is this the life we really want {needs more listening before it is appreciated}
Armin van Buuren - A stra of Trance (CD2)g
Neil Young - Peace Trail (MQA) {superb SQ}
Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion (MQA)
Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish (MQA)
Jimmy Smith - Any number can win
Jimmy Smith - Rockin' the boat
Various (Alligator Records) - Crucial Blues
Neil Young - Storytone (MQA) {I didn't know this album at all - really different}
Eric Bibb - A Ship called Love
Enya - Dark Sky Island (MQA)
Pink Floyd - The Early Years 1967-72 (MQA) {old but in MQA better sounding}
Ron Boots - Bookworks
Neil Young - Lucky Thirteen {did not know this album either - even more different !}
The Cars - The Cars (MQA) {obtained because old stuff sounding really good}
The Cruel Sea - The Honeymoon is over
The Crual Sea - Three legged dog
Rob - Funky Rob way
Tinariwen - Amassakoul
Mark Knopfler - Tracker (MQA)
Hans Vandenburg - Dig it yourself {the guy from Gruppo Sportive - a superb new album !}
Train - Does Led Zeppelin II
Beasty Boys - Communication {great album - possibly their best}
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic - Live at Montreux
Boris Blank - Electrified {from Yello - I did not know this existed}
The Traveling Wilburies - The Traveling Wilburies, Vol.1
Steve Earle - Guitar town
Styx - The Mission {just tried it from my past glamour stuff - is quite OK !}
Arrested Development- Unplugged {from my past - hip-hop of its own (nice) kind}
Gaudi - Magnetic {the only "ambient" I mention - the guy is just the best}
Scorpions - Acoustica {a left-over of my "metal" testing (works quite well these days)}
Avisha Cohen - Into the Silence (MQA)
Yello - Live in Berlin {a for so great album that I cancelled the concert last December (this album was stupidly published one month or so earlier)}
Nick Bärtsch's Ronin - Live {I didn't know this band - really cool}
Judas Priest - Hero Hero {more from the metal endeavour}
T-Bear & the Dukes - Ice Machine {blue grass- didn't know the guy}
Jimmy Smith - Root Down (live) (MQA) {how old stuff can sound superbly}
Jonas Hellborg - Octave of the Holey Innocents
Neil Young - The Visitor (MQA) {possibly the best new album from 2017 and really one of Neil Young's best}

So the above is an extract of the 132 in total I newly put to Nice Stuff. Below you see them all. Still, 2016 brought me some more (148).

Peter


* New2017a.png (1184.82 KB, 784x1844 - viewed 304 times.)
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 04:24:11 pm »

Here is my modest list of “new” or reissued albums, that may be old to you.

- Organic Three Plus - Clustered Injuries. Great album of Dutch group with crowdfunded album.
- Tim Berne’s Snakeoil - You’ve been watching me.
- Tim Berne’s Snakeoil - Shadow man.
Both albums are not easy listening, but very rewarding when you take the trouble of getting to know the music.
- Vijay Ayer Sextet - Far from over. See Paul above, I agree!
- Jan Bang - And Poppies from Kandahar. Cool music.
- Jethro Tull - A Passion Play. This is the Steven Wilson 2013 remixed and remastered version of my favorite Tull Album. Sounds different compared to the original mix. Also contains the first attempt to record this album, but which was not released initially, but is very interesting.
- Andy Sheppard – Surrounded by Sea.

More then enough to digest.

Stanley
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 05:11:52 pm »

Just one recommendation:-
"Patricia Barber - A Distortion of Love"
Not new but only just available in MQA. Sound quality is up there with the best.

Colin
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2018, 01:18:23 pm »

My choice as one of the best discoveries I've made lately is the Russian conductor Teodor Currentzis. Here I leave a video as a sample:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UPvugVYv03c

Regards,
Juan
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2018, 06:25:30 pm »

So rather than post about hi-fi technicalities for a change I thought I would list a few albums I liked from 2017.


Thanks Paul - much appreciated.

Mani.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2018, 06:27:28 pm »

And I am currently seeing a young(relative to my 54 yrs.)singer/songwriter, who is super talented and I hope to be able to make a “check out this artist” here in the future!


Hey Todd, glad to hear your life is going in a good direction. Look forward to the "check out this artist" at some point.

Mani.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2018, 06:32:12 pm »

Just one recommendation:-
"Patricia Barber - A Distortion of Love"
Not new but only just available in MQA. Sound quality is up there with the best.


I can't believe this is from 1992. ADCs from that era are supposed to be cr*p, but not according to this (assuming it's a digital recording). I'm listening to the MQA version, which appears to be from a 2012 master - ever so slightly brighter and more forward than I would like, but bloody nice sound nevertheless.

Mani.
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Main System:
Phasure Mach III (Win 14393.0 on RAM-OS / controlled by RDC, / connected directly to music server / XXHighEnd 2.10 / Minimize OS / Engine#4 Adaptive / DB=4096 / Q1=10 / xQ1=15 / Q3,4,5=1 / SFS=0.69 / XTweaks = 34, 10, 0, 0, 0 / Straight Contiguous / Clock Resolution = 15ms / Scheme 3-5 (low/realtime) / 8x Arc Prediction / switch #5 'up/off' / Unattended) mobo USB3 port -> Lush^2 -> Phasure NOS1a B75 G3 -> 8m Blaxius^2 -> First Watt F5-cloned mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima horn speakers
Office System:
Phasure Mach II (with Nick's clock upgrade) -> Lush^2 -> Phasure NOS1a G3 -> BD-Design BD30-SPR mono amps -> Tune Audio Marvel horn speakers
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