Wednesday, 18 April 2012

In Flames - Lunar Strain

This is In Flames' first album released in 1994. It has 14 tracks (my album does, it contains some extra promo tracks). It is recorded at Wrong Again Records.

I'm a big fan of In Flames and I've been listening to most of their albums for a long time. My personal favorites are Soundtrack To Your Escape and Clayman but I knew of the other albums as well. The album I had spent least time with is probably Lunar Strain. Why? Because I thought it sounded so boring and that audio quality was way too bad and so on.

So why am I writing about this album and not one of my favorites? It's because this album has become my new favorite. As I get better equipment I rediscover albums that I never used to listen to before and this is not an exception.

Lunar Strain hasn't got that typical In Flames-sound which is apparent on all other albums. This sounds more like death metal I think. And Mikael Stanne is doing vocals, not Anders Fridén. In my opinion this album is a little more non-mainstream and unique than In Flames' newer ones.

My favorite tracks on this albums are Starforsaken, Hårgalåten and Upon An Oaken Throne.

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 5/10

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Diana Krall - A Case of You (Live in Paris)

This is track #11 on the Live in Paris album.

Dynamics and sound quality are very high quality except from a little background noise.

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 9/10

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Chris Jones - Roadhouses and Automobiles (2003)

Roadhouses and Automobiles is Chris Jones's latest solo album before his death in September 2005. The album has 12 tracks and it is recorded at Stockfisch Records in Germany.

The sound "signature" of the album is a little different than what one might be used to. I can't say why but it sounds a little different. Chris' voice is still amazing though and this is one of my favorite albums ever.

The dynamics are nothing special really, see the MasVis analysis. But it still sounds extremely good because the recording is very well done, as with most other albums recorded at Stockfisch Records.

MasVis analysis

Audio Quality - 9/10

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Mark Knopfler - Shangri La (2004)

I got to know of this album when I was looking at some DIY speakers on YouTube and there was a guy playing some tracks from this album. I just had to get it! Said and done...

It sounds typically Mark Knopfler, nothing new, nothing missing. Sound-wise the dynamics could be a little bit better, but it still sounds okay and the music is good. I wont go deeper into any specific tracks, but if you really want me to just leave a comment and I'll do my best.

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 8/10

Garett Brennan - These Knees

This is track #10 from the Blue Coast Collection album that I have written about earlier. It's a cool track, makes me happy. It's not available on YouTube but it costs only $2 at Blue Coast Records or you could just buy the whole album at once :)

MasVis analysis

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Mark Knopfler - Sucker Row

An interesting track from an interesting album, check it out!

Mark Knopfler - Sucker Row on YouTube!

MasVis analysis

Blue Coast Collection (2012)

I actually got this album just by pure luck. I was just looking around at the diyaudio forum and there was a guy linking to this album and it was at sale for $0.01. I just couldn't miss out on such a great deal! I bought the album and after spending quite some time downloading the album (it was huge!) I started listening. The recordings were unlike anything I have ever heard before. E.S.E stands for Extended Sound Enviroment and I must say the soundstage on all tracks in this album really is top class. All tracks are acoustic recordings performed live in the studio without the use of headphones, overdubs or digital effects. E.S.E makes use of room and direct microphone placement to optimize full tonal response from the intruments and character of the room while allowing the musicians to position themselves to eachother without the use of headphones. More information at their website Blue Coast Records.

The first song, Looking for a Home, reminds me a little of Alison Krauss. Nothing special really about this song except for the superb audio quality. A perfect example of a great acoustic recording. If you're into bluegrass and country music you'll most likely like this song.

The third track, Lilianna, is a little interesting. It reminds me of when I was in Naxos, Greece. I used to eat at a restaurant close to the beach which played music that sounded exactly like this. Enough about that, but this track brings back some good memories and teleports me to a place far away from the cold and vast forests of Sweden. I have no idea what language he sings in, but it sounds cool to me. A little variety from all English tracks.

Track number five, The Dog Song, is one of my personal favorites. A simple track with just an acoustic guitar and a male voice. One thing that bothers me though is the background noise which isn't exclusively on this track but it's on the whole album. When listening on speakers it's barely noticable but on headphones it's somewhat disturbing. One interesting thing about this song is that the voice isn't in the center of the soundstage, as it always is. It's shifted a little to the right channel which makes it a little more interesting.

Immediately Blessed, track number seven, is probably my favorite track on this album. The rich male voice sounds just so good and the whole song is very relaxing, almost makes one want to fall asleep. The guitar and the voice sounds very realistic and there's nothing to complain on (except from that bloody background noise...). There is actually a video on YouTube from the recording session. Interesting!

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 9.5/10

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Donald Fagen - The Nightfly (1982)

This is Donald Fagen's first solo album released 1982. Previously Donald Fagen was active in Steely Dan but after it's breakup in 1981 he decided to go his own way.

This album has a very dynamic and live sound. It may sound a little "thin" and boring but that's not true at all. I first got to know of this album when I was with Takida (a famous swedish band) on a gig. I was following their soundguy just getting to know what it's like being a soundguy. After we had set up his table and got the PA working he said he needed to EQ it. He turned on the first track of this album, I.G.Y., and I got caught in the dynamics and the bass of that track. Lower volumes wont give this album justice, turn up the volume and you will be rewarded. Due to the good dynamics and non-brickwalled mastering it is possible to play this album at loud volumes even with small speakers.

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 9/10

Audioslave - Audioslave (2002)

This is the first album released by Audioslave. It has a (in my opinion) special sound, like typically Audioslave. Nothing is as is "should" be and I think it's quite innovative, especially the way Tom Morello plays the guitar.
I'll pick a few tracks and write some words about them. It take too much time to write about every song on the album and I'm sure that only a few would read about them all.

The opening track called Cochise starts of with Tom Morello hitting the strings with something like a pen (he has said that's how he came up with that helicopter sound) and it builds up nicely and then explodes into a supercool riff. Chris Cornell's voice is, as usual, far from normal.  The guitar riff surely gets on your mind and it's a pretty "fast" song. Not the best one on the album, but it's a nice song to start a good album with.

Track #5 is called Like a Stone and my jaw sure drops like a stone each time I hear this song. In my opinion one of Audioslave's best tracks. I have listened to this track hundreds of time but i still find it just as good as I did the first time.

Track #7, Shadow On the Sun, is also one of the better tracks on this album. It's mostly a calm song with not very much action but a few times it suddenly explodes and Chris Cornell really shows what he is capable of. Bass is played very well by Tim Commerford. About halfway through the song Tom goes crazy with his guitar making the song unique.

The ending track, The Last Remaining Light, is a slow, calm song.  Cymbals and treble in general is very apparent in this song but I still can help feeling thinking it sounds a little muffled. The cymbals doesn't sound very real, unfortunately. A good song though, but may feel a little melancholic.

MasVis analysis

Audio quality - 6.5/10

Up and running!

Okay, got the blog up and running but since this is my first blog ever it will probably take some time for me to learn everything.

Right now I'm just working on the design and when I feel happy with that I'll start the real stuff. Hopefully I will be able to start this week.