• Music That Lit Up The Hard Drives In 2010

    2010 is over and itís time to look back and reminisce about what makes this hobby so wonderful. Music. Without music our well designed and frequently very expensive components would be nothing but paperweights and room heaters. Over the last twelve months Iíve purchased more music than any previous year. An increasing percentage of this music was high resolution and downloaded legally via the Internet. Along with more high resolution material came an increased demand for storage. I was forced to increase the size of my Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit from five to ten terabytes. That said the vast majority of the music I purchased in 2010 was on plain old Redbook 16 bit / 44.1 kHz Compact Discs. What follows is my top fifteen of 2010. A list of albums that lit up the hard drives here at Computer Audiophile. Some of these selections were released in 2010 while others were new to me in 2010 or simply albums that I couldnít stop playing throughout 2010.



     

    In support of traditional record stores Iíve linked the albums to my local member of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores when possible. I encourage all readers to browse the CIMS website to find a local dealer who not only stocks your favorite music but offers knowledge about albums and artists thatís not available from a big box chain store or online conglomerate.


     

    Burning Hard Drive Award

    First, the burning hard drive award. This award goes to an artists or album(s) that lit up the hard drives here at Computer Audiophile more than anything else. Like the days of wearing out albums or cassettes. If it was possible to wear out a drive from over-accessing the same set of files Iím sure it wouldíve happened while I was listening to Ray LaMontagne in 2010. I was introduced to Rayís music when I took a chance at The Electric Fetus record store by purchasing all four of his CDs. I had a gut feeling I would like this guyís music. Iím extremely happy that I purchased all four albums. Each album is a special work of art. Readers interested in testing the Ray LaMontagne waters should pick up his newest release God Williní & The Creek Donít Rise or Rayís first release Trouble. Both albums in the middle are wonderful as well.





    • Artist: Ray LaMontagne

    • Album: Trouble

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Trouble, Hold You In My Arms, Jolene



    • Artist: Ray LaMontagne

    • Album: Till The Sun Turns Black

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Be Here Now, Empty, Three More Days



    • Artist: Ray LaMontagne

    • Album: Gossip In The Grain

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: You Are The Best Thing, Let It Be Me, Winter Birds

    • 2009 Grammy Nomination: Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Ė Ethan Johns & Dominic Monks



    • Artist: Ray LaMontagne

    • Album: God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: repo Man, New York City's Killing Me, Beg Steal Or Borrow, For The Summer

    • 2010 Grammy Nominations: Song Of The Year Ė Beg Steal Or Borrow, Best Contemporary Folk Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Ė Ryan Freeland








     

     

    Computer Audiophile Top 15 of 2010


    • Artist: Shelby Lynne

    • Album: Tears, Lies, And Alibis

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Like A Fool, Loser Dreamer, Something To Be Said About Airstreams

    • mixed by Al Schmitt at Capitol Studios in Hollywood and mastered by Doug Sax & Sunny Nam at the Mastering Lab in Ojai, California.



    • Artist: Sam Cooke

    • Album: Night Beat (2005 Remaster)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen, Lost And Lookin', Mean Old World

    • Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering



    • Artist: Ben Harper

    • Album: Welcome To The Cruel World

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Welcome To The Cruel World

     



    • Artist: Nat King Cole

    • Album: The Very Thought of You (Analogue Productions)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: The Very Thought Of You, But Beautiful, I Found A Million Dollar Baby

     



    • Artist: Sia

    • Album: We Are Born

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: The Fight, Clap Your Hands, You've Changed, I'm In Here

     



    • Artist: Kings Of Leon

    • Album: Come Around Sundown

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: The End, Radioactive, The Face

     



    • Artist: Petteri Iivonen

    • Album: Art of the Violin (24 bit / 88.2 kHz)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Partita No. 2 in D Minor BWV 1004, Mov 1 - Mov 4

     



    • Artist: Michael Stern - Kansas City Symphony

    • Album: Britten's Orchestra HRx (24 bit / 176.4 kHz)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Passacaglia

     



    • Artist: Florence + The Machine

    • Album: Lungs

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Dog Days Are Over, Kiss With A Fist

     



    • Artist: Nat King Cole

    • Album: Love Is The Thing (Analogue Productions)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: When I Fall In Love, Love Letters, At Last

     



    • Artist: Cťu

    • Album: Vagarosa

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Cangote, Bubuia, Grains de Beautť

     



    • Artist: Tower Of Power

    • Album: Soul With A Capital "S" - The Best Of Tower Of Power

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Attitude Dance, Soul With A Capital S, Diggin' On James Brown

     



    • Artist: Jimmy Cobb Quartet

    • Album: Jazz In The Key Of Blue (24 bit / 96 kHz)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: I Had The Craziest Dream, We'll Be Together Again

     



    • Artist: Roger Waters

    • Album: Amused To Death

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Perfect Sense, Part I-II, What God Wants, Part I-III

     



    • Artist: Laurence Juber

    • Album: Guitar Noir (24 bit / 96 kHz)

    • Artist Site: Linklink

    • Purchase Music: Linklink

    • Notable: Guitar Noir, Rules Of The Road, Blues De Luxe


     

     


    That does it for 2010 and the music that lit up the hard drives around here. Thanks to all the dedicated readers for making this year the best year ever for Computer Audiophile. Site traffic is way up and continuing to grow every week. I talk to manufacturer's who consistently tell me this site is something special and that we have a good thing going. I owe every reader and contributor a debt of gratitude for helping to make this site what it is and what it will become. Just like the Internet, computer based high-end audio is not a fad. It's the future and a very bright future for those who embrace new technology. Never before has such great sound and convenience been available at such attractive prices. Sure some components will always be priced stratospherically, but so are some cars, some watches, and some real estate. I look forward to an even better year in 2011 and can't wait to pull the high-end industry, kicking and screaming, along with us.



    Thanks again and I'll see everyone from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV January 6-9, 2011.

    Happy New Year :~)
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. 4est's Avatar
      4est -
      She is awesome! Do not forget her first recording.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Ted - The power of music is amazing. This is a wonderful hobby as it's there for people in all stages. Happy music, sad music, and everything in between. Not many hobbies have this ability. <br />
      <br />
      Here's to a wonderful 2011.
    1. JeffH's Avatar
      JeffH -
      I discovered Jazz in 2010. When the year started, I did not have any Jazz albums. Now I have all of these:<br />
      <br />
      Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin'<br />
      Charles Mingus - Blues & Roots<br />
      Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um<br />
      Charlie Parker - Bird: The Original Recordings Of Charlie Parker<br />
      Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out<br />
      Dexter Gordon - Go<br />
      Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage<br />
      John Coltrane - Blue Train<br />
      John Coltrane - Giant Steps<br />
      John Coltrane - A Love Supreme<br />
      Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue<br />
      Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus<br />
      Sonny Rollins - Sonny Rollins: Volume One<br />
      Sonny Rollins - Tenor Madness<br />
      Sonny Rollins - Way Out West<br />
      Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Himself<br />
      Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil<br />
      <br />
      Can you tell what king of Jazz I like? I'm just getting started <br />
    1. barrows's Avatar
      barrows -
      love SL's, Tears, Lies, & Alibis. Now if only we could convince her to release a high resolution mix/transfer from the original tapes... but I understand she is a analog gal.<br />
      I suspect this wonderful recording could get even smoother, richer, and more dimensional given good 24/192 treatment.<br />
      <br />
      Another thing I have been listening to a lot is the Bach Violin Concertos with Hilary Hahn, from HDTracks in 24/88.2.
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      JeffH-<br />
      <br />
      Great start to a collection. A few suggestions off the top of my head, in the same vein as your selections:<br />
      <br />
      1. Blakey and the Jazz Messingers: A Night in Tunisia (the early sixties album with Wayne Shorter on sax). The best version of the title tune ever, IMO.<br />
      <br />
      2. Pretty much anything by Herbie Hancock on Blue Note from the sixties - it's all amazing. I especially recommend "Empyrean Isles"<br />
      <br />
      3. Art Pepper: "Straight Life" (from the 80's) and "Meets the Rhythm Section" (from 1957).<br />
      <br />
      4. Don Pullen: New Beginnings<br />
      <br />
      5. Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch<br />
      <br />
      6. Horace Silver Quintet: "The Cape Verdean Blues"; "Song for My Father"<br />
      <br />
      7. The Monk-Coltrane Albums (really Monk's band with Coltrane as sideman, but now usually marketed as a double bill)<br />
      <br />
      8. Woody Shaw: Rosewood<br />
      <br />
      9. Dexter Gordon: "Homecoming: Live at the Village Vanguard"<br />
      <br />
      Enjoy!
    1. rogerdn's Avatar
      rogerdn -
      Thks for the list Chris, but how do I do I get this SACD on my HD ?
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      There are ways to convert the SACD to PCM in your SACD player, then with the use of modifications (installed boards, etc) record it and separate into tracks, etc at 24/88 or 24/176...but that's not exactly easy. Moreover, there are even ways to capture the DSD layer and record it, but even more difficult with more esoteric gear and mods (assuming you even have a DSD-capable DAC).
    1. rogerdn's Avatar
      rogerdn -
      read the rb layer ? The one time I tried that (I'm new to ca) it didn't work, must be this disc (Audiophile Vocal Recordings/Chesky) was SACD only ?
    1. driven -- by sound's Avatar
      driven -- by sound -
      Patience is killing the patients! But I admit, each year is getting a lil' better in terms of hi-rez offerings. However, a lot of what's being offered now I wouldn't have owned previously or wouldn't at 96/24 kHz.<br />
      <br />
      Don't mean this in a negative way. Rather, like many here at CA, my rig is capable and I want record companies to provide me with purchases much like they did at an earlier time with inferior offerings (poorly mixed/poorly transferred CD's back in the day) and I bought all of that crap!<br />
      <br />
      That said, of the audiophile downloads I bought or received in 2010, all but three were what I expected - the bunch was good. To quote the former NFL Coach Dennis Green - "The Bears are who we THOUGHT they were!" In this case, the recording artists. <br />
      <br />
      The remaining three tracks? They were good too, but did not see them coming and was blown away by the new material. Talk about being pleasantly surprised, they got way more play in 2010 than some of my known favorites. <br />
      <br />
      They are:<br />
      <br />
      Xiomara Laugart - "De Mis Recuerdos" (96/24). This Cuban songtress has <br />
      a lush, honey-drenched voice.<br />
      <br />
      Patrice Rushen Trio - "Red Clay" (Piano, Bass & Drums - 96/24)<br />
      <br />
      Minnesota Orchestra/ - "Satie, arr. Debussy: Gymnopedie No. 1" <br />
      Eiji Oue (88.2/24)<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      Five albums I would love to purchase in 2011 in 96/24 kHz resolution:<br />
      (off the top of my head)<br />
      <br />
      1. Tom Browne - Love Approach<br />
      2. Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters<br />
      3. B.B. King - Indianola Mississippi Seeds<br />
      4. Yamaha R&D Corp. - Session III<br />
      5. Angela Bofill - Angel of The Night<br />
      <br />
      Lastly, would like to see Universal Music bust open that whole Arista/Grusin-Rosen Production catalogue...<br />
      <br />
      Post Script.: I actually have a pristine copy of Session III on vinyl with then 19 yr old phenom Keiko Doi(now Keiko Matsui) but no means of ripping it to 192 or 96/24 kHz. Well, I could always ship it to a fellow member... (hint).<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. xiddox's Avatar
      xiddox -
      This begs the question: are these recent Steve Hoffman Nat King Cole releases only available on SACD? I do realise they are hybrids...<br />
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      SACD's that Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman did (Gray never gets enough credit). The redbook layer has mono and stereo versions.
    1. Lowlands's Avatar
      Lowlands -
      A gem I found in 2010 was "Pure Air" by Anneke van Giersbergen. Recommended...!<br />
      Happy new year to you all & Chris, keep up the good work!<br />
      Hans
    1. RobGoodison's Avatar
      RobGoodison -
      New for 2010 (at least for me) was the music by Andrew Bird (http://www.andrewbird.net). <br />
      <br />
      I can't believe it took me so long to find and listen to his music...and I still can't believe I paid £45 for his latest CD (but haven't regretted it).
    1. Gregor Samsa's Avatar
      Gregor Samsa -
      The most gratifying musical trend for me in 2010 was artists of my generation who continue, after all these years, to produce albums that are compelling and vibrant. Robert Plant's Band of Joy certainly lived up to their name and Neil Young's Le Noise was a very pleasant surprise. Tom Petty and Jeff Beck also put out great stuff.<br />
      <br />
      The most amazing, however, is Richard Thompson, who in many important ways appears to improve with each new album. His latest, Dream Attic, will also compete for the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy, and is one of his best ever.
    1. bluedy1's Avatar
      bluedy1 -
      I have 123 songs on I put 15000 new songs in my computer this year (total 55449), many I had no time to listen to (but I will someday) but I constantly came back to An Pierle.<br />
      She is a belgian singer who produces perfect pop music: really beautiful melodies with intensity.<br />
      <br />
      Technical question: has anyone heard of problem between drobo and snow leopard?
    1. ted_b's Avatar
      ted_b -
      album, Homeland, by Laurie Anderson. Wow, it's very good musically, sonically, and of course, Laurie Anderson weird-science-ly. Great stuff. Lsst song, Flow, is a violin instrumental and is Grammy-nominated.
    1. sauerball's Avatar
      sauerball -
      Buying music is difficult where I live, so my "best" is more of what to which I have been able to listen than of what has been released. That said, I listen to what I buy quite a bit!<br />
      <br />
      In no particular order . . .<br />
      Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle<br />
      Peter Gabriel - Scratch My Back (24 bit version sounds great)<br />
      John Grant - Queen Of Denmark<br />
      Neil Young - Le Noise (getting ready to listen to my new 24/192 copy)<br />
      Bruce Springsteen - The Promise (the high rez material on the DVDs and Blu-Rays is outstanding)<br />
      Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me<br />
      Shelby Lynne - Tears, Lies, And Alibis<br />
      Peter Wolf - Midnight Souvenirs <br />
      Grinderman - Grinderman 2<br />
      Robyn - Body Talk<br />
      Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards<br />
      Bushman's Revenge - Jitterbug<br />
      Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love<br />
      Caetano Veloso - Zii e Zie (2010 in the U.S. anyway)<br />
      Janelle MonŠe - The ArchAndroid<br />
      Tift Merritt - See You on the Moon<br />
      John Hiatt - The Open Road<br />
      Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM<br />
      Flying Lotus - Cosmogramm<br />
      The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul<br />
      <br />
      Also, have enjoyed some new (at least to me) high rez versions of some older stuff . . . Koln Concert, BOTR, ATMP, Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend etc
    1. Richard Dale's Avatar
      Richard Dale -
      +1 <br />
      <br />
      I saw her live as part of the Canarian Jazz Festival this year. <br />
      <br />
      I'm not sure about the 'vinyl sounds' on one of tracks though - I thought it was a 'clicking problem' with Ayrewave and stopped playing it to investigate, and it took me a while to work out it was supposed to sound like that. <br />
      <br />
      I also like Mayra Andrade from Cape Verde who has also appeared in the same Jazz Festival - her CD 'Storia, Storia...' gets my five star recommendation for one of the best things I've bought this year.
    1. hmalbrt's Avatar
      hmalbrt -
      For me the recording of the year, a great album by America's best band. The CD sounds great, but the vinyl is something special (ripped to FLAC for my computer set-up, of course). Highly recommended.
    1. Starlet's Avatar
      Starlet -
      I'd love to buy the disc of Ray LaMontagne. The songs seem to be very cool. I love his songs in general but these albums are one of the best. I also like Kings Of Leon a lot. Downloaded lots of their songs from music search http://mp3hounddog.com . Their music is very lovely. It has some individuality. I appreciate this about them a lot.