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Movie Renter's Guide - October, 2009


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Blu-ray), The Proposal (Blu-ray), Qdeo HD Video Test Disc (Blu-ray), Spears & Munsil HD Video Test Disc (Blu-ray) , The Girl Next Door (Blu-ray), Misery (Blu-ray), Disaster Movie (Blu-ray), The Tale of Despereaux (Blu-ray), MASH (Blu-ray), Powder Blue (Blu-ray), Drag Me To Hell (Blu-ray), Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray), The Passion of the Christ (Blu-ray), Away We Go (Blu-ray), Field of Dreams (Blu-ray)


Interview with Steve Hoffman - Remastering Classic Recordings on Vinyl

Interview with Steve HoffmanWorld-renowned studio mastering engineer Steve Hoffman is currently working on the re-mastering and re-release of many legendary rock and pop titles including classic Nat King Cole albums on SACD and 45 RPM vinyl for Acoustic Sounds/Analogue Productions and 24 Karat Gold CDs (The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, The Pretenders, Alice Cooper, etc.) for Audio Fidelity (among others).


A Collection of New Vinyl Releases - August, 2009

August Vinyl Release : Son-Volt

At this point, I'm not expecting Son Volt to release any experimental electro-pop or klezmer-inflected jam funk. Son Volt makes straight ahead country tinged rock and roll music. Almost exclusively. Jay Farrar has the voice for it. He's good at it. He's known how to do it for decades, and he doesn't seem to have any interest in changing his ways this late in the game. Besides, Farrar got a little risky with some alternate tunings and unorthodox song structures on some solo releases a while back, and no one was buying.


CD Reviews - September, 2009

Christina CourtinThis striking, eponymously titled album from singer/songwriter Christina Courtin introduces an enigmatic, deep-thinking artist who first disarms you, then ropes you in. Courtin’s seductive, little girl voice comes off as almost naïve in the opening track, “Green Jay,” but turns surprisingly dark and pleading in “Laconia.”


Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2009

movie-august-2009-teaser Coraline (Blu-ray), The Soloist (Blu-ray), Fast & Furious (Blu-ray), 12 Rounds (Blu-ray)


Movie Renter's Guide - September, 2009

movie-september-2009-teaserState of Play (Blu-ray), Sex Drive: Unreated and Cream-Filled (Blu-ray), Moonraker (Blu-ray), The World is Not Enough (Blu-ray), Duplicity (Blu-ray), The Edge of Love (Blu-ray), Race to Witch Mountain (Blu-ray) 


CD Reviews - August, 2009

July 2009 CD Review - Lorraine Hunt

Why did we have to wait until after Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s passing to receive so many live, un-doctored documents of her greatness? The live 2004 Ravinia performance of her husband Peter Lieberson’s Rilke Songs (Bridge) was the first to arrive after the San Francisco-born mezzo died of cancer on July 3, 2006 at age 52. Then came her November 2005 live performance of Lieberson’s Neruda Songs (Nonesuch).


A Collection of New Vinyl Releases - September, 2009

Duke Ellington (with Charlie Mingus and Max Roach) "Money Jungle" Classic RecordsWhen I think of Duke Ellington, I think of Big Bands and his "Live at Newport" album from 1956. I bought "Money Jungle" based on the album cover and the fact that it was released by Classic Records. The cover photo shows The Duke and drummer Max Roach commiserating at the piano while the formidable Charles Mingus looks on in the background with his bass. It's in black and white. The music is not.


A Collection of New Vinyl Releases - July, 2009

Iron-and-Wine-tnI came to the Iron and Wine game late.  I bought 2007's "The Shepherd's Dog," amongst the disapproving howls of his audience who seemed to think he'd abandoned his sound.  You'd have thought he'd started rapping or something.  "Around the Well" is a collection of B-sides and rarities that span the length of his career, and I can kind of see his fans' point in retrospect.


The Legendary Pianist Menahem Pressler

Menahem PresslerFor over 50 years, pianist Menahem Pressler’s name has been indelibly associated with the Beaux Arts Trio. As the founder of the trio, it is Pressler’s pianism that is the constant in the trio’s over 50 benchmark recordings of Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, and other great composers.


The British Choral Group Stile Antico Talks About its U.S. Debut

Stile Antico Speak of it U.S. DebutOn June 12, 2009, the English early music choral ensemble Stile Antico made its much-anticipated U.S. debut at the Boston Early Music Festival. The entire concert debut was recorded by NPR, and can be heard online.

After Stile Antico won the 2005 Early Music Network International Young Artists’ Competition, the young ensemble’s debut disc for Harmonia Mundi, Music for Compline, won the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, and a Grammy Award nomination. Their second disc, Heavenly Harmonies, received the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and another Diapason d’Or. Attention from NPR, and a tour with Sting in Europe and the Far East in support of his Dowland lute song project, Songs from the Labyrinth, elevated them into company rare for an early music ensemble, and helped project their most recent CD, Song of Songs, into the Top 15 of the Billboard Classical Chart.

In anticipation of Stile Antico’s U.S. debut, I spoke by phone with one of the group’s founding members, towering bass Olly Hunt. Chief among my queries was the genesis of the group’s marvelously fresh, oft-sensual sound.