Review by basvk February 23, 2009 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
|This is a very enjoyable album, especially as a continuation on Hiromi's previous albums. She starts right where she left off on her previous album Time Control. That album ends abruptly ('Times up!') and leaves you with a 'I wish there was more' feeling. Well this 'Beyond Standard' album fulfills that wish perfectly.
This album also gives me a feeling of 'overview' or 'look back' to the previous albums, a sort of accomplishment.
Also on this album you can hear that the band is really extremely well connected together. Where in earlier albums it was the virtuosity of each separate musician that astonished me, on this album I feel the band as a whole is more tighter and better connected to each other as well.
Now for the sonic quality of this disc: I've started with listening to the multi channel mix. This one I enjoy the most. On my setup it makes me feel like I'm in the studio with them. The band is playing in front of me, but I hear the reverberations of the drums and guitar coming from the walls behind me, very real and well done.
I've heard better SA-CD multi-channel mixes (especially classical chamber music or piano), but taking into account that this is a mix of electrically amplified and acoustic instruments in a studio instead of a concert hall or room, it is well done.
If I compare it to Hiromi's other albums, I feel this multi channel mix is better than the first albums, but same or slightly less good than her latter two.
The 2 channel SA-CD mix is on par with the multi channel mix, but I feel a loss of 'presence', the feeling of really being there is not as strong. The balance and sonic quality of the instruments remains the same though.
The CD area is surely good enough if you don't own SA-CD equipment, but there is definitely an easily audible difference with the SA-CD version. I hear it strongest in the drums, its like they are too close and too much up front. Especially the hi-hat and snare drum become a bit too loud. Also the sound stage is more compressed, it feels like everything is simply more in the middle... But, after listening for two minutes I was already taken by the music and totally forgot I was listening to the CD area instead of one of the SA-CD mixes!
If you like Hiromi, my feeling is you will absolutely like this album as well.
If you've never heard of Hiromi before, this album might well be a good start to discover her music!
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