What I Think, What’s New On Qobuz

By: Gary Alan Barker
January 29th, 2024

High-Resolution Streaming services like Qobuz open up a whole world of music to people like me who cannot get enough. I personally own almost 16TB of music, yet I always want to hear something new, so from the first launching of Qobuz I have started every equipment review by just randomly picking new releases off of Qobuz, which of course lends itself to music reviews.

My first toe dip for this month was Brittney Spencer’s “My Stupid Life” (24-bit/48kHz – Qobuz). Billed as country it sounds a lot more like New York City than Austin to me. That is not to say that it is bad, it is very Poppy and pleasant and sure to garner a lot of fans, especially among young women. There is a lot of twenty-something sentiment packed into it and she aspires to be a Diva though she just doesn’t have the pipes for it, which does leave the occasional phrase sounding contrived and pretentious, but nothing painful to listen to. I can’t say there was a really standout song, but again, that is not a bad thing except from a marketing point of view (most of my favorite artists start on a high note and stay there for the entire album), but I doubt I will be revisiting this.

Given the title of this article, I couldn’t pass up an album entitled “Qobuz Sessions at SXSW – Barrie” (24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz). Very reminiscent of ’80s avant-garde artist Jane Siberry, Barrie Lindsay’s music is both unique and engaging. The opening track “Frankie” is probably the most representative of her music though I have a particular fondness for the solo piano piece “Jenny”. Unfortunately, there are only four tracks on this live performance recording, so I went on to listen to her EP from last year “5K” (24-bit/44.1kHz – Qobuz). While the studio tracks are a little more sterile than the live ones, it was still quite enjoyable, and definitely an artist I will keep an eye on in the future. Her songs are melodic with complex rhythms and interesting atonal vocal harmonies, representing a refreshing change in this modern world of auto-tuned conformity.

Following a theme I moved on to “Qobuz Sessions at SXSW – Miss Grit” (24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) and was once again taken aback by a spectacular performance from an avant-garde electronica artist with an angelic voice. Mellow and intricate, with deep layers of sound and multiple intertwined melodies. The stark almost punk pulsating beat of “Nothing’s Wrong” stood out grabbing attention, though there was brilliance throughout. Striding a line between Bill Nelson and Laurie Anderson “사이보그를 따라와” was spellbinding.

“Qobuz Sessions at SXSW – DoomCannon” (24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) was the third entry to the set, a lovely ethereal journey into improvisational jazz it evokes visions of dark smoke filled night clubs and film noir (think “Blade Runner”). Epic virtuoso exploration into piano, bass, guitar, percussion, and sax were the call of the day. Sensational.

The last piece, and the last piece for this month was “Qobuz Sessions at SXSW – Caramelo Haze” (24-bit/96kHz – Qobuz) another exemplary artist with shades of world music rocking a jazz vibe. I cannot recommend enough any of the four SXSW performances, cudos to Qobuz for bringing the to my attention.

Until next month, remember it’s all about the music!

Reference system used in this review: LSA VT-70 Tube Integrated AmpAudio-gd R2R-1 DACBlack Dragon CablesCore Power Technologies A/V Equi=Core 1000, and Dan Clark Audio E3 Planar Magnetic Headphones

HiFiAudio.Guru Playlist: https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/10673532

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