Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lars Jakob Rudjord's Pharos, and a New Way to Listen to My Digital Files

A few days ago, Lars Jakob Rudjord announced that he had completed a new single, "Pharos," and that it was available for download on Spotify, Tidal, Amazon and other digital venues. Of course I took a listen on Tidal, my preferred way to stream, and of course I dug the track. "Pharos" sounds like it belongs on his last album, Indiepiano, which I chose as my favorite album of 2017. The new song is another delicate instrumental featuring Lars' unique keyboard work--he favors an organic and natural presentation that emphasizes the interaction between the musician and the instrument, the fingers and the keys, and the feet and the pedals. Lars' recordings are always so pristine and clear and musical, and the emotions are beyond vivid.

I shared the digital sample Lars provided on my Facebook page, and within a day or two it was liked by both Lars and his wife, the wonderful singer/composer Ingvild Koksvik. After that, Lars sent me an email and asked if I wanted to listen to the digital master. Within minutes I had two 44k 24-bit WAV files, one labelled the main master and the other one labelled a "supersafe" master that was designed for playback on mobile devices and laptops. These files offered such a deep view of the recording event, the sound of Lars' fingers brushing the keys, the slight creaking of the pedals, the air and the space and all the beauty. If you haven't taken my recommendation yet on Lars and Ingvild, this is an easy way to sample this gorgeous and beautifully recorded music from Norway. Just click on one of the links in the first paragraph.

The "Pharos" file gave me a chance to break in my new laptop-based listening system, which is composed of a new pair of Cardas Audio A8 Ear Speakers, an Audioquest Dragonfly Black USB amp/DAC, and Tidal. I've been experimenting with so many different ways to stream these days, but I think I prefer this one because the Audioquest and the Cardas are small enough to fit in tiny portable case you see in the photo--which can be stashed easily in my laptop bag--and the combination sounds fantastic. For instance, "Pharos" has a deep bass synthesizer note that appears midway into the song, and I had goosebumps the first time I heard it. The bass was tight, full and seemed to rumble all through my body.

This is a great way to listen to files, and I'm going to stick with this for a while--especially since I just received another hi-rez file featuring Portuguese fado music from Luis Filipe Fortunato, whose brilliant Live and Pure I reviewed for Positive Feedback last year.

In fact, I'm gonna take a listen right now!

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