Maurizio Colonna, acoustic guitar – Rock Waves (Electric Dreams of a Classical Guitar Player) Live – TopMusic Blu-spec CD ™-BSCD7014.5, 1 hour *****:
I suppose the thing of greatest interest here would be what a Blu-spec CD is. The master is made using the same Blu-ray laser diode as used on Blu-ray DVDs. It is extremely precise because the little pits on a Blu-ray disc are about 1/20 the size of those used for standard CDs, so it can make the CD pits even more accurate, eliminating jitter. Width, length and placement of the pits are improved. No cooling fan is required, which eliminates some vibration. (I’d like to have this put in the Hi-Res Section but we can’t since it’s still a standard CD.)
The original recording was made using 192K/32-bit DSD and SADiE digital precision mastering. I notice also that the actual CD is more opaque than most when you hold it up to the light. The notes features a long list of the audiophile gear used in the production. The performance was given live in a large hall in Turin, Italy, and guitarist Colonna plays a modern classical guitar built in 1992. There have been strings and orchestral versions of hit numbers by various rock groups over the years, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard an acoustic guitarist attempting such rock selections as on the 14 tracks here. Colonna has successfully transcribed all of them – no matter how big and noisy the original – into lovely little pieces that usually seem they were originally written for the classical guitar. The lyrical passages really sing, and Colonna never digs into the strings struggling to get them louder for the big climaxes of the music.
There are tunes here by Sting, Led Zeppelin, Siimon & Garfunkel, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Deep Purple, The Eagles, Metallica and even Elvis. I especially liked the extensive suite Colonna created from three Pink Floyd hits. There are also tunes by two Italian performers, Fabrizio de Andre and Vasco Rossi, with whom I am not familiar. Of course the huge crowd goes nuts over each of the tunes, providing excellent test material for audiophiles (the realism of applause is always a great audio test). While solo guitar is probably not the ultimate test of fidelity, the sonics here are clearly a cut above the usual standard CD – similar to HDTT’s HQCDs and F.I.M.’s K2 HD process.
TrackList: Introduction, Stairway to Heaven, Pink Floyd Suite, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Tears in Heaven, La Canzone Di Marinella/ La Citta’ Vecchia, Private Investigations, Smoke on the Water, Il Mondo Che Vorrei, Hotel California, Nothing Else Matters, Englishman in New York, Falling in Love, Fields of Gold, My Way.
– John Henry