Here’s another good approach to the DualDisc idea. It’s something like the recent soundtrack music for The Two Towers, except that one was so long it required three CDs and the separate DVD was encoded for DVD-Audio instead of Dolby Digital’s lossy codec. Again, there is a different still – mostly astronomical photos – for each of the tracks. And they’re not really still – there is an extremely slow zoom in or out on each one. But the point is this is really a music-only disc and will play fine if you just insert in your DVD player. I wasn’t able to get a readout of what the sampling rate was, but it does sound better than the CD sides and with very creative use of the surround channels as well. [If all this is too-techy overkill for you, you can get just the two CDs in another option which was released simultaneously – but on the Silva America label rather than Tadlow. It’s order # is SILKD 6041.] The Silva label has been into surround sound for many years; their many soundtrack CDs were mostly encoded for Dolby matrix surround and still generate a fine surround field using ProLogic II.
Jarre – best known for his popular Oxygene and Equinoxe albums – has been a sort of please-everybody electronic composer. His amazingly catchy tracks keep up interest tho they are often quite minimalist, and he stays comfortably in the tonal realm. This new collection would be a boon for listeners who have generally liked Jarre’s past work but got a bit tired of the all-electronic sounds. The symphonic versions offer a different musical view of Jarre’s music that in many cases make it even more dramatic and appealing. The performers are the very busy Prague musicians who have been toiling for many Silva America and other labels’ discs, as well as performing the Mozart Requiem on the Dolomites DVD I just reviewed. They handle Jarre’s scores as though they have been doing them for years. The use of the chorus is sparing but quite effective when it comes in – often from the surrounds. I like the electronic effects between some of the tracks, which swirled around the soundfield. The soloist and chorus were actually recorded separately in London and mixed into the symphonic tracks. Altogether a most enjoyable surround experience, and you still have the CDs to enjoy in your car, portable or desk player.
CD 2: Eldorado; Oxygene 13; Magnetic Fields 1; The Emigrant; Oxygene 4; Rendez-Vous 2 & 4; Acropolis; Computer Weekend
– John Sunier