Modern singer-songwriters like John Mayer, Dave Mathews and Jason Mraz (and there are many others) elevated the art of guitar accompaniment to a whole new level. You hear fresh chord voicings, exciting rhythm patterns, bass lines, percussive elements, riffs and other melodic elements supporting their vocals — and they do it all with just six strings and a pick. That’s “acoustic groove” at its very best.
Nearly unrecognizable as the work of the one-time punk rock outfit, Night Drive is effectively Chromatics' third debut album in a row, following a wholesale transformation in sound and style and yet another lineup change: Adam Miller is again the sole constant member; vocalist Ruth Radelet is a new addition even since the 2006 teaser Nite, replacing Lena Okazaki, while Glass Candy's Johnny Jewel, who produced that single, is now a full-fledged member. Actually, this seems to be Jewel's record more than anyone's – in the silver-screen conceit of the liner notes he's listed as director to Miller's screenwriter, though he also has a writing credit on all the record's originals, only four of which (the vocal songs) Miller co-wrote – indeed, Jewel is emerging as the primary musical force behind much of the Italians Do It Better label. Among that camp of synthesizer-disco revivalists, Chromatics stand out as the most lush and cinematic, drawing on the more languorous, atmospheric aspects of '80s electronica to fashion a hazy imaginary soundtrack to a stylish, decadent noir film (as the album's visual presentation suggests) or just a lonely late-night drive (as per the opening "Telephone Call").
Amilcare Ponchielli's sole operatic work La Gioconda made him a major figure in Italy. It was not just the title that made it such a success - 'La Gioconda' is the Italian term for the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting that is better known to the English-speaking world as 'Mona Lisa' - but rather its music and the poetic quality of Arrigo Boito's score. The production featured here was taken from a 1986 performance of the Vienna State Opera. Filippo Sanjust was responsible for production and set, Gerlinde Dill was in charge of choeography, whilst Adam Fischer conducted both choir and orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Internationally renowned stars Eva Marton and Placido Domingo, who play the leading roles in the performance, ensure an unforgettable operatic experience.