Paolo Fresu's Songlines/Night & Blue is a beautiful performance by a musician who does not feel compelled to prove himself with pyrotechnics. Instead, on this two-disc set, the Italian trumpeter prefers speaking his piece with lush melodies and a rich full horn sound, supported by an exceptional quartet. Being an Italian album, it seems appropriate to use a few musical terms. The entire affair, around 140 minutes in length, is taken sostenuto (smoothly), with a pace that slides between adagio (slowly) and andante (walking), but never goes much faster than that. But this down-tempo consistency should not be confused with sloth. Everything here is tightly played, with some real intensity from the musicians; it's just not going to wake the neighbors with frenetic thunder.
The 'Missa Salisburgensis à 53 voci' (in comparison, 'Spem in alium' was written by Thomas Tallis for «only» 40 voices) is perhaps the largest-scale piece of extant sacred Baroque music, an archetypical work of the Colossal Baroque. It is a polychoral composition which takes advantage of the multiple organs and various locations available for groups of singers and musicians to perform in Salzburg Cathedral, probably for the 1682 celebrations marking the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the Archbishopric of Salzburg. This stunning recording features Jordi Savall’s ensembles at their best and fully reveals the «splendour» of this masterpiece. A recording of cosmic proportions that Jordi Savall has decided to illustrate with a celestial image of the Helix Nebula. Nothing less.
Staying true to eclectic ambience through dramatic electronic music, Hooverphonic raise the pressure from their debut single "2Wicky" for a more passionate effort on their second album, Blue Wonder Power Milk. New vocalist Geike Arnaert captures an innocence that was practically blindsided on the first album by former lead singer Liesje Sadonius. Blue Wonder Power Milk is intricately woven with string arrangements and pulsating dance club beats for a drowsy feel. Most songs featured on Blue Wonder Power Milk are guided by light strings, allowing Hooverphonic to gently fall into genres of indie pop, dream pop, and trip-hop, however each song does take on a life of its own – slowly. Album opener "Battersea" arrives with Arnaert's breathy vocals for a spiraling drum'n'bass track about self-indulgence. "Club Montepulciano," which received moderate airplay on college radio and "Eden" both glide with an ethereal beauty, whereas "Lung" thrives with heavy guitar licks and throbbing Depeche Mode-like synths. Blue Wonder Power Milk attempts for a strong introduction, and while it is indeed enchanting, it's also slow to rise.