All nine of its songs flow into one another and it ends with a reprise of its opening theme, all the better to tell the story of a Vietnam veteran who has come home from war to see his country in a new light. Cut worked for 18 months on this, his first solo LP, having left both rap group Jurassic 5 and Latin funk outfit Ozomalti. Chilly IDM beats, luscious string arrangements and unique instrumental flourishes provide a fascinating backdrop for Björk's primitive vocal expressions. The Blood Brothers' post-hardcore noise isn't for everybody's taste, but its intensity, and the fact they've succeeded where so many artists fail in traslating that to a studio recording, is the kind any audiophile ought be able to appreciate. 25 years later it still sounds totally fresh and like nothing else ever recorded. His albums were so obscure in fact that they had become much sought after collectors items with, sealed copies commanding upwards of $100 on sites like Discogs. Produced and engineered by the band themselves, that's half a year to record an army of guitars, pianos, synthesizers and organs, xylophones, violins, cellos and horns, harp, percussion and vocals - and then turn it into one of the finest albums of any genre to be released this side of the millennium. When they perform Loveless live, MBV crank up the volume to such an extent that most fans don earplugs, and while we’re not suggesting you go that far, it’s an album that demands to be played loud. Less an album than a love letter to disco, Random Access Memories will never be the most beloved of Daft Punk records – Get Lucky aside (check it out if you get the chance, it's the sound of the summer), there’s nothing here that gets its hooks into you like Around The World or One More Time. Fans of the original will appreciate the remastered version’s cleaner sound and bolstered bass, along with the inclusion of dozens of remixes from the same fertile period. Try Beatrice Rana Prokofiev & Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos. HiFi, Audiophile tracks to test Reference Hi-Fi Equipment, Full-range Music, Music with Dimension. The lilting Present Tense and the record’s highlight Identikit have their roots in older albums too but Decks Dark and the urgent Ful Stop prove A Moon Shaped Pool is much more than just the sound of a band clearing out its drafts. In all honesty, if we had the space we could put all of Steely Dan’s studio albums on this list. Download Every Country’s Sun (44.1kHz/16bit) here. If stoner rock were a video game, Josh Homme would be who you'd have to defeat in its boss level. When you join now, you will receive a new audiophile album recommendation every day.. Andre 3000 morphs into an manic electro crooner and Big Boi brings all manner of cleanly-produced, P-Funk-influenced club-friendly jams. Favourite audiophile reference albums. At its best – the delicate intricacy of To Here Knows When, the relentless hookery of What You Want, the rhythmic assault of Soon – it’s crying out for a system with great separation and precision. That might make it sound like an exercise in zany showboating, but on the whole Drunk isn’t as oddball as its ingredients would suggest. Among the plethora of astonishing facets to Funeral is it took only half a year to record. As usual, Prince not only sings but plays many of the instruments, including programming the drum machines and samplers that play such a huge role in the record’s sound. But you can tell every single note on A Deeper Understanding has been recorded and re-recorded until it sounds exactly right, with slightly more focus on shimmering synths than their previous records. And while it’s hard to shake the feeling that this is a quintessential ‘white men whining about stuff’ album, when it sounds this good, you just have to let them get on with it. This track is absolutely spectacular and something that any self-respecting audiophile or audio enthusiast should appreciate and own. BA1 1UA. 4 - Various Artists on AllMusic Spurred by the songcraft of new American recruits Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac produced an LP without a skippable song (well, maybe “Oh Daddy” if you’re feeling particularly mean), and the production and mastering are every bit as noteworthy as the hooks. Producer Quincy Jones and Jackson enjoyed (or perhaps endured) a strained relationship during the making of Thriller, and every track was painstakingly remixed (a week was spent on each song) because neither was happy with the initial recordings. The Audience's Listening is not merely a collage of regurgitated samples over scratched hip-hop beats - on it you'll find samples diverse as Quincy Jones, Boards Of Canada, Jefferson Airplane and beat novelist William Burroughs. Every Country’s Sun (named after a clanger dropped by a friend of the band) is often surprisingly upbeat, finding warmth where previous records have had a tendency to feel a little clinical and cold. Try At The Drive-In Relationship Of Command. Buy it on Amazon: Eric Bibb Spirit and The Blues, Like this? All rights reserved. Brian Eno's fascination with complexity born of simplicity is spotlighted marvellously on Ambient 1. Find album release information for Audiophile Reference, Vol. Buy it on Amazon: Black Sabbath Black Sabbath, Like this? All rights reserved. Thankfully, a handful of today’s artists are still committed to well-mastered, exquisitely produced recordings and that, along with a plentiful supply of older albums that were either originally mastered well or have since been remastered, means there’s plenty of fantastic music to listen to. Download Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (44.1kHz/16bit) here. Another record the artist would possibly balk at us including, the recording of Baltimore was not a particularly enjoyable time for Nina Simone, who seems to have disagreed with pretty much everything jazz producer Creed Taylor decided to do. Bach here gave solos to each orchestral family of instruments, so in hi-fi terms it's about as comprehensive a workout as you'll find in terms of detail and tonality. Miles Davis made his opinions on the term fusion as a descriptor for this period of his music stingingly clear. These days Burial’s Untrue is barely recognisable as dubstep: there’s no pumped-up euphoric drops and it barely hints at the wriggling ‘wub wub’ bass that was to come. Produced and recorded by NIN frontman Trent Reznor and Flood in the house in which Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family, there’s a dark power to its sonic perfectionism that conveyed best on a high-quality hi-fi setup. They can be used as a reference to test equipment, or to showcase your system. Like this? English director Danny Boyle cited F# A# ∞ as inspiration whilst making his critically-acclaimed horror film 28 Days Later, which makes total sense given its apocalyptic tone. Listen to Like A Hurricane without getting goosebumps and perhaps we'll consider changing it. We didn't even set ourselves the task of picking the absolute, definitive best 50 albums for audiophiles – and in reality this is just a selection of records from a collection of hundreds or thousands – but still it felt close to deciding which of your limbs you'd least mind being torn off by a bear. It’s a powerful open letter to the leaders of the Western world that continues to resonate almost 10 years after release. New York jazz-rockers Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are nothing short of slaves to perfection when it comes to recording and mastering, and consequently each LP is an audiophile’s dream. 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