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Electrocompaniet Prelude PC-1 CD Player Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Article Index
Electrocompaniet Prelude PC-1 CD Player Review
Listening Continued

Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King is a return to form and a fitting tribute to DMB saxophonist Leroi Moore, who died in August 2008 after complications from an ATV accident. Big Whiskey is a wild musical ride: funky, intense, beautiful, savage and emotional, but ultimately one of redemption. The PC-1 lets the band's virtuosic performances and dramatic arrangements shine. Drummer Carter Beauford's playing is explosive and hearing Moore's horn work in the context is powerful.

Willie Nelson is proving to be the ultimate music chameleon and crossover artist, able to move seamlessly from outlaw country through jazz, pop standards and even reggae. So one wonders why it took so long for Nelson to hook up with Western Swing act Asleep At The Wheel for a romp across a landscape carved out by Bob Wills decades ago. The resulting album, Willie & The Wheel, is an enthusiastic and fun project that twinkles like stars in the West Texas night sky. I really like how the PC-1 captures the ragged joy in Nelson's voice and the music as a whole.

Perhaps in the next decade there will be a re-appraisal of the Electric Light Orchestra and the band's formidable contributions to popular music, particularly in the halcyon run through the 1970s. The 3-disc compilation Flashback offers up 53 songs and nearly as many reasons to revisit ELO. As much as I love the tunes, I've always found ELO leader Jeff Lynne's recordings to be a strange combination of “milky” vocals with desert-dry drums. Not necessarily strange magic, either. The PC-1 was able to move past these shortcomings and tighten the belt for a revealing look into Lynne's remarkable arrangements. Early cuts such as the towering “10538 Overture” and dream-like “Eldorado” had presence and impact without becoming mushy or shrill.

Amp and CD Player Combo
During a product review, I usually find one recording that seems to be perfectly matched for the component in question. This time is was Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue, the first solo album by any Beach Boy and that received a long-overdue re-release in 2008. The way the PC-1 fleshed out Wilson's singular arrangements made for compelling listening. Check out the celebratory “River Song” or the touching “Farewell My Friend” for two different faces of Wilson's talents. Broad soundstaging and imaging and sleek transient response all come together here. While much of the world waited for Dennis' brother Brian's SMiLE project to finally bear fruit, they should also have been clamoring for POB. It's about time.

Switching over to classical and Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang's recording of Beethoven's Piano Concertos 1 & 4, with the Orchestre De Paris led by Christoph Eschenbach. The 2007 performance is noteworthy as the pianist's first Beethoven recording and for the sumptuous sound committed to disc by Lang Lang and the Orchestre. Although I find Lang Lang's execution of these works lacking soul at times, those moments were still delivered with sleek élan and polish via the PC-1.

Final Thoughts

Although Norway's black metal scene seems to dominate that country's music landscape, the real Norwegian black metal is wrapped around Electrocompaniet's Prelude components. These nordic exports are for everyone who believes in the company's slogan, “If music really matters...” And if this be entry-level, I'd love to go to the next level. Really.

System Setup

Electrocompaniet PI-2 integrated amplifier
Electrocompaniet PC-1 CD player
Davone RITHM loudspeakers
Tyler Acoustics D4M loudspeakers
RS Audio Cables Kevlar Starchord Power Cable (6 ft)
RS Audio Cables Illume Silver Loudspeaker Cables (8 ft)
Valhalla Technology VT Amplifier Feet 25
Valhalla Technology VT Spike Feet Deluxe

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