Rita Coolidge - Playing Something Sweet
Listen to this Rita Coolidge release from AIX Records and you will soon rediscover the beauty of simplicity in the recording arts. During my first listening session, I found the music to be clean and unobstructed as if you are in the recording studio working with the engineer on the final mix. From my experience this is the point in the recording process where the music sounds best. After that point, they add compression and dynamic processing so that the music will sound "good" on average music systems.
So, for most of the music we listen to, the final mix is a compromise; adjusted and tweaked so that it sounds "good" on music systems that range from the best that money can buy to the kitchen radio, to the basic car stereo. Mark Waldrep of AIX Records puts a lot of effort in applying proper recording techniques (room acoustics, instrument placement, microphone etc.) using some of the best equipment and his vast experience and expertise to produce true HD Audio recordings that have "no dynamic processing, no e.q. and no artificial reverb".
Although the recording was technically brilliant, I did not enjoy it much the first time around. It could be because I was focused on the technical merits instead of just enjoying the music. It could also be because some members of the band seemed a little uncomfortable with the camera.
On my third listen, it was totally fun. My wife was reading nearby and started tapping her feet sub-consciously. The music pulled her into the listening room and she stopped reading and just listened and danced. Most of the tracks are previous hit songs, including some "great Southern Funk". Rita's voice is so naturally beautiful that the words come out seemingly effortlessly. This album is truly addictive and I am happy to have come across it, especially since you may not hear about it in mainstream media.
I loaned the disk to a friend (Greg) and it helped him identify problems with his system. He said "These discs helped me identify a hot center channel when played through a Sony PS3 - thus, I now have an Oppo 83SE and it plays the center channel level correctly (thus, calibration of my system through two other sources match the Oppo calibration with the Sony PS3 being incorrect)."
From AIX Records website - "Rita Coolidge has won numerous Grammy awards, provided a hit single for James Bond movie and promoted Native American music and heritage during her lengthy career. But this is the first time that she's gathered together an incredible band, brought in the famous Waters Family for vocal support and produced a collection of tracks that is both full of hits and adds some great Southern funk to her repertoire. On an early June afternoon in 2010, AIX Records captured the amazing talents of Rita Coolidge in full HD-Audio and 3D video. If you've got the right equipment, Rita and the band are in your living room.
If you pay attention to the whos and whats of AIX Records, you might recognize some of the names on this project. I called some of my favourite musicians to contribute to the project. Of course, Laurence Juber and Jim Cox were on board. Drummer MB Gordy and I went to Cal Arts together and he's played with Rita for years, so he was definitely going to be involved.
This disc was shot using 3D HD video equipment and is presented in 16:9 HD-Video in 3D. It is also completely compatible with 2D equipment."