Crossing, the new album by David Elias and his group Xing (pronounced Crossing) is now available as a Single Inventory Surround Sound Super Audio CD. Elias is an independent acoustic folk singer and songwriter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He gained some fame in audiophile circles in the Fall of 2003 with is release of the album entitled The Window (Sketti Sandwich Productions SSP 3162) which was the first Surround Sound SACD released by an independent artist according to the folks at Sony’s SACD Project. The Window was a Direct to DSD recording with Elias and his band in a natural acoustic setting that offered wonderful music and stunning sonics. It won much acclaim among Super Audio CD fans and quickly became a “must have” SACD purchase for many.
Recording The Crossing SACD
Crossing features 12 new songs written by Elias and performed by him and has band which now goes by the name Xing. As with The Window, Crossing was recorded direct to Direct Stream Digital (DSD) using the 8 Channel edition of the New Sonoma 8/16/24 Channel DSD Workstation marketed by the Super Audio Center in Boulder, Colorado.
According to Elias, he had access to the 16 and 24 Channel editions of the Sonoma DSD Workstation but elected to use the 8 Channel version because “Philosophically and creatively I really prefer 8 tracks if possible. This keeps micing to a minimum which has benefits and I think lends to the more natural recreation of the ambient space in both surround and stereo. The other advantage for me with 8 tracks is that the DSD recordings are digitally mixed on the Sonoma which keeps it first generation all the way through to the DSD layer you are hearing.”
In terms of the recording technique, the album’s liner notes say that “Most of these songs were recorded as live takes with no overdubs. Exceptions to that approach are tracks 4, 9 and 12 which introduced the electric instruments as overdubs. This SA-CD was recorded directly to DSD and captured the natural ambient characteristics of the band and the room with the intention of mixing for both Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound. With that in mind, we used a minimal approach to microphones and seated the musicians in a circle.”
David Elias – Acoustic Guitar, Vocal & Harmonica
Sally Van Meter – Weissenborn Guitar & Dobro
Matt Flinner – Mandolin
Eric Thorin – Upright Bass
Eric Moon – Keyboards & Accordian
Marc Dalio – Drums
Chris Kee – Upright Bass
David Philips – Pedal Steel
John Harvard – Electric Guitar
Peter Tucker – Drums
Reid Dennis – Percussion
Eric Humphrey – Organ
1. Crossing (Lonely Bells)
2. Mend My Mind
3. Close My Eyes
4. Morning Light / Western Town
5. Rodeo On A Ridge
6. Red Tail Guide
7. Heaven’s Destiny
8. One More Savior
9. Above The Creek
10. The Riddle Song
11. Changing Down
12. If I Had My Way
SACD Production Credits
Crossing was recorded at Slipperworld in La Honda, California by Charlie Natzke who handled the DSD Recording and Live Mix for all but two of the songs on the album. The other two songs were recorded at Immersive Studios in Boulder, Colorado by Gus Skinas of the Super Audio Center with the Live Mix for these performances captured by Jeff Shuey.
All of the songs on Crossing had their Stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound SACD mix done by Gus Skinas at the Super Audio Center. Skinas also handled the SACD mastering and authoring of the album. The SACD was made by Sony DADC at their Hybrid SACD replication line in Terre Haute, Indiana. It comes in a DigiPak which features photos, graphics and liner notes done by David Elias.
Listening to Crossing in SACD Surround Sound
When describing the sound of Elias’ previous Super Audio CD release The Window, I described it as “a reference quality recording”. Crossing is clearly in the same category and some might even say it sounds a bit better.
Listening to Crossing on a quality Super Audio CD Surround Sound system is a true pleasure. As with his previous Super Audio CD, Crossing features a mix of soft singing that some have referred to as almost a lullaby style and other tunes that have a more upbeat tempo.
Elias vocals are mixed to the Center Channel speaker and are presented so clearly that it seems that Elias and his band are literally in the room singing to you. The 5.1 Surround Sound mix places the bass and acoustic guitar in the front channels with the dobro and mandolin appearing in the Left Surround and Right Surround channels, providing nice accents to the performances.
Some of the album highlights include Morning Light/Western Town (track 4) which features a dramatic intro in the front channels before the song begins to unfold, The Riddle Song (track 10) which adds an accordian in the Left Surround channel and If I Had My Way (track 12) which features a pedal steel guitar in the Left Surround Channel. In every case, the recording captures the acoustics of the live performance and the direct to DSD approach to the project offers amazing detail, clarity and sonics. If you want to hear an album that really shows what the Super Audio CD format is all about, Crossing is clearly in that category. As with Elias’ prior SACD release, I can quite confidently predict this will be another “must have” disc for Super Audio CD fans.
The new David Elias Surround Sound SACD entitled Crossing can be purchased directly from Elias via his web site at the link shown below. If you pick up the disc this way from now until June 9th, you’ll get it for the bargain introductory price of $15, complete with an autograph on the cover by Elias. A good deal all the way around.
A bit later on, Crossing will be available for purchase over the web from the Acoustic Sounds web site as well as the CD Baby independent music web site and some music stores.
His earlier SACD entitled The Window is also available from these web sites as well as other web SACD outlets such as Elusive Disc and Music Direct. If you don’t already own The Window, I’d encourage you to visit the David Elias and CD Baby web sites to check out the sound clips from the album. I think you’ll want to pick this one up as well.
David Elias In Concert This Weekend
For music fans in the San Francisco area, I should mention that David Elias and his band Xing will be performing on Saturday at the San Gregorio General Store in San Gregorio on the scenic Peninsula Coastline from 2pm to 5pm. At that performance you can not only hear Elias but he will also have copies of the new Crossing SACD available for purchase.