Showcase 2005 is the newest Surround Sound SACD release from Opus 3 Records in Sweden. The new Showcase album is a sampler that features 15 musical selections from recent Super Audio CDs released by the label. Opus 3 says that the Showcase 2005 SACD is part of their celebration of the Super Audio CD format’s 5th Anniversary.
One of the First SACD Labels in Europe
High Fidelity Review readers know that Opus 3 was one of the first European audiophile record labels to issue albums in the Super Audio CD format. Initially these releases consisted of Stereo SACDs made from original analog master tapes. More recently Opus 3 has moved to recording their albums in Direct Stream Digital (DSD). They’ve also been issuing Hybrid Layer, Single Inventory Surround Sound SACDs where the SACD serves as both the SACD and CD edition of the album.
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo
(Opus 3 Records CD 22050)
Showcase 2005 follows an earlier Stereo SACD sampler entitled Showcase (Opus 3 CD 21000) and Test CD 4: Depth of Image, Timbre & Dynamics (Opus 3 CD 19420) a Surround Sound SACD sampler and test album. On this new Showcase album, listeners will hear some Blues selections by Eric Bibb, Jazz by The Swedish Jazz Kings, World Music by the Global Percussion Network and some Classical Music as well.
1. Wino’s Dance – from Peder af Ugglas, “Autumn Shuffle”
2. Let Me Call You Sweetheart from Lars Erstrand, “The Complete Songs”
3. Why – from Katinka Wilson, “One Life”
4. I Want To Be Ready – from Eric Bibb, “Just Like Love”
5. Wild Man Blues – from The Swedish Jazz Kings, “A Tribute To Young Louis”
6. Deep Sea Blues – from Eric Bibb, “Just Like Love”
7. The Boat – from Katinka Wilson, “One Life”
8. Bereden vдg fцr Herran In Dulci Jubilo (Trad. from Boda, Sweden) from The Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble, “A Star is Shining”
9. Rauk, part 2 – from Global Percussion Network, “Rauk”
10. Valse Mignonne op 142:2 – from Mattias Wager, “Organ Treasures”
11. Across the Bridge of Hope – from The Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble, “Across the Bridge of Hope”
12. Andantino, from Quintet in B minor (J. Brahms) – from Kjell Fagйus, “Johannes Brahms”
13. Nativity Carol – from The Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble, “A Star is Shining”
14. Paniolo Dream – from “Tiny Island”
15. A Hymn – from Peder af Ugglas, “Autumn Shuffle” (with Mattias Wager)
As with most of the earlier SACDs from Opus 3, most of the cuts on the SACD feature an ambient approach to Surround Sound that use the 4 corner speakers – sometimes with a subwoofer signal and sometimes without. According to Opus 3, the goal of this recording approach to SACD is to place you and the music in a “Blues or Jazz Club, Church or Concert Hall” setting.
The SACD is a good introduction to some of the label’s artists and their approach to recording. Some favorite cuts on the Showcase 2005 include Eric Bibb’s I Want To Be Ready, Wild Man Blues by the Swedish Jazz Kings and Rauk by Global Percussion Network. All three of the cuts feature some really excellent sonics and definition of the instruments in each selection. If you like what you hear, it may encourage you to pick up some of the full SACDs that these sample tracks are pulled from.
The new Opus 3 Showcase 2005 Surround Sound SACD Sampler is now available at music stores in Europe. It should be available in the U.S. – both through audiophile web sites and music stores in the near future.