Opus 3 SACD 19824
Goran Wennerbrandt (guitars, mandolin)
Nick Malmestrom (guitar, mandola, bouzouki)
Janne Petersson (piano, accordian, organs, kalimba)
Olle Eriksson (double bass, mandola, bouzouki)
Bjorn Gideonsson (percussion)
Johan Hedin (swedish key-fiddle)
Ahmet Tekbilek (kavala, ney flute)
On this, Tiny Islands debut CD they play instrumental music with ingredients from near and far - warm island breezes, a trace of oriental spice and Nordic mood. All the music has been composed by members of the band with the exception of one piece by Taj Mahal.
One possible way of having a conception of Tiny Island's music is to consider the members of the band and their instrumentation.
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Review by Rick Kosmick - July 30, 2015
"Tiny Island" is an all acoustic set, as per the liner notes, recorded on one microphone in a 13th century stone Church located in Sweden. Well, the acoustics of this church were indeed very special as you listen to these all instrumental recordings played by a group of highly skilled Swedish musicians going by the name of Tiny Island, the same as the title of the album.
I did some research on these musicians and found they acted as the backup group for Eric Bibb while he recorded on the Opus 3 label, the same label as this "Tiny Island" release. I also looked for more album releases under the group name Tiny Island but this appears to be the sole release. What a shame because these musicians played so well together and they made some great recordings for this album.
My main interest in this album was the 4.0 multi-channel SACD which forms the basis of this review. I also listened to the 2.0 stereo and will provide a few comments on this version.
I listened to "Tiny Island" several times before committing to this review. However, upon initially hearing this album, it was quite apparent the music was not only well played but also of exceptional fidelity. Yes, the music is quite tranquil but the melodies are exquisitely beautiful. But equally important was the sonic quality which is worthy of high praise. The clarity and separation between instruments is just astonishing! The timbre from each instrument has this fantastic airy quality with wonderful decay. And the ambience from the rear channels provides for full and robust high resolution audio (as a note, I increased both rear channels by + 3db solely as a personal listening preference). I can confidently state the 4.0 SACD audio is of reference quality.
I will focus on the track entitled "Vaquero" for my highly favourable impression of these skilled players and the resulting sonic attributes. A highlight of this song was the superb National slide guitar played by Goran Wennerbrandt that resonates with this chilling edge (perceptually in my mind). Another highlight was Janne Petersson's accordion work that has this smooth and lilting feel (I also note this musicians effective background play on the rainstick). Olle Eriksson plays this rich and very deep sounding double bass. Nick Malmestrom adds some impressive 12 string guitar while Bjorn Gideonsson provides percussion that delicately underscores the other instruments. "Vaquero" shows how great music can marry with great sonics with spectacular results.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the superb work of the recording engineer, Jan-Eric Persson. He also mastered these recordings along with Bob Whitney.
I mentioned earlier that I also listened to the SACD stereo of "Tiny Island". It has the same attributes as the multi-channel and it sounds absolutely magnificent as well. The main advantage (for me) of the 4.0 surround audio is the extension of the soundfield for a more "full" sound that, from my perspective, provides a more enriching listening experience.
In my humble opinion, either the SACD 2.0 stereo or 4.0 multi-channel is demonstration quality audio at its best.
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