Same thing (for me) with Anne Bisson.
No offense intended to her/their fans....I just don't get 'em.
I always find interesting the music that is used to demonstrate audio gear. It typically lacks any sort of emotional feel but certainly demonstrates accuracy. Hell, I want to hear Neil Young, A Man Needs a Maid from the Live at Massey Hall release or how about Icicle from Tori Amos' Under the Pink LP? Geez, play music that has some emotion. Another outstanding option would be Diana Krall, A Case of You from the, Live in Paris CD.
Hearing an audiophile quality recording can be a thrilling experience, but if the musical content is mediocre (or worse), it can become an empty experience. I keep my "Test LP’s and CD’s" (that’s all I think of them as---Sheffields, etc. But also Tea For The Tillerman, etc.) separated from my music. Hearing music that satisfies on an emotional level does not necessarily require it be of excellent sound quality. And unfortunately, much of my favorite music was recorded indifferently. If the quality of a recording is excellent, that’s a bonus, but the quality of the music has to be there first for it to matter to me. Life’s too short to waste on mediocrity!
Very well stated, bdp24. We love our ear candy and sometimes forget that ANY considerations or concerns re sound quality (barring the absurd, of course) either on the part of the artist, engineer or listener always take second place to musical considerations. The power of the music, if it is there, will always shine through, and the idea that less than perfect sound quality destroys the music is silly, imo. None of this is to say that a great goal should not always be great music with great sound, but it's easy to see what a tall order that is, everything considered. So, what is the audiophile/music lover to do? Ignore all the fantastic music out there that doesn't have audiophile sonic pedigree? Seems to me that trying to stay in a frame of mind that doesn't shut down the appreciation of the music because we are preoccupied with its sound is much more positive.
I had never heard of Vanessa Ferna(n)dez. I listened to "When The Levee Breaks" and, like the OP and others, I don't get it. Well, I do get it; and, it doesn't surprise me in the least. This kind of music product is pretty common. Pretty talented young singer who probably has some real potential, but is not there yet; and who (and the producer), imo, is not lacking confidence to think that she can do justice to songs that, in many ways, set standards for music of that period and genre. Pretty ballsy if you ask me. Unfortunately, she and the producers brought nothing new to the table and it all falls flat. Great sound can never make up for a ho-hum performance. I'm not prepared to say that profit is the motivator here; I just don't know. I do know that sometimes producers and record labels truly believe in an artist; but, like anything else, there are great producers and then there are the not so great or musically insightful.
These two recordings popped up on YouTube and are pretty indicative of all this. The producer's heavy and uninspired hand is all over Fernandez' cover of this Curtis Mayfield classic. Not bad, but check out how the classic Mayfield's time feel is so much better and in the pocket than the cover's. Killer drummer on the original; pretty average on the cover. The cover doesn't have any of the dark atmospheric vibe that is so appropriate for the content of the lyrics. They even copied the EXACT tempo of the original; that doesn't happen by accident. Wouldn't surprise me if the rhythm section was playing to a sampled click track. This sort of thing is done with projects like this pretty frequently and are just some of things that contribute to uninspired performances on record.
If the quality of a recording is excellent, that’s a bonus, but the quality of the music has to be there first for it to matter to me.
What dbp24 said.....
I went out and listened to a lot of stuff from VF on youTube. It sucked IMHO. The sound quality might be great (I don't know, I listened through my computer speakers), however the performances were less than inspiring. I didn't feel any emotion at all.
Feel free to not gush over Vanessa Fernandez. Maybe you're more of a music fan and less of an audiophile.
I liked the VF cover of that great Curtis Mayfield song. The label, Groove Note, is Ying Tan’s, and he has been around the audiophile record scene for a while- involved in Classic Records early on, and also responsible for Original Recordings Group releases. My impression is that Ying "discovered" VF in his native Singapore and gave her a shot. I do think she has some talent. The problem with a lot of "audiophile" records is that they emphasize sound quality over performances, which are often "safe" or middle of the road. Original Recordings Group (not to be confused with ORG Music, which has overlapping releases of some material) has delivered some audiophile classics in jazz and pop. I think the idea behind the Led Zep cover album was to let VF try to interpret LZ in a different way than the usual "cover band" with the additional bonus of some tricky mastering steps- feeding the cutter right from the tape without an additional EQ step at mastering. (Sorry, I don’t remember the details but my recollection was that it didn’t work as originally planned). Some of those Diana Krall records that are so popular come from the Original Recordings Group as well....
Bill, in the 1980's Ying Tan was a dealer of rare LP's in his little apartment a block off the famous corner of Hollywood & Vine, location of the Capitol Records circular building. I went over to his place a couple of times and bought from him. A nice guy who didn't over-charge "too" much. I seem to recall he had a Keith Monks RCM, a very expensive machine at the time. His apartment was stuffed to the gills with LP's!
Next thing I knew, he was an audiophile reissue label owner, along with Michael Hobson of Classic Records. I never heard what happened, but Hobson bought out Ying after only a few years. I haven't seen him since.
VF's here but I am gone conveys the most emotion and involvement IMHO in the 2 albums that I have heard. Maybe her most popular too demoed by many high end gear retailers. Very talented and well recorded but her song choices sometimes don't put her beautiful voice in the best light causing interest to be lost by listeners. Any who are not a fan now should check out her future work.