Takács Assad Labro

Yarlung Records: LP and CD, stream – DSD512 from NativeDSD.com
4 of 5 stars

Bryce Dessner
Clarice Assad
Luminous from Pendulum Suite
Julien Labro
Meditation No. 1
Milton Nascimento
Cravo e Canela
Clarice Assad
Constellation; Celestial, Estrellita, Solais
Kaija Saariaho
Clarice Assad

Julien Labro (bandoneón)
Clarice Assad (piano and voice)
Edward Dusinberre (violin)
Takács Quartet (Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes (violins) Richard O’Neill (viola) András Fejér (cello))

Reviewed by: Rob Pennock

Reviewed: April 2024
CD No: Yarlung Records: LP and CD, stream – DSD512 from NativeDSD.com
Duration: 54:01



Through their work with the Hungaraton, Decca and Hyperion labels the Takács Quartet are very much associated with the core repertoire, so this release featuring five contemporary composers, bandoneón (a cross between a concertina and accordion) and a piano piece with scat vocals looked fascinating.

The album features three pieces using bandoneón and string quartet. In Clarice Assad’s Circles you have a minimalist drone-like treble and snatches of dance over a heavy bass, which is hypnotically distinctive and while the much longer Clash is more abrasive, again you have snatches of melody and dance that create a distinctive sound-world. In a softer vein Julien Labro’s Meditation No.1 mixes longer melodic lines and dance, where the bandoneón is very eloquent and more than a little Parisienne. 

Luminous features scraps of language, which are essentially scat vocals, while Milton Nascimento’s Cravo e Canela has actual lyrics, over boogie-woogie like piano and while the performances are obviously authentic, you can’t help but wonder what the far stronger voiced Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson might have made of them.   

Constellation for violin and piano begins and ends with a melancholy song, which frames a piece of modernist salon music, with a reference to The Lark Ascending at 9.30 and Kaija Saariaho’s Nocturne is a more astringent short Étude for solo violin. In both Edward Dusinberre’s tone is less than refulgent. 

Yarlung record in analogue and DSD256 without editing. The DSD512 download is marvellous, with beautifully rich sonorities and timbres, which is far superior to anything Decca and Hyperion can offer. However I have no idea why the highest resolution you can stream is a mere 24/88.4, which is very good, but lacks the space and impact of the DSD.

The booklet is very informative, but like so many contemporary music albums you have to put up with loads of purple prose, where everyone and everything is absolutely wonderful and the running time is rather short.

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