Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)

Adventure Music AMA1066-2
Format: CD

Musical Performance ***1/2
Sound Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****


Maeve GilchristScottish harpist and singer Maeve Gilchrist writes songs by injecting a healthy dose of jazz into the folk music she heard growing up. She studied classical piano and Celtic harp in Edinburgh before moving to Boston to study jazz and world music at Berklee College of Music. She has such a wide background in so many traditions that she’s comfortable in all of them and able to weave them together without effort. The songs on her second disc, Song of Delight,lean toward the sophisticated pop of singer-songwriters like James Taylor, Norah Jones, and Joni Mitchell. Gilchrist’s voice has a charming hint of Scottish brogue, and her phrasing, as with her songwriting, has the rhythmic playfulness of jazz mixed with pop’s accessibility.

Gilchrist’s harp gives her songs an airy openness, and producer Darol Anger wisely surrounds her with musicians who share her love of space and subtlety, including bassist Aidan O’Donnell, whose fluid, highly rhythmic playing shows a keen understanding of the musical traditions that flow through Gilchrist’s songs. Anger himself is a master of many styles, from swing to newgrass, and his energetic playing is often a key element in focusing Gilchrist’s arrangements. Some of Ms. Gilchrist’s tunes, such as "Song of Delight," would seem less substantial without the support and insight of the other musicians.

On the other hand, Gilchrist’s enchanting scat singing and intelligent improvisation are what make a song like "Legend of the Ear" such a pleasure, even with Mike Block’s cello and Anger’s sterling solo electrifying the song. "Automne" is the closest Gilchrist comes to straight jazz singing on Song of Delight, and it made me long for more -- maybe even a standard or two. "Fleur De Mandegore" and "Kate’s Journey" are light instrumental fare. They’re no less enjoyable, but they reinforce the feeling that ultimately this is the kind of disc you play when you’re enjoying a glass of wine in front of the fireplace.

Song of Delight is perfectly suited to that sort of casual scenario, but it’s also substantial enough to merit close listening. Maeve Gilchrist’s blues-influenced playing on "Legend of the Ear" suggests she could venture into straight jazz harp along the lines of Dorothy Ashby, a pioneer on the instrument, but her songwriting could just as likely lead to a strong pop-music following.

Darol Anger recorded and mixed Song of Delight, and it sounds terrific. Gilchrist’s voice is out in front and sharply defined, and Anger’s sharp ear serves the qualities of the acoustic instruments quite well. The music is presented in a deep soundstage with each element placed precisely. Ken Lee’s mastering is also very good, and the disc flows easily. Song of Delight is light without being lightweight, and I found myself enjoying it more, and hearing more elements within it, with each listen.

. . . Joseph Taylor