Our recommendation for last minute gifts of music for sound lovers
Those lucky souls getting a REL gift this year under their trees will need something beautiful to listen to it with. Below, appear some holiday classic CD’s, Blu-Rays and some not-so-holiday themed movies or music that you’ll be sure to enjoy.
Holiday Classic Blu-Rays
The opening scene as the Polar Express pulls up, breathing and sighing like a living thing is incredible, Tom Hanks’s voice has 1,000 variations, great animation and sound track. There are probably 15 similarly incredible-sounding scenes.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim Carrey/Disney modern update. Manic, touching with a modern twist, handled beautifully by script writers and Mr. Carrey’s own comedic genius-riffing-extemporaneously-take on an incredible update of this Dr. Seuss classic.
A Christmas Carol (featuring Jim Carrey) on Disney—also available in 3D which actually works brilliantly. Incredibly detailed animated feature, worth seeing on a great front projection system. Wolf Cinema used it at CES just a couple years back and wowed crowds. Sound quality is excellent and does what all great soundtracks do, carries all the emotion of the movie. Might be the finest version of this story–outside of the original Dickens book–ever told.
Bill Nigh’s performance as the aging rock star, Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister of England unafraid to pursue his love for a woman below his station and several more amazing performances (You will miss Alan Rickman’s incredibly subtle character development once you see this) will have you returning to this movie every year. And I hate re-watching movies. Utterly brilliant.
Seal Team 10 lost it all in Afghanistan. Only the squad leader, Marcus Luttrell made it out alive, barely. The opening sequences of the gunfight are noteworthy for both understated ultra-high quality video as well as audio impressive both for its impact and as a master’s class in how to manipulate emotion and simultaneously identify friend and foe—the American noise-suppressed sniper rifles (deep, low frequency, coughing thump) compared with the un-silenced hard, flat upper-midrange-dominant, staccato automatic weapons fire of the Taliban’s AK-47’s and 74’s tell the story, even as the crazy, confusion of a firefight swirls all around. REL’s will recreate the spit of sound as the American rounds leave their barrels and emphasize the startling speed of the thump as each round leaves. Normal subs simply thump out each transient with little to no variation among the various shots, each framed from different angles and distances.
The opening chase scene will make you want to buy a Subaru WRX Sti, add a downpipe, a bigger-much bigger-turbo and larger fuel injectors. Next, enroll in a professional driving school and begin to learn how to actually drive. If you are looking for a reason to believe millennials will eventually grow into something special, this gives good reason to believe bigger things are possible down the road.
Andrea Bocelli Bocelli is a genuine treasure to humanity and his interpretations of classic Christmas songs and carols is peerless. Buy it. Here, we have David Foster arranging and conducting, which is a little like bringing the 101st Airborne to a football game. Overkill. But in an absolutely haunting mix that runs the full gamut from pure solos to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in full voice in an epic rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer”. RELs permit the varying scenarios–from close-in studio work to recording in the Tabernacle in Utah to emerge as vastly different spaces, the decay and rich ambience present throughout the disc simply dies a death when the REL is taken out of circuit.
George Winston, solo piano. Spare, hauntingly lovely piano fingering some of which you will recognize, some you won’t. Windham Hill is, for some, a cliché–a form of shorthand that identifies the listener as not being “serious”. The musical equivalent of a Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks being seen as genuine coffee to a real coffee aficionado. Yet, this disc from the ‘80’s explains why they became so popular so quickly, great musicianship, great sound quality that produces a rare sense of peacefulness, in a world getting a little too crazy for many. RELs will allow you to hear the careful, frequent use of the sustain pedal as well as the decay of notes long after they have been released.