hcl (@Rocred Records)

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hcl
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hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-13 19:48

I have been following the Linn community starting out on Topica along with Lejonklou in the late 90's. On here I have not written a lot but have followed many threads, mostly with great pleasure for a long time. In this thread I'd like to share a hobby project that is sprung from the long passion for music. A couple of years ago some friends and I started a music hobby project evolving into a recording business, with the goal of letting musicians express their musicianship without the external restrictions, often found in the music industry in general. I will not go into this in detail, but let us just say that the music industry to a large extent is revolving around stuff that to a large extent have detrimental effects on the music creation, in many aspects.

The hobby project evolved into a business Rocred Production AB (our web page: rocred.se). Mostly we have arranged live music events, but also recorded a small amount of albums, in cooperation with others and also on our own label. We started out with the goal to record classical music, with the aim of preserving as much of the emotions of the performance as possible, similarly to what I feel was done in the late 60'th and 70'th, but is rarely found since the 80'th. Prior to getting into the realm of classical recording we have produced a singer/songwriter album with a British (Scottish) artist 'Jonathan Carr' and also a Swedish Indie-type rock act from Gothenburg called 'Selsius'. Unfortunately 'Selsius' broke up shortly after the album release. A real shame as I could definitely see them on big stages. They was simply awesome live and we are very glad to have their album in our catalogue.

Although very proud of the two first albums in our catalogue the third album marks another pinnacle for us as it is the first album we have recorded, mixed, mastered ourselves. This project commenced during a vacation trip to Croatia in the summer of 2017, where we happened to listen to a great classical Croatian act, the 'Acoustic Project String Ensemble'. For my own amusement when possible I try to record (with a small portable unit) concerts, just to have them for my own pleasure when I stumble over something that is really good. So I did this time! The 'Acoustic Project String Ensemble' plays classical music with both great emotion, precision and rare freshness. To cut a long story short, one year later we had our first classical album recorded and it is now available on all streaming sites (iTunes, Google Play, Tidal, Spotify, etc) as well as on CD and as Studio Master download (from our own album shop: > shop.rocred.se <). The album contains both very known composers and pieces as well as less known pieces of which one is never recorded before, Dubravko Palanovic' - 'Towards The Stars'. The album have got *very* good reviews, one published by the Belgian > Pizzicato < and one review written by the well reputed Colin Clarke, soon to be released in the American Fanfare magazine (I will post a link when it is up).

In order to introduce the ensemble we also made a documentary style video that can be viewed > on Youtube <

Track list:
# - Time - Title
1 - 2:13 - Luka Sorkocevic, Symphony No.3, Allegro
2 - 2:31 - Luka Sorkocevic, Symphony No.3, Andante
3 - 1:51 - Luka Sorkocevic, Symphony No.3, Presto
4 - 3:55 - Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1043, Vivace
5 - 7:02 - Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1043, Largo
6 - 4:58 - Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1043, Allegro
7 - 2:49 - Edvard Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op.40, Prelude
8 - 3:50 - Edvard Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op.40, Sarabande
9 - 3:37 - Edvard Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op.40, Gavotte & Musette
10 - 5:14 - Edvard Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op.40, Air
11 - 3:14 - Edvard Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op.40, Rigaudon
12 - 7:29 - Dubravko Palanovic, Towards The Stars

For this forum I guess it is of some interest that our process to a large extent have been evolving around the 'Tune method', both when selecting and putting together recording equipment as well as during the process of getting the music from raw recordings to the final product. The album is recorded in 24 bit 192 kHz format and it is not much question if the Studio Master sounds better than the CD-version or not. Also along with the 'Studio Master' comes a six page page PDF booklet (full size if allowed: 36x18 cm) which when viewed on an iPad PRO or similar resemble a similar feeling as a traditional LP-sleve. Below is a collage of the PDF booklet.
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Charlie1
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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-04-14 11:33

Enjoying the classical work HCL, via Google Play.

hcl
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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-14 13:32

Charlie1 wrote:
2019-04-14 11:33
Enjoying the classical work HCL, via Google Play.
:-)

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-18 09:42

We are often asked "If the album is any good?" and to answer such a question with some credibility is difficult without any objective references, so external reviews are very important. As an independent actor on a crowded market it is however not that easy to get past the initial gate even being considered for a review. Each good review makes it a bit easier to have another review and the second review is written by a well reputed reviewer (short CV for Colin Clarke below the review). To comment on the review we are especially happy with the reference made by mr Clarke to "The Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields and Marriner’s 1970 recording." which to me is close to the ultimate compliment. The review will be released in the coming issue of the Fanfare magazine.
ACOUSTIC PROJECT STRING ENSEMBLE • Marco Graziani 1, Katarina Kutnar 1 (vn); Rocred 18004; (48:43)

SORKOČEVIĆ Symphony No. 3. BACH Concerto for 2 Violins, BWV 1043. GRIEG Holberg Suite. PALANOVIĆ Towards the Stars
The album is also available as a studio master download, 24-bit/192 kHz at shop.rocred.se

There are multiple delights to this disc: a freshness of approach and execution being primary (top drawer recording is another). The Croatian Acoustic Project String Ensemble, originally a collaboration between double bassist and composer Dubravko Palanović and violinist Marco Graziani, records in long takes, and it shows in the musical experience (and, please note, the result also happens to be technically flawless). The string disposition is 4:3:2:2:1, giving a lovely transparency to textures, while the involving recording gives plenty of body and presence.

The mix of the familiar with the new is beautifully managed. The first composer, for example, Luka Sorkočević, was born in 1734 and trained in both Dubrovnik under Giuseppe Valenti and in Rome under Rinaldo da Capua; the first movement of his Symphony No. 3 is as fresh and bracing as a J. C. Bach symphony; and this performance completely honors that freshness. The central, short Andante is the epitome of charm and good manners (Boyce as well as J. C. Bach spring to mind), while the Presto finale bristles with energy. Interested listeners who want to follow up on this composer should head over to a disc of his complete instrumental output on CPO, reviewed by Martin Anderson in Fanfare 27:4 (performed by the Salzburger Hofmusik). In terms of the present offering, suffice it to say it is the freshest, most perfect of openers.

Far more familiar will be Bach’s Concerto, BWV 1043, for Two Violins. Freshness is again the order of the day, the dialogue between the two excellent soloists, Marco Graziani and Katarina Kutnar, eloquent and, importantly, accurate. The central Largo has a whispered sense of intimacy about it; note particularly how the main string body’s contribution is particularly alive to each and every nuance, while the finale has not only vim but depth also. Stylish and intensely human, this is a wonderful performance, up there with the finest in the catalog (it would make a fine complement to The King’s Consort on Helios or Suzuki on BIS).

That freshness pervades the Grieg Holberg Suite; as does a consistent excellence of delivery. Tenderness meets sprung rhythms in the irrepressible Prelude before the noblest, most heartfelt Sarabande steals upon us. Each movement is perfectly placed, the dance of the Gavotte and Musette poised and noble. The defining positive for the Air is the lack of harshness to the long lines on the upper violin register; there is no hint of shrillness. Reverb is perfectly judged on the recording, too, while the ensemble’s tracking of Grieg’s harmonic shadings of the melody is superbly sensitive. The final Rigaudon feels for all the world like a Norwegian folkfest, the scampering lines blissfully alive. There is an overall warmth and affection that seems reminiscent of, from another era, the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields and Marriner’s 1970 recording.

Finally, we have Dubravko Palanović’s Towards the Stars. Inspired by a starlit sky, the piece is generally dynamic rather than reflective (it does hold a slower middle section). The stark close of the first section cannot be missed; it is like putting on the brakes and skidding to a halt, leading to a slowly moving (almost rotating) central panel, of which the Acoustic Project String Ensemble negotiates the intertwining lines hypnotically. This appears to be Palanković’s only available recorded work. With such obvious imagination, one hopes for more; the devotion of the ensemble in this performance cannot be faulted.

Available on all main download and streaming sites, including Tidal and Qobuz, this introduces what is obviously a major group. On the evidence of these recordings, if the group visits London, I for one will be doing my best to attend any concerts.

/Colin Clarke

About Colin Clarke:
Colin Clarke writes for journals in both the U.S. and the U.K. After experience as a French-horn player and as a pianist in the North of England, followed by a music degree at the University of Surrey (Guildford), I settled down to a spell in the the world of musical theory and analysis at King’s College, London (KQC), studying with Arnold Whittall and V. Kofi Agawu. Currently based in the East End of London, I have worked on the editorial teams of Gramophone and International Record Review, as well as acting as a discographer for the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) and as an expert listener for the Consumer Association.

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by Spannko » 2019-04-18 12:41

Brilliant! Well done hcl. I wish you all the best with your venture.

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-04-18 17:08

Very nice write up. It sounds like a great venture and like you are pulling it off well. Congratulations! I don't suppose there is any chance of the reviewed album showing up on vinyl? Continued good luck with bring high-quality music and recordings to the world.
Manufacturer, Distributor, Retailer and above all lover of music.

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-19 19:16

Thanks for your support! Making vinyl is rather expensive and I fail to see how that would benefit the music. The album is mixed to sound the way it sounds (on a really good streamer such as the top Linn streamers), not how it would sound after it has gone through the process of being pressed to vinyl. It is recorded and mixed in 24 bit 192 kHz and the Studio master of the album is the master mix, directly from the DAW. It is also rather expensive to press vinyl so a large number of albums would have to bee sold just to reach break even, which is difficult enough and a loss there would limit the money available for the next project. If album sales was better we would very much like to try all distribution formats, just to explore how each format affects the end result, but at the moment we will focus on improving our recordings (equipment and skills) in order to reach even better recordings, which is first priority (Source first!).

Please check out the Studio Master (at shop.rocred.se) version for maximum insight into the performance.

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-20 09:34

ThomasOK wrote:
2019-04-18 17:08
...
I don't suppose there is any chance of the reviewed album showing up on vinyl?
...
FYI - about vinyl releases on the Rocred-label;

Although a very different genre the Selsius album is released on vinyl (as well as on all streaming sites, but no physical CD release), so we have some experience with vinyl too. Actually the studio who recorded and mixed the Jonathan Carr album have gone into vinyl manufacturing too so it is not that far off to jump that wagon.

We may still do a small batch of vinyl of the Studio Live album, but that would be quite expensive and require a large amount of pre-orders.
Last edited by hcl on 2019-04-20 09:55, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: hcl (@Rocred Records)

Post by hcl » 2019-04-20 09:50

Anyway; One of the benefits with vinyl (apart of the listening experience) is the large album sleeves and the additional experience that brings. In a try to offer something similar to that the Acoustic Project String Ensemble - Studio Live album comes with a large sized PDF (36x18 cm in 100 % view) that can be viewed with good result on an iPad PRO or laptop screen. It looks something like in the picture below (> higher resolution picture here <):

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