October 18, 2011

Casino Royale OST, Dusty Springfield-Bacharach.

This has being an audiophile favorite, apparently much discussed and debated, to which all I plead ignorance until now, that is. So how audiophile can I get?

I was first captivated by this 24/192 DVD-A sourced hi rez file from the opening track, which is the main theme, played by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass band. This rather wacky horn based track, with zippy rhythm and plenty of bite, forms the main Casino Royale theme,  which will be re-used in parts of the remaining musical score through out. Most of the tracks here are credited to Burt Bacharach.

The most famous track in this OST which is well covered by now, by every aspiring jazz, female vocalist(most nicely done by Diana Krall) is of course, Dusty Springfield's The Look Of Love. Here, Dusty's relaxed rendering is most original that I've heard till date, until my buddy Jo (Ki), came to my place and told me that this hi-rez file had totally changed Dusty's rendition from the original pressing LP. Jo was in the opinion that Dusty's vocal had been giving a boost and did not sound frail or vulnerable enough!!! I later went to another well known vinyl sifu's place to confirm Jo's observation. He had 2 different LP pressings of the same Casino Royale OST, of one is the original and the other a re-issued. He played me both the pressings and on the original, it confirmed Jo's observation, of Dusty's frail, breathy rendition of the song, which is one the most moving experience I had with The Look Of Love. Playing the re-issued LP pressing, that vocal frailness by Dusty is now gone, and replaced with a healthier sounding version, which I suspect, is probably the master used for the analog to digital transfer? The vinyl sifu, told me in that case, then go back and listen to my hi rez digital copy!

Let's go back to the sound track. The other outstanding track for me is the instrumental version of The Look Of Love, in which now, a saxophone takes center stage, but panned to the right side of the sound stage. A well reproduced saxophone track is emotionally rich in tone, density filled with lightness of air from the mouth piece to the highly controlled notes rushing out at flange of the horn. This is one audiophile killer.

Another track that I like is Hi There Miss Goodthighs, from it's suggestive tittle, you'd be right to guess that it's actually sensual music suitable for some romantic scenes as portrayed in typical movie fashion. You'd also be right to say that it's a twisted sax based music, Burt Bacharach at his romantic best.

One of the most comical track on this OST is Dream On James, You're Winning. It sounds very much like a tune that Johnny English would use for his OST too. Needless to say, the sound quality of this hi-rez file is well produced, with little of the hiss on the original master tapes evident. The wide dynamic range offered here will put many system to the test, with screaming high mids and forward top end being symptomatic of a system playing on the edge.

I've always liked James Bond movies and sound tracks, but frankly, which able bodied, healthy red blooded male demographic doesn't? The too good to be true lifestyle of a suave, high flying secret agent seems just almost too alluring, with all those government sponsored gadgets, super cars, and let's not forget all those eager to be romanced women. This Casino Royale OST is actually a spoof of the original movie with the same title, and it's different because it's just FUN!

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