2009 First Impression Music
2001 Wind Over the Earth
1993 Hearts of Space
About this Edition
This edition of Eight String Religion was undertaken by Winston Ma of
First Impression Music. Extreme care was taken to re-master the original recording tapes to DXD Format (24-bit 352.8KHz) for superb sound quality. The package is completed with extensive liner notes.
High Fidelity Online
8-String Religion is a recording categorized as New Age. Let me be frank with you - that's not my kind of music.
There are so many fantastic jazz, classical and rock recording I will never have a chance to listen to, that I surely won't lose time for any crappy music. But sometimes ... Yes, that's the case.
Since I received a package from FIM I've listened to this CD four, maybe five times and I still don't have enough of it. I can't even tell you that this one is different from New Age "achievements" - no, it is the same mood, lots of reverb, peace, focus. But this time there is something that makes it the real Music, and not music used as background for everyday activities. And the sound quality. Winston Ma promotes strongly a new format - DXD.
Just a reminder - DXD is digital PCM format using 24-bit signal sampled at 352.8kHz. No, it can't be at present released on any medium, but that is how the material from master tapes is saved on a hard drive during mastering and in this form it is processed. Than the signal is downsampled to 16-bit, 44,1 kHz.
By shaping noise and using adequate dithering (an intentionally applied form of noise, used to randomize quantization error) they manage to achieve 20-bit resolution on CD! And CDs recorded in this way can sound extraordinary which FIM's releases prove very well. Mr Winston adds a cherry on the top - he uses discs made of 99,9999% silver.
This particular CD under review has been released by FIM's daughter company - Lasting Impression Music.
As I said I was not a fan of New Age, because songs are simply boring and irritating with lack of concept for the song itself and also for sound production.
My interest was caught by Mr Ma's short note stating that he doesn't listen to this kind of music ofter, but this particular recording is one of the very few New Age ones that features emotional depth and a very special sound. I agree with him fully! It's not that I always support Winston's selections but this time I don't have a choice.
The space is captured extremely well. And it is not artificially produced, there is real depth, three-dimensional, and the furthest plane is really far away. The attack is slightly rounded just as the contours - but it is perfectly combined with artistic contents, it's just a way it has to be done.
David Darling's eight-string cello is incredibly palpable - something we, audiophiles - always chase like a bunny. To be honest I have no idea how they managed to put all those sounds - natural and those from synthesizers - together. And this material was recorded in eight (!) different studios, actually each piece comes from a different place. Most of the credit should go to Daug Sax - "master" of mastering - the man I highly regard.
And finally DXD technology - on one hand it is just a way of saving and processing the signal by upsampling it to 352,8 kHz (24-bits are standard), but obviously done by the right people can bring the sound ABOVE the level. This recording sets a New Age standard for me considering both - sound and songs.
Gentle, slow, abstracted, but not trivial or boring.
Sound quality: REFERENCE
— Wojciech Pacula
Sampler of Selected Tracks
- Soft Light
- Sweet River
- Minor Blue
- Only One Wish
- 8 String Religion
Music that will touch your soul and change your way of listening immediately.
Be sure to spread the word ...
David Darling is an amazing artist and hope that more of his work becomes famous.
— Robert F. Blumschein