96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Decca 378 0690 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
Campbell (26) fell in love with the sound of the piano as a child. Rather than training formally he decided to shut himself away with an instrument, playing and writing his own music. The 12 tracks selected for recording – some dating back to his teens – have titles, ‘Light on the River’, etc, which he says are not meant to be taken literally. But he sees Sketches as an integral work. Philip Hobbs produced at St George’s Bristol in 2012, and a CD was first released by Music & Media (the Decca has two extra tracks). The booklet too is entirely by Campbell – with drawings rather in the manner of Raymond Briggs’. And the music? It’s like a hash of ‘Walking in the Air’, some Debussy and the late Beethoven way of making the piano sustain sound. But without a trace of originality and painfully vacuous. At best you could admire the illusion of improvisation in the playing. CB
Sound Quality: 65%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
A genuine 96kHz recording such as this offers a practical ~45kHz bandwidth but, as we’ve seen with other albums featuring solo piano, even the most dynamic passages [Graph – Light In The North] hit the noise floor at <20kHz. PM
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