88.2kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, ECM 2286 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Born in Milan in 1965, classical and jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia has recorded an astonishing number of albums during his varied career – more than 60 at last count. Songways, released on CD in 2013, continues his association since 2005 with Manfred Eicher’s ECM label, and his talented accompanists Salvatore Maiore on double-bass and Roberto Dani on drums. Battaglia describes Songways as ‘a new harmonic balance between archaic modal pre-tonal chant and dances, pure tonal songs and hymns, and abstract texture’. It certainly weaves a spell, often hypnotically ambient while sometimes exquisitely lyrical, for example on the enchantingly melodic ‘Mildendo Wide Song’. Fans of experimental modernism up for a challenge might also care to check out Battaglia’s collaboration with Michele Rabbia entitled Pastorale, released by ECM in 2010. JB

Sound quality: 80%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Much of the piano’s output – occupying the bulk of the recording’s dynamic range – is sub-5kHz, the brush-stroke percussion providing some ‘fizz’ up to 30kHz. There’s some spuriae around 20kHz but otherwise this is clean. PM