96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; ECM 675 1580 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)
Right, title out of the way first: no, not a selection of ballads of old Helsinki town, but a series of numbers written by Seim – apparently the second most recognisable saxophonist in Norway (after Jan Garbarek) – in an apartment in that city run by the Society of Finnish composers. For this set he’s pulled together an altogether conventional quartet, but with an international flavour. The pianist Kristjan Randalu is Estonian, fellow Norwegian Mats Eilertsen plucks the big fiddle and drummer Markku Ounaskari is a Finn. Seim’s time in Cairo throws in an exotic undertone, and the whole thing is very ECM – including the inaudible ultrasonic tones PM notes in his lab report! Gentle, understated and with some lovely musicianship, this is a very listenable album, with Seim’s sax captured in all its breathiness, and sympathetic support from the rest of the band. AE
Sound Quality: 90%
Hi-Fi News Lab Report
This is a genuine 96kHz recording and one that makes sensitive use of the available dynamic range, avoiding compression. But not for the first time recently, this is another ECM production with spurious tones, here at ~31kHz. PM
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