96kHz/24-bit FLAC*, Sony/Columbia 88875173862 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

As albums overtaken by events go, this is pretty definitive. Released amidst much hoo-ha as The Dame’s first new work for ages, it almost immediately became a self-obituary, and was thus subjected to even more analysis and interpretation than previous Bowie releases. Recorded apparently in something of a hurry in the final part of Bowie’s life, the artist working when his illness permitted with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, this may explain its patchwork nature and the variable formats throughout. This may or may not be his swansong, as there are rumours of more recordings having been made. What it is, however, is not just Bowie’s best work for years, but also a haunting, dense and at times jazzy set. It’s not as mournful as some have seen it, but a thoughtful, poignant album with plenty to keep us listening, and thinking, for years to come. AE

Sound Quality: 75%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

It pains me to reveal that this 96kHz version of Blackstar is not the cleanest we’ve seen (trk 3 ‘Lazarus’ is one of the better examples) but many, including trk 6 ‘Dollar Days’, look very much like upsamples from 48kHz [see Graph]. PM