Some voices are big­ger than oth­ers, but it takes all sorts to com­prise a de­cent test for your sys­tem

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Kate Bush Top Of The City

One of Kate’s best vo­cal per­for­mances at her 2014 Be­fore

The Dawn Lon­don shows is also, not that sur­pris­ingly, one of the most ac­com­plished ex­e­cu­tions she’s ever com­mit­ted to tape.

Her other-wordly abil­ity to near-whis­per one line into the mic and belt down the next is fully to the fore. Go for the orig­i­nal The

Red Shoes al­bum ver­sion rather than 2011’s Di­rec­tor’s Cut, as the lat­ter fea­tures a trag­i­cally re­strained vo­cal de­liv­ery.

Nina Si­mone Strange Fruit

While Si­mone’s dra­matic cover of Abel Meeropol’s sober­ing protest poem (most fa­mously per­formed by Bil­lie Hol­i­day) doesn’t per­haps show off her vo­cal dex­ter­ity as much as many of her nu­mer­ous hits, it’s a tri­umph of low-level dy­namic craft.

The most insightful kit should re­veal very few static mo­ments in what is a com­pa­ra­bly low-key yet highly ar­rest­ing vo­cal, nor ig­nore the ef­fect of its starkly min­i­mal pi­ano ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

The Na­tional De­mons

Thick, cav­ernous and res­o­nant (al­beit with the range of a tea­spoon), Matt Berninger’s bari­tone has be­come one of the most recog­nis­able in pop­u­lar mu­sic - thanks in great part to its sooth­ing depths and his rare abil­ity to at once be so mel­liflu­ous within melodies.

De­mons is one of his most sure-footed, more-monotonousthan-most de­liv­er­ies, which is sure to give your mid/bass driver a good run for its money.

Bon Iver 715 - CR∑∑KS

Un­less you have your sys­tem con­nected to your TV, there’s a very good chance you won’t have heard Darth Vader through it. If you’re now sit­ting there think­ing what a pity that is, the next best thing is lis­ten­ing to this.

A rad­i­cal de­par­ture from his trade­mark falsetto, Justin Ver­non’s com­pletely un­ac­com­pa­nied vo­cal seeps from a thick vocoder cloud, with warmth be­ly­ing its dig­i­tal genes that a de­cent mid/bass driver should lap up.

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