James Morrison’s Scream Machine is a testament to that saying that too much is never enough. Morrison is a master of the brass. Here he assembles not one, or two, but FIVE trumpets in an orgy of brass that lives up to the name – ‘scream’ indeed.
How exactly do five trumpets sound? Well it’s certainly not subtle, a lot of this disc would not suit a quiet night in. A lot of the tracks do tend to be in your face, however there are some moments of subtlety. There is also enough variety with some extended guitar and drum solos.
For brass connoisseurs, Morrison brings out a variety of trumpets including a piccolo trumpet and an electric/digital piece. He certainly has a lot of enthusiasm for his instruments.
- Scream Machine
- Desert Sands
- Ease On In
- Con Alma
- Fugue II
- Up Late
Video is 1:33 full frame with a very good digital rendition of a dimly lit nightclub. Blacks are solid and pleasing, metallic objects have that lustre and bright objects are cleanly delineated in the darkness. Skin tones are accurate and natural. Some of the bright objects show ringing around the edges, which is typical of a digital transfer. There is limited aliasing on diagonals.
It doesn’t have the last bit of detail you might see on a more professional production, but it is quite pleasing nonetheless.
There is a single Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448k/s. It is of good quality delivering a fine rendition of the brass, drums and percussion. There is a decent sense of space between instruments, although it is clear that the Dolby compression has let a little of the ‘air’ out of the tyres so to speak. It lacks that final sense of attack and decay that a PCM track might have. There is also that lack of ‘dryness’ that tends to attach itself to brass instruments. It certainly does not lack for treble, with a good sound to cymbals and a wide dynamic range with forceful kick to the drums.
The subwoofer is absent and rears are limited in their use to audience and ambience. Vocals are clear when James talks, although they can be low volume in comparison to the music. This would tend to indicate that one should be exercising the volume control for full effect. I would wish for a PCM or DTS track to accompany future releases such as this.
The main extra is a 19-minute documentary of the inspiration and production behind the main feature. This has Morrison talking to the camera ah hoc, in his house, on his yacht, in the studio...
This is a fine performance, if a bit experimental in some places. For brass lovers it is it, but I am uncertain if jazz lovers will take wholly to this musical ‘concept’. The disc is fine, with the video perhaps outpacing the sound just slightly. It is up to you whether the music suits.