Click on the album cover below and use the code KEFCARPENTER to receive 20% off your purchase of this month's Hi-Res Treasure!*
The Carpenters are a conundrum. Of course, we’re all over-familiar with their major hits because radio refused to stop playing them over and over and over again. We know of Karen Carpenter’s tragic demise at the hands of a horrendous disease, and we know of their unfortunate television specials which were the genesis for the Carpenter’s somewhat undeserved saccharine image which clouded the genius of their music in a sugar-rush haze of indifference.
Unfortunately, the Carpenters tend to get overlooked when we talk about great music made by great musicians. It’s time to reconsider.
Karen Carpenter is argubly among the top ten best song translators in American musical history and the gift of her voice is never-ending – especially for those of you who really enjoy the nuance and subtle beauty of music. Carpenter’s voice is a rare combination of impeccable breath control and a voice with multiple timbre – not to mention her precise and subtle vibrato. She’s a singer who gets more fun to listen to the better your equipment is.
But the other half of the brother and sister duo is often over-looked because of the shear magnitude of Karen’s talent. Richard Carpenter used elements of classical, jazz, pop, rock, Broadway and country (among other genres) to put together utterly seamless and at times breathtaking arrangements of some of the most enduring (and occasionally inane) pop classics of the last half of the 20th Century. Purely from a musical point-of-view, Richard Carpenter’s work should stand among the giants of his time.
To all of you production geeks out there, it’s interesting to note that the Carpenter's multi-tracked all of their background vocals, layering their harmonies upon each other. The close musical resemblance of their voices and the smart use of the background vocals resulted in a sound that could not be replicated and that still sounds exciting and tight even in this day of endless multi-tracking and slice-and-dice vocal productions.
Even if the drums have that horrendous 70s pie-plate sound, the rest of the instrumentation throughout the album will make you really appreciate your gear – and if you are still putting your system together or just getting started on the audio journey, keep in mind, the Carpenters became ubiquitous via AM radio. The sign of great production is that the music sounds great on a tiny little speaker and just gets better as your gear climbs the quality ladder.
The Carpenters Singles 1969-1981 covers all of the hits with a few of their rarer songs mixed in for good measure. The mastering is accurate to the era they were originally recorded but the 96kHz/24-bit tracks opened up all of the light and shade of the original releases.
* - One per customer. Offer valid until July 18, 2018