Music Reviews

Cartografía del Mar (Maps of the Sea) (Pure DSD)

The Gift of Great Sound and Great Music – Eudora Records’ New Pure DSD256 Release of Cartografía del Mar

I am in love with this stunningly great Pure DSD256 recording from Gonzalo Noqué at Eudora Records! Gonzalo has made some excellent Pure DSD256 recordings over the past several years, but this is perhaps his best recording to date. Two things have changed over the years: 1) the addition of his Sonodore LDM-54 microphones, which are remarkable, and 2) recording in the Auditorio de San Francisco, Ávila, with its very open and supportive natural acoustic. In Cartografía del Mar, Gonzalo has simply nailed the sonics. Plus we have two outstanding musicians on guitar and flute that will simply knock your socks off.

There is something very special indeed about the best-of-breed modern Pure DSD256 recordings. As much as I like transfers from analog tape to high resolution digital (think of the great releases coming from High Definition Tape Transfers), the sound quality of a modern Pure DSD256 recording is yet even more alive and immediate. The best of modern Pure DSD256 recordings deliver a transparency, a quickness, an accuracy to the live event, that exceeds what I hear from any other media. This new recording from Gonzalo Noqué and Eudora Records delivers all of that in spades. It is “ear opening.”

Ann and I find ourselves regularly extolling to each other the virtues of this or that recording to which we’ve recently been listening. This is a recording on which we both immediately agreed: it’s superb, it’s a treasure both musically and sonically. Several months ago, I wrote an article about “What we hear in HDTT versus modern recordings” (HERE). As I commented there, “All of the best preamps, amplifiers, mixing boards, cables, power supplies, filters, in use today are simply more transparent than those of six decades ago—whether tube or solid-state. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the best of the current day recordings are more transparent, more open, more resolving, than the recordings of 60 years ago.” When you next compound that difference with Pure DSD256 recording with no PCM post-processing, the divide becomes even more stark. This album perfectly demonstrates the divide between best-in-class modern recordings and vintage analog records. 

Gonzalo achieves a near perfect balance of the instruments vis-à-vis each other and within the overall acoustic space of the venue. Do you have any idea how difficult it can be to capture the full range of the modern flute without harshness or breakup? For such a small instrument, the immense dynamics, the delicacy of harmonic overtones, and the extremely high frequencies of its range can be an ultimate challenge for a recording engineer. Add to this the soft delicate sounds of a classical guitar and you have an ultimate challenge to find the right balance that pays respect to both performers. This recording simply nails it.

If you have a DAC that is adept at playing DSD256 files (not all are), you really need to listen to this album for the pure sonic bliss it demonstrates. This is not a HiFi spectacular—far from it. Instead, it is spectacularly authentic and honest in its presentation of the natural timbre and extreme dynamics of these two instruments. A feat we rarely hear with this degree of fidelity.

But I have been carried away by the recording quality. Let me give similar credit to our performers and to the music. André Cebrián (flute) and Pedro Mateo Gonzalez (guitar) have selected several brilliant works of the twentieth century by Astor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992),  Mario Castelnuovo-Tedeso (1895 – 1968), Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996), Robert Beaser (1954), Leo Brouwer (1939), and Felio Gasull (1959). Quite a treat! 

Cebrián and Gonzalez perform with immaculate technical skill, but more importantly they play to communicate. They play with intelligent emotion, a phrase I use most intentionally because while their playing has a lot of emotional content, it is imbued with a cerebral framework that pays homage to the composers. Their playing honors the music and is not a flight of their own fanciful imagination. Only two instruments throughout, but constantly changing and consistently engaging.

With a total time of 72:15, this a generously full album. The fact that the music is engaging and extremely well performed makes this album a joy for listening and a treat to savor through multiple replaying. Each time I listen to it, I find it rewarding, revealing new insights. Highly recommended!

André Cebrián, Pedro Mateo Gonzalez

Originally written for Positive Feedback. View original article HERE.

Written by

Rush Paul

For over 50 years, Rushton Paul and his wife share a profound passion for music, cherishing transparency and accuracy of instrumental timbre. Their preference lies in acoustic and classical music, seeking recordings that immerse them in the authentic acoustical space of the musicians. Timbre is critical to them, desiring to hear genuine harmonic overtones of real instruments. Their transition to headphones shifted their focus to transparency, inner detail, timbre, and micro-dynamics, factors that profoundly influence their music enjoyment and assessment.


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