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Topic: Music playlist used for FLAC 1.4.0 testing (Read 2807 times) previous topic - next topic
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Music playlist used for FLAC 1.4.0 testing

Sometimes I have randomly picked music to test decoders at, sometimes according to judgement. The following are used in my numbers at,122949.0.html - and they are in part chosen according to "need at least this diversity" and in part stuff I listen to ... so since it is quite a lot a music playlist, I post it here. Fire "who listens to this junk?!" at it.

Size: three sections each of 4 gigabytes compressed. Yes I listen to decoded music, but my hard drive sees compressed music.

The classical music part first. I'm no guru at classical music - nor recordings! - and will not spend the time needed to be.
This is a motley collection of el-cheapo labels, more recognized labels, the former licensing recordings from the latter (and who knows what happens to the lower bits in the mastering) and more.

* Bach: English Suites nos 1-3 (BWV 806 to 808) on harpsichord.  Yes, a classical compression test needs harpsichord.  This is from the budget label "Brilliant"'s box sold as the complete works of Bach (it missed a couple of works), and I think they commissioned this recording in 1999.  Bob van Asperen playing.  CD number 12 of the Keyboard works section,

* Bach: every classical collection - for compression or not - needs Bach's organ works.  This is a freely downloadable collection, performed by organ professor James Kibbie at the Univ of Michigan:
I "arbitrarily" selected what appeared as first "album" the way it was organized when I downloaded it: BWVs 563, 539, 700, 694, 715, 575, 726, 736, 704, 766, 709, 590
I see now that they subsequently have put up new lossless links where you can get the whole ten gigabytes in one chunk: I have not checked if they reorganized the order.

* Bruckner: Motets, on the Naxos label (1994).

* John Cage: Music For Percussion Quartet, performed by Percussion Ensemble Mainz, 1998.

* Handel: The Messiah, on the Naxos label, CD1 of 2.

* Mahler's eight symphony 'der Tausend', a quite massive orchestral work you also find represented in ktf's test corpus (for that reason, I guess).  CD 11 in a fifteen-CD box on the Brilliant budget label, which happens to tell the truth about it: audio scans confirm it is Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, as released in 1987 on Denon/Nippon Columbia.

* Mozart: Requiem plus Charpentier: Te Deum (1990) on Sony.
This one.

* Fartein Valen: "The Eternal", a 2000 compilation on Rune Grammofon of newer and older recordings.  Twelve-tone compositions that yet sound oddly romantic.

* Ralph Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music / Five Mystical Songs ... on the Hyperion budget label 1990.

* Vivaldi: Four Seasons by the Amsterdam Guitar Trio.  Their take on the opening allegro of the Winter here: , see the comment:  "Yay! The music from swedish national television's (TV2) test pattern during the early 90's!"

* The Art of Glenn Gould on Sony (1992), released when this film was in the making:
Eccentric pianist. Great pianist.  And not much piano above.

* Nicanor Zabaleta: "Harp Concertos", Deutsche Grammophon compiling recordings ca 1963, works by Handel, Mozart and others.
Because ... not much harp above. Performer:

* Jiří Stivín: "Flute Music from the Age of Renaissance", on the Arta label 1992.  Selected because well, not much flute above.

* "High Tech Choruses", from the Philips label's hifi showcase "High Tech" series. 1990.  Includes test signals.

Re: Music playlist used for FLAC 1.4.0 testing

Reply #1
The heavier material:

* Jason Becker: "Triumphant Hearts" (2018).  Just when Jason Becker had been hired as Steve Vai's replacement in David Lee Roth's band, he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and given a life expectancy of three to five years.  He completed the "A Little Ain't Enough" album, but couldn't tour.
He has long outlived the death sentence, and composes using eye movements.  The guitar work can be handled by others - now look at the list of guitarists on the album:
Triumphant Heart I bought from - one of the few purchases made from Bandcamp after they ripped me off, please wait until Bandcamp Friday to buy.

* Colosseum: "Chapter 1: Delirium" (2007).  Funeral doom - listen to the solemnity, not the voice from the grave - by members of Yearning, from Suomi Finland Perkele. Lasted a few years and three albums until Juhani Palomäki's passing by his own hands.

* Emperor: "Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise".  The studio swan song of Norway's premier black metal outfit (musically ... other criteria lead to other rankings).  This one effectively composed by Ihsahn solo, with the art rock touches that follow and that are frowned upon by lo-fi genre purists. .  You need to give "Empty" a couple of listens to understand why that stringy-arrangement has any business being there.

* Gojira: "From Mars to Sirius".  Damn, Gojira was a fresh breath, and after all these years they still are.  Not "impossible to categorize", but all hit words would give the wrong impression back then - now you can just say "sounds like Gojira" and well, understood.  I used the promo version of the CD, think it is same as retail.

* In the Woods...: "Omnio" (1997).  Sounding oddly DIY for prog rock, sounding oddly art rock for metal.  A band that would send pictures of trees when the press requested promo photos.  Fun fact: The lyrics to "Kairos!" include two lines not there; the band never got satisfied with the final part of the song, and simply cut it off at the sharp drum beat at the end.  Still 25 years later I love the album:

* Judas Priest: "Painkiller" (1990).  None of the above are ... conventional "heavy metal", so enter the man who made middle class guys in their most homophobic age dress like ... urrr, like Rob Halford groupies.  Painkiller was nearly considered thrash metal when it arrived, shook some heads at what the flac are they doing.  Now considered a classic of its time, of course. in the current master - the original master was used in the compression test.

* Kiss: "Revenge" (1992).  OK, so this list is lacking "hard rock", save for Jason Becker, so I had to take a more commercial outfit too.  Revenge is a bit heavier and grittier than their most notorious hair spray years.  Painkiller was released one year before Nirvana's "Nevermind", this was recorded afterwards, but accusing Gene Simmons tried to surf a trend to line his pockets is a bit like accusing the Bible of being full of over-used quotations.

* Laibach: NATO (1994).  Slovenia had successfully declared independence a few years earlier, the civil war in the rest of (post-)Yugoslavia was raging - we had not yet seen the Srebrenica massacre - and in the midst of this, the musical wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst collective makes an album of war-themed cover songs in their usual militaristic-expressioned ironic ambiguity.  Sporting the NATO logo and, opening the booklet, a prominent quote from the alliance's charter, it looks like a promotional leaflet - countered by the title track - that is, the name of the original: it is Holst's "Mars, the bringer of war".  Laibach/NSK will deliberately offer a sword to those too careless to notice the double edge, and fingers will get hurt.

* Psycroptic: "Psycroptic" (2015).  Technical death metal from Tasmania.  That guitar is a WTF. ,

* Sodom: "One Night in Bangkok" (live album, 2003).  CD1 of 2.  I needed some teutonic thrash metal - yes the extreme metal genres are different ... to insiders.  And I noticed that this requires a very high FLAC bitrate - 1150 at old -8, which made me curious. Selection bias prone yes. Anyway, even with 1.4.0 @ -8pe, fb2k still reports 1149.


Re: Music playlist used for FLAC 1.4.0 testing

Reply #2
The "others" section:

* Tori Amos: "From the Choirgirl Hotel" (1998). 
Male and female vocals are not necessarily the same instrument, and most vox in this test corpus is male. 
Included Tori Amos for the obvious reason.  Included this album for maybe a wrong reason: I don't really understand why it has any business requiring a mid-900s bitrate.

* Beastie Boys: "Paul's Boutique" (1989). 
I surely have to admit that a balanced corpus could use more contemporary hip hop, more contemporary r'n'b, and ... and well, I don't pretend knowing those genres well.  And Paul's Boutique I didn't understand squat of when it came out - apparently neither did the critics.  Rhymin' and Stealin' taken to the next level, but what else was there?  We were many who were wrong about this one. has an anniversary edition.  I used the original master ... I think it must have been.

* Ketil Bjørnstad "The World I Used to Know" (2019).  CD number 2.
Ketil Bjørnstad: obviously possesses every kind of talent possible, if Le Monde's literature critic is to be believed. Norwegian novel author, classical pianist, and contemporary composer on the ECM jazz label, usually with a Schubert-worshipping melancholy touch that this metalhead has come to appreciate.  (On his "Night Songs", with Svante Henryson, there is "Schubert Said" - on this, there is "Schubert Said - Again".) 
TWIUTK accompanies the conclusion of his chronicles of the decades from the sixties (he was born in 1952) til now, one decade per book, one book released per year.
But it turns out I actually converted over not the TWIUtK album, but the first CD of the bonus compilation CDs.  CD 1 or compilation part 1 ... huh. for the main CD I didn't pick.
Clips of the entire thing:  (Track 5 "Skrik" is on Munch's infamous "Scream" painting - lyrics by the painter himself, and in the clip you won't hear the guitar going over the top.)

* James Brown: "JB - 40th Anniversary Collection" (1996) CD1. 
Funk, soul, stand on the scene and say it out loud - you all know James Brown.  There are tons of compilations out there, and this is not on Spotify, but some stubborn fan made it into a playlist.

* Miles Davis: "The Complete Birth of the Cool" (1998)
Oh Miles ... give me strength to resist the temptation to pick Bitches Brew. 
For a test corpus, there is a good reason to go for this one instead: monaural old fidelity.  BotC was recorded in 1949 and 1950.  The CD threw in a bonus track number 12.  The 1998 "Complete" throws in thirteen more tracks recorded live in 1948.
TCBotC, remastered version:

* Jan Johansson: "Folkvisor" (1998); the 1995 Heptagon remaster.
Forty years before the piano jazz world would learn the news of Esbjörn Svensson perishing in an accident, the same happened to Jan Johansson - only thirty-seven years old, but left his mark on the Scandinavian jazz scene forever and is still an everyday name in his homeland.
"Folkvisor" compiles his in Swedish piano & double bass renditions of Swedish folk tunes and in Russian - more than just two instruments on that one into one CD that I play surprisingly often.  Damn, he got taste.
Trivia: (1) His best known work is likely the tune to Pippi Longstocking.  (2) Yes, fellow metalheads - Jens and Anders are his sons.

* Kraftwerk: "Tour de France Soundtracks" (2003).
Kraftwerk belongs in the corpus I think.  I used the original master - don't buy that CD, it is defective by design, infested with protection against error correction.

* Sopor Aeternus and the Ensemble of Shadows: "Mitternacht" (2014), a download purchase. 
None more darkwave than Anna-Varney, a them/they who has decided against taking the surgery.  Heavily synth-driven, but always with a small orchestral ensemble of strings and wind instruments like the oboe and of course the one that in German is called das Fagott.
(A warning: if you live in a part of the world where "NSFW" is a serious matter, then spend your home computer exploring the rest of the discography.  You might find out what Anna-Varney would do if (s)he "ever had a proper" [four-letter word starting with "c", pick a guess and go home to google].)

* Bruce Springsteen: "The Ghost of Tom Joad" (1995). 
The Boss needs no introduction.  There is enough big rock in my corpus already, so why not pick a less electric one.  Besides, a metal guy had to include the last lyric line of Youngstown.

* The The: "NakedSelf" (2000).
There isn't much of this alt-rock genre here.  Their least-selling album they say, but I didn't discover them in their heyday, so this is what I got.

* Armand Van Helden: "2 Future 4 U" (1998)
Not much on my hard drive if this genre is to be included - it isn't overpopulated with house DJs.  Cannot relate this to anything else in the genre - sorry not really sorry.

* Tom Waits: "Swordfishtrombones" (1983)
The man with the smoothest velvet voice, yeah right.  One reason to include it - apart from the listening value - is that it compresses to less than half of original size.

* Wovenhand: "Black of the Ink" (2011)
First time I heard about Wovenhand, the description was ... uh, alt-country with banjo and Christian themes, it didn't sound like my thing.
First time I heard it, I didn't catch it either, to be honest.  But even extreme metal musicians were namedropping David Eugene Edwards for his dark vibe, and they were right.  A few more listens and ... and yes.  I've seen him at a metal festival in the Netherlands, where he was later hanging out with Pentagram outside.
Wovenhand was supposed to be D.E.E.'s solo effort.  It evolved into a band. 
"Black of the Ink" is a book of lyrics, and with six re-recordings of D.E.E. solo - he toured solo with this, but it turned out as yet another futile attempt at keeping the band thing away.  Wovenhand would later incorporate elements from heavier metal - like, tremolo picking, Primordial style - but this does surely not. .  (Hm, it is actually only half-length.)

And then the one that could nearly be everywhere ... except that a single Dream Theater member does not mean the music is hard, and the classical section hardly has much electronic piano:
* Jordan Rudess: "Sunflower" (2022). 
Ukraine charity EP, ending with a minute's rendition of their national anthem.  Before that, a Chopin pice, and one of his own compositions.  Ten minutes.
And to the Vladolf trolls who are out to post "oh you chose that only because you hate us": yes, go back to your double-swastika banner and stay the eff away from my inclusion of Russian tunes.