w ocenie krytyków: 9/10!
This collaboration between Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach was originally released September 29, 1998. The collaboration began with the commission of the song "God Give Me Strength" for the 1996 film Grace of My Heart directed by Allison Anders featuring vocals by Kristen Vigard. Feeling satisfied with the result of the song, the duo expanded the project to this full album. The expert employment of melody and harmony imparts a timelessness that stretches back to pop's golden age and icons such as Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, and Frank Sinatra. Further boosted by meticulous production, it has long called out for audiophile treatment. Mobile Fidelity's analog reissue brings it all full circle. Mastered from the original master tapes, pressed on dead-quiet 180g vinyl at RTI, and strictly limited to 3,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's vinyl LP of Painted from Memory transforms the 1998 set into an essential component of any library. Always an effort that rewarded solitary listening, it now breathes with ravishing openness, reveals crystalline detail, unfolds against jet-back backgrounds, mesmerizes with a rainbow of textures, and constantly engages with its impossible smoothness. For the first time, the scope of the intricacies, nuances, and phrasings embedded in Bacharach's meticulous compositions can be experienced in full. The orbit of the bridges, refrains, and codas beguiles the senses. Ditto the poetic reach of Costello's singing and lyrics. Indeed, the level of care and concern invested into every passage of Painted from Memory is immediately gleaned by the ravishing sonics afforded on this collectable edition – amazingly, the first time this title has been available on LP. Reference-grade presence, tonality, and balance help capture the sweep of the strings, colorful blush of the horn accents, and weight of the piano. Steve Nieve's keyboards, Greg Cohen's bass, Dean Parks' guitar, and Jim Keltner's drums seemingly appear right in the room. Rather than smear together or jockey for position, each instrument enjoys its own place and simultaneously sounds part of the rich, lush, complex albeit completely interwoven tapestry. Graceful, elegant, and classicist-minded, Painted from Memory is a genuine masterpiece – and a true collaboration. No wonder Costello dedicated a large portion of a chapter from his Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink memoir to his time with Bacharach. Among his insights, Costello explains how crafting the album forced him to be a better writer and singer – and a better listener, stating: "Writing those first songs with Burt Bacharach required me to listen to what the music was really saying to me. Sometimes it was speaking so quietly that I needed to listen very intently. I needed time for the meaning and feeling that I sensed in the music to be confirmed by my own words. The strange thing was that the title of a song often came to me in an instant, but then would begin the more excruciating task of negotiating Burt's spacious melodies and rhythmic subtleties." The very aspects Costello discusses come to the forefront on remarkable torch pieces such as the intensely dramatic "This House Is Empty Now," melancholic "Thief," and Grammy-winning "I Still Have That Other Girl." In addition to Bacharach's suave, sophisticated, strikingly exquisite orchestrations, Costello's vocals carry the day. Straddling two octaves and sighing with pain, bittersweet romance, and wistful reflection, his baritone stretching to convey highs and lows with crooner-like poise, breadth, and fastidiousness. Thrilling, distinctive, and memorable, the performances are just like the entirety of Painted from Memory itself – unforgettably great. "A heavenly pairing of Bacharach's suburban pop melodic intent and Costello's insightful lyrics that well-capture the required Bacharach late afternoon bedroom melodrama produced this 1998 gem of a soap operatic collaboration... "Labels these days hardly have the budgets for sumptuous productions like this one. There's a big string section, brass and woodwinds and of course Burt's grand piano too, most recorded and mixed by Kevin Killen at Oceanway and all of it to analog tape. "Then why did the original CD sound so congested, dry and tonally bleached? Do I have to answer that? If you're a fan of this on CD, your eyes will pop out of your head when you finally hear what's on the tape, beginning with Jim Keltner's rim shots on the opener that on the CD are buried and bleached. "I'm not saying there will be violins but don't be surprised if they appear". What a great line from "Such Unlikely Lovers" and when they do on this superbly mastered record, even if for years you have enjoyed the CD, you will be surprised. In fact, there are sonic surprises throughout as buried instruments surface and shine. What a shame to have had these stellar arrangements underwater for so long. "That's all history now that we have this limited edition LP cut from the original analog tape. Bacharach fans rejoice. Fans of Costello's punkier days may have some trouble adjusting to the French horn melancholy and Bacharach's occasional Liberace flourish but not me! I love all of El's stuff and this one finally correctly presented is among his choice gems. "The sonic presentation is relatively dry and very intimate and rich drawn as you'd expect and hope for from a late afternoon Bacharach melodrama? "Limited to 3000 copies. History repeats the old conceits and when this one's gone it will be gone and you might live to regret not getting it, even if today the melodrama seems too thick (be prepared for some sloppy sibilants if your set-up is not precise and/or your cartridge can't handle the transients)." - Michael Fremer, Analogplanet.com, August 9, 2017