Swiss duo Silent Work, comprising of Olaf Strassen and Lasse Nipkow, recently unveiled their inaugural album “Sonic Leaks” on Pure Audio Blu-ray. For high resolution enthusiasts this creation places a strong emphasis on leveraging spatial immersion through both the Dolby Atmos and AURO-3D formats, delivering a spectacular musical journey.
Covering a range of genres, the album seamlessly navigates through deep house, modern pop, electro, EDM, and tranquil atmospheric compositions. Several tracks are infused with captivating vocals, and the duo has employed the use of AI and sample-based engines that elevate each track, offering a meticulously curated auditory experience. Renowned Swiss singer Anna Smith lends her exquisite vocals to three songs, enchanting listeners with her delicate timbre that emits clearly across the soundstage.
The albums’ production boasts a fusion of technical innovations and utilizes 3D audio-specific software tools, both of which contribute heavily to the album’s exceptional sound. I found the balance to be exacting, and elements to be placed with artistic perfection. From a sophisticated 5-channel setup for vocal recordings with large-diaphragm microphones to the utilization of upmix processors and the impulse response-based reverb processor "Roomenizer," the meticulous attention to detail is evident.
Fine-tuning of the album was handled by award-winning sound engineers Stefan Bock and David Merkl from MSM Studios, alongside Grammy-nominated producer and New Audio Technology's managing director, Tom Ammermann. In the Dolby Atmos realm, the result is a groundbreaking musical endeavor that showcases Silent Work's commitment to pushing the boundaries of audio innovation. My set up is not properly configured for Auro 3D, thus any comments I could offer for that codec likely would fall short of what it should sound like.
Listeners are immediately immersed with synth parts floating in the heights on the opening ambient track “Seeds of Silence.” With a movie soundtrack feel, the slow-moving ambient piece dives deeply into the subwoofer, strongly evoking an ominous feeling that pushes up from the floor as parts swirl and emanate from all corners. Angelic voices soar from the back and bubbly effects pop rain from above.
The duo continues with their spatial presentation on “Fluctuation” with synth swells taking to the sky and vocals permeating from the center. I dig how the deep tones up front move between the right and left channels while the kick hammers out the beat on this pop driven piece. An interesting side note, the rear channels on the floor have primarily been used for ambience, allowing for the piece to float from the heights and be grounded up front.
Check out the rhythmic patterns and keyboard pulses tossed high up front with light whispers zipping to the back heights on “Pool.” Subtle snaps pop up from the back rears and synth washes make their way to the back channels while a riveting bass pattern throbs up front.
The full spatial aural experience continues throughout the album with spectacular use of the height channels including snare snaps, voices from the front and back pairs, keyboards, and some ambience blended in on “Pads of Humility.” Anna Smith’s exquisite voice permeates from the center echoing into the rears while the kick solidly hits driving deeply into the subwoofer. Keyboard parts surround the sweet spot on this downbeat tune.
Drums spread widely across the front main channels on “Daydream” in turn sending pop into the stratosphere with percolating keyboards in the front and synth pads placed in the back. On the floor pulsating keyboard parts swell from the back right and left speakers, and I especially like how the vocal rises in the front heights, once again demonstrating how Dolby Atmos can be a truly encompassing listen that goes beyond ear candy, instead leading into the world of sonic bliss.
On the other hand, the stereo 48kHz / 24-bit stereo mix is powerful, and while not a full-on immersion experience, it does penetrate the soul, providing plenty of aural ecstasy. I also found the tonal balance to lean a bit brighter with sizzling percussive elements and a zesty top to the synths. Often times a stereo mix can sound congested, especially after listening to a spatial mix, however I felt this was not the case at all. In fact, to my ears, the mix is wide, somewhat deep and while it provides a wall of sound, it does so with enough space for the various parts to breathe across the stereoscape.
Recommended for electronic dance music groovers, ambient sonic junkies, and pop sonic blasters. A fantastic mix that nicely immerses the listener in true pure audio ecstasy.
Released august 25, 2023.
Pure Audio Blu-ray featuring 48kHz / 24-bit mixes in Dolby Atmos 9.1.6, Auro 3D 11.1 (Compatible with 7.1 and 5.1), and Stereo LPCM 2.0.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.