Susan Wong - KamereonSusan Wong, known for her smooth vocals and jazz infused interpretations of popular songs, delivers another polished performance with her 2024 album “Kamereon” produced by Akihito Yoshikawa and recorded in Japan. True to its name, which evokes the versatility of a chameleon, the album showcases Wong's ability to seamlessly blend various genres, including jazz, pop, and bossa nova.

Naturally Wong's voice is the centerpiece of her albums, characterized by her warm and soothing vocal quality. She has an innate ability to convey emotion with subtlety and grace that accented by excellent sound quality and musicianship from the members of saxophonist Hisatsugu Suzuki’s band. These are very relaxed musical arrangements which tastefully compliment her interpretations of popular tunes by Phil Collins, the Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, Toploader, among others. Latin grooves are incorporated adding a refreshing bosa nova feel to some of the songs.

EvoSound has long been recognized by audiophiles as presenting excellent sounding recordings, and this SACD maintains that path. For immersionists, audio engineer Akihito Yoshikawa has created the 5.1 surround mix that provides an airy listening experience that is truly music to the ears. Daiki Yasukagawa’s Bass and Hidenobu "Kalta" Otsukl’s drums occupy the front channels throughout the album, while Jun Miyakawa’s keyboard parts freely float across the back speakers. Horn parts also soar in from the rear, often bathed deeply in reverb that places them further behind the soundstage. Wong’s vocals fill the center spreading lightly out into the room. Instead of a club like feel, this album is breathtakingly clean of unwanted ambient noises and is a rich audiophile quality. Subtleties are present and the mix is nicely balanced.

Stand out tracks include “Dancing in the Moonlight,” with its Latin feel, plump acoustic bass grooving from the center, while the acoustic piano tingles from the back. Drums subtly hold down the rhythm with delicate yet determined strokes up front, and Wong’s vocals distinctly soar from the center channel. There have been countless versions of this classic tune, but still Wong breathes new life and spirit to this favorited track.

The power pop feel of “Against All Odds” has been transformed into a sultry jazz song with extremely distant Hisatsugu Suzuki’s saxophone riffs responding deeply from the back. The clean and rich nature of the recording continues to shine through with vocals, bass, drums, and piano maintaining their position in the surround scape.

The relaxed feel of the album continues with Karma Chameleon with its lounge feel that gently swings the pop song into the jazz realm. Wong’s passionate vocal work floats across the soundscape while Sparano sax as depth in the rear channels. Dynamics are soft and convey a real liveliness to these pieces throughout the album. Kamereon is a perfect chill down release that is a great way to reduce stress from one’s day.

The joyous arrangement of “The Two of Us” is another personal favorite on the album featuring a lovely sax solo and picturesque piano voicing. It is evident that a lot of care went into presenting this release, which includes a 10-page booklet with lyrics and credits.

I would be remiss if I didn’t make any comments on the DSD stereo layer on the SACD. This version of the album is very impactful, with a cohesiveness that is somewhat diluted on the surround version. While listening, I recognized that the stereo mix is likely the initial version, and to that end is actually the reference mix for the album. While the surround mix is well balanced, the stereo mix is even more distinct and musically unified. From an audiophile perspective, listeners are likely to find greater pleasure in kicking back to the stereo DSD mix. Also, the album is available on 180g vinyl LP and MQA-CD.

Regardless of the version one picks up, the production quality is top notch, each track is meticulously crafted, allowing the listener to appreciate the nuances in Wong's performance. Best suited for fans of Wong and jazz vocals. Collectors seeking alternate versions of well-known songs should also add this into their collection. Kamereon is perfect for a relaxing evening or a contemplative listen.

Updated release date for USA and Europe, May 24, 2024.

 Format Info

SACD with 5.1 surround and Stereo DSD layers.  Also available on stereo MQA-CD and audiophile 18g Vinyl.

 

 

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 About the Author

Wesley Derbyshire Profile Image

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.

 

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