Trevor Rabin - Rio

Updated:  October 22, 2023

Trevor Rabin is back after nearly a quarter century with “Rio” (2023), his first vocal-led solo album since 1989’s “Can’t Look Away.” As evidenced by the pre-release tracks, this new album is aiming to be nothing short of a technical masterpiece, delivering a thrilling array of surprises, transcendent melodies, evocative shifts, and awe-inspiring musicianship. It's a resounding welcome back from the former Yes luminary and highly sought-after soundtrack maestro.

For high-resolution audio enthusiasts, you may wish to seek out the Limited CD/Blu-Ray edition, housed in a lavish 28-page CD-sized mediabook. This deluxe package includes the core album along with three bonus tracks on CD, as well as a DTS 48kHz / 24-bit 5.1 surround mix and LPCM 48kHz / 24-bit stereo audio on the Blu-ray.

However, I am adding a brief review as a word of caution to surround enthusiast. The 5.1 mix could easily be considered a glorified stereo mix, with ambient use of the back channels. Yet from time to time, the rears fire with discrete parts, fully immersing the listener. Depending on one’s preference this mix by Paul Linford works very well or is completely lacking. Since the album is densely layered, I fall into the camp that the mix is a missed opportunity to really spread those parts out across the listening space.

Additionally, I found the overall sound quality of the surround mix to be slightly squashed, I believe much of this is due to the use of the compressed DTS codec versus a higher quality codec that is available on Blu-ray. In fact, I really wonder why this was even pressed to a Blu-ray, when it could have just as easily been released on a DVD given the formats provided.

On the other hand, the stereo mix sounds fantastic to my ears, with vigor and brilliance as one would expect from a modern-day mix. Channel separation is very good with nice imaging and good depth. For me the stereo mix is my first choice on this release. Thus, I must say get this for the music and stereo mix, and simply consider the surround mix an alternate version rather than the primary.

Back to the music, which is powerful and intricate, listeners may not be aware, but Trevor Rabin's music has likely touched their ears at some point in one’s routine. Perhaps you've encountered his work on the radio, where the iconic rock hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes graced the airwaves. Alternatively, fans might have unknowingly enjoyed his compositions in over 100 movie and TV soundtracks, or even heard his distinctive touch in the theme music for NBA basketball on TNT. Now, he's back with "Rio," his first vocal-led solo endeavor since "Can't Look Away" in 1989.

"Rio" stands as a creative exploration, underscored by Rabin's boundless musical expertise. Throughout the album, Rabin's storytelling through music shines brightly, weaving a tapestry of surprises, enchanting melodies, compelling transitions, and exceptional musicianship. Fans can experience this sonic journey in various formats, including the aforementioned limited CD + Blu-ray mediabook edition or the Ltd Deluxe Gatefold Red 180g 2LP + Blu-ray edition. Both versions offer bonus material, 5.1 surround sound, and insightful liner notes. Additionally, "Rio" is available in a Standard CD Jewel case, Gatefold 180g Black 2LP + LP booklet, Ltd Gatefold Transparent Sun Yellow 2LP + LP booklet, and as a Digital Album, ensuring there's a way for everyone to savor this new release.

Released October 6, 2023.


 Format Info

CD + Blu-ray limited mediabook edition featuring DTS 48kHz / 24-bit 5.1 surround and LPCM 48kHz / 24-bit stereo mixes on Blu-ray.  Also available as a single CD edition or various Vinyl editions, including red and clear, plus a download version too.  Streaming via popular services. 



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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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