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From Jazz we advance to a mix of chamber music and electronica compliments of Austrian pianist and elfin vocalist Anja Plaschg better known as Soap & Skin. Her Lovetune For Vacuum album is a mostly gloomy theatrical work with plenty of pain in the lyrics and sound but also moments of iridescent beauty. "Extinguish Me" begins with piano arpeggios and Anja’s vocal tremolo. Slowly strings enter and the voice deepens with choral doubling. Smack in the midst of the song a bright refrain kicks in that rides on great vocal vehemence. The Elac reconfirmed earlier impressions. The piano was gratifyingly grand and even the singing seemed very natural where many speakers in this class betray a tendency for the nasal, hollow or other colorations. The Elac clearly fought for greater evenness.
Dynamically both on the micro and macro scale I had to subtract points however. I knew this sudden refrain to be dynamically edgier, sharper and meaner. The Elac rendered it more good-natured and civilized. Again, this wasn’t tonally. Even with the +3dB treble contour this effect remained. While the top end did glisten more, being blown away by the lead vocal as hoped for didn’t occur.
On "The Sun" still from the same album there’s additional electronica by way of sequencers, rhythmic noises, drones and hum. The Elac applied the same maturity. It rendered all the effects hashery very effectively and believable, albeit without infrasonic foundation. Dimensionally the speaker behaved typical for a near-field monitor. Horizontal separation was admirably precise unless things got too complex. Tremendous depth of field or oft-invoked holography meanwhile weren’t part of the curriculum.
Radiohead’s "2+2=5" opener of Hail to the thief is a cut I routinely enjoy to embark on acoustic adventures. It kicks off with typically coarse mains hum caused when sub-quality guitar plugs jack into amps suddenly ramped up wide open. This is followed by a puckish beat box, slightly distorted guitar and Thom York’s heavily reverb’d double-tracked vocals. A second guitar segues into the lazy affair all the way through the first refrain and bridge until without warning a massive guitar and drum tornado unleashes.
Risking to bore you with repetition, first impressions confirmed once more. I enjoyed being able to follow each additional instrument cleanly and with individualized timbres to wonder again how such sonic maturity was possible with so little outlay whilst admittedly turning a tornado into more of a teapot tempest.
This shouldn’t imply that the AM150 lacked muscle to rock out. A short detour back to Nada Surf and its "Always love" and in short order vocals and guitar were blown to smithereens by a brutal sideways guitar volley. This the Elac handled with grip and power and whilst not turning into a macrodynamic beast its low-down prowess was a suitable enabler for Rock ‘n’ Roll. Another nicety was not encountering any compromises between low and high levels. The latter can get quite pushy and eventual distress is mostly signaled by a certain loss of organization. Approaching real distortion at still sane levels is nearly impossible. In a double pack with subwoofer this could well serve devout party animals. This was confirmed during a brief fling with Nubert’s manly AW-441.