Independent Record Label Claims First DVD-Audio Release

Warner Music Group may have just announced its first DVD-Audio titles (see related story), but an upstart independent label is claiming the first DVD-A discs actually available for sale. In an attempt to establish itself as the leader in the new DVD-Audio format, 5.1 Entertainment Group's Silverline Records says it has begun shipping the first commercially available 24-bit/96kHz DVD-Audio disc, Swingin' for the Fences, by Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.

The release, described by the label as a big-band swing/jazz recording, is said to have arrived for sale at traditional and online music retail stores last week, and is claimed as the first software commercially available to support the DVD-Audio players being introduced by several consumer-electronics companies now and later this year.

Silverline says that a second DVD-A title, Devotion, by Aaron Neville, will follow on October 24. On the company's sister label, immergent Records, Venice Underground, featuring cutting-edge guitarist Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros), is scheduled for an October 10 release. Silverline states that "Venice Underground is the first album recorded in 5.1 surround sound specifically for the DVD-Audio format. Aaron Neville's Devotion will be the first DVD-Audio release by a major recording artist."

To ensure that all owners of DVD players will be able to play these titles regardless of whether they own a DVD-A player or not, Silverline says that all of its releases include Dolby Digital surround and DTS audio options, so that every disc can be played on any one of the nearly 10 million DVD players currently in US households.

On November 7, Silverline says it will release 26 classical music titles on DVD, including London Symphony Orchestra recordings of Handel's Messiah and Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Also included in this release will be several compilation series featuring works by Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, Schubert, Elgar, Rachmaninoff, and others, performed by the London Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras. Silverline says that all titles were created from the original multi-track recordings and remixed in 5.1-channel audio using 24-bit/96kHz sampling.

On January 9, 2001, Silverline says it will release 10 more DVD-A albums, including "compilations featuring major artists in the genres of classic jazz, classic rock, classic country, new age, and surf music." Following this, Silverline and immergent say they intend to release 10 new titles each month.

According to 5.1 Entertainment Group's John Trickett, "this is a landmark event in the history of music. DVD-A is a phenomenal step forward, one which will change the way we listen to records forever. I am deeply proud of our artists and the entire team at Silverline, immergent, and 5.1 Studios who have helped to make this a reality. We look forward to a bright future."