I have to admit that I’ve been a bit dubious about reissues. Not really the result of bad experience as much as other folks expressing their troubles with the format these days. Most of this is focused on the quality of the pressing (warping, noisy and off-center pressings being a bit more common due to the loss of experience in a dying format) and the source material (most of the analogue tapes no longer exist having been digitized in some archive and a lack of effort with mastering). Things that made sense to me. However, my brother has been fairly impressed with some recent reissues and a friend told me that their L.A. Woman reissue is pretty wonderful. I was also fair impressed with the reissues of American Recordings and Purple and decided to opt for some reissues instead of some very pricey originals.
My copy of Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple is the recent Music on Vinyl pressing (on black vinyl) and it sounds great. It’s an album that means a helluva lot to me. It’s right there in my top 10 (if not top 5). I’ve missed out on a few copies on ebay and have hovered over the ‘add to cart’ on Discogs often enough. My wife is aware of this, which is why she picked me up this copy. It’s a beautiful thing. It really is. I’ve been hearing parts of it clearer than I ever did. It’s a really great sounding record – nice and dynamic.
Given that I was impressed with the reissues I decided to order a few more last week. Two of which are Music on Vinyl pressings: The Afghan Whigs’ Black Love and Tiny Music … Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop – another Stone Temple Pilots. Both were originally released in 1996 and both have been favourites of mine for as long as I remember. Black Love arrived yesterday, while Tiny Music … landed today. So, of the 5 reissues I have, or will have, three are Music on Vinyl. All sound great. Rich and dynamic. To these ears they all sound more vibrant than the CD copies I have. Massive improvements in the mid-range and I can hear more little intricacies than I ever knew where there. As a result, I’m again reminded that I don’t know some albums as well as I thought!
I had Black Love spinning last night and earlier today. I’ll be getting to know this ahead of Do To The Beast arriving (I have that on pre-order). Although I’ve always considered the playing to be quite brilliant, I was hearing exactly why Greg Dulli says John Curley is his favourite bass player. The backing vocals were clearer and the guitars are ridiculous – the sparring between Dulli and McCollum is one of the key ingredients of the Whigs and I can’t think of a better pairing. Perhaps I’m hearing it differently as McCollum is missing from the new album. I dunno.
I had Tiny Music … cooking the speakers this afternoon. Right from the off I was hearing a different version of the album. Aside from the extended Press Play, it actually seemed a bit heavier. I haven’t compared it to the CD, but it doesn’t sound as compressed. It sounds nice and rounded.
My only gripe about all of these would be with the artwork. Reproductions of the original releases and I expect high resolution images have not been available. Can’t quite understand why. But, yeah, the art isn’t quite perfect, colour maybe a bit too hard – with some saturation (perhaps to cover pixelation and such). Still, it’s a small gripe. MoV really has done a great job in bringing new life to these albums. From what I’ve read, they’re also considered by those owning both to be better than the original, more expensive, pressings … but then, I guess music is all about what you hear and find, eh? … and, of course, the system you’re listening on. Personally, I’m impressed and over the moon at owning some more of my favourite albums on vinyl.
* according to Music on Vinyl, the source material for all three are high-res audio files (192 kHz / 24-bit) of the original masters.