March 9, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-03-09

Jimi Hendirx - Mono LPs

* Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine (Gardiner) (Arkiv Produktion DVD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics 2CD)
* Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, etc. (Venice Baroque Orch./Marcon/Carmignola) (Sony Classical CD)
* Vivaldi: Late Concertos RV 177, etc. (Venice Baroque Orch./Marcon/Carmignola) (Sony Classical CD)
* J.S. Bach: Sonatas For Viola Da Gamba (Pandolfo/Alessandrini) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* J.S. Bach: Trio Sonatas (London Baroque/Medlam) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* John Coltrane: Side Steps (d.1-3) (Prestige/Concord 5CD)
* Sun Ra; The Soul Vibrations Of Man (Saturn LP)
* Sun Ra: Unity (Horo 2LP>CDR)
* Sun Ra: Taking A Chance On Chances (Saturn LP>CDR)
* Sun Ra: Piano Recital, Teatro La Fenice, Venezia (Leo/Golden Years CD)
* Billy Cobham: Spectrum (Atlantic CD)
* Rock Candy Funk Party: We Want Groove (J&R Adventures CD/DVD)
* Miguel: Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA CD)
* Elvis Presley: Elvis At Sun (RCA/BMG CD)
* Elvis Presley: Elvis (RCA-Victor/Friday Music LP)
* Elvis Presley: Loving You (RCA-Victor/Friday Music LP)
* Elvis Presley: A Date With Elvis (RCA-Victor/Friday Music LP)
* Elvis Presley: From Elvis From Memphis (RCA-Victor/Friday Music LP)
* Elvis Presley: Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden (RCA-Victor/Sony-Legacy 2LP)
* Elvis Presley: Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite (RCA/Friday Music 2LP)
* Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol.30: Academy of Music, March 1972 (bonus disc) (GDP 4+1HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY 1993-06-15 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY 1993-06-16 (selections) (SBD 3CDR)
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced (UK mono) (Experience Hendrix/Sony LP)
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced (US mono) (Experience Hendrix/Sony LP)
* Jimi Hendrix Experience: Axis: Bold As Love (mono) (Experience Hendrix/Sony LP)
* Jimi Hendrix: Hendrix In The West (Experience Hendrix/Sony CD)
* Jimi Hendrix: People, Hell and Angels (Experience Hendrix/Sony CD)
* Nick Drake: Pink Moon (Island/Universal LP)
* Yes: Close To The Edge (Atlantic/Audio Fidelity SACD)
* New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies (Factory/Rhino2CD)
* Thurston Moore: Psychic Hearts (Geffen 2LP)
* Lee Ranaldo: Between The Times And The Tides (Matador LP)
* Chelsea Light Moving: Chelsea Light Moving (Matador CD/LP+7”)(†)
* Pavement: Slanted And Enchanted (Matador LP)
* Pavement: Watery Domestic (Matador EP)
* Pavement: Slanted And Enchanted: Luxe And Reduxe (selections) (Matador 2CD)
* Wilco: A.M. (Nonesuch LP)
* Wilco: Being There (Nonesuch 2LP)
* Wilco: Summerteeth (Nonesuch 2LP)
* Porcupine Tree: Signify/Insignificance (KScope 2CD)
* Steven Wilson: Insurgentes (KScope CD/DVD)
* Steven Wilson: Grace For Drowning (KScope BD)
* Steven Wilson: The Raven That Refused To Sing (KScope BD)
* Katatonia: Night Is The New Day (Peaceville CD)
* Katatonia: Dead End Kings (Peaceville CD)
* The Mars Volta: The Bedlam in Goliath (Gold Standard Labs/Universal CD)
* The Mars Volta: Octahedron (Warner Bros. CD)
* The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet (Warner Bros. CD)
* Baroness: Yellow And Green (Relapse 2CD)
* Riverside: Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (Inside Out 2CD)
* Fleet Foxes: Sun Giant (Sub Pop CDEP)†/‡
* Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop CD)†/‡
* Dusted: Total Dust (Polyvinyl CD)
* Wild Nothing: Nocturne (Captured Tracks CD)



I probably should have done a little research on these Jimi Hendrix monophonic reissues before plunking down the cash. If you’re thinking about picking these up, make sure you know what the deal is:

Unlike, say, The Beatles’ mono records, Hendrix apparently had little to do with these mixes, preferring to explore the incipient possibilities of stereophonic records. Moreover, Hendrix had little control over his first album, Are You Experienced, which was first issued on the Track label in the U.K. in May, 1967. As was the usual practice in those days, singles like “Hey Joe,” “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Purple Haze” were left off the LP. But when Reprise the U.S. version of Are You Experienced in August, it included these hits while omitting other tracks like “Red House,” “Can You See Me” and “Remember.” That means a completist needs both versions.

Worse, the original U.K. mono mixes were slapped together for quick release by an inexperienced engineer—and it shows. The vocals are way up front, the bass is bloated and indistinct and it sounds like a blanket has been thrown over the drums. Weird phasing effects are less psychedelic than just a sign of bad tape-head alignment. Some tracks start out sounding fine but then the high frequencies suddenly disappear for no discernible reason. Good grief!  The U.S. version is slightly better but those tracks which appear on the U.K. release are the same bizarre mixes. It wasn’t until the follow-up, Axis: Bold As Love that Hendrix was able to tailor an album from start to finish and while not as satisfying as the stereo mix, the mono LP at least has a consistent sound and character.

That said, these numbered, limited edition mono reissues from Sony-Legacy are very nicely done: all analog, 200-gram vinyl, original artwork—and only twenty bucks a pop. Originals go for big bucks on the secondary market. But be forewarned: Are You Experienced (particularly the U.K. version) is a mess—interesting historically, but a sonic disaster. Axis sounds superb but the only thing it reveals is how much better the stereo mix is. Caveat emptor!


In other vinyl news, the recent Elvis Presley reissues on Friday Music are definitely worth checking out. Ever since bringing Kevin Gray on board, Friday Music LPs have taken a huge step up in mastering quality and have become the standard bearers for “budget” audiophile vinyl. Fetishists may object to the repackaged gatefold sleeves and there is some debate as to whether these are truly all-analog or taken from the high-res digital transfers prepared by Vic Anesini in 2007—but who cares? These things look and sound fantastic. I hope they do the whole damn catalog, stupid movie soundtracks and all. Long live vinyl! Long live the King!

1 comment:

Sam said...

Glad you posted this. I was able to share with a couple of folks who were considering these. I had my doubts, since these albums rely so heavily on channel-shifting and phasing around.

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2013-03-11:

*Luciano Berio: A Portrait, Part II (CDR) disc 2
*Helmut Lachenmann: A Portrait (CDR) disc 2
*Anthony Braxton Diamond Curtain Wall Trio: 2008-07-02 Tivoli (CDR)
*Miles Davis Quintet: 1969-11-04 Copenhagen
*Bryan Ferry Orchestra: The Jazz Age
*Sam Rivers: Fuchsia Swing Song
*Sam Rivers Rivbea Orchestra: 1979 Public Theater, NYC “Orchestral Suite” (excerpt) (CDR)
*Tony Williams: Life Time
*Tony Williams: Spring
*Larry Young: Into Somethin’
*Barbara Acklin: The Complete Barbara Acklin on Brunswick Records (disc 1)
*Boston Spaceships: Let It Beard
*Chris Clark: Soul Sounds
*Field Music: Plumb
*Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: Last Train to Hicksville...The Home of Happy Feet
*King Crimson: Live at the Zoom Club 1972
*Mars Volta: Frances the Mute
*Mukesh: Legends (disc 4)
*Sean O'Hagan & Jean Pierre Muller: The Musical Paintings, Vol. 1
*Opeth: Ghost Reveries (selections)
*Rolling Stones: Their Satanic Majesties Request
*UYA: Selections 1: Dancing on the Void
*UYA: Selections 2: Just Say Kidney
*UYA: Selections 3: Licking and Dancing
*Various artists: As Good As It Gets: Rockabilly (disc 2)
*Yes: Time and a Word (side 1)
*Frank Zappa: Hot Rats

Reading List 2013-03-11:

*Perry, Thomas. Boyfriend (started/finished)
*Erikson, Steven. Forge of Darkness (finished)
*Pullman, Philip. Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (in progress)
*Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare’s poems (ed. Duncan-Jones and Woodhuysen) (in progress)
*Weldon, Michael J. Psychotronic Video Guide (in progress)