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Audio Fidelity - AFZLP089 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
Mastered by Kevin Gray at CoHearent Audio
AAA 100% Analogue - Limited Edition - Pressed at RTI
The original US and UK LPs are close to reference quality, inexpensive and easy to find, so mastering engineer and lacquer cutter Kevin Gray had to outdo even himself on this reissue. The short verdict is the Audio Fidelity LP is now the one to beat. Sound 10/10 Michael Fremmer AnaloguePlanet
"...one of the best debut recordings ever made"
Elegance, class, and sophistication barely begins to describe the sound of Sade, the woman and the band. The 1984 debut album, Diamond Life, shimmers with glamour and style, a sleek, catchy hybrid of pop, soul and jazz. The album was driven by an irresistible sound, mood music that crosses over to dance with excellent musicianship and clever lyrics.
Diamond Life, spawned the band's first Top 10 U.S. hit, the bossa nova-tinged, "Smooth Operator" with its unforgettable sax work - a true classic. Other standouts are the swinging horn-peppered "Your Love Is King," the retro-funk of "When Am I Going to Make a Living," the tender and lovely "I Will Be Your Friend" as well as an imaginative remake of Timmy Thomas’ 1971 hit "Why Can’t We Live Together" (with an extremely long, brilliant jazzy intro heavy with congas).
Diamond Life had international sales of over six million, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the '80s and the bestselling debut ever by a British female vocalist. There has never been a lead singer quite like former model Sade Adu, her cool vocals and exotic looks grabbed everyone's attention. Right from the group's image (her ponytails, large hoop earrings and backless dresses), and the fantastic blue-tinged black and white cover art (giving a retro look to match the sound), everything shimmers with a sultry yet subtle beauty, pulling you into an atmosphere of a midnight lounge or the club scene from which Sade emerged.
"Straddling R&B and pop to create the hooks and sultry allure that became Sade's soulful standard--intelligent and sexy at the same time."
The Audio Fidelity reissue combines the best qualities of the US and UK original masterings, while adding improved microdynamics and even greater resolution. It is not quite as smooth as the UK original, but it is significantly more dynamic without sounding bright or overly detailed. The funky bass has greater authority, saxophones sing even more sweetly, Latin drums sound more real, and Sade’s smoky vocals are enticingly convincing with “you are there” palpability.
Take the dance song “Hang On to Your Love” for example. On the new mastering, the night train vibe has gained momentum and believability. Any artificiality is gone, and it comes off sounding more sincere and heart-felt. “Frankie’s First Affair” literally spills from the speakers with a delicate liquidity that will have you lifting the cue arm before the next song, just to hear it all over again. “Cherry Pie” on side two is conveyed as an even more charming portrayal of a broken heart that somehow remained intact.
If you thought the previous masterings of Diamond Life were demo discs, you’ll be amazed by how much can be gained when a pop album that sounds this good is given the latest mastering techniques. It’s as if a fine veil has been removed, and you can now hear deeper into the mix. Background instruments are now clearly fleshed out with newfound depth and impact.
My copy was perfectly pressed and played superbly. As a bonus, the sleek cover now reproduces the songs’ lyrics on the inside gatefold.
This reissue offers up a fantastic aural soundscape that is a combination of smooth jazz, Latin rhythms, and funk. Sexy stuff.
So, cue up this sophisticated record, turn the lights down low, relax next to your significant other, and see what happens. You might just get lucky. Sound 10/10 Music 9/10 Michael Fremmer Analogue Planet
1 Smooth Operator
2 Your Love Is King
3 Hang On To Your Love
4 Frankie's First Affair
5 When Am I Going To Make A Living
1 Cherry Pie
3 I Will Be Your Friend
4 Why Can't We Live Together
THE ULTIMATE SOUND QUALITY FROM AUDIO FIDELITY
You've never heard your favorite music sound this good!
The clarity is truly exceptional.
Engineers Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray use their 30 years of expertise to create the best sounding versions of the music ever released.
Our Vinyl series of 180g Virgin Vinyl 12” LPs features some of the classic recorded concert performances of all time. These are both single or double-gatefold album packages that include all the details and imagery of the recorded performance. The titles in the series include albums at both 33 1/3 rpm as well as some soon to be released at 45 rpm for the peak in quality of sound. This unique set of recordings truly lives up to our name by offering the ultimate sound experience, absolute Audio Fidelity.
Audio Fidelity, it’s as simple as 1-2-3……our three basic principles
To be associated with classic artists and entertainers;
To keep the integrity of the artist’s original vision intact; and,
To reproduce vintage recordings with the finest quality sound based on our supreme standards of quality control.