Mobile Fidelity - MFSL 2-396 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - 821797239615
AAA 100% Anallgue - Numbered Limited Edition - Pressed at RTI
Mastered by Kreig Wunderlich from the Original Master Tape at MFSL
Half Speed Master - Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
This double LP treatment demonstrates why hifi enthusiasts find her irresistible
Sound 88% Ken Kessler Hi-Fi News
Patricia Barber’s origins are commonly associated with 1994’s Café Blue and the follow-up, 1998’s Modern Cool. Both quickly established the singer/pianist as an immediate audiophile favorite whose rare combination of astute instrumental performance, daring originality, poetic enterprise, intrepid vocals, and sculpted production announced her as an artist that both takes immense care in her music as well as in her sound. While largely unknown to many, 1992’s diverse A Distortion of Love signaled the beginning of Barber’s unfettered creativity.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity’s numbered, limited-edition 180g LP of the Chicagoan’s sophomore album features the similar wowing detail and perspective-altering clarity offered on the reissue label’s celebrated versions of Mythologies, The Cole Porter Mix, and the now out-of-print and extremely sought-after Café Blue, Modern Cool, Companion, and Nightclub.
Such is the attention brought to Barber’s tastefully reverb-assisted singing, the quartet’s stripped-down arrangements, the grand piano’s resonance, the background finger snaps, and the astounding transparency of every note and breath uttered in the studio. Smoothness, balance, and neutrality abound. Through and through, this is an audiophile delight.
While national acclaim wouldn’t come to Barber until the mid-90s, it wasn’t because she didn’t provide notice of her monumental talent and MacArthur Grant-worthy inventiveness. On A Distortion of Love, her individuality manifests on a surprisingly eerie rendition of the standard “Summertime” and subsequent “Subway Station No. 5,” a lengthy piece adorned with atmospheric nervousness, tonal shifts, and contrapuntal movements that ultimately lead into a swinging theme.
Barber, guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel, bassist Marc Johnson, and percussionist Adam Nussbaum achieve like-minded heights on an improvised and clever read of the Temptations’ “My Girl.” Here, and again especially on the aptly titled “You Stepped Out of a Dream,” Barber’s textured vocals seemingly float on a jet-black plain, emanating as if her lips and mouth are just feet away, the slap of the acoustic bass and patter of the drums responding in kind to her expressiveness. Whether you’re familiar with this album, a longtime Barber fan, or just coming to her for the first time, Mobile Fidelity’s pressing of this record will please even the sternest critics of vocal jazz.
Bass – Marc Johnson
Drums, Shaker, Percussions – Adam Nussbaum
Guitar – Wolfgang Muthspiel
Producer – Brian Bacchus
Vocals, Piano – Patricia Barber
Patricia Barber A Distortion of Love
2. Subway Station No. 5
3. You Stepped Out of a Dream
4. Parts Parallels
5. Or Not To Be
6. Yellow Car
7. Yet Another In a Long Series of Yellow Cars
8. I Never Went Away
9. My Girl
10. Be Myself
GAIN 2™ Ultra Analog™ System or Vinyl
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of MFSL’s founding fathers – Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL’s most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customized reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, we only utilize first generation original master recordings as source material for our releases. We then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master’s sonic information. Our lacquers are then plated in a specialized process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). We further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors’ items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
As you can imagine, all these efforts involve a tremendous amount of time, technology, cost and effort. The introduction of GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ maintains Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s position as the world’s leading audiophile record label, where a passion for music with extraordinary sound quality matters most.