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Speakers Corner / Asylum 7E-1051 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Limited Edition - Audiophile Mastering - Pressed at Pallas Germany
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Featured in Michael Fremer's Heavy Rotation in the July 2008 Issue of Stereophile!
Speakers Corner Records has done an outstanding job in re-mastering The Hissing Of Summer Lawns. The overall engineering and sound quality is superior. All of Mitchell’s tonality (whether tender and brooding, or playfully brisk) is captured with warmth and agility. The stacked backup vocals are blended without density. The instrumentation is low-key, never invasive. Despite being nominated for a Grammy, the album got a lukewarm reception. It may be time for a serious re-evaluation based on the outstanding fidelity of this reissue.
Originally released in 1975, The Hissing Of Summer Lawns is a stunning work of art conceived as a graphic, musical, and lyrical whole. Leaning even more towards the jazz idiom than Joni Mitchell's previous release, Court and Spark, the collection features the introduction of the great Burundi on drums and is highlighted by the excellent guitar playing of frequent session collaborators Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. As adventurous and lyrically deep as anything Joni Mitchell has ever done, the 1974 album remains a classic.
You've never heard this classic with such detail, presence, openness, clarity, or richness. This sumptuous remaster was handled with extreme care; no expense was spared or corner cut in making this 180g LP the very ultimate listening experience. Hear Mitchell play in your living room, complete with lifesize imaging and an ultra-realistic soundstage. You'll wish every LP sounded so sublime.
For many, the soft and crystal-clear voice of Joni Mitchell at the beginning of her career will remain indelible in their memory. The innovative style of her peaceful, folk guitar music caught the attention of David Crosby, member of the highly popular band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and in 1968 he produced her very first album.
Only three years later she became inspired by the cool flow of modern jazz and set off on new musical paths. The Hissing of Summer Lawns represents a great leap away from the folk scene. Even the very first number, "In France They Kiss On Main Street" stands out thanks to its surprisingly unconventional melodic writing.
Speakers Corner Records has done an outstanding job in re-mastering The Hissing Of Summer Lawns. The overall engineering and sound quality is superior. AudiophileAudition Sound 4.5/5
1. In France They Kiss On Main Street
2. The Jungle Line
3. Edith And The Kingpin
4. Don't Interrupt The Sorrow
5. Shades Of Scarlett Conquering
6. The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
7. The Boho Dance
8. Harry's House/Centerpiece
9. Sweet Bird
10. Shadows And Light
Are your records completely analogue?
Yes! This we guarantee!
As a matter of principle, only analogue masters are used, and the necessary cutting delay is also analogue. All our cutting engineers use only Neumann cutting consoles, and these too are analogue. The only exception is where a recording has been made – either partly or entirely – using digital technology, but we do not have such items in our catalogue at the present time
Are your records cut from the original masters?
In our re-releases it is our aim to faithfully reproduce the original intentions of the musicians and recording engineers which, however, could not be realised at the time due to technical limitations. Faithfulness to the original is our top priority, not the interpretation of the original: there is no such thing as a “Speakers Corner Sound”. Naturally, the best results are obtained when the original master is used. Therefore we always try to locate these and use them for cutting. Should this not be possible, – because the original tape is defective or has disappeared, for example – we do accept a first-generation copy. But this remains an absolute exception for us.
Who cuts the records?
In order to obtain the most faithful reproduction of the original, we have the lacquers cut on the spot, by engineers who, on the whole, have been dealing with such tapes for many years. Some are even cut by the very same engineer who cut the original lacquers of the first release. Over the years the following engineers have been and still are working for us: Tony Hawkins, Willem Makkee, Kevin Gray, Maarten de Boer, Scott Hull, and Ray Staff, to name but a few.
At the beginning of the ‘90s, in the early days of audiophile vinyl re-releases, the reissue policy was fairly straightforward. Companies such as DCC Compact Classics, Mobile Fidelity, Classic Records and others, including of course Speakers Corner, all maintained a mutual, unwritten code of ethics: we would manufacture records sourced only from analogue tapes.
Vinyl’s newfound popularity has led many other companies to jump on the bandwagon in the hope of securing a corner of the market. Very often they are not so ethical and use every imaginable source from which to master: CDs, LPs, digital files and even MP3s.
Even some who do use an analogue tape source employ a digital delay line, a misguided ’80s and ‘90s digital technology that replaces the analogue preview head originally used to “tell” the cutter head in advance what was about to happen musically, so it could adjust the groove “pitch” (the distance between the grooves) to make room for wide dynamic swings and large low frequency excursions. Over time analogue preview heads became more rare and thus expensive.
So while the low bit rate (less resolution than a 16 bit CD) digital delay line is less expensive and easier to use than an analogue “preview head”, its use, ironically, results in lacquers cut from the low bit rate digital signal instead of from the analogue source!
Speakers Corner wishes to make clear that it produces lacquers using only original master tapes and an entirely analogue cutting system. New metal stampers used to press records are produced from that lacquer. The only exceptions are when existing metal parts are superior to new ones that might be cut, which includes our release of “Elvis is Back”, which was cut by Stan Ricker or several titles from our Philips Classics series, where were cut in the 1990s using original master tapes by Willem Makkee at the Emil Berliner Studios. In those cases we used only the original “mother” to produce new stampers.
In addition, we admit to having one digital recording in our catalogue: Alan Parsons’ “Eye in the Sky”, which was recorded digitally but mixed to analogue tape that we used to cut lacquers.
In closing, we want to insure our loyal customers that, with but a few exceptions as noted, our releases are “AAA”— analogue tape, an all analogue cutting system, and newly cut lacquers.