AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Speakers Corner / CTI 6020 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
AAA 100% Analogue - Audiophile Mastering - CTI 6020
Pressed at Pallas in Germany - Limited Edition
Speakers Corner 25 Years Pure Analogue This LP is an Entirely Analogue Production
In mastering terms, with percussion being such an important part of the Airto presentation, it was important that there was plenty of air and space to illuminate this area without spotlighting too much, producing harsh edges. I’m happy to report that this has been successfully achieved. There is plenty of air within the soundstage that gives each instrument space to fully present itself. In fact, the mastering is good enough to give you a good idea of relative position in the studio. The brass, for example, is obviously emerging from the rear of the 3D soundstage in Return to Forever, for example, behind the more delicate percussion. - TheAudiophileMan
Other than a couple of obscure efforts for Buddah in 1970, this was percussionist Airto's debut as a leader, and this is still his most famous record. A brass section arranged by Don Sebesky is heard on two tracks, and such all-stars as keyboardist Chick Corea, flutist Hubert Laws, the reeds of Joe Farrell, and even pianist Keith Jarrett and guitarist George Benson make worthwhile appearances. Flora Purim joins Airto in the one vocal piece ("Free"), and "Return to Forever" receives an early recording. The music combines together jazz, Brazilian music, and aspects of fusion and funk
At a time when mainstream music was being amalgamated with intellectual, experiment sounds, harmonies and rhythms to create underground fusion, astute readers of the DownBeat magazine observed in 1972 that drummers were creating their own category: Percussion.
After Mahavishnu's electrifying, magical sound, the demonic hubble-bubble of "Bitches Brew," and also Santana's lengthy improvised Latin raves, drumming was taken to new heights. For his first big project with the noncommittal yet promising title "Free," the drummer and percussionist Airto Moreira gathered together several innovative jazz musicians — first and foremost Chick Corea. Chick steps into the limelight in "Return To Forever," with its mystical, genial introductory melody, which plants itself deep down in the convolutions of the brain, rather like a siren's fusion song. Moreira is totally concentrated on his own thing in "Free", an awesome improvisation with innumerable rhythms and both brilliant and subdued sound-coloring whereby time is tautened and then stretched again and again. Alongside this closely-knit performance we find intense pieces such as "Flora's Song," a light and airy Latin number ("Lucky Southern"), and a bebop Brasilian mood ("Creek"). This is music created by free thinkers who are masters of their craft.
Recording: April & May 1972 at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. U.S.A.
Production: Creed Taylor
Airto Moreira, percussion, flute
Flora Purim, vocals
Joe Farrell, soprano saxophone
Garnett Brown, trombone
Alan Rubin, trumpet, flugelhorn
Hubert Laws, flute
George Benson, guitar
Keith Jarrett, piano
Chick Corea, electric piano
Ron Carter, bass
Stanley Clarke, bass
1. Return To Forever
2. Flora's Song
4. Lucky Southern
5. Creek (Arroio)
25 Years pure Analogue
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.
Audiophile Vinyl - Made in Germany For over 60 years the family business in the third generation of the special personal service and quality "Made by Pallas" is known worldwide. Our custom PVC formulation produces consistently high pressing quality with the lowest surface noise in the industry. Our PVC complies with 2015 European environmental standards and does not contain toxic materials such as Lead, Cadmium or Toluene. Our vinyl is both audiophile and eco-grade!