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AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Mobile Fidelity - MFSL 1-292 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Mastered by Shawn R. Britton from the Original Master Tape
Numbered Limited Edition - Pressed at RTI
Half Speed Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
killer sound. t. Margo's voice will send shivers up your spine; Mike's guitar alternately soothes and slashes; Alan's bass channels otherworldly subtexts and shadows, and Pete's drumming ebbs and flows underneath it all. Sound 5/5 LPReview
Upon its release in 1986, the Cowboy Junkies’ riveting debut sounded like nothing else at the time. Gloriously, it still doesn’t. Haunting, harrowing, eerie, and gorgeous, the soft-toned album reinterprets eight classic blues in a ghostly manner that combines Delta traditions, European classical minimalism, roots country, and thoroughly understated ambience.
The album’s spare, hyper-realistic approach stood as a proud contrast (and still does) to the overly polished, studio-slick blues, pop, and rock efforts mainlined out of high-tech studios. Recorded in just seven hours with an ambisonic microphone, Whites Off Earth Now!! is one of the most acoustically resplendent and dynamically rich records ever cut. The Canadian band’s intentional attempt to reclaim purity has made WOEN a cult classic and audiophile favorite.
Comprised of three siblings and a bassist friend, Cowboy Junkies stuck to songs that they had been playing live since 1985 when it came time to solidify their existence with an actual album. They favored potent standards such as Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” and “Crossroads,” John Lee Hooker’s “Decoration Day” and “Forgive Me,” Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” and Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go.” In the Junkies’ hands, these tunes take on newfound ethereal power and riveting danger. Sung in a hushed lullaby voice by singer Margo Timmins, lyrical meanings change and emotional chills increase. Subtle illusions of calmness hold steady, but droning guitars and short bursts of bruised feedback generate a tension that drives these songs into our subconscious.
Disgusted with what they rightly perceived as the contrived, overly processed sound of 80s recordings, the group agreed to let producer/engineer Peter Moore experiment with an unconventional recording technique. The decision proved a stroke of genius. Set up in an uncomfortably hot garage padded with carpets and materials to dampen echoes, the foursome gathered around a single Caltrec Ambisonic Microphone—the quartet recorded direct-to-two-track. The results are magical, the natural and unimpeded sound that audiophiles dream about.
Mastered from the original tapes by Mobile Fidelity, this numbered limited-edition 180-gram LP captures every last finite detail and note. Microdynamics and sonic cues abound. The sticking together of Timmins’ lips from the heat and sweat right before she begins to sing on both Johnson tunes; the sound of drummer Pete Timmins putting his sticks down at the end of “I’ll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive”; myriad creaks, shuffles, and vibrations.
What was a stunning headphone record is now an unreal stereo experience. This is what in-the-room presence is all about; albums don’t get more realistic-sounding.
The sense of space is staggering.
Bass – Alan Anton
Drums – Peter Timmins
Guitar – Michael Timmins
Recorded By – Peter Moore
Vocals – Margo Timmins
Cowboy Junkies Whites Off Earth Now!! Track Listing:
1. Shining Moon
2. State Trooper
3. Me And The Devil
4. Decoration Day
5. Baby Please Don't Go
6. I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
7. Take Me
8. Forgive Me
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.