Mobile Fidelity - MFSL 1-362 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Numbered Limited Edition - Pressed at RTI
Pure Analogue Mastered by Kreig Wunderlich from the Original Master tape
Half-Speed Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Sound 9/10 Music 9/10 Michael Fremmer Analogue Planet
Elvis Costello - King Of America on Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity!
Costello Teams With Musical Legends and Standout Producer T-Bone Burnett on Exemplary 1986 Album
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Mobile Fidelity LP Maximizes the Get-In, Get-Out, Live-In-the-Studio Immediacy and De-Congested Mix Includes Introspective Songwriting Gems Such as “Indoor Fireworks,” “Poisoned Rose,” “Brilliant Mistake,” and “Little Palaces” Juggling Themes of Desire and Exile, Costello Strips Arrangements Down to Folk, Country and Pub-Rock Roots Elvis Costello spent the year prior to recording King of America embarking on a solo tour, usually accompanied by producer/singer-songwriter T-Bone Burnett. The pair’s decision to collaborate on Costello’s 1986 album came naturally, and the music sounds it—emotional, effortless, literate, seemingly uncomplicated.
Credit, however, not only goes to the best batch of Costello originals since 1982’s Imperial Bedroom, but to the literally awesome and awe-inspiring cast of musicians Burnett invited to participate. Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity’s 180g LP of this masterpiece broadens the live-in-the-studio intimacy and opens up the midrange, highs, and lows of Burnett’s fabulously de-congested mix. Made with few overdubs or effects, King of America relishes organic approaches and faithful tones—as well as a vast spaciousness and balance not always evident on Costello’s efforts with the attractions. Finally, Mobile Fidelity transports the listener to the semicircle of players that surrounded Costello in the studio, and highlights the benefits of the center-of-the-production miking technique employed on the singer’s voice and guitar playing. Given the brilliance of the performances, every music fan will want to be brought as near as possible to the purity of these sessions.
A Hall of Fame-caliber list of instrumentalists accompany Costello, with Elvis Presley’s T.C.B. mates Ron Tutt (drums), James Burton (guitar), and Jerry Scheff (bass) forming one band and drummer Earl Palmer (Little Richard), bassist Ray Brown (Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington), pianist Tom Canning, and organist Mitchell Froom ready in waiting as another. Several of these musicians formed yet another band, joined by drummer Jim Keltner of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and John Lennon fame. Oh—and the Attractions make a guest appearance on one track. King of America—the title reflective of the threads of intentional, thought-provoking contradiction throughout—would be exemplary if just for the troupe. Yet it’s the combination of chemistry, ability, sonics, and tunes that propel this watertight platter to iconic status.
Unconcerned with writing a radio hit or adhering to a single musical theme, Costello wrote a majority of the material on acoustic guitar and on piano, tapping his pub-rock and folk roots in turning out songs that remain some of the catchiest, introspective, and deep of his career. Cuts such as “Indoor Fireworks,” “Poisoned Rose,” “Brilliant Mistake,” and “Suit of Lights” epitomize Costello’s inimitable manner of viewing adulthood, romance, and geographical transition through a transparent lens that blocks neither truth nor consequence. As for the music? It swings (vide, Scheff’s bass line on “Lovable”), swishes (Keltner’s brushes on “I’ll Wear It Proudly”), jumps (Brown’s string bass on “Eisenhower Blues”), swoons (“Poisoned Rose”), and shuffles (“Jack of All Parades”).
There’s truly not a bum track here, and now, experienced in such high fidelity, the genius of every contributor can be easily heard and felt. Akin to Mobile Fidelity’s other Costello reissues, this is not to be missed.
I compared this Mobile Fidelity reissue mastered from the original tapes to an original American pressing (Columbia FC 40173) mastered at Precision, San Francisco, an original UK F-Beat (ZL 70946) also sourced from a Precision S.F. lacquer cut, a later UK Imp/Demon reissue (FIEND 78) and finally to an original F-Beat Japanese pressing (RPL-8330). Luckily I really like this record! The original American sounds surprisingly flat and somewhat grainy leading me to suspect the master was transferred to Sony 1630 and mastered digitally. The original UK F-Beat is less edgy and grainy probably because of better plating and pressing, the Imp/Demon lifeless and also screams “DIGITS”, while the Japanese pressing is very detailed, very quiet and somewhat drab as well as being bass-shy compared to the Mo-Fi. The Mobile Fidelity is better all around than any of the others. The guitars have greater transparency and transient clarity. Soundstage space is generous and deeper than on the other versions but most importantly, the grain found on most of the others is gone here. Bass is well-reproduced, particularly the kick drum, the snare is snappy and the acoustic guitars have great clarity without sounding unnaturally sharp. Sound 9/10 Analogue Planet
: • Numbered, Limited Edition
• Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Special Static Free - Dust Free Inner Sleeve
• Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
1. Brilliant Mistake
3. Our Little Angel
4. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
5. Glitter Gulch
6. Indoor Fireworks
7. Little Palaces
8. I'll Wear It Proudly
9. American Without Tears
10. Eisenhower Blues
11. Poisoned Rose
12. The Big Light
13. Jack Of All Parades
14. Suit of Lights
15. Sleep Of The Just
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.
RTI HQ-180 Vinyl
Record Technology is a world class record pressing plant located in Camarillo, California. We have been operating since 1974, pressing for most audiophile record labels and for many quality minded independent and major record labels from around the world.