AAA 100% Analogue This LP was Remastered using Pure Analogue Components Only, from the Master Tapes through to the Cutting Head
Mobile Fidelity - MFSL 1-371 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl - AAA 100% Analogue
Numbered Limited Edition - - Pressed at RTI -
Half Speed Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System
If you’ve somehow not yet gotten into Los Lobos, this is the one with which to start the musical conversation, especially since for all intents and purposes it has never before been available on vinyl other than on the aforementioned not good sounding limited edition. Music 9/10 Sound 8/10 Michael Fremmer Analogue Planet
Only a few years removed from breaking through with their cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba,” Los Lobos turned even more heads with Kiko, a beautifully textured and flawlessly executed musical statement that reveals the group taking on ambitious musical challenges and surmounting every one. In pairing with producer Mitchell Froom, the band yielded this critically acclaimed 1992 set that remains the apex of its distinguished career.
Mastered from original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity’s 180 gram LP version of Kiko presents the record in previously unimaginable fidelity. In particular, Froom’s exquisite production can now be experienced in full relief, with the vintage tape-loop keyboards and spare arrangements yielding an ethereal feel, otherworldly ambience, and colorful finish that complement the ace playing. The subtleties of the richly detailed backdrops—splashed with distortion, feedback, random sound effects, sonorous horns, ominous chants, delicately plucked harps—are greatly enhanced, turning the multifaceted Kiko into the aural equivalent of a sensational IMAX presentation.
The material, too, ravishes the senses. In Rolling Stone’s original review of Kiko, David Okamoto remarks “the music sounds more created than contrived, thanks to the compassionate touch of the group's main songwriters, singer-guitarist David Hidalgo and drummer Louis Pérez.” Indeed, the Los Angeles ensemble tackles tough-minded social issues such as alcoholism, suicide, abuse, homelessness, death, and rape without coming across as preachy or melodramatic. The record’s power relates to that possessed by the most timeless albums—the emotional and metaphysical capacities to transcend problems, overcome adversity, and deliver catharsis.
Spanning rollicking blues and dreamy pop balladry to snarling rock and traditional Mexican-inspired waltzes, Kiko seemingly knows no bounds. Lullabies such as “Saint Behind the Glass” claim mellifluous elegance while the cabaret-laced jazz of work like “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” glows with a dark majesty, thanks to both the skilled performance and Froom’s illuminating production. Los Lobos seldom, if ever, drifted so far outside of the roots-rock box as they do on Kiko. And yet, the collective’s binding connection to folklore remains in tact. Native American, Hispanic, and Catholic elements surface in the lyrics and arrangements, the characteristics expressing a multicultural reach that parallels the songs’ multidimensional construction.
And still, it remains impossible to ignore the use of the studio as the record’s secret-weapon instrument. Imaginative tricks such as noise gates, filters, and psychedelic devices help establish a surrealism that never lets up. Neither does Kiko.
1. Dream In Blue
2. Wake Up Dolores
3. Angels with Dirty Faces
4. That Train Don't Stop Here
5. Kiko and the Lavender Moon
6. Saint Behind The Glass
7. Reva's House
8. When the Circus Comes
9. Arizona Skies
10. Short Side of Nothing
11. Two Janes
12. Wicked Rain
13. Whiskey Trail
14. Just a Man
16. Rio de Tenampa
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.