This was recorded differently than the THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES REQUEST rip I posted earlier was recorded, different person! PBTHAL captures at 192khz, way higher than the SATANIC REQUEST guy did. PBTHAL also has arguably better hardware. It is then dithered down to Redbook standard 16bit / 44.1khz. In other words, analog captured as highly as consumer hardware really even allows. Now. Which is insanely better than what was available to studios in 1987, or whenever, when CDs of old albums were being made from master tapes with early, primitive DACs. Even remasters that claim to use original masters now tend to do who knows what to them.
Here’s some literal symbolism for you: look at the sleeve art from the vinyl, and now compare it to the sleeve from the CD version. Notice the difference? The art on the vinyl is a messy patchwork with obvious masking tape holding the pieces together. The CD version smooths everything down until it all looks like one professional layer. Sloppy replaced with the illusion of sloppy.
Now listen to the original mix. There are tons of mistakes. You hear dropouts, wrong plug-ins, rumbles, sibilance. These aren’t from the medium of vinyl, trust me. Jimmy Miller knew what he was doing. This was an intentionally sprawling mess in concept.
You feel like you’re in the room during Sweet Virginia, I turned my head when the saxophone came in. Hear the deep thud in the right ear during the beginning of Loving Cup. Hey, what was that weird squelch of the vocals as it went into the verse? It was Jimmy Miller or Keith Richards de-pressing a button when layering takes into the mix.
You might find yourself saying, “Ian, come on. There’s distortion during Torn and Frayed!” To which I would say, “Listen closer, idiot! That’s TAPE FLUTTER. From the MASTER TAPE. It’s SUPPOSED TO BE THERE!” This album feels lived in. It creaks like old floorboards.
Guess stuff like that gets washed away in numbing barrage of Noise Reduction during the CD remaster.
This has been THE DEFINITIVE EXILE for me for about a year. Which makes it pretty much my favorite recording of anything, ever. There’s like maybe three albums ever made that top this for me. It’s as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve taken the liberty of making this rip available in MP3, again, for those people that just want to hear the mix but are unconcerned with lossless fidelity and just want it on their iPods.
Yes, I know. This was pretty much a big slab of hyperbole. But there aren’t reviews specific to the original vinyl, comparing it to subsequent remasters. So I had to write something. Cut me some slack, jerk!
Please consider other excellent recordings of rare vinyl from PBTHAL: