2017 Oyster’s New LPs

The mother of all analog, reel-to-reel, seems to have subsided given what this year’s High End Show in Munich has indicated. There were considerably less booths demonstrating reel-to-reel machines or new ones. On the same side of analog, new turntables and tonearms continue to mushroom and are seen almost in  every booth in this year’s show.  Vinyl actually makes a lot of sense to recording artistes, the music industry and sellers of music. No skipping, no copying and accountable income.

lp David Bowie legacyGreatest hits are never complete especially coming from an artiste (and legend) with such a big body of work. However, this one quite does it for me. I am not a Bowie fan per se, for I only have some 4 of his more popular records. Judging the sound as a compilation release, this 2LP set is mixed well and sounded superior to many new LPs out there.      
lp Miles Davis OSTA complete letdown by Sony/Legacy as this double LP soundtrack (US pressing) was so poorly pressed that I returned it twice. One disc badly warped, LP hole off centered, high surface noise… Not giving up, I bought an EU copy from Munich and it proves that you can be 3rd time lucky. Why the persistency? Well, the music selection is really good.  
lp Metallica HardwiredA return to form recording by arguably, the most popular metal/trash band to date. I recalled I didn’t finish listening to their last outing Death Magnetic due to the distortion in the playback. This time, Metallica learnt from their mistakes and did much better mixing.     
lp Angus TungUniversal Music (HK) continues to milk the market and reissues continue to be reissued. This time, under the banner of ‘Mastered by Abbey Road Studio’, it did the over heated market a favour by re-issuing many titles whose originals are now sold at insane prices. Universal’s releases are always mixed in reviews but I’ve been told one or two did outdo the originals and that’s a first for Chinese LPs.  
lp Eric Johnson liveIt takes a lot of good musicianship to do a three-piece band without sounding hollow and weak (power trio like Rush, Grand Funk Railroad, Cream etc). This 2LP live set of guitar maestro Eric Johnson and his two sidekicks certainly demonstrated how it is done. Blues, rock, jazz and acoustic all in one gig. 5 stars for music and 5 stars for sonic.   
lp Zhao chuanThis is my first pressed in China LP. I am happy with the result vis-a-vis the rather reasonable asking price. New Chinese LPs continue to surprise in quantity and ever rising prices.  Having more pressing plants do help to soften prices. Sound wise, I am always lamenting.   
lp Dream Theatre ScoreI wasn’t expecting this to be a Coma Divine but sonically, it was disappointing. You know, Dream Theatre’s music is not easy to sit through and the sonic of this pressing (MOV in black vinyl) makes it harder. Perhaps, I should have gotten the earlier colour vinyl pressing – you never know.   
Original vinyl issues of The Cranberries are always pricey and hard to find. So this new, remake of Cranberries music re-imagined may someday repeat history. As you age, you mellow and so did they. Still, there is no denying how good the old tunes were even done in a softer, acoustic manner. To hedge history, a spare copy is culled.   

There is a lot to like about this comeback LP. The cool turntable LP cover, the Mars mission concept theme,  the back to classics in The Grand Illusion style. Toto did it with XIV in 2015  and now Styx.
The sound is really decent but just don’t expect another Pieces of Eight.

I first heard this band Tool in YouTube covering Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter. Later on, I came across a blog that this 2006 reissue is a top notch sounding Prog/metal record. After this good news, it’s all downhill because the rest of their catelogue is best forgotten as the originals are etiher crazily expensive, bad sounding (picture disc) or bootleg-ed.        
I caught The Legend of the Condor Heroes 2017 (射雕英雄传) TV serial this year and it was an epic, showstopper production from China. I couldn’t believe I spent over 34 hours on it (52 episodes of 40 min each). After it ended, I tell myself, who dares another remake? This Bill Evans reissue gives me the same feeling after listening. This is an end-game re-issue. Stunningly hi-fi.  
Who is this Analog Spark (label)? A new comer to me, at least. But this red version exclusively sold by Barnes & Noble has all the chops of a good sounding label. By the time I have saved enough pocket money to buy a spare, it was sold out. However, the standard black vinyl is available at the time of this writing.  
Movie sells music and music sells movie. To date, this 2016 blockbuster (Your Name) is the highest grossy in anime history on planet earth. I reckon this OST by Radwimps must have done well in the charts too. This 2LP set (EMI) contains 5 songs and a suite of short, mostly sentimental instrumentals. The vinyl and booklet print are impeccable.


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