November 3, 2009
Today EMI/Capitol continues its “From the Capitol Vaults” series where the major record label reissues long out of print vinyl records of essential albums. These come on thick, 180-gram slabs of wax in packaging that mimics the original release. Sometimes there are nice bonuses, like the large posters reproducing the Roxy Music covers or the liner notes in the newly reissued Faust IV album.
Also released in this series are:
The series was also to include David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, and Young Americans, however their release dates have been pushed back to Jan. 26, 2010.
Speaking if the Bowie reissues, a source at the label told me that the sources used for these are all digital. Specifically, for Diamond Dogs, they used the digital master from 1999, Young Americans, comes from the 2007 digital master and Aladdin Sane, the 2003 digital master. So no official, reissued Bowie vinyl has yet to be sourced from the original analog master tapes and none are planned for the near future. I have the Space Oddity reissue coming on the way from the label (it’s due for release on Nov. 17), so it’s a wait and see on that.
But back to the current releases… For me, the gem in this batch is the Faust record. I’m not denying the importance of the other releases, which are definitely popular classics for many, but, as a hardcore fan of Krautrock musik, Faust IV blew my mind. Before listening to this album all the way through I had only given Faust cursory listens: a track here and there. But a few listens of this gorgeous slab of wax, has made it one of my all-time favorite records from the scene, not to mention the early 70s in general (Here’s my review).
I’ve bought many records in the series, including most of the Radiohead reissues and all the Roxy Music reissues, and have been impressed with the sound quality of these reissues. The records barely make any noise at all, and they are up there in pressing quality with the likes of releases from Matador Records, who clearly are affectionate about their vinyl pressings. However, as I have noted, some “Capitol Vaults” records do come from digital sources instead of the ideal source of the original analog master tapes, which hold much more realistic depth to the music as compared to the compressed sound of digitally stored music.
I plan to investigate further as to the sources of all the records in this series. At least in the case of the Faust album, I had to open the record and read through the tiny liner notes to learn the source.