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MBV...Isn't (m)Anything(s)???

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  • MBV...Isn't (m)Anything(s)???

    Finally got to the post office today to pick up the 'bundle' I pre-ordered from the My Bloody Valentine website before Xmas. 180g reissues of 'Isn't Anything' and 'Loveless', postage and packing, no downloads, fifty quid, job's a good 'un....

    All nice and simple, eh?....but...

    When I got in through the appropriately chunky packing I was confronted by not only the beefy shrink wrapped reissues, but also another disc in a plain white inner sleeve. 'Oh goody....a bonus rarity or something' (I hoped), but carefully removing the disc from the sleeve, this appeared to be 'Isn't Anything'. 'So hold on a minute....what's in the shrink wrapped, 'Isn't Anything', then?' I wondered.

    Opening said item (shrinkwrapped, remember), I removed the inner sleeve, which continued the sleeve artwork, but it felt a little wrinkled and damp and indeed the inner had attached itself to the vinyl so closely as to leave marks across the playing surface. Another fleck of dust had smeared itself, fag ash like, across a few grooves...closer inspection revealed this version to be different from the plain sleeved version in the colour of the label (aubergine, rather than mid-brown), different scrawlings in the runoffs and the title ('Isn't Anything' rather than 'isn't anything')...and yes, there's definitely some wrinkling in that inner sleeve...

    I was only expecting two albums, no mention of any bonus discs or anything on the order page and there was no accompanying note of explanation, only the order slip which mysteriously listed 'Isn't Anything' (+ FREE VINYL) and 'Loveless'.

    Is it the case that the 'Isn't Anything' albums and inners were badly stored before being placed in the outers prior to shrinkwrapping and in an advance bid to avoid a cock up, MBV had the album repressed and added a replacement in the plain white bag?

    All this said, I haven't played any of them yet, so who knows what we'll find....anyone else had this?...odd...
    you can hear colours when they rhyme...

  • #2
    Sorry, can't help you as I have ordered mine yet, but I am looking forward to hearing these re-masters as it's taken Kevin Shields a serious amount of time and money to get them exactly how he wants them. I am worried that my hearing has deteriorated to an extent that I won't notice the difference though.
    "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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    • #3
      According to discogs

      'Some copies pre-ordered from My Bloody Valentine's official website came packaged with an additional version of the LP, packaged in a blank white sleeve and featuring a different coloured label. It is believed that these discs contain a previous mix of the album that were pressed but ultimately rejected'
      "You don't want to kill the cash donkey"

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      • #4
        Thanks SK - I had looked on discogs but the comments hadn't yet appeared (perhaps still awaiting moderation?) - looking at those it seems to be a bit of a 'curates egg' situation. On the plus side, if the 'white sleeve IA' is an earlier alternative mix then depending on numbers pressed I might have something of value, although that is only an assumption on the part of that particular commentator.

        On the down side, another comment describes finding the 'official IA' in a similarly cruddy condition to my own with the inner sleeve stuck to the playing surface and leaving residue across the tracks, which, if Turboellis' view that 'it's taken Kevin Shields a serious amount of time and money to get them exactly how he wants them' is true (this wouldn't really be a great surprise, eh?) means that if the 'official IA' is unplayable for any reason, then buyers are being denied the high quality product and are possibly being palmed off with something that Mr Shields himself would consider inferior as a replacement.

        But of course we're talking about MBV here, so the laws of relativity apply. Turboellis wonders if his hearing has deteriorated beyond the point where he would be able to tell the difference anyway, and in truth the damage to my own hearing (some of it caused personally by Kevin Shields himself) makes me wonder the same. Which of course begs the question 'how good is Kevin Shields' hearing these days that he can be so precise about the differences between various analogue remasters?' I always found that one of the most enduring qualities of 'Isn't Anything' (which I originally bought on cassette) and 'Loveless' (which I originally bought on the OG CD) was that they never sounded the same twice depending on format or playing equipment.

        So where does that leave us? I feel my 'badly stored before shrink-wrapping' theory has not been disproven whilst the 'different remaster in the white sleeve' theory remains speculative, although the discogs observation that this carries a 2016 date (which I'd missed) does seem to add some credibility to this view.

        Normally, I'd be appalled to find a 'new' album in the condition of the 'official IA' I received and might ask for a replacement, but as it's MBV, I might make an exception. I think I'm going to attempt to clean it up and play it and see if I can spot any difference between the two. I'm off work nursing a bad knee, but the new baby in the flat below has been bawling like a good 'un all day and since it's only gone quiet in the last hour, it would be unseemly to be blasting MBV right now so I'll await an opportunity and report back.

        Blimey, what a palaver....To be honest, I'm just glad to own these albums on vinyl at last (the OGs long since went beyond my price range)....mind you, I haven't broken the shrinkwrap on 'Loveless' yet...



        you can hear colours when they rhyme...

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        • #5
          Well, the man himself does explain why he's got a few early pressings...

          Throughout the process he went through various test pressings and later realized that full runs also sounded different, so they began doing short runs of 100. "We literally have a few thousand records lying around," he says. "All experiments and failures."

          Still haven't got mine after a week of it supposedly being posted out so am wondering if a) the 'extra' copy of IA has gone with the first batch (which will be annoying as I ordered it on the day of announcing) and b) whether all subsequent deliveries suffer from the same issue as yours.

          My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields discusses the arduous process of remastering 'Loveless' and what inspired his otherworldly guitar sound.
          Light surface marks, sleeve is torn near centre of opening (due to rough removal of disk by a moron)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by giantchicken View Post
            so I'll await an opportunity and report back.
            Please do. I'm going to order them but I'd love to hear that the sound on these is worth splashing out for.
            "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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            • #7
              Thanks for the link Papa N - a very informative read which corroborates the rejected pressing theory beyond reasonable doubt - I was surprised that it was his friend Bill Carey (a chap who very briefly crossed my own orbit back in the mid to late 80s) who turned KS on to Jazzmasters, Jaguars and whammy bars. There's also a tacit admission that (at least some of) the material on 'm b v' dated from the 90s which might be a consideration if the new MBV album promised this year appears. Don't get me wrong, I love MBV, but experience has taught me to take the words of musicians with a pinch of salt - when KS states "My hearing isn't gonna be really good in five years" well that sounds to me (two years his senior) like the old Steve Martin joke where the very prematurely silver haired Mr Martin tells his audience that he's realistic enough to admit that someday his hair may turn grey...

              Which brings us back to these analogue remasters - are they up to the high standards that Turboellis demands? Well without going all 'Steve Hoffmann' on your asses here's what I think of the two different 'Isn't Anything's I received...

              The 'Official' 'Isn't Anything' - Played this (at low to medium volume) on a Technics DD22 (with standard cartridge) through a 40W Marantz Amp (very heavy on bass, with crisp treble, but lacks punch in the middle), 2 Eltax 160W floorstanders (2x woofers, single mids and tweeters) and 2 auxiliary Eltax 40w (single mids and tweeters) to tame the bass and widen the stereo picture. My usual setup. Oh sorry, that was a bit 'Steve Hoffmann'...

              Anyway, the disc needed the inner sleeve residue and other muck removing for which a microfibre and a drop or two of Isoprop sufficed - can't say I was troubled by the reported crackle in the gaps, but wasn't blown away by the sound quality either. It feels like the album was remastered with a view to emphasising more of the actual songs hiding midst the honeyed haze and so vocals which had previously camouflaged themselves against the sonic millefeuilles sound a bit clearer, and some of the quieter higher frequency guitar layers are a bit more prominent.

              I'd expected to have to turn the bass down, but the opposite was true, since less happily it's the bass that's had to move over and make room for the rest and I'd say both top and bottom have been reined in. Overall it's a little bit tinny to my ear, the bass and drums less aligned,a little too smooth - the sudden changes in EQ that marked changes in the music have been a little overpolished and as a result it's a bit less rich and powerful. It works well on the more ether soaked numbers like 'Lose My Breath' which acquires a bit of additional surround-sound and 'No More Sorry' but for me, the more powerful tracks like 'Feed Me With Your Kiss' and 'Sueisfine' which really rely on that insistent thrumming bass to power them lose out a bit.(I did revisit selected tracks via headphone and they sounded a bit better that way...)

              The 'White Sleeve' 'Isn't Anything - gear as above but only through headphones. Quite a few marks on the vinyl, but no real ill effects. A poster on erm...Steve Hoffmann said that if your white sleeve has 'i...i' on the deadwax, that's the cut done by Sean Magee (at Abbey Road?) apparently. Well mine hasn't but I'm very happy to say that I much prefer it to the above version - this sounds like the album just as I remember it - OK, so you get a little more clarity in the vox and high end guitars as above, but here the bass feels free to roam and gallop and the white noise attacks are as fresh as someone crashing a fighter jet in your back yard. Lovely...but who to credit?

              Mr Hoffmann's pals also reported loppy and unkempt 'Loveless'es so I opened mine to check but all seems well except for a slight dent on the corners of both albums I've now noticed. Having charged a fair whack for p & p, it seems MBV need to sort out handling between phases in the packaging process.

              So Turboellis, what I'd say is; above all, it's MBV on vinyl, rejoice and be thankful - I hope you get a white sleeve and that it's the same as the one I got....
              you can hear colours when they rhyme...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by giantchicken View Post
                So Turboellis, what I'd say is; above all, it's MBV on vinyl, rejoice and be thankful - I hope you get a white sleeve and that it's the same as the one I got....
                Hey, sorry to have only noticed this only now ... and thanks for the detailed info ... very interesting ... not sure what I was expecting to hear, but I've lost a bit of my excitation for these ... it's nice they gave early supporters an unannounced extra ... that's really sweet ...

                It also breaks the Turboellis rule of not buying music that has already been heard by him ... when in doubt I invoke that rule ... it doen't always save me, but I think it's a healthy rule to have ...

                I'll get around to buying these when I get the fever again ...

                Thanks again giantchicken ...
                "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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                • #9
                  No problem, Turboellis - and I can now also report that the 'Loveless' remaster is an excellent job - I'm glad I invested!...
                  you can hear colours when they rhyme...

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                  • #10
                    Ooh ... starts to feel resolve getting a bit wobbly ...
                    "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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