[Jandek] Strange Mastering / Transcoding on "Blue Corpse" CD

Gavin nocontact at arkhonia.co.uk
Mon Sep 5 17:18:53 PDT 2011

On 04/09/2011 22:48, phogwilde at aol.com wrote:

> Well, I'm certainly glad he's got everything up to par now, but it's a real
> travesty about these CDs. Think someone should write Corwood about it or
> something? I mean, I'm sure if he knew he was selling a compromised product he'd
> do something about it. I know I would.

I think that if the CD reissues are 'compromised' in any way, it is by intention 
- Corwood is the ultimate arbiter of what is released, and must therefore be 
aware of how these reissues sound. A lot of work and attention has been given to 
the CD reissues, and some of the differences between the vinyl and CD issues are 
pretty radical, but the digital artifacts seem to be a byproduct of noise 
reduction software rather than transcoding.

My first post to the list in 2003 was specifically about these differences (on 
Ready For The House rather than Blue Corpse, which, to my ears, comes off quite 
lightly compared to some of the earlier albums), and I'm not sure I've changed 
my mind much since:

> The vinyl issue of Ready for the House does sound distinctly different to the CD
> reissue, specifically because of the noise reduction that has been used for all
> of the Jandek CD reissues - it is indeed 'aggressive', and is presumably to
> compensate for both the quietness of the original album and the amount of audible
> tape hiss. It sounds like the original tapes have been put through compression to
> level out the volume discrepancies, the aforementioned noise reduction has been
> applied, and then reverb has been added, making the strict guitar left/ vocals
> right stereo separation more central. And while the tape hiss is extreme by digital audio
> standards, it isn't intolerable to listen to - and listen *through*, as the original
> vinyl issues of the albums have audible detail that has been either lost in the
> remastering, or removed completely: there are lots of little guitar clicks and
> microphone bumps on Ready for the House that are almost inaudible on the CD, and
> one loud thump on First You Think Your Fortune's Lovely that has been excised
> completely, as well as the idiosyncratic CLUNK sounds that start and end many
> of the early Jandek tracks (I cannot identify what this sound is - footswitch?
> record button?), and which is missing on 5 tracks on the CD issue.
> All of the early Jandek albums have been mastered in the same way, and tracks
> that were noticeably quieter on the vinyl suffer the most extreme noise reduction
> on the CDs (Birthday and Nancy Sings are specific examples), and certain details
> have been edited out, such as the car passing on Nancy Sings and the
> mikestand clatter on Point Judith...I could go on (is anyone interested in an
> album-by-album comparison?)...but these little inadvertently recorded details
> adds a dimension to the albums that seems to be gone, at least in the CDs I've
> heard, and possibly by design rather than just to attain a 'cleaner' sound for
> the CD issues...


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