The Vinyl Mission, vol. 1

So I recently got my turntable, and it has been awesome. As well as getting to hear old albums in the way they were meant to be heard, and picking up on all the cool new discs, it has become something of a mission of mine to get my favourite albums from this decade in 12″ format. I have been doing pretty well thus far, and here is what I have gathered to date (complete with embarrassingly amateurish shots. I wish I could figure out how to take a straight photo of a rectangular shape):

The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium

Currently the best album from this decade that I own on vinyl, it is a fairly constant presence in my decade top three (sadly the top two, the mighty The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads by Lift To Experience and Cave In’s Jupiter don’t appear to ever have been released on vinyl). I am currently undecided on how much better this is than the CD, which I actually don’t own, on account of I was waiting to find a first pressing; I don’t want a goddamn bonus track. Anyway, this sounds spectacular in parts and a touch messy in others. I reckon I need a new cartridge. Anyway, silver vinyl!

Tool: Lateralus

This is another definite peak of the decade thus far, being my second favourite album of 2001 (a year full of quality, the winner of which being the aforementioned Lift To Experience double), my second favourite Tool album and a gorgeous four sides of picture and prog-metal. This definitely does sound better than the CD; while it lacks that formats crystal clarity (a big thing on an album like this), the bass and separation are in another dimension. The only real issue here is that, due to the temporal constraints of a 12″, ‘Disposition’ has been plonked onto the end of side 2. It should feed straight into ‘Reflection’ (which starts side 4), but instead there are two lengthy songs in between. It’s not so bad but, if I had to decide, I’d have switched sides 3 and 4. That way, ‘Reflection’ does follow ‘Disposition’, and ‘Lateralis’ – which closes side 3 – has sufficient crescendo to close the album. But then you get into the ‘extra track’ mess, so I dunno. Anyway, it rules.

sunnO))) & Boris: (2006) Altar

And this is the album I consider to be the best since 2003. Not much has changed since I originally wrote about it, other than my opinion being cemented. Unfortunately my vinyl seems a little scuzzy; not scratched in any way, but a bit grubby. It certainly sounds dirty, so I’ll have to get it cleaned. Apart from that, though, the bass is absolutely insane.

Boris: Pink

Getting this in was certainly a mission in itself. After learning that the vinyl had longer songs than the CD did, I knew I had to get this in. Then I learned it was limited edition, on account of metal labels like to fleece their fans in the name of ‘collecting’ (seriously, why limited edition? This doesn’t happen with rap or dance in such ridiculous numbers. The vinyl is there), which made my job harder. Finding their label was out, I discovered the UK distro had some left. Deciding I couldn’t afford both that and Altar in one go, I opted to wait. The day arrived that I would order this one, but Southern told me ‘One of your items is unavailable’, and I knew preecisely which one. Bastards. I resigned myself to having to pay obscene amounts on ebay for it (and even decided to get the boring black vinyl), but then discovered a shop in Belgium that had it in. Bought it ASAP, assuming it was the black one (but at an eBay-beating price), and then found – as you can see – it is pink. Happy day! But is it the best album of its year? Ooh, I don’t know.*

MONO & World’s End Girlfriend: Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain
This is not strictly an album I had before my turntable, nor is it historically a top album of the decade for me. However, it is included on account of (i) it rules and (ii) the vinyl is gorgeous. Despite the dual nomenclature, it’s essentially one developing piece in five parts and it’s quite lovely. Bonus points for ease of purchase: I walked into a shop in Leeds and bought it. If only everything was that simple.

* Code for ‘2005 Countdown to continue surprisingly soon’.

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