Audiophile: Vinyl, January 2023

hfnalbum.pngMichael Jackson
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 1-042 (One-Step)

Can we kick the elephant out of the room, pretty please? After all the brouhaha this LP triggered, due to the presence of a digital stage, the proof, as it should be, is in the listening. Quite simply – and I love Jacko as much as I do kidney stones – this LP's sound is astounding. Unusually for a One-Step, it runs at 33.3rpm, and yet nothing is lost: the bass control, extension and energy seems better than with previous MoFi champions – Santana's Abraxas and Janis Joplin's Pearl – while the quietness exploits the capabilities of DS Audio's Grand Master [HFN Feb '21]. The 3D effects on the title track, the snap of 'Beat It' – dazzling. Tim de Paravicini, a key figure in the One-Step process, would be proud. KK


Jethro Tull
Thick As A Brick
Chrysalis 19026 323317 (half-speed mastered 180g vinyl)

Note from the outset that this fine reissue, complete with 'newspaper' sleeve, is Steven Wilson's 2022 remastering of the 2012 96kHz version, cut at half-speed. While the presence of digital stages in LP reissues is a subject of debate, I couldn't care less because it sounds so good. Even against an original UK pressing, it's enough to say that the sonic differences are exactly what a seasoned, open-minded audiophile would expect: a trade-off in warmth for enhanced transient attack and squeaky-clean backgrounds. Full marks, too, for the disclosure on the sticker, which even states that the 'customised late Neumann VMS80 lathe' was fully recapped! KK


Christine Mcvie
Songbird: A Solo Collection
Warner Records/Rhino R1 680977

As with Twink's anthology [right], this is a selective career retrospective, augmented by unreleased material, starting after McVie's early years as blues belter Christine Perfect. A solo achievement this may be, but for fans of Fleetwood Mac, it's an unexpected gift, the material sounding as if it could've been a band effort on the tracks which feature McVie's lead vocals rather than Ms Nicks or Mr Buckingham. The songs have been selected from her 1984 and 2004 solo LPs, remixed by Glyn Johns, along with two unreleased cuts from 1985 and 2004, plus a new orchestral interpretation of the title track. Also as per Twink's set, the late singer had annotated each selection. KK


You Reached For The Stars: The Best Of Twink
Sundazed LP5600 (pink vinyl)

You know who Twink is – a legend of UK psychedelia – if you ever loved The Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, The Pretty Things, The Deviants or any of the other bands with whom he participated. This 50-year retrospective of his solo work is not quite a 'best of' per se, but it contains tracks from the 1970's Think Pink, followed by rarities recorded since then, curated and annotated by Twink himself. Pressed on pink vinyl (also available on CD: SC5600) and mastered by Kevin Gray, it features amazing guests and better sound than expected of such varied material. If you think of Twink as a British Skip Spence, you're not far off. Now where did I leave that mescalin? KK