A Black Mass CD reissue - problems?

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#1 Sun, 1999-12-26 19:01
James Lindbloom
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A Black Mass CD reissue - problems?

Hi folks, I just got back from a holiday trip to NYC, where I picked up a copy of the newly-reissued Ra/Baraka "Black Mass" CD. I've given it a listen, and I can't help but wonder if something's wrong..... the sound quality is ATROCIOUS. I feel kinda funny saying this, having just posted something to the list a couple weeks ago about the unimportance of sound quality vs enjoyment of the performance...but this is different than the drawbacks of a muffled audience tape. There's sound dropouts all over the place -- throughout the entire CD. At times it sounds like a badly deteriorated/mangled master tape -- anyone who's ever re-spooled a cassette whose tape has been snarled knows what I mean -- and at other spots, it almost sounds like as if the whole proceedings were recorded on a voice-activated tape recorder: you'll be listening to a line of dialogue (with Ra's keyboards in the background), and then silence -- even the ambient hiss of the (original?) recording disappears -- then the next line drops in, o ften slightly truncated at the beginning. Needless to say, this makes listening a real chore -- especially if you're trying to follow the music. Now, I don't have a copy of the original LP, or even a tape of it. I'd be curious to hear from anyone on the list who does... or anyone else who's picked up a copy of the reissue and had the same "What the hell?" reaction. (By the way, it seems that the only two places in NY that carry the CD so far are Other Music [www.othermusic.com] and the Jazz Record Center [a GREAT shop - they have an original Saturn of "Magic City" for $75, by the way...]) Maybe the problems are endemic to the original recording? Maybe the CD was remastered by a noise reduction system from hell? Maybe there was a bad batch in the first pressing of the CD? I have nothing to compare it to ... any feedback? James Lindbloom