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|The Velvet Underground||Primary Artist|
|John Cale||Bass, Piano, Celeste, Background Vocals, Electric Viola|
|Lou Reed||Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals|
|Sterling Morrison||Bass, Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals|
|The Velvet Underground||Arranger|
|Val Valentin||Director Of Engineering|
|Andy Warhol||Producer, Cover Painting|
|Acy Lehman||Cover Design|
|John Wilcock||Liner Notes|
|Dave Thompson||Liner Notes|
|David Antim||Liner Notes|
|Jonas Mekas||Liner Notes|
|Richard Goldstein||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
Of the many impressive facets of the Velvet Underground¿s debut, perhaps the most impressive of all is how completely undated it sounds. While those who followed in the VU¿s footsteps often sounded retro -- often purposefully so -- this gritty, thirty-five year-old creation seems not to have aged a day. <br><br> Polydor¿s latest double-disc reissue collects both the mono and stereo mixes of the original album, digitally remastered, and adds contemporaneous singles and a quintet of VU-powered tracks from Nico¿s subsequent <I>Chelsea Girl</I> album. The package is enveloped in a foldout digipack (with or without peelable banana artwork), with a thick booklet that includes newly penned liner notes from Dave Thompson, photos, song lyrics and recording credits. <br><br> Of particular interest to U.S. buyers is the mono album mix, previously available only outside the U.S. This is the band¿s vision of the album, later remixed into stereo by MGM staff producer (and, at the time, Simon & Garfunkel producer) Tom Wilson. The mono version is tougher, and in the opinion of the band¿s label at the time, too limiting for American audiences (both for its intensity, and for the US¿s burgeoning interest in stereo). The difference in atmosphere is a terrific lesson in how mixing affects an album, and how visceral mono recordings can be. <br><br> The bonus tracks include five sides waxed by Nico with the original lineup of the Velvet Underground for her solo debut. Recorded in April 1967, they followed the band¿s original recording dates by exactly a year (the VU debut, recorded in April 1966, did not see release until March of the following year). The songs, from Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison are rendered lightly, with strings and flutes (apparently much to Nico¿s displeasure), a minimum of Reed¿s guitar, and no drums. The VU¿s more ferocious and dissonant side really only turns up on ''It Was a Pleasure Then.'' Combining these sides with the original album provides a nice opportunity to listen to the original VU lineup¿s entire ouevre. <br><br> The singles offer a chance to hear ''All Tomorrow¿s Parties'' shaved down from it¿s original 5:58 to a 45¿s worth of 2:49. Less radically, the single release of ''I¿ll Be Your Mirror'' resolves chord, rather than fades as on the album. Even more minor is the two seconds of what seems to be engineer¿s chatter (announcing the tape roll) that precedes the single release of ''Sunday Morning.'' The fetishism of collecting these minute differences seems like a natural fit for VU fans. <br><br> Those looking to hear this watershed album for the first time will likely be just as happy with the single-disc 1996 reissue. For those who¿ve loved (and lived) this album over the last thirty-five years, the opportunity to view it from a new angle shouldn¿t be passed up.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
This collection is an amazingly diverse one that truly gives a glipmse into the range and talent of this most influential band. The Velvets pioneered the sound defined as alternative in the early to mid 90's. Their influence also spread to avant garde music. Their musical melody lines have a wonderful ambient feel that still maintains a heated driving force. Reed's vocals seem free flowing and labored at the same time. The velvet's can play soft and pretty melodies and have them ripped wide open with screeching distortion techniques. I believe that Nico turns this complete band from amazing to truly special. Here ghostly tone almost always sung in a minor key ads an ethereal wandering sound to the songs she sings on. She is at the same time cold, almost emotionless as well blisteringly sexual. Her sound seems very crisp and bereft, but the subtle tinge of feeling makes it barrenly beautiful. If you are a music fan and do not possess a Velvet Underground record, this may be a good start. But hands down you need a Velvet album in your collection.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 17, 2012
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