XTC – Skylarking [Import] – 200 Gram, Vinyl, LP, Remastered, Ape House Uk, 2018
Limited 200gm vinyl LP pressing. Song lyric sheet included. Newly mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering from tapes approved by Andy Partridge. The first 1980s versions didn’t include “Dear God” and after it was a hit, “Mermaid Smiled” was dropped on some later versions to include “Dear God”. The full album has only been on vinyl in 2LP deluxe editions playing at 45RPM. When it came time to master the album on vinyl in 2010, Andy Partridge – still never entirely happy with the overall sound of the finished album – took it to award-winning mastering engineer John Dent, who noticed something that had never previously been spotted. Somewhere, possibly in the transfer from the multi-channel tape to the stereo master, a polarity had been reversed. This is not the same thing as a reversed left/right channel which puts a stereo picture out of phase and makes the sound unlistenable, but a much more difficult to pin down event that can be triggered by something as simple as a badly wired plug in the overall system which, nonetheless, removes some of the punch and presence from a finished recording. With the polarity corrected, the album – complete with original artwork and “Dear God” – was issued on vinyl as a double LP deluxe edition playing at 45rpm in the original rejected sleeve, then later reissued with the more familiar sleeve… Leaving some fans to wonder why they couldn’t have the 15 song LP on single vinyl playing at 33 & 1/3 RPM. Well, now they can – beautifully mastered for single LP from the corrected polarity masters by Jason at Loud Mastering and pressed on superior 200gram vinyl.