Rich: I’ve never stopped buying vinyl. In the early noughties it became difficult but CDs just don’t cut it for me. I want a proper sleeve I can enjoy examining whilst listening to the album and whose lyrics I can read without a magnifying glass. It’s so good to hear of the huge increase in vinyl sales in the last couple of years because it’s becoming easier and easier to find the music I want to hear in the format I’ve always loved.
As soon as Neil agreed to do the paintings for the artwork, we knew it had to have a vinyl release, with the added bonus for me being that I’ve never had anything of my own make it to vinyl before.
Simon: Growing up in the 70’s the only ‘proper’ and readily available format was vinyl. Cassettes didn’t cut the mustard – tapes snapping, pencil in the spool-winder, crappy-sound, poor artwork etc. I remember some of the earliest albums I listened to – Genesis – Selling England By The Pound, Pink Floyd – Dark Side/Wish You Were Here, Supertramp – Crime of the Century, Queen – A Night At The Opera, Be-Bop Deluxe – Sunburst Finish, Yes – Going For The One, Rush – A Farewell To Kings … the list goes on (having older siblings and uncles does have some benefits after all!) These are all landmark albums, not only for the outstanding quality of the music but for the striking and unforgettable album covers.
Listening to an album is a whole experience – a visual and auditory experience. There’s nothing more engaging that picking up your favourite album, removing it from the sleeve, placing it on the turntable (checking you have the right side first!), placing the needle into the groove, and sitting down to glory over the artwork and lyrics (with maybe a beer or 2). And after 20 mins, to put your beer down, get your backside out of the chair, flip the album over and then enjoy the next 20 mins is testament to your willingness to indulge yourself in that experience. It’s almost like having a mini-gig in your living room, and there is a definite connection to the music (something which has been lost in the CD and digital download age). You really do have to make the effort with vinyl, but the pay-back I tenfold. Any new releases I’ll get on vinyl where it’s available in that format, and it seems that more and more people are harking back to the good old days and doing the very same. Oh, and I forgot to mention, vinyl DOES sound better than any other format – FACT!
So 40 years on I’m about to engage in a new vinyl experience, this time one where I’m actually part of the performance. Also Eden’s [REDACTED] lends itself perfectly to vinyl – 20 mins (ish) each side, gatefold sleeve, lyrics sheet and insert, amazing artwork and songs which, I think, sonically will really sparkle from your speakers.
This is a major milestone for me and I can’t wait for you to share the same experience. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we bring you [REDACTED] by Also Eden. We hope you enjoy the ride!
Neil: Long before I’d visited an art gallery it was album covers which inspired me to draw and paint. Covers by Patrick Woodroffe, Rodney Matthews and Mark Wilkinson to name just a few were always part of sitting listening to the record; removing it carefully from its colourful package and placing it on the turntable created the right mood and environment to truly appreciate the music whilst the sleeve itself accompanied the listening. I can’t play Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds without seeing Geoff Taylor’s fighting machines striding across the Thames, Yes’ Relayer without hearing Roger Dean’s horsemen galloping through the fantastic valleys of its cover, or The Beatles’ Revolver
without having Klaus Voorman’s stark collage of personalities appear before me.
Since then technology has shrunk album art to suit the CD format, and in the digital-era almost done away the physical aspect entirely and in the process we’ve lost important aspects of the experience of playing an album.
Only the vinyl format maintains this audio/visual/tactile combination and that, along with the lush sound presentation that digital formats still seem unable to achieve, is what vinyl and its associated package of imagery is all about for me : the album as an all round immersive experience.
Graham: Like many others reading this, I grew up on vinyl. I don’t recall it being referred to by that particular term much to be honest because we just called them ‘albums’ or ‘LPs’. The first album I bought way back in 1975 was ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.
In fact, 1975 was probably the year that music in general really made its lasting impact on me. I was twelve and, like my Dad before me, had become very interested in hi-fi equipment, buying all the monthly magazines at the time like Hi-Fi Sound, Hi-Fi for Pleasure, Hi-Fi answers and many more. The vinyl format was always regarded as one of the best ways to listen to music (compared with cassettes and FM broadcasts for example) with perhaps the exception of open reel tapes, which not many domestic installations contained anyway.
When I talk to friends about vinyl today, I’m either greeted with a somewhat bemused look or with outright enthusiasm. Many say they’d buy a vinyl copy but don’t have anything on which to play it. Well, given my passion for 1970s era Japanese hi-fi, that’s not a problem because I currently possess three turntables (I was always told by my dad NOT to call them ‘record decks’ because the term ‘deck’ was meant for tape transport – I don’t know?!). I am somewhat dubious about the ads one sees towards the back of magazines like the Radio Times for equipment that ‘transfers your vinyl onto digital’ because the record players look a bit suspect!
I’m very proud to own the vinyl version of our new album. The striking artwork really lends itself to the sleeve. It sounds warm, open and smooth, with a great dynamic range. I do feel prouder of presenting friends and family with the vinyl version to behold because there’s more of a feeling of occasion about it.
I genuinely prefer the sound of vinyl. I find it sounds sweeter, more musical and rounded, less harsh and more realistic – especially in the lower registers. Bass drums and floor toms sound much fuller and as if they’re in the room with me compared to some cd equivalents. I can also listen to vinyl for longer because it’s less demanding on my ears.
Many thanks to Chris Topham for helping me get my recorded bass sounds onto this wonderful format at long last!