After nearly 2 months, the My Bloody Valentine vinyl reissues have arrived! These were mastered by the man Kevin Shields himself and are all-analog channel remasters. Naturally, with any tweaking (especially by someone like Kevin Shields, who is the musical equivalent, in regards to his past product, of George Lucas), some things have changed. The drums on the Loveless album seem to have been pushed a bit further back, but the changes aren’t excessively radical. What’s nice is that these are finally available as officially sanctioned releases. There have been tons of MBV bootlegs floating around on vinyl for years – especially since their original label, Creation Records, was known to have small print runs and has been a defunct institution for over a decade now. During that time, there have been releases on Plain Records (who Shields felt did a poor job of preparing the mix for vinyl cutting) and lots of Japanese semi-official bootlegs.
My Bloody Valentine is one of those bands that audiophiles obsess over – and with good reason. The original Creation Records vinyl sounded amazing – there were sounds in the mix that were subtle, but placed there for a reason. The official Creation CDs sounded overly compressed and not ‘true’ to the creators intent. Most of the vinyl copies post-Creation were cut using the digital CD source – so again, nobody who paid exorbitant prices for any of the bootleg vinyl was hearing the intended mix. These new mixes most closely hew to what Shields originally envisioned – in this, they are as close to the original vinyl as possible, with the added benefit of thicker, sturdier wax.
These all-analog, cut from the original 1/4 and 1/2 inch master tapes took Shields a few years to get right – so much so that he shopped different pressing plants, and found that different studios mastered the vinyl mix differently. Those of us who ordered both albums together (which started in October of 2017), received in addition to new vinyl copies of Isn’t Anything and Loveless, a rejected test pressing of Isn’t Anything that was cut at Abbey Road studios, and which Shields felt was too subdued. I listened to it, and I thought it kicked much butt, if not a little muddy in places – much like the original. However, the ‘approved’ version of Isn’t Anything is miles ahead of the test pressing – which again, beats any of the bootlegs floating around hands down. So now we have two different versions of Isn’t Anything to enjoy.
These releases will not be available commercially, only from the band’s website, at least for the foreseeable future. So, if you want copies, head over mybloodyvalentine.org to get your copies. Honestly, for 2 records, 45 bucks is cheap – but the postage costs nearly as much, as these are coming from the UK. They aren’t likely to run out of these soon, as MBV were one of those ‘cult’ bands that people either went all-in for or ignored outright. And, like anything, expect the resellers to jack prices up beyond cost of goods plus postage.