The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Boasting two solid Double Plus (A++) or BETTER sides, this superb import pressing is doing just about everything right - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
- This UK-issued copy (pressed in Germany) is huge, spacious and rich, with prodigious amounts of bass, guaranteed to sound better than any other you've heard
- Remarkable transparency - you hear into the huge, deep soundfield with almost nothing between you and the musicians
- 4 1/2 stars: "The songs are...among their best work -- the group's arrangement of Sir Charles Hubert Parry's setting of William Blake's 'Jerusalem' manages to be reverent yet rocking, while Emerson's adaptation of Alberto Ginastera's music in 'Tocatta' outstrips even 'The Barbarian' and 'Knife Edge' from the first album as a distinctive and rewarding reinterpretation of a piece of serious music."
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Vintage covers for this album are hard to find in exceptionally clean shape. Most of the will have at least some amount of ringwear, seam wear and edge wear. We guarantee that the cover we supply with this Hot Stamper is at least VG
This vintage Manticore pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What the Best Sides Of Brain Salad Surgery Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1973
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Standard Operating Procedures
What are sonic qualities by which a record -- any record -- should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, spaciousness, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, three-dimensionality, and on and on down the list.
When we can get a number of these qualities to come together on the side we’re playing, we provisionally give it a ballpark Hot Stamper grade, a grade that is often revised during the shootout as we hear what the other copies are doing, both good and bad.
Once we’ve been through all the side ones, we play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Other copies from earlier in the shootout will frequently have their grades raised or lowered based on how they sounded compared to the eventual shootout winner. If we’re not sure about any pressing, perhaps because we played it early on in the shootout before we had learned what to listen for, we take the time to play it again.
Repeat the process for side two and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides of each pressing match up.
It may not be rocket science, but it’s a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.
The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing -- or your money back.
What We're Listening For On Brain Salad Surgery
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Still....You Turn Me On
- Benny The Bouncer
- Karn Evil 9
- 1st Impression – Part 1
- Karn Evil 9
- 1st Impression – Part 2
- 2nd Impression
- 3rd Impression
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Emerson, Lake & Palmer's most successful and well-realized album (after their first), and their most ambitious as a group, as well as their loudest, Brain Salad Surgery was also the most steeped in electronic sounds of any of their records. The main focus, thanks to the three-part "Karn Evil 9," is sci-fi rock, approached with a volume and vengeance that stretched the art rock audience's tolerance to its outer limit, but also managed to appeal to the metal audience in ways that little of Trilogy did.
Indeed, "Karn Evil 9" is the piece and the place where Keith Emerson and his keyboards finally matched in both music and flamboyance the larger-than-life guitar sound of Jimi Hendrix. This also marked the point in the group's history in which they brought in their first outside creative hand, in the guise of ex-King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield. He'd been shopping around his first solo album and was invited onto the trio's new Manticore label, and also asked in to this project as Lake's abilities as a lyricist didn't seem quite up to the 20-minute "Karn Evil 9" epic that Emerson had created as an instrumental.
Sinfield's resulting lyrics for "Karn Evil 9: First Impression" and "Karn Evil 9: Third Impression," while not up to the standard of his best Crimson work, were better than anything the group had to work with previously -- he was also responsible for Emerson's choice of title, persuading the keyboardist that the music he'd come up with was more evocative of a carnival and fantasy than the pure science fiction concept that Emerson had started with.
And Greg Lake pulled out all the stops with his heaviest singing voice in handling them, coming off a bit like Peter Gabriel in the process. And amid Carl Palmer's prodigious drumming, it was all a showcase for Emerson, who employed more keyboards and more sounds here -- including electronic voices -- than had previously been heard on one of their records.
The songs (except for the light-hearted throwaway "Benny the Bouncer") are also among their best work -- the group's arrangement of Sir Charles Hubert Parry's setting of William Blake's "Jerusalem" manages to be reverent yet rocking (a combination that got it banned by the BBC for potential "blasphemy"), while Emerson's adaptation of Alberto Ginastera's music in "Tocatta" outstrips even "The Barbarian" and "Knife Edge" from the first album as a distinctive and rewarding reinterpretation of a piece of serious music.
Lake's "Still...You Turn Me On," the album's obligatory acoustic number, was his last great ballad with the group, possessing a melody and arrangement sufficiently pretty to forgive the presence of the rhyming triplet "everyday a little sadder/a little madder/someone get me a ladder."
And the sound quality was stunning, and the whole album represented a high point that the trio would never again achieve, or even aspire to -- after this, each member started to go his own way in terms of creativity and music.