The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (closer to M-- to EX++ in parts)*
- An original UK Island import pressing of Eno's Art Rock Masterpiece with solid Double Plus (A++) sound from first note to last
- This copy resolves the subtle harmonics of Eno’s treated sounds better than most others we played - here is a truly immersive Art Rock experience like no other
- Only these British originals are good enough to be called Hot Stampers - their superior sound comes as the result of their being transferred from fresh master tapes, using the highest resolution cutting equipment available, onto to the best storage medium to ever exist: the British vinyl LP
- This copy has been in my personal collection for the last twenty years or so, and I hope it goes to a good home, the kind of home where it will be played regularly and not just "collected"
- "The songs...are as inventive and appealing as their treatments, and make for Eno’s most solid–and experimental–pop album. This LP holds up magnificently, even years on in the artist’s brilliant career."
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*NOTE: The last track on side 2, "Taking Tiger Mountain," plays closer to Mint Minus Minus to EX++.
*NOTE: This record was not noisy enough to rate our M-- to EX++ grade, but it's not quite up to our standards for Mint Minus Minus either. If you're looking for quiet vinyl, this is probably not the best copy for you.
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 is Brian Eno’s masterpiece, as well as a Personal Favorite of yours truly.
On the right pressing this is a Twisted Pop Demo Disc like nothing you have ever heard. If you have a big speaker and the kind of high quality playback that is capable of unraveling the most complicated musical creations, with all the weight and power of live music, this is the record that will make all your audio effort and expense worthwhile.
That’s the kind of stereo I’ve been working on for forty years and this album just plain kills over here.
That being said, it may not be the kind of thing most music loving audiophiles will be able to make much sense of if they have no history with this kind of Art Rock from the 70s. I grew up on Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Supertramp, Yes and the like, bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the chains of the conventional pop song. This was and still is my favorite kind of music.
When it comes to the genre, I put this album right at the top of the heap along with several other landmark albums from the period: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Roxy Music’s first, Sheet Music, Crime of the Century, Ambrosia’s first two releases, The Yes Album, Fragile and perhaps a handful of others, no more than that.
Repeat As Necessary
Like Roxy Music’s first album, this is a powerhouse that not only rewards repeated listenings but requires them. Music like this simply cannot be digested at one sitting. Like the Beatles said, It’s All Too Much. But the more you hear it the more you will be able to understand it and appreciate it and, if you’re like me, really start to love it (I hope). I’ve been listening to this album since the mid-70s and have never tired of it. To me it’s the very definition of a Desert Island Disc: a record that knocks me out every time I play it and never wears out its welcome. It’s still fresh and “cutting edge” (if I can use that term) nearly fifty years after its release.
What The Best Sides Of Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) 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 1974
- 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.
This album is all about sound, pure sound itself if you will: the sound of the instruments, their textures, and the textures of the soundscape Eno has created for them. Much of that information is lost or perverted on the LP reissues and of course the CD. Only these British originals sound like they are made from fresh master tapes on rich, sweet tubey-magical, super high resolution cutting equipment.
With the subtle harmonics of Eno’s treated sounds captured onto vinyl intact, the magic of the experience far exceeds just another batch of catchy songs with clever arrangements. It truly becomes an immersive experience; sounds you’ve never heard in quite that way draw you into their world, each more interesting than the next.
What We're Listening For On Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
- 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.
The Tracklist tab above will provide extensive, in-depth commentary for both sides, with plenty of What to Listen For advice that will help you critically evaluate your copy of Taking Tiger Mountain.
Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
(Which, by the way, is brilliant from the opening guitars of Burning Airlines to the never-ending chirping crickets of The Great Pretender. I mean that literally: on these early British pressings the run-out groove has the sound of the crickets embedded in it so that the crickets chirp until you pick up the arm, much in the same way that Sgt. Pepper has sound in the run-out groove at the end of A Day In The Life.)
- Burning Airlines Give You So Much More
- Back In Judy's Jungle
- The Fat Lady Of Limbourg
- Well I rang up Pantucci
- spoke to Lucia
- Gave them all
- they needed to know
- If affairs are proceeding
- as we’re expecting
- Soon enough
- the weak spots will show
- I assume you understand that we have options on your time
- And will ditch you in the harbour if we must
- But if it all works out nicely,
- you’ll get the bonus you deserve
- From doctors we trust.
- The Fat Lady of Limbourgh
- Looked at the samples that we sent
- And furrowed her brow
- You would never believe that
- She’d tasted Royalty and Fame
- If you saw her now
- But her sense of taste is such that she’ll distinguish with her tongue
- The subtleties a spectrograph would miss
- And announce her decision
- while demanding her reward
- A jelly fish kiss.
- Now we checked out this duck quack
- Who laid a big egg oh so black
- it shone just like gold.
- And the kids from the city
- finding it pretty
- Took it home
- and there it was sold
- It was changing hands for weeks
- Till someone left it by their fire
- And it melted to a puddle on the floor
- For it was only a candle
- a Roman scandal
- Oh oh
- and now it’s a pool.
- That’s what we’re paid for
- That’s what we’re paid for
- That’s what we’re paid for
- Mother Whale Eyeless
- The Great Pretender
Pure Pop for Now People. Listen to all those multi-layered harmonies! They’re sweet as honey, and only the best British copies get them to sound that way. You can make out practically every voice. This is what we mean by Midrange Magic.
This track has a big bass drum that will rattle the walls and threaten to bring your house crashing to the ground if you are not careful with the volume. Love that whistling too — genius!
This song is so good I found the lyrics on the web and have included them for your edification below. Once you fit the words to the melody you will no doubt be as convinced as I am as to the brilliance of Eno’s songwriting skills.
The high pitched chorus about the man without his raincoat in the body of the whale can be a bit much on the copies that are not cut cleanly. Those kinds of high frequencies at loud levels are hard to cut and hard for your arm/cart to track.
Pure Eno magic to finish out the side on a high point; it doesn’t get much better than this! Listen to those sustained lower piano notes — on the best copies they are deep and powerful and keep resonating seemingly forever. It’s one of the most interesting sounds on an album that’s full of nothing but interesting sounds.
Note that on most copies side two is cut a db or two lower than side one. Please increase your volume level accordingly when playing side two.
- Third Uncle
- Put A Straw Under Baby
- The True Wheel
- China My China
- Taking Tiger Mountain
A real rocker, the first one on the album. The boys do a great job with this one on the 801 Live album as well.
Probably my favorite track on side two. The chorus of mostly female voices should be amazingly sweet and delicate; wall to wall too.
Eno’s richly layered arrangements juxtapose very different treated sounds, yet they blend and flow together perfectly, hinting at the directions his work would soon take with the seamless sound paintings of Another Green World. Although not quite as enthusiastic as Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain is made accessible through Eno’s mastery of pop song structure, a form he would soon transcend and largely discard.
Mystery Reviewer’s Much More Insightful Commentary
Brian Eno’s sophomore solo outing is a grab bag of freaky, science-fiction-dipped confections. Filled with a battery of innovative, unsettling effects, the album is darker and more complex than Here Come The Warm Jets. He shows an increasing willingness to experiment with texture, as on “The Great Pretender,” whose whirling, oozing keyboard line and synthesized vocals approximate delirium tremens or a hatching hive of maggots, or on “Put A Straw Under Baby,” which features the Portsmouth Sinfonia, whose members have no knowledge of their instruments.
Yet Eno’s grasp of melody and songcraft is everywhere: on the bouncing, absurdist/philosophical “Burning Airlines (Give You So Much More),” and on straight-out rockers, like the deliciously intense “Third Uncle” (which is propelled by the churning guitar of Roxy Music’s Phil Manzenera, and is, arguably, the album’s highlight).
Eno’s tunes are even more otherwordly and warped than his glam cohort David Bowie, making use of the full palette of bizarro synthesizer effects and creepy-cheeky postures. The songs, however, are as inventive and appealing as their treatments, and make for Eno’s most solid–and experimental–pop album. This LP holds up magnificently, even years on in the artist’s brilliant career.