Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus
- You'll find very good Hot Stamper sound on both sides of this copy of Lang's 2nd solo album
- The sound of this rare import is full, lively, and warm, with solid bass and breathy, clear vocals
- Includes Lang favorites Miss Chatelaine and Constant Craving - both sound very good here
- 4 stars: "... the craft of the album is impressive indeed, and few artists have reinvented themselves with as much poise and panache as lang did on Ingénue."
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By 1992 records like this were only released on import vinyl and typically went out of print soon after they started their descent down the pop charts. I used to sell them back in the day and supplies were extremely limited and unpredictable. And once they were gone they were virtually never reissued. All of those factors conspire to make the cost of acquiring the mintiest pressings from overseas fairly high, and of course the main reason you have never seen the album on our site before.
Be that as it may, we have this copy available and it is not only very good sounding but the music is every bit as good as I remember it.
What are the criteria by which a record like this 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, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and on and on down through the list.
When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of "contender." Once we've been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that's left is to see how the sides matched up.
It may not be rocket science, but it is 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. If you copy every new one you see you will have all the good ones pretty quickly
What to Listen For (WTLF)
Here are some of the things we specifically listen for in a vintage KD Lang record.
Our highest rated Hot Stamper pressings are simply doing more of these things better than the other copies we played in our shootout.
The best copies have:
- Greater immediacy in the vocals (most copies are veiled and distant to some degree);
- Natural tonal balance (many copies are at least slightly brighter or darker than ideal; those with the right balance are the exception, not the rule);
- Good solid weight (so the bass sounds full and powerful);
- Spaciousness (the best copies have wonderful studio ambience and space);
- Tubey Magic, without which you might as well be playing a CD;
- And last but not least, transparency, the quality of being able to see into the studio, where there is plenty of musical information to be revealed in this sometimes simple, sometimes complex recording.
Mint Minus Minus 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 later 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 that is a key part of the appeal 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 Mind Of Love
Wash Me Clean
So Shall It Be
Still Thrives This Love
Season Of Hollow Soul
Tears Of Love's Recall
On her early albums, k.d. lang was a country traditionalist with a difference -- while she had a glorious voice and could evoke the risen ghost of Patsy Cline when she was of a mind, there was an intelligence and sly humor in her work that occasionally betrayed her history as a performance artist who entered the musical mainstream through the side door. And while the three years between Absolute Torch and Twang and Ingénue were full of controversy for lang that may have encouraged her to seek out new creative directions (among other things, she came out as a lesbian and her outspoken animal rights activism alienated many fans in the C&W mainstream), the former album suggested lang had already taken her interest in country music as far as it was likely to go.
Ingénue presented lang as an adult contemporary artist for the first time, and if she felt any trepidation at all about her stylistic shift, you'd never guess after listening to the record; lang's vocal style is noticeably more subtle on Ingénue than her previous albums, but her command of her instrument is still complete, and the cooler surroundings allowed her to emotionally accomplish more with less. lang's songwriting moved into a more impressionistic direction with Ingénue, and while the literal meanings of many of her tunes became less clear, she also brought a more personal stamp to her music, and the emotional core of "Save Me," "Constant Craving," and "So It Shall Be" was obvious even when their surfaces were evasive.
And the production and arrangements by lang and her longtime collaborators Ben Mink and Greg Penny were at once simple and ambitious, creating a musical space that was different in form and effect than her previous albums but one where she sounded right at home. Ingénue disappoints slightly because while lang was a masterful and thoroughly enjoyable country singer, she was a far more introspective adult contemporary singer/songwriter who seemingly demanded the audience accept her "as is" or not at all. However, the craft of the album is impressive indeed, and few artists have reinvented themselves with as much poise and panache as lang did on Ingénue.
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