Side One: Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- This UK pressing earned outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades on both sides - this is some of the most dynamic sound the band achieved
- Andy Hendriksen's engineering (over the course of a week!) is superb in all respects - we think the best pressings of this first album reveal a recording that is superior to any other by the band
- A Top 100 album, Roxy's Masterpiece, and a Must Own Desert Island Disc of Glamorous Arty Rock
- 4 1/2 stars: "Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music's eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock's boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures."
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*NOTE: On side two, there are audible marks that play throughout Track 4, 2 H.B. We would consider that track, for all practical purposes, unlistenable.
Folks, this is a true Demo Disc in the world of Art Rock. It's rare to find a recording of popular music with DYNAMICS like these.
The guitar solo at the end of Ladytron rocks like you will not believe.
In both music and sound, this is arguably the best record the band ever made. Siren, Avalon and Country Life are all musically sublime, but the first album has the kind of dynamic, energetic, POWERFUL sound that their other records simply fail to show us. And we've played them by the dozens, so there's a pretty good chance we will never find copies with the abundant richness and power we find here.
We hope you will agree with us that it was entirely worth the wait, as this album is a MASTERPIECE of Art Rock, Glam Rock and Bent Rock all rolled into one.
AMG calls Roxy Music the "most adventurous rock band of the early '70s" and I'm inclined to agree with them. Roxy is certainly one of the most influential and important bands in my growth as a listener and audiophile, along with the likes of Supertramp, Ambrosia, 10cc, Steely Dan, Yes, Bowie and others, groups of musicians dedicated to exploring and exploding the conventions of popular music.
What the Best Sides of Roxy Music's Debut 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 1972
- 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.
With all the latest technological advances in playback I can tell you that this record sounds a whole lot better than I ever thought it could. What an amazing recording. I had always assumed it was Chris Thomas who produced it, since he had produced the rest of their albums (and engineered The Beatles and Badfinger and mixed Dark Side of the Moon and on and on), but the production duties fell to Peter Sinfield (King Crimson), using an engineer I have been unable to find out much about, Andy Hendriksen.
I thought Chris Thomas was behind the superb sound because the album has many of his trademark qualities: an enormous, 3-Dimensional soundstage; tons of bass; tremendous dynamics; and energy to rival anything around. The engineering is superb in all respects and practically faultless. It's just not Chris Thomas's.
What We're Listening For on Roxy Music's Debut
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- 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 for the guitars, keyboards and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as 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 players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt -- Andy Hendriksen in the case -- would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
The Seventies - What a Decade!
This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the '60s and '70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, The Who, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd and far too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted.
Big Production Tubey Magical British Art Rock just doesn't get much better than Roxy Music's debut.
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 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.
A Must Own Rock Record
Roxy Music's debut is Masterpiece, a recording that should be part of any serious Rock Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Re-make / Re-model
- If There Is Something
- 2 H.B.
- The Bob (Medley)
- Chance Meeting
- Would You Believe?
- Sea Breezes
- Bitters End
- The Bob (Medley)
- Chance Meeting
- Would You Believe?
- Sea Breezes
- Bitters End
AMG 4 1/2 Star Review
Falling halfway between musical primitivism and art rock ambition, Roxy Music's eponymous debut remains a startling redefinition of rock's boundaries. Simultaneously embracing kitschy glamour and avant-pop, Roxy Music shimmers with seductive style and pulsates with disturbing synthetic textures.
Although no musician demonstrates much technical skill at this point, they are driven by boundless imagination -- Brian Eno's synthesized "treatments" exploit electronic instruments as electronics, instead of trying to shoehorn them into conventional acoustic patterns.
Similarly, Bryan Ferry finds that his vampiric croon is at its most effective when it twists conventional melodies, Phil Manzanera's guitar is terse and unpredictable, while Andy Mackay's saxophone subverts rock & roll clichés by alternating R&B honking with atonal flourishes.
But what makes Roxy Music such a confident, astonishing debut is how these primitive avant-garde tendencies are married to full-fledged songs, whether it's the free-form, structure-bending "Remake/Remodel" or the sleek glam of "Virginia Plain," the debut single added to later editions of the album. That was the trick that elevated Roxy Music from an art school project to the most adventurous rock band of the early '70s.