Anyone buy those Japanese miniature LP sleeve reproduction CDs?

Discussion in 'Music' started by MarcoBiscotti, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Many seem to be 24-bit digital remasters and they've got some exclusive disc pressings, like I was looking for a Verve release of Jimmy Smith's 1964 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' album and Albert Ayler's 'In Greenwich Village' recordings and they're only available as overpriced imports. Same with much of Blue Notes more obscure catalgoue and a number of other releases that have gotten shitty treatment here and in the UK..

    I haven't found any reviews of these CD's but I was wondering if they're worth the ridiculous $40+ prices they're selling for?

    Has anyone took the plunge and is the packaging really that special or does it look tacky?

    Also can anyone tell me if the liner notes are accurately reprinted in English or Asian characters and aaprox. how the compare in size to a regular jewel case or digi?

    Most importantly - do those slips with the writing on them on the side of the cardboard sleeve come off after unwrapping or are they part of the packaging?

    They look like ugly bookmarks on the left side of the cover sleeves. In case you don't know what I'm talking about...

    [​IMG]

    ^ The pink-colored banner on the bottom of the cover (usually seen on the left of the sleeve).


    Thanks!
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Here's a better example of what I'm talking about with the cover art... does that border come off or is it part of the actual cover??

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Can anyone please help?

    I'm also VERY confused when it comes to certain catalogues such as The Byrds releases... I see that Sony Japan is reissuing remastered CD versions of certain titles like "Ballad Of Easy Rider", "Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde", etc. this year, but than there are also the current North American Sony issues PLUS the Sony Japanese Limited mini-LP reproductions.

    I want to know which have the best sound quality and if it will be worth purchasing the new remastered Japanese issues over the current American releases, such as this upcoming one...

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=music


    Or should I just stick with the North American releases and if so, are they newly and accurately remastered with good sound and tonal quality and if so - why is Sony Japan seeing fit to remaster them and reissue them again overseas?

    I'd really appreciater some help.


    Finally, do you think it would be worth it to have the mini-LP sleeves, do they look much cooler than the regular jewel case releases?
     
  4. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,043
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    110
    I can't tell you about those titles specifically but I do own quite a few Japanese import CDs. That band of Japanese writing on the left side of the cover (like the ones in your second post) has always been a wrap around sleeve on the outside of the jewel case and is easily separated from it. I usually take them off and wrap them around the booklet and store them inside the jewel case.

    On the old Japanese import LPs that I own, that strip of Japanese writing is a band that slipped over that cover and was also easily removed (I always left them in place). Perhaps the Hendrix CDs are like that.

    Again, I can't tell you about those titles specifically but the Japanese import CDs that I have (mostly 80's heavy metal that was never released here) usually have both Japanese and English in them. Some of the English isn't quite right and I have even seen mistakes in song lyrics but that's okay with me.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
  6. Christopher Jay

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Marco-
    Those paper strips (generally called "obi" - which translates as "belt" from when, as Todd described, US LPs released in Japan were encircled with a band of paper that contained info in Japanese so that the original album art remained intact) are only affixed to jewel cases on occasion and never to mini-LP sleeves, where they're just wrapped around the spine.
    I can't speak to Sony's practice of concurrent domestic and Japanese releases, but speaking specifically to the Japanese 24-bit remasters of ¡Impulse! releases (like Albert Ayler in Greenwich Village), they are closer to being "flat" transfers than the ones released in the US. If I'm reading my Japanese correctly, Takao Ogawa is credited most often with the remastering, while I think Erick Labson at MCA did most of the recent domestic ¡Impulse! reissues. In general, I find the Japanese discs to be much "hissy"-er, with less low end than their domestic counterparts. Which is preferable IMO varies from title to title, but the Japanese disc of Albert Ayler in Greenwich Village contains only the tracks from the LP - the US 2CD set includes The Village Concert LP and some unreleased stuff. You'd have to buy three different Japanese releases to get the same music that's on one US set.
    The real appeal of the Japanese mini-LP discs is the CDs that are still unavailable in the US, like Alice Coltrane's Lord of Lords or Pharoah Sanders' Love In Us All. The Japanese ¡Impulse! reissue program trumps the domestic one just in terms of variety of available releases. The nifty packaging is just icing on the cake to me.
     
  7. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thank you guys so much!

    Chris, I didn't know that the Greenwich Village concert was even available on CD domestically, certainly not as a 2-disc set! Is is listed under som other name because I'm not bringing up any searches through Amazon w/ Greenwich.

    As for the actual design and build of these mini-LP packagings, are they well-made and really stand-out or not that much of a difference over the domestic issues?


    Also, can anyone please help me out with The Byrds reissues?

    I'm not sure what to do since they're available as remastered expanded editions in the US, mini-LP repros w/ the same bonus tracks overseas, and most recently - upcoming 2005 Japanese reissues whch are apparently remasters. How many times in the period of one decade can these records be revisitied and remastered? If anyone could please offer advice on which to go for as far as sound quality and packaging, etc. and overall better product and value (not necessarily meaning cheapest), it would be a huge help!!!
     
  8. Christopher Jay

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    The Albert Ayler release is called Albert Ayler Live in Greenwich Village: The Complete Recordings. Amazon has it credited to "Cal Jr. Cobbs, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray" for some reason; the ASIN # is B00000DD1S and it's $18.99.

    Now as for the quality of Japanese mini-LP packaging, it seems to vary. Again dealing just with jazz reissues, Japanese ¡Impulse! mini-LPs use a high quality thick card stock and meticulously replicate the look of the original gatefold sleeves(sometimes at the expense of legibility). Domestic Verve/¡Impulse! mini-LPs are a step down from that; for instance Alice Coltrane's Universal Consciousness, released in 2002 and OOP as of this May - the packaging is thinner and flimsier than its Japanese counterpart. The domestic versions also have English versions of the "obi", but with no actual Japanese text(I like to call them "faux-bi." :rimshot[​IMG] I'd even say the printing seems a little cheaper (you can't read "University Series of Fine Recordings" under the ¡Impulse! logo at all). At the same time Universal Japan's mini-LP sleeves are the flimsiest of all, barely a notch above coated paper and no gatefolds are replicated. The same can be said of the Reprise Japan HDCDs I have. So it's kind of a crapshoot, but in general, durability is not a hallmark of the mini-LP releases I've seen. The Japanese ¡Impulse! CDs are the best-looking that I've seen - they're also the most expensive at $30+ a pop.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2000
    Messages:
    4,708
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Knocksville, TN
    Real Name:
    Rachael Bellomy
    I have one of a Style Council album.
     

Share This Page