J Larsen

Albert Ayler ESP CDs

64 posts in this topic

So I've had the Ayler ESP records on vinyl for about 10 years, but lately my records have been neglected due to the need to keep them locked up so the cat won't destroy them.

I would like to buy cd versions. There seem to be three options. In ascending order of cost (at least at my local shop):

ESP Box set

Jewel Case Reissues

Digipack reissues

Is there any difference in the remastering of these three versions? If not, I'm just going for the box.

Thanks.

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I'd get the ESP-Disk jewel case versions that have been reissued by the label itself.

The boxed set is, according to Bernard, completely pillaged and unauthorized.

The Calibre issues sound fine, but I'd rather go to the label itself to make sure estate royalties are being paid.

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The boxed set is, according to Bernard, completely pillaged and unauthorized.

If true, that is really egregious, as they clearly went way out of their way to make it look legit.

You've talked me out of the box, but how is the sound on the individual jewel case versions vs. the mini-lps?

BTW, my vinyl copies actually don't have great sound quality, so it would be great if I could get a sonic upgrade.

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The ESP DISK cds in jewel cases sound pretty damned good to me.

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They sound fine.

I have Bells/Prophecy and Slugs' Saloon in this format; used to have the new Spiritual Unity but gave it to a friend.

Never had the mini-LP Get Back editions, so I don't know about those.

I have nice copies of all the original ESP Aylers, so didn't feel the need for digital - however, my experiences with receiving copies has been positive. The Slugs' dates were originally on Base and, in addition to the low-fi sound, were pressed horribly. The new 2CD set is a marked improvement and has a great cover shot, to boot.

Edited by clifford_thornton

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I'd add that I have nice originals of all the Ayler ESPs (the Slugs' dates were originally Base pressings, and sounded crappy so this was a definite upgrade).

Original vinyl or CD pressings?

I once saw a few old Mexican (yes, Mexican!!) Ayler records. Would have bought them, but the guy standing next to me at the shop's counter beat me to them by about a nanosecond. The text was all in Spanish, and they said either printed or made in Mexico on them, and they were on a label I had never heard of nor recall the name of. No idea when they dated to, but they had clearly been around.

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I have the Spirits Rejoice Get Back LP--decent transfer, suffering from the typically lo-fi ESP sound. I haven't had time to sit down with another version, so I can't compare--but, outside of some distant Call Cobbs harpsichord on one cut, it sounds OK.

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Interesting... in my experience Get Back records usually don't sound that great in the first place, so I wonder how much of that is really ESP low-fi and how much is the Get Back low fi.

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My only cd comparisons are with the XYZ series of ESP cds (which I think in general sound great) and the new ESP DISK cds, which sound a bit better. (I've all the Aylers I can compare in both formats).

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Great, I'll pick them up this weekend. Thanks for the help.

Edited by J Larsen

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Interesting... in my experience Get Back records usually don't sound that great in the first place, so I wonder how much of that is really ESP low-fi and how much is the Get Back low fi.

Most Get Backs are needle drops, as I can tell you they did not have access to the tapes in ESP's case.

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Go for the new ESPs directly from the label. ESP was threatening to put out an Ayler box set around the time Holy Ghost came out, but all's been quiet since.

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I think they redirected their funds toward other archival releases.

Dig the Don Cherry and the Norman Howard/Joe Phillips if you get a chance. I contributed some words to the latter - it's really heavy.

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The boxed set is, according to Bernard, completely pillaged and unauthorized.

If true, that is really egregious, as they clearly went way out of their way to make it look legit.

You've talked me out of the box, but how is the sound on the individual jewel case versions vs. the mini-lps?

Yeah, I saw it last night at Amoeba, and it looks like a legit ESP release. Anyone have a link to where Bernard (Stollman?) says that it is unauthorized, please?

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The box doesn't appear on the ESP website, which while not conclusive is clearly very highly suspicious.

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The box set was released by Abraxas, which used to have a licence to issue ESP CDs. Nothing new here.

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Stollman told me it was not legit, as Abraxas' contract to use the ESP name is long over with.

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To put it more clearly, they had a license to issue a few titles in a limited edition during a short time period. With that time up, they have continued to press more product and are not paying ESP for this material. It's fairly well-done stuff, but it isn't legit any more, even if at one time it was.

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I have the Calibre (Dutch?) editions of SU, SR, Bells and NY Ear and Eye Control and they all sound good to me. (not to mention the production, which is very impressive: nice liners, thick, well-made booklets and nifty slip cases). I also have an Abraxas (Italy) issue of SU which I compared to the Calibre and they sounded identical (I'm no audio expert, but to these ears I hear no difference). The Abraxas though, seems cheaply made: little to no notes and a flimsy card that folds into the cd 'booklet'. Same goes for my copy of an XYZ issue of NY E&E Control, which is not made of the same caliber of quality as the Calibre either, but at least there were liner notes. I also compared the XYZ with the Calibre, and it also sounded the same. I have no idea if the new ESP issues of the Aylers are an improvement over these. Anyone care to comment? But it does seem that the Calibre's, Abraxas' and XYZ issues are identical sonically. (I probably missed an account of this in this thread so sorry if I'm backtracking).

Edited to say that I think I'm going out on a limb by saying that all of these issues sound the same (my bad). I don't know if they do, I just know that the ones I own do. I have no idea what the Get Backs sound like, but I did hear that the new ESP Slugs Saloon is a sonic upgrade from the previous editions.

Edited by Holy Ghost

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HG,

I've bought all the XYZs in the past, and then all the ESP-ISK official releases released so far, and compared them.

The improvements aren't huge, but the ESP-DISKs sound better to me. More open sounding, and with a bit more detail. Only something for an Ayler nut who doesn't have original vinyl and never did to get really excited about I suppose. The Slug's material is possibly the most pronouncedly improved to my ears on my system. If starting out from scratch, I advise anyone to order the ESP-DISK cds from http://www.espdisk.com/

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HG,

I've bought all the XYZs in the past, and then all the ESP-ISK official releases released so far, and compared them.

The improvements aren't huge, but the ESP-DISKs sound better to me. More open sounding, and with a bit more detail. Only something for an Ayler nut who doesn't have original vinyl and never did to get really excited about I suppose. The Slug's material is possibly the most pronouncedly improved to my ears on my system. If starting out from scratch, I advise anyone to order the ESP-DISK cds from http://www.espdisk.com/

Thanks. I guess I'll hold on to the Calibre's because I just don't know if I can bring myself to upgrade SU for a third time (I'll most likely sell the Abraxas). Its one of those occasions where I kinda wish I was starting from scratch, so I could just go out and get the official product, but at this juncture, its so hard to replace a chunk of a collection because there's a new reissue (a problem I've been having with the BN RVG's as well). :mellow:

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Hey, I understand completely.

I'm doing this (replacing ESP products as they become availabele) but I don't know why beyond. . . wanting to get official product at last!

And I am getting all the RVGs because. . .well. . . I have the whole US series (quite a few Japanese). . . inertia? Habit? Because I love the sound? Probably most because Ilove the sound.

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