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April 25th, 2013, 23:18
Now for something contrarian.

I am still reveling in retro nostalgia, most currently from an old album I have been meaning to digitize from my original vinyl for years. It finally got its well worth due. Although the vinyl is pristine 1982 vintage, it took a couple of evenings to manually edit the waveforms for all the tracks and convert them to MP3s. The original pressing had quite a few defects (snaps, pops, and crackles), but my digital versions now sound much cleaner than the vinyl did in 1982.

The album is Animation by Jon Anderson. His best solo effort, and I think a masterpiece. There isn't a bum track on the album. I think this work is on par with some of the best Yes albums. The musicians are phenomenal and tight (Clem Clemson, Simon Phillips, David Sancious, among others). This album was among the first in a long trend of world music influence on rock music. The music holds up very well after 30 (gasp!) years. It's still a sublime listening experience. Little (except Anderson's later work) has really sounded like it since. Lots of quirky odd syncopated beats, and vocal phrasings, electronic beeps and blips and chimes, but best of all very melodic. "Musical" without a doubt.

The nostalgia is VERY strong with this album since I saw it performed live in concert in San Diego at the outdoor Festival theater in Balboa Park. The theater was new at the time. It had been recently built as temporary outdoor amphitheater after the original Old Globe burned down. It was outdoors in the trees on a warm evening. The acoustics were perfect, and it was a very small venue and intimate. It was a clear night, and in the middle of the performance Jon pointed into the sky so we could all observe an eclipse of the moon. Very magical evening. It was one of the concerts of my life. The performances were flawless.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. All tracks on this album are excellent, but the title track is my favorite. It's a very touching celebration of the birth of Jon's first child and his witnessing it. This youtube is just OK in quality compared to my cleaned up digital version, but is better than nothing.


The only official CD issue was done in 2006, and apparently the sound quality is abysmal. Some say it sounds like it was mastered off an old record rather than master tapes. In any case, the equalization is a truly terrible "U" spectrum. The mid range, and in particular Jon's voice, is diminished in the overpowered the bass and treble. This remaster is a disservice to the original work.
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