Audiophile: Digital, March 2022

hfnalbum.pngPink Floyd
The Dark Side Of The Moon
Analogue Productions PFR24/19075810332

You might wonder why 1) I'm giving this our Album Choice, and 2) the ace score of 95% if, like me, you'd rather pass a kidney stone than listen to Pink Floyd, and I've done both. But I rate it without contradiction because this page is focused as much on sound quality as content. So while not to my tastes, it's still sold over 45m copies and is regarded as one of the greatest ever, permanently sited near the top of any polls. What Chad Kassem's crew delivers here is arguably the best-sounding digital transfer yet – in both stereo and 5.1 surround – even matching MoFi's 1981 UHQR LP for richness. Seconds into 'Money' or 'Time' and you'll click 'Buy Now', whatever your preferred supplier. Astonishing, especially in 5.1. KK


Muddy Waters
The Montreux Years

Evident from the first handful of titles curating the late Claude Nobs' archives is the legendary jazz festival's eclecticism: it also embraced soul, blues and rock. This stunning CD gives us the cream of blues deity Waters' live sets in 1972, 1974 and 1977, its 16 tracks including his greatest songs, with 'I'm Ready', 'Mannish Boy', 'I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man' and 'Got My Mojo Working' all present. Waters was backed by Fred Below, Lafayette Leake, Pinetop Perkins and other session men from the Chess era, plus duo Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, as well as 'youngsters' Bill Wyman and Dallas Taylor (ex-CSNY). This is powerful stuff. KK


The Sex Pistols
Universal Music 072 591-2 (four discs)

There's no doubt The Sex Pistols existed to take the mickey, admitting to 'swindling' the fans. Even so, they were a musical force with influence hugely disproportionate to a tiny catalogue. Previous sets felt like they were stretching the material, but this box has an academic (if ironic) feel because it covers the saga chronologically, with annotations. Of the 80 tracks here, only eight are previously unreleased but – as the subtitle says – this contains the complete demos and outtakes, thus applying a sense of order. Love 'em or detest 'em, The Sex Pistols rattled cages, and with a controversial biopic on the way, this major punk-era document is now topical. KK


Various Artists
Good As Gold
Grapefruit CRSEGBIX093 (five discs)

I didn't see this coming, but as a drooling Beatles completist, I bought it immediately: 107 rarities subtitled 'Artefacts Of The Apple Era 1967-1975'. Some are from the known Apple artists like Badfinger, Jackie Lomax and Mike McGear (Paul's brother and ex-Scaffold), and others I'd forgotten were associated with the label, such as Stealer's Wheel and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, plus a few dozen totally obscure acts. A perfect slice of late-1960s psych-pop, this reveals just how ambitious was the Apple publishing venture and record label. If you want to hear a tantalising 'What if… ?' vis-à-vis what The Beatles' break-up also cost us, dive into this. KK