Vinyl Corner is a feature where we take a look at vinyl
pressings of various albums and weigh them up to see just how good they sound,
how well they’re pressed and what sort of packaging to expect – as well as giving
a brief overview of the music itself. This time we’re checking out the latest
effort from Icelandic indie songwriter Ásgeir.
Readers based outside of Iceland may be unaware of Ásgeir but in his homeland he’s something of star. 2012’s ‘Dýrð Í Dauðaþögn’ remains the country’s fastest selling debut album and, in the years since, he’s remained active and increasingly popular. ‘Bury The Moon’s gently plucked guitar, creeping electronics and vulnerable falsetto vocals will be familiar to any long-term fan but, in its singularly dreamy atmosphere and quiet melancholy, the album is still likely to appease those enamoured with his sound.
A quick glance at the matrices on this sturdy, heavyweight black vinyl release reveal that it was pressed by German industry stalwarts Optimal Media. Where certain pressing plants can be trusted to put out reliably high-quality produce, it can be difficult to know what to expect with Optimal Media. Their output is mostly solid but can sometimes display problematic amounts of surface noise. Fortunately, One Little Indian clearly paid attention during the test pressing process as this is a great sounding record with clean playback throughout. The noise floor is low and surfaces are clean with only a few intermittent and minor crackles, none of which intrude upon the listening experience. The record sits flat upon the platter during playback and surfaces are free of the abrasions and signs of handling that all too often appear on modern pressings.
This is a well packaged release, presented in a slick non-gatefold sleeve. The cardstock used is not especially weighty, although the sleeve does feel solid enough in hand to be more than acceptable – even if a heavier cardstock would have been a welcome bonus. The art is well printed, however, with sharp definition and a cool, nuanced colour scheme. Regrettably, the barcode is printed directly onto the sleeve. It would have been nice to see this attached as a sticker instead but fortunately it’s small enough to avoid noticeably marring the pleasingly minimalist art direction. There is also a textured finish to the card, which is a subtle yet worthwhile addition to the overall presentation. A very impressive addition to the presentation is a 12″ x 12″ foldout lyric insert printed on high quality paper. All too many releases fail to include a lyric insert of any form but, even then, the majority that do tend to reproduce the words in tiny font on low quality paper. This insert suffers from neither of these issues, making it one of the nicest additions to a moderately-priced, non-limited release we’ve seen in quite a while. A download code is also included for redemption of the audio in MP3.
This is an impressively presented and well pressed release that offers perhaps the definitive way to experience Ásgeir’s latest effort.
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