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. For the latest in the series, we’re taking a look at Captain Planet’s new collection ‘No Visa’.
LA-based electro connoisseur Captain Planet – known to his friends as Charlie B. Wilder – has been producing slickly-danceable electronic music for the best part of a decade now. ‘No Visa’ – his fifth long-player – is an eclectic affair, its creator’s globe-trotting misadventures filtered through the ever-present synthesised blips and blops which reside at the heart of his work. The resultant album is both unabashedly poppy and worldly in its tone; an array of guest vocalists appear, often adding a modern R&B swagger to Wilder’s mellifluent arrangements. The diversity of those contributors lends ‘No Visa’ a broad-ranging tone by nature, yet Wilder’s distinctive approach is enough to keep the resultant selection of pieces coherent.
Released by US-label Bastard Jazz, ‘No Visa’ appears on vinyl as a roughly mid-weight slab of black wax, although a limited colour variant is also available to those who act fast. In this age of surging popularity for vinyl LPs as a format, it’s not at all unusual for pressing plants – both small and large – to produce output which displays some signs of a lax quality control. At worst, this can manifest itself in the form of intrusive surface noise audible from the first play – yet, more commonly, such cut corners can simply result in a visually dirty record whose sound remains unaffected in any negative way. The black vinyl version of ‘No Visa’ fits that bill; careful removal of the record reveals some general light yet broad scuffing marks on the surfaces of the record but – as a drop of the stylus reveals – sound remains excellent. The noise floor is low and we picked up on only a few rare, unobtrusive crackles here and there. The record itself sits flat and warp-free on the platter during playback – which, unfortunately, isn’t always a given with modern pressings – and the sonics themselves are crisp and immediate.
Although the packaging and presentation of ‘No Visa’ errs on the side of minimalism, the excellent artwork which adorns the front cover is enough to make this a visually appealing release. It’s a lovely image – a fluorescent Technicolor dream – and the print quality is both sharp and vibrant. The sleeve itself is a standard-width, non-gatefold affair produced from mid-weight cardstock. It feels solid enough in hand but is also nothing remarkable in terms of construction. The record itself is included in a generic, non-polylined inner sleeve, which is somewhat unfortunate as it may well be at least partly responsible for the light surface marking which appears on the record’s surfaces. As always here on Vinyl Corner, we’d advise swapping it out for a polylined inner of your own. The back cover art is also attractive, although the inclusion of a large barcode printed directly onto the sleeve itself does somewhat detract from the art direction, especially seeing as many independent labels are currently moving towards attaching UPCs to stickers on the shrinkwrap instead.
Those unable to resist the allure of post-disco electronic groovage will likely find much to appreciate in ‘No Visa’ and in the Bastard Jazz vinyl release of the album pundits will find a solid edition with which to enjoy its snaking rhythms.
Enjoyed this feature? We’re always looking for further albums to highlight on Vinyl Corner – and if you have a vinyl release that you’d love to see written about here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – it would be great to hear from you!