Daniel Lanois “Acadie” 2xLP (Record Store Day reissue, Diverse Records UK)

Lanois This is one of the best remaster/repackages I’ve ever heard or seen. Too bad about the quality control once the project hit the pressing plant.

Acadie is a 1989 release on Eno’s Opal label. This Record Store Day LP reissue — limited to 1000 copies —  is repackaged in a gatefold sleeve, with a second LP of different takes and “sketch” versions. The gatefold opens to display the album lyrics, and the innersleeves contain new liner notes from Lanois, with detailed text regarding the extra tracks.

The mastering is outrageously good. The first three songs on side one sound like new versions, but I’m pretty sure that the mastering just opened up a lot of space and detail compared to the ho-hum CD version. The vocals, especially, just leap off the vinyl. During “Fisherman’s Daughter,” I actually jumped when Lanois began speaking. It sounded as though he was sitting on the couch in front of me.

The soundstaging is eerily disconnected from the speakers, yet it sounds utterly natural. The louder it gets, the better the whole thing sounds.

Unfortunately, my copy has a nasty scuff (looks like a fingernail scar) across tracks 5 and 6 of side one, and there’s surface noise throughout much the pressing. When I peeked inside the empty innersleeve I found a large piece of vinyl that looked as though it had broken off the center hole. It’s likely that busted chip of vinyl damaged the disc surface during shipping.

The label on side one is off-center to the extent that it skids onto the innergroove – we’re talking over a quarter-inch off center from the hole

This is bad quality control on several levels.

On the quieter songs the pops and click really, well…sucked. The vinyl quality seems mediocre. The discs were sleeved badly; crammed into the short side of the seam and very difficult to remove.

On my copy there’s also a seam split on the top edges of the gatefold. I’m assuming ElusiveDiscs received the LPs in this condition, because their packing job is among the best. I contacted ElusiveDiscs tonight for a return authorization. I’m looking forward to a clean, undamaged copy and just hoping the first one was an fluke.

I know little of the UK label Diverse Records, but to charge US$45.00 for discs of such poor quality sure is…cheeky.






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    I had intended to buy this release last May [2013] while visiting the annual High End Show in Munich, Germany. It made sense to save money on shipping costs etc. Imagine my horror when I saw the record at the Da Capo Records’ Stand in Munich and found the records packed in printed Card Inner sleeves??? I could not believe that this was a Diverse Records release whom I have always found to be orientated towards very high quality. I left the record there and do not regret it one bit. It is impossible to get pristine records out of sleeves like this. They are almost always littered with scuffs, hairline scratches and random surface ticks and pops. €38 to €40 is a lot of money to spend on something like this.

    I e-mailed somebody ‘in the know’ on my return from Germany. Apparently the manufacturer, Pallas I believe, packed the records like this contrary to the expectations/instructions of Diverse Records in Wales. I detected no small amount of annoyance over the fiasco. Only 1,000 copies like this were pressed so here’s hoping that Diverse may be able to re-license the record so that it can be re-issued in proper audiophile configuration in the future along the lines of previous/normal Diverse reissues, which are always superb. Luckily, I have my original Opal/Warner release on vinyl from 1989 to fall back on but I was really looking forward to this Diverse reissue. Lastly, I think quality control at Pallas may not be what it once was. Optimal in Germany and Record Industrie in the Netherlands have overtaken them in terms of pressing quality, in my experience. The real shame is that for once a really desirable album was slated for audiophile reissue as opposed to the usual classic jazz and rock titles which seem to surface over and over again.

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    Thanks for your comments and for the background info on this pressing. My replacement copy from ElusiveDiscs went right into the “clean” pile for the VPI queue after I opened it and checked for scuffs, rogue pieces of broken vinyl chips, etc. I haven’t listened to it yet, but the discs will go directly into MoFi poly sleeves after it’s off the VPI cleaner. Fingers crossed.