Analog Spark: A New Vinyl Reissue Label

Analog Spark is a recent addition to the many companies now reissuing vinyl.

The label is described by label head Mark Piro as "the audiophile reissue imprint of Razor & Tie".

Mr Piro is doing things the way analogplanet readers prefer. The label's latest release is Dave Brubeck's Jazz Goes to College cut from the original mono master tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound, pressed and plated at RTI and packaged in a Stoughton Press "tip on" jacket.

The label's other releases include Glen Gould's legendary 1955 Goldberg Variations, (as well as the 1981 version as a separate release), The Sound of Music original soundtrack as well as the 50th anniversary edition. The label plans to release more classic Broadway shows including A Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story and My Fair Lady—all cut "AAA".

For more information go to the Analog Spark website.

john ryan horse's picture

In fact, I bought a number of CDs from this label because of the sound quality; Steve Hoffman (maybe w/ KG) mastered superb compilations by Don Covay, Arthur Alexander, & King Curtis. Also several LPs/EPs by Alex Chilton.

Snorker's picture

I'm in for that one. One of my favorites since I was a kid. I have a mid-60s issue, but it's not very clean and sounds a bit thin. I actually prefer the CD from 1992 or so for this one. I'd be interested to hear what a well-done AAA issue cut from the master would sound like.

Stu Morgenstern's picture

I have an early "maroon label" copy of Jazz Goes to College in nice shape. When you get the new reissue, I'll come over and we can compare. Or you can come up to Connecticut and meet my corgis. Whatever works for you.

mauidj's picture

the Gould original is mastered from the Original Mono Analog Tape whereas it says the 1981 version is mastered from the Original Analog Session Reels. The SoM also is confusing as the original is mastered from the master tape whereas the Anniversary edition is from a digital file.

hishou's picture

The 1981 version was recorded on analogue tape, but mixed and mastered in digital. I believe the new edition is, if you want, a remix straight from the analogue reels, with no digital involved. That's what I think it means, i really want to give this company the benefit of the doubt.

john ryan horse's picture

I would like to mention two jazz titles just arrived in the mail from Sundazed. Both are on the label's new Archive of America imprint. "Blue World" and "Serenade" are 10-inch "concept" albums, in that they compile material from the Bethlehem catalog in a cohesive, artful way to create a theme. The sound is rich, warm, detailed mono even though each track is from a different source. "Serenade (Night Ballads From Bethlehem)" gathers wonderful vocal performances: Helen Carr ('Lonely Street' w/ Howard Roberts & Red Mitchell), Audrey Morris, 2 from Johnny Hartman, Julie London, Chris Connor ('Don't Wait Up For Me'), early Nina Simone (the scorching 'Don't Smoke In Bed'), & Herb Jeffries of Ellington fame. All tracks are from the mid '50s & this album is perfect late night company.
"Blue World (Music For The Lonely Hours)" collects songs with 'blue' in the title, but it never feels like a contrived gimmick, and features both vocal and instrumental performances by Mel Torme ('It's A Blue World'), Chris Connor ('Blue Silhouette' arr. by Sy Oliver), Betty Blake (w/Kenny Burrell, Zoot Sims, Mal Waldron, Charlie Persnip), Bobby Troup (who wrote 'Route 66' in 1941, here singing 'Little Girl Blue') Instrumental performances include the Pete Brown Sextet (w/ Joe Wilder), and Booker Irvin. Like I said I was very impressed by the vinyl quality and the excellent mastering. And the way both collections have a thematic coherence. The music is all fabulous of course. Each of these titles is $18.98, quite reasonable imo.

RubenH's picture

but when the record was released in 1982, the digitally-recorded version was used, as the then-new digital format was marketed as the Second Coming in sound reproduction. In 2002, the analogue recording (which originally had been made as a "safety") was deemed by Sony to be superior to the digital version and was released on CD under the title "A State of Wonder." So this does appear to be the first time this analogue version of the '81 sees the light of day as an LP.

audioholic63's picture

Listened to both over the weekend from the "A State of Wonder" set. The 1981 session is almost 13 minutes longer. To me it is the more interesting of the two and likely to get my $$$ for the vinyl.

RubenH's picture

Gould playing at a faster tempo as well as not taking most repeats in the '55. The '81 generally goes at a slower pace and takes most of the repeats. Both versions have their pros and cons; to me, the '55's virtuosity is - even after many years of listening - jawdropping. The '81, is more deliberate, musical, and moving, not to mention having better sonics. I am glad to have both to enjoy.

Bob Harden's picture

If Jazz Goes to College is a good example of what Analog Spark will produce, I'll be a repeat customer. This is very well done. On my low-end equipment, I was surprised at how good this sounds - particularly the definition on Paul Desmond's alto sax. The vinyl is dead quiet. Packaging is sweet - it looks and feels like a 50's era jazz record with a few modern upgrades (modern inner sleeve and 180g vinyl). Nice job, Analog Spark.

762rob's picture

Thank you for bringing this Lp up on Analog Planet, I am definitely going to order a copy!

I do so much enjoy your website, Michael.

762rob's picture

Beautiful vinyl and the original Columbia "Lp" label is a nice touch that was missing from the Ellington Masterpieces album.
Coming through the Klipschorns in big fat mono...very glad I made the purchase.

uniqueusername's picture

Picked this up today, completely agree with the other positive statements above, quiet vinyl, nice packaging, excellent MONO sound, and a fantastic performance too! I'm on their mailing list, want to see what they put out next!

jazz's picture

It seems at least for the Glenn Gould LP's, analog spark is just the US Distribution.

By "audiophile reissue label" I would understand, they produce those reissues themselves, which they don't regarding the Glenn Gould LP's (I asked them). I guess their other LP's are produced by them.

Michael Fremer's picture
They are both an "audiophile label" as in this Brubeck and a series of Broadway show reissues, and a distributor of Sony special products like the Glen Gould LPs.
Dual's picture

Razor & Tie are about to release this as well. Does this have to do with the 'distribution' deal mentioned above?

Dual's picture

Razor & Tie are about to release this as well. Does this have to do with the 'distribution' deal mentioned above?

Dual's picture

Delete this double-post, please. Posting here apparently uses a button called "Save" which usually would imply saving a post for later. "Post" is what I was looking for.

McGracias's picture

Dear Mr. Fremer, Sony has launch both recordings of Goldberg Variations, or they are the same as this? I saw here in Portugal some retailers selling exactly the same titles, mention that are new recordings released from the analog reel tapes, but with Sony seal, never mention Analog sparks/Razor&Tie.


ViciAudio's picture

... there is only one release for both these Glenn Gould LP's, it's the Sony Classical release (Europe). Analog Spark is just the US distributor for these two titles.

McGracias's picture

Ok,Obrigado, mas pelo que percebi a Analog Sparks nos EU também "edita" discos com a sua merca,certo?

ViciAudio's picture

a Analog Spark é uma empresa que é Editora de discos e que faz as suas próprias reedições com a marca Analog Spark, e ao mesmo tempo é Distribuidora de discos no território Americano de outras edições que não são as suas, como neste caso em que os discos são da Sony Europe. Para perguntas em Português sugiro que me contacte directamente no Vinyl Gourmet pois assim ninguém nos percebe aqui :) (thank you Michael for this brief moment in Portuguese, I was just explaining the dual role of Analog Spark as a label and as a Distributor)