World Premier! Vanessa Fernandez's "Kashmir" From "When the Levee Breaks"

Groove Note's Ying Tan handed me a surprise at the conclusion of my visit to Bernie Grunman's: a two sided lacquer containing selections from the upcoming Vanessa Fernandez triple 45rpm AAA LP set.

With permission, here's the world premier of "Kashmir" transcribed from the lacquer.

mraudioguru's picture

Can't wait for the whole album to be released.

OldschoolE's picture

Holy cow! That sent a chill up me when it kicked in! It's really different, almost like a dissected version. i love how everything is so clear and those drums hit you right in the gut. I love it, but they may need to back them off just a hair...I think. Sadly, I'm sure I won't be able to afford the record when it comes out, but thank you for the sample Michael!

theboogeydown's picture

Sounds like you have a new, "Oh, you don't get the whole 'thing about vinyl', let me blow your little mind kid!" sample!

Superfuzz's picture

Sounds good, even with the lossless YouTube audio encoding. And please disregard OldSchoolE's advice to back anything off!
Ready to hear the flip side. :)

Superfuzz's picture

That should've read Lossy encoding of course.'s picture

Nough said.

AnalogJ's picture

That's fantastic.

But what is the buzz I'm hearing?

Michael Fremer's picture
I don't think it's on the recording or the rip...
AnalogJ's picture

It's in the video. It starts when the cartridge is just about a half-inch or so from the surface as it's lowered to the record. If I pause the video, it stops. So it's not on my end. What speakers are you listening on? Check on the video on a computer via relatively full-range speakers or a headphones and you should hear it.

steven0100's picture

I hear it too, but only when I turn the volume up to ear splitting levels and it continues through the entire album, but can only be heard during the quieter parts.

It sounds like my tube phono preamp does, but again, the volume has to be extremely high at ear damaging levels. At realistic levels, it's completely non audible.

AnalogJ's picture

I have Mission planar desk speakers with a subwoofer for my computer. I hear it pretty clearly.

mauidj's picture

.....the worst rendition of Kashmir I've ever heard. Talk about insipid :-(

Auric G's picture

destined for audiophile demo greatness. Sadly Ms. Fernandez is not floating my boat. :(

fetuso's picture

Makes me wish page could've given us AAA versions of the catalog.

fetuso's picture

Mike, my comment above made me think of a question; i apoligize if this is a dumb question. let's say some hypothetical band really wants to remaster their catalog AAA, but the original tapes are unusable for whatever reason. Do the original lacquers and/or metal stampers still exist? If so, are they usable? If they do and the original master was good enough, why don't older artists use them?

Michael Fremer's picture
Occasionally they exist but often not. I wonder what happened to the metal parts of the Led Zeppelin Bernie Grundman cuts from the original master tapes made in the 1990s? Could be at RTI. I don't know...
Dman's picture

Hey Mike,

Regarding those mid 90's re-issues- 1. Was that part of the famous Classic Records LPs?

And 2. Did Bernie do the mini-LP gatefold CD versions too? Just curious, as I have the first 5 CDs (as Japanese imports), and honestly, they rate a very close second (esp. LZ II) to the RL side one you posted a while back. I bought the newly redone Jimmy Page LPs or I and II, and boy, do I feel ripped off!

Back on topic- while my personal jury is still out on Vanessa's voice, I LOVE the "deconstructionist" arrangement taken here. BTW, Is that Jim Keltner on the kit? I've shared it with my brother-in-law and one of my best friends- both of whom are accomplished drummers themselves...

Jim Tavegia's picture

Steinberg UR-22 24/192 usb interface Grado 80s and my Focal Spirit Pros. Grado more high end, but not the low end of the Focal's. I don't know what the encoding of YouTube is, but I have no albums from ITunes (256) that sound this good. I have some of my own at 2496 and 24192 that do.

The one way I get to hear what a $10K phono stage sounds like in my own home. Loved the tour with Bernie G.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Grounding issue for sure.

AnalogJ's picture

Right. It starts to happen as the cartridge is being lowered to the record about half and inch from the surface.

teachscience's picture

I was really looking forward to this release as Use Me was stunningly good. Not sure about this one now. This may not be the music for her. Sounds good though. I'll have to wait for the review of the complete album.

Rayman's picture

her next one. And I've heard a lot of bands try to play Zep. They pale in comparison of course.
But Ms Fernandez pulls it off because she sings the songs like they belong to her. The Kashmir track is solid. How about the rest?

luvvinyl's picture

Music is great, she's horrendous! Sounds like a wailing banshee! People need to leave songs by Led Zeppelin, Beatles, etc. alone. Other renditions of famous bands hardly ever work out. I definitely wouldn't buy this. Not my cup of tea.

Guido Muldoon's picture

How about Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower", Joan Jett "I Love Rock and Roll", Janis Joplin "Me & Bobby McGee", Santana "Black Magic Woman", CSN&Y "Woodstock", Manfred Mann "Blinded by the Light", The Byrds "Mr. Tambourine Man", Patsy Cline "Crazy", all covers and hey, how about Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused" which was actually a song by Jake Holmes who was backing up The Yardbirds in 1967 when Jimmy Page first heard it. No credit was given to Holmes on Zeppelin's 1st album leading to years of copyright court battles.

These are just off the top of my head but what do I know, I also like Trent Reznor's cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song", maybe even better.

Thing Fish's picture

I like the concept but I wonder why they chose this particular singer?
her voice is nothing special bordering on mediocre.

Martin's picture

I'll be getting it when it comes out.

Gotta say, the voice is too pure. Virtue is not photogenic, nor is it audiogenic. Led Zeppelin I think needs to be sung by someone who has known true decadence....

TrueGrit's picture

Very impressive, can I borrow that set up?

chipcarterdc's picture

Nothing personal against her or Mr. Fremer, but I found "Use Me" to be so poor musically as to be unlistenable. The constant refrain of glowing reviews on this website of her music really is inexplicable to me.

azmoon's picture

And not impressed.

madfloyd's picture

Sound quality seems good (and I don't hear any buzz).

I'm not sure I like the mix - her voice is dry and very upfront - usually not a bad thing but doesn't seem to fit the music.

I still look forward to hearing more though.

Thanks for sharing.

Hosta3's picture

didn't mind at all the violin rendition of Page/Jones work, but I found Ms. Fernandez's voice irritating.

thomoz's picture

The big surprise/shock here when I started the track was how polite everything sounded - the vocal and percussion on the LZ version are both quite processed; here those elements sound quite realistic. The vocal section where she hits those highest notes do not sound thin per se, only unprocessed.
I would buy this record. I would see this vocalist live too.
Jim T: if I'm ever in the same room with you I have to show you my HiFiMan headphones - you'll toss those Grados in the trash! (To everyone else: Jim & I know each other and I would never steer him wrong)

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

I was really impressed by the sound of the music but not by the performance which is of course typical of a lot of audiophile demo discs.

Sound: 10 (wow!)
Music: 2 (meh!)

James, Dublin, Ireland

my new username's picture

Do I miss Plant's banshee wail from his rendition? Sure, but then again that's mostly memory talking.

But Fernandez adds a funkiness that's compelling in its own way.

More of what I miss is Bonham crashing the toms. Zep's version has those majestic, dynamic swings about it.

chipcarterdc's picture

No disrespect, but she ain't got no funk at all. None. It sounds like she's trying way too hard be sound like what she thinks soulful female singers sound like. And not succeeding.

bcarroll's picture

She sounds like a student of the Holly Cole School of Modern Jazzy-type Singers. The players are very concise in their playing; the arrangement needs a lil bit of soul. Thanks for sharing-

photoman's picture

I enjoyed the arrangement and to me she has a beautiful voice.

ViciAudio's picture

... Vanessa Fernandez album! I love it, thanks for sharing Michael, I was quite anxious to get to hear something from the new album :)

The beave's picture

This is funny. The Stylus is bouncing up and down and the far shot shows the lacquer swaying off centre! No wonder all these recent albums have off Centred sides, it's the way the Lacquer is!!!!!
Oh Bernie, what a disappointment.
Where is the link to a pre order Michael????
the beave

Tullman's picture

What a lame drummer. And... what a lame singer. Compare this to the Page an Plant orchestral version.

39goose's picture

TORALLY agree, a waste of 7+ minutes

39goose's picture

to get off this drillship, go home and crank up my Classic Records 45rpm. This was/is awful....................

DrewK's picture

It's an extra track on the "Thud" vinyl special edition. Outstanding album.

I'm guessing this Vanessa Fernandez album will be a treat sonically.

meshplate's picture

Sonics for audiophiles. The music is MOR. Sorry.