Ranking the Most Tubey Magical Rock Recordings

A Space in Time


This is some of the best High-Production-Value rock music of the ’70s. The amount of effort that went into the recording of this album is comparable to that expended by the engineers and producers of bands like Supertramp, Yes, Jethro Tull, Ambrosia, Pink Floyd and too many others to list. It seems that no effort or cost was spared in making the home listening experience as compelling as the recording technology of the day permitted. (Of course, as it turns out, recording technology only got worse as the decade wore on, and during the ’80s the sound of most records went off a cliff.)

Big Production British Rock & Roll just doesn’t get much better than A Space in Time.

Just listen to the guitar solo on ‘Let The Sky Fall’. It comes complete with layer upon layer of guitars, acoustic and electric, with some backwards guitar thrown in for good measure. And that’s just the guitar parts. This kind of dense aural soundscape, presented with so many carefully placed elements from side to side and front to back, makes repeated listenings especially rewarding.

No matter how many times you play the album you are likely to hear (and hopefully appreciate) something new in the mix. I’ve been playing ASIT for forty years (bought my copy when I was still in high school) and I heard lots of things this time around I never knew were there. This is why we keep improving our systems, right? There is never going to be a time when these nearly forty year old recordings have nothing new to offer.

The Tubey Magic Top Ten

You don’t need tube equipment to hear the prodigious amounts of Tubey Magic that exist on this recording. For those of you who’ve experienced top quality analog pressings of Meddle or Dark Side of the Moon, or practically any jazz album on Contemporary, whether played through tubes or transistors, that’s the luscious sound of Tubey Magic, and it is all over A Space in Time.

Ranked strictly in terms of Tubey Magic I would have to put this album on our list of Most Tubey Magical Rock Recordings of All Time, right up there with Sgt. Pepper (1967), Meddle (1971), Dark Side of the Moon (1973), the first Eagles album (1972), the first Dire Straits album (1977, and clearly the outlier in this group), the first Doors album (1967), Ziggy Stardust (1972), Tumbleweed Connection (1970), and a handful of others.

Their Only Essential Album

By the way, this was the first Ten Years After record I ever bought, and I liked it so much I went out and bought many of their other albums, only to find that none of their other albums are anything like this one. None of them sound particularly good; none of them are particularly well produced; and most of the music is fairly forgettable British blues rock.

A Great CD Is Born

By the way, the BGO Import CD of the album is excellent. No match for a Hot Stamper of course, but dramatically better than the average classic rock CD, and quite a bit better than the domestic CDs we’ve auditioned.

Newsflash (3/2014)

The Audio Fidelity Gold CD mastered by Steve Hoffman is even better. If you don’t want to buy a Hot Stamper LP, that CD is your best bet (assuming it sounds as good as mine).

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Ten Years After’s albums