Enya – Watermark – Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017


Our White Hot Shootout Winner for 2017

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  • Triple Triple! An amazing pressing of this New Age masterpiece with Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
  • The sound is super clear, open and natural with lots of texture and detail; the vinyl is nice and quiet
  • Orinico Flow (aka Sail Away) is the big hit here and it sounds amazing on a copy like this one
  • 5 stars: “…the subtlety that characterizes her work at her best dominates Watermark, with the lovely title track, her multi-tracked voice gently swooping among the lead piano, and strings like a softly haunting ghost, as fine an example as any.”

See all of our Enya albums in stock

The sound is airy, open, spacious, and super transparent. This may not be our favorite music in the world, but it’s hard to argue with sonics like this.

The vocals are breathy and full-bodied with staggering immediacy, and the bottom end is weighty and powerful. The instruments all have lovely texture, and it’s easy to pick out and follow them over the course of a song.

What to Listen For (WTLF)

What are the criteria by which a record like this should be judged? Pretty much the ones we discuss in most of our Hot Stamper listings: energy, vocal presence, frequency extension (on both ends), transparency, harmonic textures (freedom from smear is key), rhythmic drive, tonal correctness, fullness, richness, and on and on down through the list.

When we can get all, or most all, of the qualities above to come together on any given side we provisionally award it a grade of “contender.” Once we’ve been through all our copies on one side we then play the best of the best against each other and arrive at a winner for that side. Repeat the process for the other side and the shootout is officially over. All that’s left is to see how the sides matched up.

It may not be rocket science, but it is a science of a kind, one with strict protocols that we’ve developed over the course of many years to insure that the results we arrive at are as accurate as we can make them.

The result of all our work speaks for itself, on this very record in fact. We guarantee you have never heard this music sound better than it does on our Hot Stamper pressing — or your money back.

Size

One of the qualities that we don’t talk about on the site nearly enough is the SIZE of the record’s presentation. Some copies of the album just sound small — they don’t extend all the way to the outside edges of the speakers, and they don’t seem to take up all the space from the floor to the ceiling. In addition, the sound can often be recessed, with a lack of presence and immediacy in the center.

Other copies — my notes for these copies often read “BIG and BOLD” — create a huge soundfield, with the music positively jumping out of the speakers. They’re not brighter, they’re not more aggressive, they’re not hyped-up in any way, they’re just bigger and clearer.

And most of the time those very special pressings just plain rock harder. When you hear a copy that does all that, it’s an entirely different listening experience.

5 Stars

AMG gives this album 5 stars and it’s easy to see why. Even if it’s not your thing — and truthfully it ain’t really ours, you can check our Top 100 to know where our tastes lie — there’s no denying that Enya is an artist at the very top of her field, and it is easy to see why Watermark is widely considered her masterpiece. If you are going to own one New Age album, you can’t do much better than this.

By the way, do you have any idea how difficult it is to find quiet vinyl for this album? It’s easier to find quiet Stones albums, I kid you not. We never see this one in the bins for under $25 these days, and even when they look Minty they often are too noisy to even bother with. We don’t do too many shootouts for Geffen albums from the ’80s, so I’m not sure if their vinyl is the problem but it seems likely.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Watermark
Cursum Perficio
On Your Shore
Storms in Africa
Exile
Miss Clare Remembers

Side Two

Orinoco Flow
Evening Falls…
River
The Longships
Na Laetha Gael M’Óige
Storms in Africa, Pt. 2