Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow – We Found a Good Sounding Orange Label Pressing

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Surrealistic Pillow

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This QUIET orange label (!) pressing has surprisingly good sound, some of the best sound we have ever heard for that more-often-than-not dismal second label in fact. It actually beat a few of our black label originals, with more tubey magic and less distortion and harshness than we expect from these later pressings. 

We always have fun playing this psychedelic ’60s masterpiece. The sound — problematical as it may be — gives you so many of the qualities we love about good ol’ analog. No one’s recording albums these days with this kind of richness, sweetness, and warmth, that’s for sure. Drop the needle on My Best Friend or Today to hear that trippy Sixties San Francisco sound at its best.

This album is an exceedingly difficult nut to crack — no matter how many copies we have, no matter how much information we have to work with. Play the typical copy and you’ll likely run for cover — we heard copies that were aggressive, shrill, lifeless, dull, thick, veiled, bass-shy — you name it, we heard it. Not only that, but as a rule most pressings, even the orange labels ones, are BEAT TO DEATH. Finding a copy that sounds any good and plays Mint Minus Minus or better is a real challenge.

Less Distortion

This one is cut very clean, with less of the grit and grunge that you hear on so many copies. The overall sound is rich, full, and tonally correct. There’s a touch of smear and the vocals don’t have all the presence of the best originals, but this is still an excellent copy that will sound better and play quieter than most copies out there.

No Other Game In Town

If you love this album as much as we do you’ll understand why we went to all this trouble. There is NO OTHER GAME IN TOWN for this album — the Sundazed Mono pressing can’t handle the rock songs, and I’ve never been a fan of the DCC. (It is, in fact, awful and can be found in our Hall of Shame.)

I don’t know how many more Hot Stamper copies we’ll be able to dig up, as they are getting harder and harder to come by — not to mention more expensive. Decent looking pressings sell for good money these days, and not too many of them sound especially good. Add in the groove damage and surface noise that plague most of them and you can see why it’s getting harder for us to continue picking them up and hoping for the best. We’ll keep at it though — the music is just too good.