Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy – Our First Shootout Winner, 2008

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More Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

This British Sunray original pressing takes the sound to a level BEYOND all others. This copy has deep, punchy bass that exceeded my wildest expectations. I’ve been playing this record for thirty years and I’ve never heard a bottom end like this before. Side one here rates an A+++ — Master Tape Sound, As Good As It Gets (AGAIG). 

As we said last time around, this is Brian Eno’s MASTERPIECE. It’s one of my All Time Favorite Albums, a real Demo Disc of twisted pop. This British Sunray original pressing takes the sound to a level BEYOND all others. If you have a big speaker and the kind of high quality playback that is capable of unravelling the most complicated musical creations, with all the weight and power of live music, this is the record that will make all your audio effort and expense worthwhile. That’s the kind of stereo I’ve been working on for thirty years and this album just plain KILLS over here. I heard this music come alive like never before with this copy a night or two ago, and let me tell you, it was a THRILL.

Watch Your Meter

I’ve been crazy about this album since I first heard it back in college. I’ve even committed to memory most of the words to the songs on side one, my favorite of the two, and quote them regularly to the dismay of everyone present. Songs like The Fat Lady of Limbourg or The Great Pretender have such wonderful meter, with all the stresses falling perfectly on exactly the right syllables, they take on the timeless, non-narrative quality of poetry. Spoken or sung they sound the same. Hell, if you want to you could probably chant them. Their beauty is beyond description, or at least it feels that way to me.

Art Rock

That being said, it may not be the kind of thing most music loving audiophiles will be able to make much sense of if they have no history with this kind of Art Rock from the ’70s. I grew up on Roxy Music, 10cc, Eno, The Talking Heads, Ambrosia, Supertramp, Yes and the like, bands that wanted to play rock music but felt shackled by the chains of the conventional pop song. This was and still is my favorite kind of music.

When it comes to the genre, I put this album right at the top of the heap along with several other landmark albums from the period: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Roxy Music’s first, Sheet Music, Crime of the Century, Ambrosia’s first two releases, The Yes Album, Fragile and perhaps a handful of others, no more than that.

Repeat As Necessary

Like Roxy Music’s first album, this is a powerhouse that not only rewards repeated listenings but requires them. Music like this simply cannot be digested at one sitting. Like the Beatles said, It’s All Too Much. But the more you hear it the more you will be able to understand it and appreciate it and, if you’re like me, really start to love it (I hope). I’ve been listening to this album since the mid-’70s and have never tired of it. To me it’s the very definition of a Desert Island Disc: a record that knocks me out every time I play it and never wears out its welcome. It’s still fresh and “cutting edge” (if I can use that term) thirty odd years after its release.

The Sound

This album is all about sound, pure sound itself if you will: the sound of the instruments, their textures, and the textures of the soundscape Eno has created for them. Much of that information is lost or perverted on the LP reissues and of course the CD. Only these British originals sound like they are made from fresh master tapes on rich, sweet tubey-magical, super high resolution cutting equipment.

With the subtle harmonics of Eno’s treated sounds captured onto vinyl intact, the magic of the experience far exceeds just another batch of catchy songs with clever arrangements. It truly becomes an immersive experience; sounds you’ve never heard in quite that way draw you into their world, each more interesting than the next.