Peter Gabriel – Security

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  • A stunning copy of Security with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the second side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the first
  • One of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, original and influential on so many levels
  • With the benefit of today’s technology, on a copy this good you hear into the soundfield in a way never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of multi-tracked choruses
  • “Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel’s catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance…”

Man does this album sound better than I remember it from back in the ’80s when I first played it. Stereos have come a long way since then, along with a host of other things that help records sound better, such as cleaning fluids, room treatments and all the rest. Now you can really hear INTO the soundfield in a way that simply was never possible before, picking out all the drummers and counting all the layers of PG’s multi-tracked choruses. On the best pressings, both sides are huge, and the music jumps out of the speakers. The balance is perfection.

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1982
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

This is not an easy album to find good sound for. Most copies are thick, opaque, turgid, veiled — pick your favorite adjective for mud, most copies fit the profile. When you find one like this, that has some real space and clarity, it’s amazing how much more sense the music makes.

The best copies have the kind of qualities that are not difficult to recognize: presence, putting PG front and center; dynamics, both micro and macro; energy, allowing the rhythmic elements to bring out the life in the music; transparency, so that we can hear all the way to the back of the studio; and ambience, the air that surrounds all the players and what they played.

And of course we played the album VERY LOUD, as loud as we could. It’s the only way to get the massive drumming to sound right.

What We’re Listening For on Security

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Music

This is one of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, groundbreaking and influential on so many levels. The entire album is a wonderful journey; anyone with a pop-prog bend will enjoy the ride. Just turn the volume up good and loud, turn off your mind, relax and float along with PG and the boys. You’re in good hands.

I take exception to the AMG review referring to the album as mood music. These are fully developed songs, any one of which would stand up well on its own against others in the PG canon. The more you listen to the album the more you will appreciate that every track here is at least good while many of them are nothing short of brilliant.

Lessons Learned

On this title, forget the Brits. Every British pressing we played was horriblly smeared and veiled. This took us by surprise a bit because we happen to like some British PG pressing, but remember, So on British vinyl is awful too, so perhaps the later PG records are bad on British vinyl and the early ones are better. We’ll get to the bottom of it someday; for now let’s just face the fact that the domestic pressings are the way to go for Security.

What We Listened For

The best copies have the kind of qualities that are not tricky or difficult to recognize: presence, putting PG front and center; dynamics, both micro and macro; energy, allowing the rhythmic elements to bring out the life in the music; transparency, so that we can hear all the way to the back of the studio (where some of the many musicians that play in the densest parts no doubt had to stand); and ambience, the air that surrounds all the players and what they played.

And of course we played the album VERY LOUD, as loud as we could. It’s the only way to get the massive druming to sound right.

This Copy

This copy on side one has right on the money tonality from top to bottom, with big drums and smooth, silky voices in the choruses. We took it down from our top grade because it lacked a little of the top end extension we heard on other copies.

Side two is even better at A++ to A+++, with everything going for it. We heard one copy with better transient information, so we docked it half a plus from the best. Still, this is our best overall copy.

The Music

This is one of the most important records in the Peter Gabriel canon, groundbreaking and influential on so many levels. The entire album is a wonderful journey; anyone with a pop-prog bend will enjoy the ride. Just turn the volume up good and loud, turn off your mind, relax and float along with PG and the boys. You’re in good hands.

I take exception to the AMG review referring to the album as mood music. These are fully developed songs, any one of which would stand up well on its own against others in the PG canon. The more you listen to the album the more you will appreciate that every track here is at least good while many of them are nothing short of brilliant.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Rhythm of the Heat 
San Jacinto 
I Have the Touch 
The Family and the Fishing Net

Side Two

Shock the Monkey 
Lay Your Hands on Me
Wallflower 
Kiss of Life

AMG Review

Security — which was titled Peter Gabriel everywhere outside of the U.S. — continues where the third Gabriel album left off, sharing some of the same dense production and sense of cohesion, yet lightening the atmosphere and expanding the sonic palette somewhat. The gloom that permeates the third album has been alleviated and while this is still decidedly somber and serious music, it has a brighter feel, partially derived from Gabriel’s dabbling in African and Latin rhythms. These are generally used as tonal coloring, enhancing the synthesizers that form the basic musical bed of the record, since much of this is mood music (for want of a better word).

Security flows easily and enticingly, with certain songs — the eerie “San Jacinto,” “I Have the Touch,” “Shock the Monkey” — arising from the wash of sound. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is bland easy listening — it’s designed this way, to have certain songs deliver greater impact than the rest. As such, it demands close attention to appreciate tone poems like “The Family and the Fishing Net,” “Lay Your Hands on Me,” and “Wallflower” — and not all of them reward such intensive listening. Even with its faults, Security remains a powerful listen, one of the better records in Gabriel’s catalog, proving that he is becoming a master of tone, style, and substance, and how each part of the record enhances the other.