More of the Music of Steely Dan
Reviews and Commentaries for Aja
Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your copy of Aja.
Our track commentary for the song Home at Last makes it easy to spot an obvious problem with Cisco’s remastered Aja: This is the toughest song to get right on side two.
Nine out of ten copies have grainy, irritating vocals; the deep bass is often missing too. Home at Last can sometimes be just plain unpleasant, which is why it’s such a great test track.
Get this one right and it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there on out.
If you own the Cisco pressing, focus on Victor Feldman’s piano at the beginning of the song. It lacks body, weight and ambience on the new pressing, but any of our better Hot Stamper copies will show you a piano with those qualities in spades on every track. It’s some of my favorite work by the Steely Dan vibesman.
The thin piano on the Cisco release must be recognized for what it is: a major error on the part of the mastering engineers.