When An iTunes Gift Card Just Won’t Do

Written by Tony Ware on . Posted in Gift Guide, Posts.

The year 2010 has
brought not only a wealth of extended digital audio to the consumer
market, but vinyl has become an integral part of many a deluxe edition.
Clarity may not yet have won over quantity, but as far as this gift
guide is concerned, the industry is finally getting on the same
wavelength and the same frequency as collectors. Here are some fine
examples of what to get for the music-loving technophile that has
everything—except that one raw take from that one aborted session that’s
only now received official reference-grade remastering.

advent of Blu-ray has allowed for full-spectrum, master tape
reproduction, which has resulted in such detail-rich reissues as Tom
Petty’s 1979 Damn the Torpedoes, which shows new layers of supple
chime and searing rock. As a bonus, the purchase of the Blu-ray (or
limited edition vinyl) comes with a free download of lossless, DRM-free,
high-resolution digital copies of the tracks. A sonically unlimited,
24bit/96kHz download is a bonus that’s also accompanied the deluxe
remasters of Paul McCartney & Wing’s Band on the Run, as well as George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (both on CD/vinyl, available at the artists’ sites).

Turning further to turntables, The Who’s irrepressible Live at Leeds adds
a previously unreleased, acoustically compelling same-period show in
Hull to a CD/LP 40th anniversary reissue of buffeting, virtuoso volume.
Also back on/first to wax: SoCal punks Bad Religion’s entire catalog
(including 1983’s fascinatingly out-of-step prog-rock Into the Unknown), as
well as that of krautrock cornerstones Neu!, thrash-metal pioneers
Slayer, Green Day, Tegan and Sara, ABBA and others (check artist sites
for details).

don’t have to appeal to the analog purists to make an impact, however.
After a decade out of print, Rhino Handmade has reintroduced proto-punks
the Stooges’ 1970: The Complete Funhouse Sessions, which crams eight unruly hours into a CD box as tight as Iggy Pop’s vintage Levi’s (available at www.rhinohandmade.com). Released simultaneously, Have Some Fun: Live at Ungano’s is
a 1970 audience recording with the clarity of a distant AM station, but
with the presence of a stalking, skronking animal (and an amazing
confrontational poster is included).

Legacy Recordings put back in print the original sinewy David Bowie mixes of the Stooges’ seminal 1973 album Raw Power, remastered
for more authority and backed by a never-aired vintage live radio
concert, rarities/outtakes, a documentary and more. Finally, offering a
glimpse into the often forgotten period after the Stooges and before
Iggy’s solo career, 1975’s Kill City is the indie collaboration
between Stooges guitarist James Williamson and Iggy, and it has been
remixed to express impressive dynamics considering its polisheddemos

Bringing it all together, as well as somewhere else entirely, is Arkives, the
complete works by techno visionary Plastikman. Offered in three
made-to-order formats—an 11-disc CD/DVD edition, a six-record 180gram
vinyl edition and a digital edition (as well as an option to compile all
mediums)—Arkives (available to pre-order through Dec. 31 at
www.plastikman. com/arkives) is a tonally simmering opportunity to
survey both the mentality and physicality of electronic composition,
plus analog and digital recording’s progression since the early ’90s.