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Aerial Ballet (180 Gram)
Vinyl | 180 gram
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The American singer-songwriter might well share his reputation as a multitalented eccentric with a number of other musicians. However, his highly unusual style and his satirical catchy pop songs composed with the sparkling eye of a cynic and the tearful eye of a nostalgic cannot be pigeonholed. Nilsson packaged derisive lines, spiced with a pinch of self-irony, in suspiciously pleasing yet carefully selected tunes. Several of the wonderfully fresh numbers from 'Aerial Ballet' reached top places in the charts. 'Everybody's Talkin'' became world-famous through its use in the film 'Asphalt Cowboy' and brought Nilsson his first Grammy award. The song 'One' soared to the top ten of the charts.
Top customer reviews
This is certainly a five star album but I've docked this edition twos star for ear piercing, compressed sounding quality of the album. The bonus tracks are nice as is the packaging but can't make up for the trend towards compressed, harsh sounding CDs.
There's good news and bad news here. The good-this remaster has a wealthy of detail that was buried under noise reduction on previous editions and, as far as I can tell, it appears noise reduction hasn't been used here (EQ has eliminated most of the tape hiss).
The bad-this version suffers from peak limiting which can cause some distortion and there isn't much dynamic range here either due to compression. That means that much of the subtly of the instruments and, indeed, Nilsson's voice, can occasionally be lost in the presentation.
There are the bonus tracks that were tacked onto the Camden three-for 1 from 2000 included here as well including an early version of "Best Friend" the theme from the TV series "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" a popular 60's sitcom that starred Bil Bixby that Nilsson provided the music for. It's called "Girlfriend" and is a demo recording very much a diamond in the rough.
The packaging for the 2007 reissue and 2009 is the same--a replica of the LP sleeve with a lyric booklet in both Japanese and English. The label has customed artwork from Harry's own collection and I know I've seen it before but can't recall where (it may have been the original label although I doubt it).
There are no mastering credits here and also no indication if this comes from the original master tapes or some other source.
Conclusion: If you have a decent sounding version of this album which has good dynamic range on CD you may want to stay with that. The good news here is that it appears that if there is noise reduction it is minimal and there is a wealth more detail and it sounds quite good. This album is mastered perfectly for an ipod but might be a bit fatiguing on a high end stereo unit.
This isn't a perfect remaster but it is worthwhile getting for the content if you can't find a better mastered version. It's one of Harry's finest early albums.
My take--it's NOT worth the additional money. I'd try to find a domestic release of this and, failing that, even the Camden 3 album ("Aerial", "Pandomonium" and "Aerial Pandomonium" remix album) is better sounding than this edition.
I'd also recommend:
Nilsson SchmilssonThe Point! (Deluxe Packaging)Son of SchmilssonHarryKnnillssonn
That's not to imply that this album is just made of that one fabulous track plus fillers although it would be safe to say that Fred Neil's composition stands out head over shoulders over the rest of the tracks. Other tracks that are quite good are "The Wailing of the Willow" which he co-wrote and "One". This album in terms of length and indeed writing style reminds me a lot of Mason Williams' "Phonograph Record" but at least the stand-out hit there, "Classical Gas" wasn't a cover. Nilsson writes in a similarly humorous style and a few of the tracks reminds me of John Lennon's "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" from the "Sgt. Pepper's ... Band" album. Think of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" days and you'll get a fair idea of what the majority of the tracks here are like. There are 3 bonus tracks here: "Sister Marie", "Miss Butter's Lament" and "Girlfriend" which sound raw compared to the main course. Overall, the sound quality is very good given that this is a late 60's album and so the remastering job is top notch.
Now this version of the album comes in a very well designed mini-lp sleeve replica with good quality cardboard and fine detailed representation of the original lp sleeve. It also includes a 20-page booklet printed on glossy paper. As far as mlps designs go, this one ranks among the best and I wish all mlps releases can be this good. Great packaging, great sound quality makes this great value as well.
Highly recommended for Nilsson fans and definitely worth the "upgrade"!