Gabriel’s first four self-titled albums 1 (1977), 2 (1978), 3 (1980) and 4 (1982) are now available on half-speed remastered double vinyl to be run at 45rpm.
Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering has cut the vinyl with Tony Cousins at Metropolis responsible for the mastering (overseen by Gabriel’s main sound engineer Richard Chappell).
Each album comes in a gatefold sleeve while download cards are also included with a choice of 24bit/96kHz or 16bit/44.1kHz. The sets are numbered and limited.
To test these 45rpm, half speed cuts, I compared them directly with the original pressings. All discs were compared but, since space is of the essence here, let’s concentrate upon the debut album and the hit single from the album, Solsbury Hill.
The difference was stark and immediate. Everything: vocals, strings, you name it, was opened up providing a host of extra detail. Just about every aspect of the presentation offered more detail while the track itself increased its gain, forcing me to lower the volume just a touch.
The acoustic guitar strings now featured far more space and air around each finger pluck, adding tiny amounts of reverb around each string that provided a more natural tonality to proceedings. In general, there seemed to be more delicate strings floating around the soundstage as a whole while the percussion was a touch more isolated in the mix, providing a characterful presentation while there seemed to added heft and weight in the lower frequency extremes.
The vocals also offered a natural and seemingly relaxed delivery. Now Gabriel seemed to be enjoying his time at the microphone. He enunciated his words with greater confidence and with extra emotion. Even if you have the originals, as an audiophile, you need to check out these editions.