Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Jack White’s Ultra Vinyl of the Future

With this month’s “ultra vinyl” release of Jack White‘s latest solo work, Lazaretto, it would appear that my Fabulous Las Vegas Roulette multi-track LP has, indeed, met its match.  White seems to be aiming for the fences on this special project, as Lazaretto goes to extraordinary lengths to maximize those aspects of the vinyl experience that are unique to that specific audio playback format.  Check out these special effects available on LP only:

•  2 vinyl-only hidden tracks beneath the center labels:
   1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, the other 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record.

•  Dual-groove technology:  Plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where the needle is dropped — meets for the body of the song.

•  Side A plays from the outside in.

•  Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an unplayed 78 RPM record.

•  Both sides end with locked grooves.

•  Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record.

•  LP utilizes some mixes different from those used on CD/digital versions.

•  Absolutely zero compression used during recording, mixing & mastering.

“This is my proudest moment with Third Man Records, this object,” White said of the LP to Conan O’Brien during an appearance on Conan on June 11, reported Billboard.

Jack White & ConanJack White & Jimmy Fallon

Billboard‘s June 18th piece goes on to state that Lazaretto, which debuted at #1, set a vinyl sales record:

Rocker Jack White claims his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as Lazaretto bows in the top slot with 138,000 sold in the week ending June 15, according to NielsenSoundScan.  The effort follows his solo debut, Blunderbuss, which also opened atop the list and sold 138,000 in its first frame. (It sold a handful of copies less, actually, but when rounded to the nearest thousand, both figures become 138,000).

Lazaretto – released on White’s Third Man Records label through Columbia Records – also sets the record for the largest sales week for a vinyl album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

The vinyl LP sold 40,000 copies — easily enough to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Vinyl Albums chart. (The vinyl edition of the album has many unusual bonus features that clearly intrigued consumers.)   It beats the debut of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy, which sold 34,000 vinyl LPs in its first week, back in 1994. (Notably, Vitalogy was issued on vinyl first, two weeks before its release on CD and cassette.)


Jack White (2014)

Album mastered by the esteemed Bob Ludwigtechnical notes courtesy of Discogs:

The record was pressed in the U.S. and distributed worldwide. So some copies might have different hype stickers on shrink wrap (from the country of distribution).”Ultra LP” release featuring several special features:

  • Tracks A6 and B7 are locked grooves featuring elements from their respective previous tracks. “High Ball Stepper” doesn’t end with a faded-out distortion as in the digital versions, it is locked instead.
  • Tracks A7 and B8 are hidden tracks pressed on their sides’ labels, and play at 78 RPM and 45 RPM respectively, thus making the LP a three speed record.
  • Side A’s groove is inverted and plays from the inside out.
  • “Just One Drink” consists of two different intros, each in its own groove, with both connecting at the body of the song. BA1 is acoustic, BB1 is electric.
  • Side B has a matte finish, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record.
  • Vinyl is pressed in flat-edged format.
  • Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record.
  • Tracks B3 and B4 are swapped in comparison to the digital editions, and B2 features a slightly longer intro.
  • The vinyl was mastered entirely from analog sources with no additional compression used.
  • Tracks A1 to A5 and BA1/BB1 to B6 are listed continuously from 1 to 11 and play at 33 ⅓ RPM. Track A7 is an uncredited reworking of ‘Pusherman’ – originally by Curtis Mayfield.
  • Durations unlisted, approximates obtained by digitizing the vinyl audio.
  • Jacket features Soft Touch aqueous coating. Record comes in die-cut black paper poly sleeve. Also included are an insert with lyrics and credits, and a digital download card for the album in MP3 format, which also shows info about the hologram.
  • Some copies have the same label on both sides of record.

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