‘Lazaretto’, the ultra LP that Jack built

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Some of you vinyl aficionados will have seen the story over the last few days about Jack White (of White Stripes fame) releasing his upcoming ‘Lazaretto’ LP on a vinyl pressing to end all vinyl pressings. Not only has every aspect of vinyl-pressing as a discipline been applied, but it shows a very important fact… vinyl as a medium is on the rise again.

The age-old argument about the advantages and disadvantages of vinyl rages on as ever, but Jack White certainly manages to kick dust into the faces of vinyl opponents with his album offering. The 12 inch “Ultra LP” version of the album ‘Lazaretto’ is one of the most comprehensive and thoughtful vinyl record releases we’ve seen in a very long time. The last major one in my mind was Radiohead’s In Rainbows release.

The record uses every trick in the book to give the listener an experience you’d never get from a digital purchase. There are hidden tracks beneath the labels, with one of the tracks playing at 78 RPM (good luck finding a player that supports that!) meaning it’s quite possibly one of the only LPs to have 33, 45 and 78 RPM tracks on one release. One side plays from the inside outwards and the other has two parallel grooves, giving you different versions of the same intro to a track.

Even more amazing are the “floating holograms” that can be found after the end of the record on one side. You need to watch the video to really see how it works, but I’m pretty sure that’s a first for vinyl and certainly puts to shame the poxy picture disk art you see everywhere (I’ll try harder next time – Ed). 

Here’s a rundown of all the impressive stuff you get for your $20:

  • 180 gram vinyl
  • 2 vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels
  • 1 hidden track plays at 78 RPM, one plays at 45 RPM, making this a 3-speed record
  • Side A plays from the inside out
  • Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.
  • Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an un-played 78 RPM record
  • Both sides end with locked grooves
  • Vinyl pressed in seldom-used 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
  • Absolutely zero compression used during recording, mixing and mastering
  • Different running order from the CD/digital version
  • LP utilizes some mixes different from those used on CD and digital version

'Lazaretto', the ultra LP that Jack built There have been other great vinyl releases in recent times. Labels are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done, trying to add more and more value. Check out this release of the Jurassic Park OST. Just… look at it! Who wouldn’t want to own that? The album features the definitive re-master of the original John Williams music, overseen by the composer himself, and includes several pieces of music that hadn’t been released before. 'Lazaretto', the ultra LP that Jack built London superclub Fabric has a long-running self-titled compilation series featuring CD releases from big name DJs. They sometimes release limited edition pressings of samplers on 10” vinyl, with a small selection of tracks. 'Lazaretto', the ultra LP that Jack built Here’s one for the 80s kids…. Behold, the glow-in-the-dark vinyl record of Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters theme! There’s so much nostalgia distilled into this package hipsters’ heads are exploding as we speak.

'Lazaretto', the ultra LP that Jack built
DJ Premier’s recent Serato Pressing

Obviously for DJs, we cannot let this article pass without referencing Serato Pressings. Dropping DJ-themed vinyl on a regular basis, these pressings get snapped up within minutes of launch and change hands for crazy sums of money. But that’s for another soon to come story.

Record Store Day

In fact, this year’s Record Store Day saw quite a few interesting reissues and releases, ranging from the aforementioned Ghostbusters, to music by Notorious B.I.G., a David Bowie picture disc and Supersonic by Oasis. Critics of the one-day event have said that it feels a bit like forcing people to go to record stores, and that we should be supporting the industry throughout the year, which would also spread the burden on pressing companies, but much like Free Comic Book Day, any event that highlights local businesses and supports a community economy has to be a good thing. Paul Weller has openly criticised touts buying up releases and flogging them on ebay, prompting a response from RSD.

Over To You

Did anyone manage to get out vinyl shopping on Record Store Day? What’s the most amazing vinyl release you’ve seen?