Far – Water & Solutions

Posted: February 24, 2014 in Vinyl
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Far’s classic album, Water & Solutions was pressed on vinyl by Sh!t Radio Cast’s ($RC) “label” srcvinyl and released at the same time of Far’s earlier album Tin Cans With Strings To You. Unlike a lot of vinyl releases these days, the album was re-mastered for vinyl using the original master analog tape rather than using a digital master. This vinyl mastering was down by Stan Ricker, who works on many Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab releases. That fact is a giant step in the right direction, but, unfortunately, since $RC was involved with releasing this, there were some problems.

Before delving into the problems, here are some more details about the release. It comes in a glossy finish jacket with a fold out insert. Each copy comes in its own out poly sleeve with a silver sticker on it that reads “SRC HiFi Audiophile mastering.” The record was pressed on three colors, with only two apparently being limited. There are 500 copies on clear with blue smoke and 500 copies on coke bottle clear. The clear with blue smoke copies were exclusive to $RC and the coke bottle clear copies were “retail” exclusive. The “retail” exclusive is a bit of a lie as $RC sold a good chunk of the copies rather than sending them out to, you know… retail. An unlimited 180 gram black variant is also available.

The same controversy that surrounds Tin Cans With Strings To You also swirls around Water & Solutions. All copies were supposed to be pressed on 180 gram vinyl, but once the records started shipping out to people who pre-ordered them, it became quite evident that the records were not pressed on 180 gram vinyl. I should note though that my copy on coke bottle clear is on 180 gram, even though there were some people complaining that their copy was not on 180 gram. Given the complaints I used my postal scale to weigh my copies of these two Far records, finding out that my copy of Water & Solutions is on 176 gram vinyl while Tin Cans With Strings To You I didn’t even bother weighing because it was quite obvious it’s not on 180 gram vinyl. This marked the first time that I ever weighed any of my records, or even felt compelled to do so. I know there is at least one person out there so anal about things that he weighs every single one of his records and takes note of it somewhere.

$RC played dumb about it until someone brought it up on a message board they run, and in typical $RC fashion they passed the blame on to the plant. They claimed they didn’t know about the records not being on 180 gram vinyl and upon going back to inspect some copies they still had on hand discovered it to be true. They went on to claim the plant screwed them and it’s entirely their fault. While partly true, $RC could have refused the shipment since it wasn’t what they ordered and paid for. Rather than go that route, $RC opted to just send out records that weren’t as advertised without so much as a word; until someone publicly complained about it. I’m actually surprised the complaint wasn’t brushed under the rug since it was posted on a message board they have complete ownership and operation of. They censor their Facebook page anytime anyone posts anything negative by deleting comments and blocking the people who leave said comments from leaving future comments. They went as far as to remove the capability of posting on their wall all together as they removed the wall feature from their page. For whatever it means, $RC changed their pressing info to reflect that the two colored vinyl variants are not on 180 gram vinyl.

There of course is another school of thought on the matter if you don’t prescribe to the “it was a mistake and not our fault” reasoning. You could call it the conspiracy side of it, but given $RC’s track record of shadiness, it’s a likely scenario. This could have all been an intentional move by $RC, as they make more money in the end by charging for 180 gram vinyl and only ordering standard weight vinyl. $RC charged $22 before shipping for Water & Solutions, a single LP. An outrageous price, but not unexpected because $RC loves to overcharge for all their releases. They overcharge to the point where they have to put some of their releases on clearance for $5 long after they are released, and even at that price they still can’t sell out of them.

There was also an issue when $RC first received the clear with blue smoke batch of records from the plant, as they were the wrong color. $RC did not mention how badly the color was off from what they ordered, but far enough off that they rejected them. Really makes me wonder why they didn’t do the same with the “purple” variant for Tin Cans With Strings To You. Or reject the records because they weren’t pressed on 180 gram vinyl, you know, because they already rejected a batch of records for this album. The mastering is also off as well despite it being mastered specifically for vinyl. A few seconds of the first song, “Bury White” are missing. The opening chords are cut off. How that got past $RC is beyond me. They claim they didn’t notice any of these major/subtle (depending on how you value things) errors, but I’m willing to bet with already having a delay caused by initially receiving the wrong color for one variant, $RC no longer cared and just wanted to get the records out the door and off their books.

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