The Velvet Underground & Nico (45th Anniversary Remaster)

What better way to pass ones time without power than to listen to music? My modern-day Victrola—a MacBook Pro running Pure Music, the AudioQuest Dragonfly DAC, and a pair of headphones—requires a trip to the local Starbucks for an occasional re-charge as long as I have enough gas to get there and back or there's gas and an open station to pump it on even days (I should have kept my old odd license plates). But when powered up, this tiny personal portable listening station does the trick.

According to Discogs, there are 83 versions of the Velvet Underground's debut album with Nico so I won't be doing a comparison among them all. I own an early but not original LP-version as well as the standard CD release and I prefer the LP to the CD which sounds thin. You know, like a crapy CD. The new version from HDtracks includes the stereo mix for all tracks and not the original mono mixes and is available in 24/96 or 24/192 and while we're told it is the "45th Anniversary Remaster", we're not told anything else. But we do know from a Universal Music Enterprises press release that the 45th Anniversary release was "remastered from the original tapes". Unfortunately, the HDtracks version does not include any of the bonus material including the previously unreleased songs that were discovered on the original acetate bought for seventy five cents at a NYC Flea Market. Sigh. We also know from listening that "All Tomorrow's Parties" contains the original double-tracked vocals.

I bought the 24/96 version since I'm currently limited to 24/96 through the Dragonfly and the good news, the really great news, is it sounds gritty (its supposed to sound gritty), noisy (ditto), dirty and seductive with a machined metallic glare. While I cannot do a direct comparison to the ripped CD since that version resides on my at present powerless NAS, my memory tells me this remastered version rips the standard CD. I also peeped at some tracks pixels using Audacity and while there's not a heck of a lot of spectral energy above 20k there is some and there's also no signs of a brick wall. In terms of dynamic range, again I cannot do any comparisons but this was always a loud record and it remains so. I'm very much looking forward to listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico (45th Anniversary Remaster) in-room so I can fully soak in all its bad goodness.

Andy Warhol is credited as Producer even though he didn't really Produce this record. It's perhaps more accurate to say that Andy orchestrated this record and this group while he certainly made the album's slick cover art. Song-writing credit mainly goes to Lou Reed and the sound of the record can mainly be credited to John Cale while its sultry sexiness is all Nico's. The rest of the band included Sterling Morrison (Vocals, Guitar and Bass Guitar) and Maureen Tucker (Percussion).

Originally released in 1967 on Verve Records, The Velvet Underground & Nico is a stone-cold classic. Period. You want this record. I have it and I still continue to want it, if you know what I mean.

Track List

1 Sunday Morning - Album Version (Stereo) 2:56
2 I'm Waiting For The Man - Album Version (Stereo) 4:39
3 Femme Fatale - Album Version (Stereo) 2:38
4 Venus In Furs - Album Version (Stereo) 5:12
5 Run Run Run - Album Version (Stereo) 4:22
6 All Tomorrow's Parties - Album Version (Stereo) 6:00
7 Heroin - Album Version (Stereo) 7:12
8 There She Goes Again - Album Version (Stereo) 2:41
9 I'll Be Your Mirror - Album Version (Stereo) 2:14
10 Black Angel's Death Song - Album Version (Stereo) 3:11
11 European Son - Album Version (Stereo)
You can buy the HD versions from HDtracks.

Regor Ladan's picture

"...and while we're told it is the "45th Anniversary Remaster", we're not told anything else."

Minimal info from HDTracks...gasp!  Shocking! Let me liner notes either except that pathetic PDF they always include of the front cover.

HD Downloads: tiny sliver of market until we starst getting premium service.

They also pissed off a helluva lot of customers releasing the Doors albums individually after forcing fans to buy it as a huge 79 track mess.


kenmac's picture

Along with that handsome hifi rig me thinks you need a long length of flexible tubing for siphoning gas from neighboring cars. Hey, that's the NYC way!

Regor Ladan's picture

A friend of mine let me listen to his 192 Khz download. I came away thinking there was not much a payoff here. The remaster and the Mobile Fidelity versions are so close that i would say save your money.

It is a very, very ragged recording, even by late 60's standards.