Stereolab, indie rock innovators from the ’90s who bridged the gap between experimental rock and cerebral pop, have announced a seven-album series of reissues, starting with 1993’s ‘Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements’ and 1994’s ‘Mars Audiac Quintet’. They previously reissued their ‘Switched On’ LPs last year. The albums are digitally remastered from the original ½” analog tapes by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering and supervised by Stereolab’s Tim Gane. These first two reissues will come out on May 2. ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup,’ ‘Dots & Loops,’ and ‘Cobra & Phases Group Play Voltage In The Milky Night’ will be reissued in August while ‘Sound-Dust’ and ‘Margerine Eclipse’ arrive in November. Each album comes with a bonus disc of alternate takes, demos, and unreleased mixes.
Both records have been expanded to triple LP sets on limited edition clear vinyl or standard black vinyl. In addition, limited 2CD sets (250 copies per album ) with the tape obi are also available along with a standard 2CD set. 24- and 16-bit WAV files will also be available on the physical release date.
Further, Stereolab announced a reunion tour of Europe, the UK, and the United States throughout this year. Their September show in El Paso, Texas will mark their first US concert in 11 years.
Here’s a few snippets of what Tim Gane said about the mastering process for the reissues:
“As we started the project it became obvious that most of the tapes were showing signs of deterioration and some of the earliest ones were already at an advanced stage of decay and were actively shredding. They needed to be baked. Great care was taken during the baking of the tapes and no loss of sound quality is audible to me.
The earliest tapes would not have withstood the stress put on them by a normal tape machine set up, with its high-tension mechanism and multi-head configuration. Plus, our ½” tapes needed to run at 30 inches per second. This increased tension would have most likely snapped the tape. As a solution, Bo commissioned a bespoke tape block which consists of a single playback head and a simple, no-tension tape guide. This allowed the tape to be simply held in place as it passed over the single head.
Stereolab’s music can often be quite impenetrably dense in the midrange; there is lots of detail everywhere. We were both very keen to preserve this aspect of the sound and, at the same time, try to improve a little on resolution, spatiality, and depth.”