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  Matador Records -
  Mission of Burma: ONoffON

Mission of Burma
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Reviews: 2

Review by factor March 28, 2008 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The music stands up tall with the best stuff this band has ever put out, twenty year layoff notwithstanding. Not as exciting or as important as Vs., but their powers were mostly intact.

Still, I'm not really sure why this was put out on SACD. The DSD layer does sound marginally more open and clear than the CD version when you compare them directly, but both versions have the same squashed dynamics that you'd expect from a 2003 indy rock record. This was engineered by Bob Weston of Shellac and Chicago Mastering Service, which means the analog mix master tapes of these sessions probably sound great. Shame that they were destined to be put through the loudness war crappification machine before being released on a digital format. I've never heard the LP but I'd bet it sounds much better than either layer of this hybrid. Still, I guess I do recommend seeking out the SACD instead of the standard CD if you must have this music on a shiny disc. They're both bad; the SACD is a slightly less annoying flavor of bad.

"Bad" needs some perspective, though. Neither layer sounds as bad as the CD of their next record, The Obliterati, a true mastering pooch job.

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Review by vonwegen January 11, 2005 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is a good, solid Burma album that is on a par with their early '80s stuff, both song-wise and in performance.

Mission of Burma are loud avant-gardists who were alt-rock before there was such a thing. As such, expect short tunes with dissonant, feedback-drenched guitar with driving bass and drums and loud, lyrically arch vocals from all three band members that tend to be amelodic--nothing here you could hum along to. That said, if you like edgy stuff, look no further.

Sonic-wise, this is a good-sounding SACD; the main difference being the fullness of the sound--the CD treble saws the top of your head off. The stereo SACD layer, in contrast, is so smooth and punchy--you can turn it way up without reaching the pain threshold. Doing a back-to-back A/B comparison with another fine hard rock SA-CD, Deep Purple's Machine Head reveals the advances in recording technology since MH's 1972 birth--a deeper, more resonant sound for guitar, bass guitar and for the drums--in a word, more 'oomph'.

I give it 4 stars all around--but be advised, this is not for anyone expecting Classic Rock or its mainstream derivatives.

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