Bradley's Almanac

[Reissue Review] Ride’s “Nowhere” (Rhino Remaster vs. 1990 original)

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm | 8 Comments

On any given day, if you forced me to shout out my favorite album ever, there’s a very good chance I’d yell “NOWHERE”! For many, many months after Ride’s 1990 start-to-finish masterpiece was released it rarely left my walkman, soundtracking a very volatile chunk of my formative years. The 11 songs on Ride’s debut full-length (after a string of ace EPs) settled down very, very deep into my heart and brain, and to this day I’ve never once tired of hearing it. Hell, I nearly named this blog after a “Nowhere” lyric, but didn’t want to step on Frank‘s already-Ride-referencing toes.

So when the album hit the 20-year mark and Rhino Handmade released remastered double-disc/single LP versions in late 2010, you’re damn right I re-bought it. Sure, I have that purist part of me that screamed “Don’t mess with perfection!”, but I needed to know what they’d done to my dearly beloved. Even if it was going to cost me 40 bucks plus shipping to find that out.

Well, whaddya know… they done good.

Today, to coincide with Clicky Clicky‘s release of the lovingly-curated “NOFUCKINGWHERE” tribute compilation (on which 11 Boston bands cover every single song from the record), and realizing that a $40 pricetag is tough for your average Ride fan to throw down for a 20-year old album they probably know by heart, I thought I’d lay out some simple audio/visual evidence in support of the reissue. Whether you’ve heard the original never, a dozen, or a million times, the remastered “Nowhere” should be on your shelf. Thanks to Rhino, by the way, for allowing me to use the audio tracks below.

The aural dynamics are a vital part of “Nowhere”, so when I heard they were remastering the thing, I feared that we’d get unnecessary compression and over-maximization of valleys vs. hills (don’t worry if you didn’t understand that, it may not actually make sense). The album came out well before the hot-levels craze, where every track was squashed to hell and pinned to max volume. Fortunately those days have (mostly) passed, and Nick Webb at Abbey Road (a former Beatles engineer who handled the remastering) kept all the lows, highs, and dynamic shifts intact – to me, they feel more powerful than ever.

(For a far better explanation of mastering, specifically “loudness”, than I could ever hope to write, check out this excellent primer over at Bob Weston & Jason Ward’s Chicago Mastering Service. It’ll help you understand what I’m trying to get across. Basically this image = bad.)

Compare the waveform of the original 1990 version of “Vapour Trail” with its remastered counterpart, and you’ll see how the volume was increased without maxing all the levels to their highest points…

But more importantly, listen to the original and the remaster back-to-back. Yes, obviously the new version is a bit louder, but pay particular attention to when the drums kick in, or when the strings arrive…

The bass drum and snare are punchier but still in the pocket – they don’t distract from the guitars or vocals. They’re clearer, as are the all-important strings, which are given added definition without sterile separation. I hear details in these songs that I’ve never heard before, and given how many times I’ve listened to them, that’s a mastering miracle. It’s really a near-perfect production job, finding a balance between added clarity and the original’s warm blanket sound.

For another taste (unfortunate but unplanned pun), have a look and listen to “Paralysed“, a longer and more dynamic track than “Vapour Trail“…

Aside from the audio improvement the remaster provides, the bonus material is the other obvious reason to pick up the “Nowhere” reissue: The 4 ridiculously great songs from “Today Forever” EP, which were also remastered, are tacked on the first disc at the end of the album. The original version of EP track “Today” suffered from very low levels, and was a bit muffled – that’s finally been remedied, and it positively sparkles now. (side note – check out Lou Barlow’s thoughts on the “Today Forever” EP right here)

The second disc of the pair holds a previously-unreleased live recording of the band at what some would call the peak of their power, during their first U.S. tour in 1991 at the Roxy in LA. 12 tracks, including 7 from “Nowhere”. It’s probably the best live document of the band I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard more than my share.

The packaging of the double-disc is impressive as well, featuring a 6″ x 6″ hardbound book with a lenticular version of iconic blue wave image on the front, and photos, lyrics, artwork, and an understandably gushing essay from music critic Jim DeRogatis on the inside. The presentation nearly does the audio justice. I haven’t checked out the 180g vinyl remaster, which keeps things simple with just the original “Nowhere” tracks, but it looks, and likely sounds, just as gorgeous. This is the first time the LP version has been available in the states, and pulling together this post has just convinced me I really need to upgrade my original import-only copy.

So hit up Rhino before I grab the last LP (it actually says “Low stock”, so I’m not really kidding), or snag the 2CD version. Then head straight to Clicky Clicky and download “NOFUCKINGWHERE” (for free) so you have something to listen to while you wait by your mailbox.

Comments

8 Responses to “[Reissue Review] Ride’s “Nowhere” (Rhino Remaster vs. 1990 original)”

  1. Jay Breitling
    May 1st, 2012 @ 5:38 am

    Wave form analysis! Holy cow! THIS POST DELIVERS!

  2. Matt S
    May 1st, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

    In Vapour Trail, I notice the remaster most at the mid-song breakdown. In the original, after the initial burst of the drums coming back in they get swallowed up. Not any more. My chills have been remastered!

  3. Eric
    May 1st, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

    The bummer of these things is that the distance between the peaks and valleys – the dynamic range – is diminished, even if the peaks don’t clip. Sounds good though.

  4. Brad
    May 1st, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    Yeah, I was worried about that as well, but if you look at the waveforms, those distances aren’t impacted that much, if at all.

    Check the drop out during Vapour Trail, when it goes to just guitar – the dynamic range may actually be greater in the remaster.

  5. blureu
    May 6th, 2012 @ 12:53 am

    Great post. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Going Blank Again anniv edition coming out this month.

    http://www.oxfordmusic.net/product.php?link=new&id=2020

  6. simon
    May 6th, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    Great blog mate.

    Have a request, any chance you could reupload the mp3’s of the Ride gig at Brighton Daytripper in 1993. I was there and been looking everywhere for a copy of this gig. Would be so much appreciated if possible. Loved this band so much.

    Thanks again.

  7. dlee71
    May 9th, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    I think “Polar Bear” is a better example of how wildly different the remaster sounds.

    It’s especially noticeable on the cymbals and the flange-y guitar bit at the end. And even more so when heard through a good pair of headphones.

    I love this remaster almost as much as I love the Psychocandy remaster. I’m hoping that the Loveless remaster (which I’ve got on the way) will be as brilliant.

    All that said, when I wrote my blog post about this, I also featured “Vapour Trail”.

  8. a
    January 8th, 2017 @ 10:35 am

    Vapour trail: as usual, for ears attuned to the original when it came out, the remaster sounds artificial. It preps up single instruments and vocals, to the detriment of the whole. A rather mediocre song to begin with, the original at least suggests some dynamics in the mid-song break; the remaster results in a breathless boredom.

Leave a Reply





  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Wednesday, September 13th
    Father John Misty
    Phosphorescent
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Thee Oh Sees
    Creaturos
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Mount Eerie
    @ Arts at the Armory


    Wednesday, September 13th
    Alison Moyet
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, September 14th
    The Afghan Whigs
    Har Mar Superstar
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, September 14th
    Jerkagram
    Numbers Have Names
    Brown Lasers
    Ghosts of Sailors at Sea
    @ O'Brien's


    Thursday, September 14th
    Bob Seger & The
    Silver Bullet Band with
    Nancy Wilson (Heart)
    @ the TD Garden


    Friday, September 15th
    Arcade Fire
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, September 15th
    Wild Belle
    Fred Thomas
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, September 15th
    Disco Town Hall
    presented by
    Will Butler of Arcade Fire
    11pm @ Great Scott


    Friday, September 15th
    Middle Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 16th
    Matthew Sweet
    Tommy Keene
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 16th
    Kasabian
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, September 16th
    Sturgill Simpson
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion


    Saturday, September 16th
    Chameleons Vox (featuring
    Mark Burgess of Chameleons UK)
    with Soft Kill & Way Out
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Sunday, September 17th
    Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
    Thalia Zedek
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, September 17th
    Hambone Skinny
    Weather Weapon
    Kangaroo Rat
    outside @ ONCE Somerville
    as part of SOMERSTREETS


    Sunday, September 17th
    Big Thief
    Twain
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, September 18th
    Liars
    @ The Sinclair


    Wednesday, September 20th
    (a band called) E
    Chris Brokaw Rock Band
    Crown Larks
    Gold Dime
    @ the Midway, JP


    Wednesday, September 20th
    The Cribs
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Wednesday, September 20th
    X (40th anniversary tour)
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday & Thursday
    September 20th & 21st
    Gogol Bordello
    Lucky Chops
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, September 21st
    The Cranberries
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, September 22nd
    The Hi-End
    Corin Ashley
    Modern Day Idols
    The Curtis Mayflower
    @ the Midway in JP


    Friday, September 22nd
    Brian Wilson does "Pet Sounds"
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, September 22nd
    Alison Krauss
    David Gray
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, September 22nd
    The Ataris
    The Queers
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Saturday, September 23rd
    Soft Fangs
    Puppy Problems
    Banana
    Night Nurses
    @ O'Brien's


    Saturday, September 23rd
    The War On Drugs
    Land of Talk
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 23rd
    Wire
    @ The Sinclair


    Saturday, September 23rd
    Bearstronaut
    Animal Talk
    Party Bois
    @ the Middle East Upstairs


    Sunday, September 24th
    Saint Etienne
    @ the Once Ballroom


    Monday, September 25th
    Selector Dub Narcotic
    (aka Calvin Johnson)
    @ the ONCE Lounge


    Thursday, September 28th
    Chris Brokaw Presents:
    The Films of Peter Hutton
    5 short films, 3 w/live scores,
    2 in their original state,
    with post-film audience Q&A
    @ The Brattle Theater


    Thursday, September 28th
    BOSTON FUZZSTIVAL 2017 (Day 1)
    ALL AGES
    with Dent, Birthing Hips,
    Kal Marks, halfsour,
    Gravel, La Neve,
    Rick Rude - Ensemble,
    Blau Blau, and
    Dazey & the Scouts
    6pm @ Massasoit Elks Lodge


    Thursday, September 28th
    Stiff Little Fingers
    Death By Unga Bunga
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, September 29th
    Tedrock Fund Benefit Night #1
    with The Figgs,
    Bob & the Dickheads,
    and Kruller
    @ the Midway in JP


    Friday, September 29th
    Adult Swim's
    "On The Green" Tour
    @ Gore Place in Waltham


    Friday, September 29th
    Il Mostro
    Silver Screams
    BDSX
    The Von Traps
    @ O'Brien's


    Friday, September 29th
    BOSTON FUZZSTIVAL 2017 (Day 2)
    ALL AGES
    with Ava Luna, Ovlov,
    Horse Jumper of Love,
    Bat House, A Band Called E,
    Lisa/Liza, Laika's Orbit,
    WAY OUT, Mint Green,
    and earthquake party!
    6pm @ ONCE Somerville


    Sunday, September 30th
    BOSTON FUZZSTIVAL 2017 (Day 3)
    ALL AGES
    with Dirty Dishes, MV & EE,
    LOONE, The Kominas,
    Sammus, Mini Dresses,
    GYMSHORTS, Honduras,
    Steep Leans, Olden Yolk,
    Peach Ring, & Boston Cream
    1pm @ Somerville ARTFarm
    for Social Innovation


    Saturday, September 30th
    "Possumpalooza"
    a free outdoor show
    with Possum,
    Ryan Lee Crosby,
    Chris Brokaw, & more
    @ Pleasant Place, Cambridge


    Saturday, September 30th
    All Together Now #7 with
    Wo Chan, Tom Bianchi,
    The Grownup Noise,
    Amy Cook, & Field Day
    @ the Midway in JP


    Monday, October 2nd
    METZ
    Uniform
    @ The Sinclair


    Monday & Tuesday
    October 2nd & 3rd
    Pinback
    SAVAK
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, October 3rd
    Morrissey
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, October 3rd
    Alvvays
    Birthing Hips
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 4th
    Yes
    (including Jon Anderson,
    Trevor Rabin, & Rick Wakeman)
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday & Thursday
    October 4th & 5th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Easy Action
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, October 5th
    Ted Leo (solo set)
    6pm @ Dr. Martens


    Thursday, October 5th
    The National
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Thursday, October 5th
    Hundred Waters
    Kelsey Lu
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, October 6th
    Paul Weller
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, October 7th
    Sun Kil Moon
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 7th
    Paramore
    Best Coast
    @ Boston Opera House


    Saturday, October 7th
    Broken Social Scene
    Frightened Rabbit
    @ House Of Blues


    Saturday, October 7th
    Front 242
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, October 8th
    KMFDM
    OHGR
    Lord of the Lost
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, October 9th
    Future Islands
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 10th & 11th
    Against Me!
    Bleached
    The Dirty Nil
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 11th
    Frankie Rose
    Suburban Living
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, October 11th
    Japanese Breakfast
    Mannequin Pussy
    The Spirit Of The Beehive
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, October 12th
    Beach Fossils
    Snail Mail
    Raener
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, October 13th
    David Age & the Regrets
    Black Helicopter
    Death Pesos
    Ringtail
    @ O'Brien's


    Friday, October 13th
    Silver Screams
    Idle Pilot
    Black Cheers
    Psychic Dog
    @ Koto in Salem


    Saturday, October 14th
    Atlas Genius
    Magic Giant
    Half the Animal
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, October 14th
    The Feelies
    @
    the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 14th
    Andrew W.K. (full band)
    Sidewalk Driver
    Shane Slaughter
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, October 14th
    The Psychedelic Furs
    "The Singles Tour"
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 15th
    Everything Everything
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 15th
    Andrew W.K.
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, October 16th
    Weakened Friends
    The Courtneys
    Versing
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, October 17th
    Pickwick
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, October 19th
    Peter Wolf
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Thursday, October 19th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, October 20th
    Janeane Garofalo
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Friday, October 20th
    Wolf Parade
    Charly Bliss
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 21st
    Death From Above
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, October 21st
    Queens of the Stone Age
    Royal Blood
    @ Agganis Arena


    Saturday, October 21st
    Hope Sandoval & the
    Warm Inventions
    with Holy Wave
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, October 22nd
    Kal Marks
    Rozamov
    Husbandry
    The Nomad Stones
    @ the Middle East Upstairs


    Saturday, October 28th
    Kristin Hersh &
    Tanya Donelly
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, October 30th
    Craig Finn (the Hold Steady)
    @ the Uptown Controllers
    with John K. Samson
    @ City Winery Boston


    Tuesday, October 31st
    Tera Melos
    Speedy Ortiz
    And The Kids
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 1st
    John Hodgman presents
    his new book "Vacationland"
    @ Coolidge Corner Theatre


    Wednesday, November 1st
    Grizzly Bear
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, November 1st
    Elbow
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, November 2nd
    The Rural Alberta Advantage
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, November 2nd
    The Dears
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, November 3rd
    The Breeders
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 3rd
    Human Sexual Response
    Unnatural Axe
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, Saturday, & Monday
    November 3rd, 4th & 6th
    The Dresden Dolls
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, November 4th
    Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile
    and the Sea Lice
    @ the Orpheum Theatre


    Saturday, November 4th
    Shout Out Louds
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, November 4th
    The Clientele
    Hoops
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 6th
    The English Beat
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, November 7th
    Blizten Trapper
    Lilly Hiatt
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 8th
    Lee Ranaldo
    DJ Carbo
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Wednesday, November 8th
    Joyce Manor
    Wavves
    Culture Abuse


    Wednesday, November 8th
    David Bazan
    Michael Nau
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, November 9th
    Lydia Loveless (solo)
    @ the Red Room at Cafe 939


    Thursday, November 9th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur


    Thursday, November 9th
    Tegan and Sara
    The Con X: Tour
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, November 10th
    Channel 3
    The FUs
    Silver Screams
    Fast Times
    @ the Middle East Upstairs


    Saturday, November 11th
    Iron & Wine
    @ Berklee Performance Center


    Sunday, November 12th
    Bully
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 13th
    Modern English
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, November 13th
    The Mountain Goats
    Mothers
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, November 13th
    David Crosby & friends
    @ City Winery Boston


    Tuesday, November 14th
    Slowdive
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, November 14th
    The Black Heart Procession
    Sam Coomes (Quasi)
    Chris Brokaw
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, November 14th
    The Drums
    @
    the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 15th
    The Jesus and Mary Chain
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, November 15th
    Dream Theater
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, November 16th
    Bob Dylan
    Mavis Staples
    @ Agganis Arena


    Friday, November 17th
    Hot Snakes
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Friday, November 17th
    Hot Water Music
    Big Jesus
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, November 19th
    Turnover
    Elvis Depressedly
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, November 21st
    Squeeze
    @ the Wilbur


    Tuesday, November 21st
    American Football
    Pure Bathing Culture
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, November 26th
    Cut Copy
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, November 30th
    St. Vincent
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, November 30th
    Beach Slang
    Dave Hause & The Mermaid
    The Homeless Gospel Choir
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, December 1st
    Maximo Park
    Ava Luna
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, December 1st
    Dream Syndicate
    The Richard Lloyd Group
    @ the ONCE  Ballroom


    Saturday, December 2nd
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, December 2nd
    Jolie Holland &
    Samantha Parton
    (of The Be Good Tanyas)
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, December 6th
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, December 7th
    Mogwai
    Xander Harris
    @ the Royale


    Friday, December 8th
    Converge
    Pile
    Give
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, December 8th
    Pinegrove
    Saintseneca
    Adult Mom
    @ the Royale


    Friday, December 8th
    LCD Soundsystem
    @ Agganis Arena


    Monday, December 18th
    Unsane
    Big Brave
    Child Bite
    Hepatagua
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday & Sunday
    December 30th & 31st
    Deer Tick
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, January 21st, 2018
    Tennis
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, January 24th
    Destroyer
    @ the Sinclair


    January 31st
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Night Beats
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, April 28th, 2018
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    "Substance" collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise