XTC, 'Skylarking'

Hey XTC fans, Andy Partridge has some news for you: That copy of Skylarking you’ve come to know and love sounds “…how shall we put this?… wrong,” thanks to a heretofore undiscovered studio flub.

That’s the word from Partridge’s Ape House Records, which today announced plans to reissue the 1986 album on double vinyl “as it was intended to sound, but never has due to human error.” No release date has been announced, nor plans for another CD reissue.

According to Ape House, mastering engineer John Dent was working on a vinyl reissue of the Todd Rundgren-produced Skylarking — which the band long had felt “sounded a little too thin and bass light” — when he discovered that all previous vinyl and CD editions (including the pricey Mobile Fidelity gold CD) were manufactured with the sound polarity reversed.

For the casual fan, Ape House explains, that means “sound waves that should be pushing out from your speakers are actually pulling them back and projecting from the rear,” resulting in music that sounds “distant and thinner” than it should.

Dent reports that the “original tapes appear in very good condition,” and Ape House now plans “to present to you shortly a splendid double deep vinyl cut of this classic XTC album as it was intended to sound.” More information is promised “shortly.”



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