Many of you may recognize me from our online interactions on social media, online discussion forums or subreddits, if you don’t already know me from various shows, studios, or record stores I’ve frequented over the years. Suffice to say, music and audio have been lifelong passions of mine - no exaggeration. From personal discussions I’ve had with several of you, as well as the occasional mention I’ve made in my interactions with the community, I’m sure many of you are aware that I’ve been planning on starting up an independent record label and have spent the past few years getting my ducks in a row in order to make that possible. Being that it has not been an easy journey to get to this point, it is with great honor and excitement that I can finally say the wheels are truly in motion for this endeavor.
This is not without great thanks to one band. In a move sure to shake up the independent side of the recording industry, Australian psych/prog band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have planned to provide the masters for their latest album “Polygondwanaland” to those wishing to establish their own record labels, allowing them to release the album on their own.
Although I can’t say that this was a record I intended to release prior to their announcement, the timing of it all is rather serendipitous. I do think this is a great opportunity to show everyone exactly what Aural Pleasure Records will be about while also helping to build a devoted base of potential customers and finance future releases.
I intend to apply my own intimate knowledge of the mastering and pressing process to produce top quality records for every project I manage to work on. This will be no exception. I believe I can provide a superior product relative to any other labels who attempt to release their own version of this album, and I know I will be able to provide something all of you will be proud to have in your collections - not just for this album, but for every record I put out.
Aural Pleasure Records will be produced to the highest quality standards, employing renowned mastering engineers and studios as deemed appropriate for each particular project. Aural Pleasure Records will be aggressively priced, as I strive to provide an incredible value for the money spent.
Aural Pleasure Records will maintain a strong focus on producing AAA audiophile-grade vinyl records, featuring all-analog mastering cut directly from the original master tapes. Complete transparency will be maintained in regards to sourcing and every step of production. This is unfortunately an absolute rarity and luxury in the current market, but I believe it should be the standard for how new records and reissues are produced.
Aural Pleasure Records will also maintain a strong focus on High-Resolution lossless digital, including FLAC downloads with vinyl purchases whenever possible.
Last, but not least… Aural Pleasure Records plans to cater to those who demand the ultimate in no-compromise analog performance by manufacturing limited releases on 15 IPS 1/4” reel to reel tape whenever possible.
Aural Pleasure Records will not be bound to any particular genre. Pop, classic rock, punk, classical, jazz, country, r&b, hip hop, soundtracks… The best record collections are eclectic collections. If I enjoy it, and I think it’s something you will enjoy, then it is something I will make an effort to release.
Aural Pleasure Records will not only focus on licensed recordings from established artists but will also work to showcase and support up and coming artists by providing an outlet for new releases. Many albums will be pressed and presented on vinyl for the very first time.
Aural Pleasure Records will be proudly made in the USA to the fullest extent possible, with each release supporting local economies and American manufacturing jobs.
Most importantly, I intend to maintain the close relationship I’ve built with the record collecting community over the years, not to mention the many studios, engineers and other labels I wish to maintain a close working relationship with. I believe this direct link of communication and interaction will be of great benefit to all of us.
While there will be certainly be other options for you to choose from if you are interested in purchasing this album on vinyl, I have no doubts that the Aural Pleasure Records release of Polygondwanaland will be the best of the bunch, and your purchase will go a long way in helping to bring future releases to market. I have already begun working on other titles, in fact, licenses/masters for several releases have already been obtained and are at this point in time ready to go into production. This record is just how I plan to kick everything off!
Polygondwanaland Pressing Details
I will be coordinating the mastering, plating, pressing, and assembly of this album between several different companies. I have spent the past week getting in contact with them all, receiving quotes so that I may factor this info into the Kickstarter campaign and provide a more accurate estimate of the total costs involved. They are all fully on-board and ready to take on their role in the production of this album as soon as the project is successfully funded. There's no one-stop-shop solution available for the product I have in mind... but the easy way isn't much fun anyhow, right?
The record will be cut using the high resolution masters provided by the band. They provided 2 masters - one intended for use in a digital release (upon analysis, highly clipped and compressed in accordance with current digital audio mastering trends) and one intended for the use of manufacturing vinyl records (upon analysis, dynamics left intact for the ultimate in sound quality, but edited for length due to the time constraints of an LP)
This simply was not good enough.
The Aural Pleasure Records pressing will be the only vinyl release of the album confirmed to have the full-length album - no longer edited due to time limitations - sourced from an absolutely seamless combination of both the shorter better sounding master and the full-length one intended for digital releases. The better sounding master will be the basis for over 98% of the album, with the excised parts of the recording seamlessly restored to their rightful place.
Mastering will be handled by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound - one of the most in-demand mastering engineers in the business, at one of the most famed mastering studios to ever stand in the history of the recording industry. We hope to build a regular working relationship with the studio as we also plan on using them for several future releases.
Of course, a great engineer can only do so much without great tools at their disposal. Ryan will cut the 4 lacquers for this album on a Neumann VMS-80, with the use of the SX-74 cutterhead. For the less technically inclined - this is one of the most advanced cutting systems ever made, able to cut cleaner, louder, longer playing records with incredibly low levels of distortion.
Using Sterling Sound's custom D/A converters and disc transfer consoles, we will be sure to extract every nuance and detail available from the high resolution master for this album. Cutting it at 45 RPM will only further help to preserve that level of resolution and bring incredible performance from your stereo system to your ears.
As you can tell, no other version of the album will sound quite like this one.
Oh yeah, I should probably mention... the album will end in an infinitely looping locked-groove with a neat little bonus the band intended specially for inclusion on vinyl versions of the album. Just one surprise to look forward to :)
The next step in the record production process is to have the 4 lacquers electroplated as quickly as possible, as they can actually degrade with time due to the cut being made into a soft, paint-like material. This part of the process will be handled by Welcome To 1979, a multipurpose recording and mastering studio located in Nashville, TN. Very recently, they have installed equipment in a dedicated Galvanics room to become one of the newest (and still only one of very few) plating facilities in the country. Electroplating is an electrochemical process by which the original lacquer is sprayed with silver and plated with nickel in a conductive bath to create the metal parts needed to later press the grooves into hot gooey plastic biscuits. The entire process is really spectacular to see. As a matter of fact, I had the pleasure of visiting Welcome to 1979 earlier this past summer and got to see them hard at work creating the Mothers and stampers for other people's projects!
I will be pressing this particular record through Pirates Press, a broker for GZ Media, a record pressing plant located in the Czech Republic. Not only are they one of the largest and most active pressing plants in the world, but one of the most technologically advanced as well - being one of very few plants in the world to commission newly made state-of-the-art presses and pressing equipment. They are capable of creating the colored vinyl pressings I have in mind, and more importantly - my experience over the years buying records made at their plant shows that they are capable of producing flawless records, even when some of the more wild color combinations are involved. I have faith that they are able to deliver a product you will all be proud to own! Pirates Press & GZ Media will also be responsible for handling many other steps in the process as well, such as printing the labels, inserts, jackets, assembly, and shrink-wrapping the individual albums.
The records will be pressed using color variations and label art derived from the vibrant and evocative album artwork. The planned pressing run is as follows:
- 390 copies of the album on transparent blue/yellow half & half split colored vinyl
- 100 copies of the "Tetrachromacy" variant - transparent blue/yellow half & half split colored vinyl with Red/Blue/Green/"The Fourth Colour" splatter to be randomly inserted into orders.
- 5 copies of the ultra-limited "Glittered Lizard" variant - transparent blue/yellow half & half split, with glitter and "lizards" trapped in the vinyl! No actual lizards harmed in the making of this record.
All LPs will be pressed on high-purity virgin vinyl and packaged in a high-quality black polylined inner-sleeve, as visually striking as it is protective. These in turn will be packaged in a dual-pocket gatefold jacket featuring a high quality printing of the album artwork.
I will not press these variants again in the future. Once they're gone - they're gone.
I am keeping the initial pressing run low because I know that there are many competing versions of this record currently on the market. That said, I believe that there will be a positive response to having a high quality option available, and if these sell out I will immediately press more variants of this if there happens to be a considerable demand for more copies of the Aural Pleasure Records pressing.
But I don't have any way to play records!
Fear not! I think now is a great time to get into vinyl, and I'd strongly encourage you to get a turntable if you can! But either way, every copy of the album will contain an insert with a unique printed code you can redeem for a high quality download of the album! It will in fact be the highest quality digital representation of the full-length album, provided as High-Res lossless FLAC files. You can enjoy these at any time, and in the meantime you can display the vinyl! You may always admire the incredible presentation of the art and the craftsmanship that went into producing it. Or gift it to a friend! The point is, everyone will still be able to enjoy some aspect of this product no matter what.
You're asking for a lot of money!
I know. Putting out records costs a lot of money! The truth is that this venture will probably not be immediately profitable. In fact, the amount being asked doesn't even really come close to covering the true costs involved, much of which I have already personally invested and will continue to do so! But this is why every dollar really helps, even if the initial goal is surpassed.
The goal is designed to cover the cost of pressing this run of records, which can be approximately broken down as such:
- Mastering 4 lacquers - $1235
- Plating 4 lacquers - $1110
- Test pressings - $200
- Manufacturing records - $1750
- Fees/surcharges associated with manufacturing colored vinyl - $1230
- Printing and cutting the labels for 4 sides - $250
- High quality black poly-lined inner sleeves - $350
- Printing and assembly of gatefold jackets - $1200
- Hosting downloads plus printing and insertion of download codes - $175
- Shrinkwrapping - $50
- Shipping the finished product to me for further distribution - $500
- Kickstarter fees - $900
Additional donations will help to cover things necessary to sustain and run the label, such as:
- necessary maintenance to my own equipment
- web hosting
- a secure eCommerce web shop to order records from
- any legal costs associated with running a label
- pursuing distribution deals to get future records into record shops and retailers
- licensing/royalties for future releases
- mastering and pressing future releases to the same exceedingly high standards demonstrated here.
As you can see, as a one-person team I'll certainly be keeping myself busy! Your help in surpassing the goal will not go unappreciated. This is why I'll try my best to entice you with...
That's right! Think of these as a little bonus. you don't even necessarily have to surpass the goal by a large amount to reach some of these, but you can help the product improve in various ways.
- $9500 - All copies of the album will be upgraded to heavyweight 180gm vinyl for a superior, premium feel.
- $10,000 - tastefully applied spot UV gloss on every jacket for an incredibly striking presentation of the album artwork
- $12,500 - thick old school tip-on style jackets for the ultimate presentation.
- $15,000 - full color GLOW-IN-THE-DARK slipmat for your turntable, featuring the album artwork included with every copy of the album!
Some of these goals will definitely require some of your help to reach. Keep in mind, I'm selling a premium-grade product basically for what it actually costs to produce, and none of this would be possible without the incredible generosity of the band. So please feel free to make an additional donation above the minimum required to select your desired reward. Like I said, every dollar really does help. If you think the product is worth more than what I'm asking, then feel free to reflect that in your donation and everyone may benefit from that.
...for taking the time to read this, and a very special extra thank you to anyone who orders a record or donates to help out the campaign :) Your comments are appreciated and your questions are always very welcome.
My hope is that we can all build up something great for record collectors and music lovers everywhere to enjoy for years to come.
Aural Pleasure Records
Risks and challenges
The risks associated with this project are fairly minimal. In fact, the greatest risk is that I overestimate how interested the market may be in having a high quality option available to them. The Kickstarter is designed to take orders and minimize my risk so I don't get stuck with unsold records and a several-thousand dollar bill from the pressing plant! Like I said earlier, I plan to employ my knowledge and intimate familiarity of the mastering and pressing processes to create some of the finest records ever made. Things should go pretty smoothly.
There is the chance of slight delays as pressing plants tend to be extremely busy during the first half of the year due to the demands of the RSD event in April and the shortage of actual presses, which are constantly operating above capacity. The vinyl business is booming due to the surge of interest in the format that has grown over the past 10 years, and the pressing plants just can't make enough of 'em!
This leads to longer than average turnaround times, however even taking this into account, I still plan to have orders in people's hands within Q1 of 2018.
- (43 days)