REVO Remastering: Slow Children – Slow Children [REVO 095]

slow children UK cover art remastered
REVO | US | personal CD-R | 2020 | REVO 095

Slow Children: Slow Children DLX RM – US – CD-R [2020]

  1. I Got A Good Mind
  2. Talk About Horses
  3. Malicious
  4. She’s Like America
  5. President Am I
  6. Too Weak To Eat
  7. Home Life
  8. Staring At The Ceiling
  9. Ticket To France
  10. Stuck In Transit
  11. Spring In Fialta [7″ edit]
  12. Staring At The Ceiling [7″ version]
  13. That Staue Moved
  14. Spring In Fialta [US LP mix]
  15. President Am I [US LP mix]
  16. TearJerk
  17. Spring In Fialta [US Promo 12″ remix]

Last year I finally got to the point where I made two CDs of the first two Slow Children albums with extras. I need to add these titles to my painfully lagging REVO Catalog page that quite frankly, I use to keep up with what I have made over the last 20 + years. We’ve already discussed the music on the albums so this time I’ll discuss the curation and practical decisions in making them

The first ten tracks were the first, UK release. The US edition followed the next year in 1981 and it had remixes of “Spring In Fialta” [which was not even on the UK album] and the evergreen “President Am I.” There were actually three different mixes for these two tracks spread across many releases and gathered up here. The US edition also cut “”Malicious” and “Ticket To France.” Since the UK album came first, that was going to be the baseline here. It would feature the much more interesting UK cover art that referenced Jean Coctaau instead of the Mapplethorpe portraits on the US edition. All of the other tracks would be bonus material.

slow children - staring at the ceiling single coverThe band’s 1979 debut single on Jet Records in the UK was “Staring At The Ceiling,” which was re-recorded for the album on the RCA Why-Fi label in 1980. I waited long years to find a US dealer for this single so I wouldn’t take a painful hit on the shipping costs from England and bought this last March on the cusp of lockdown. The disc was yellow vinyl and being 41 years old, it could have sounded a lot better. “That Statue Moved” in particular suffered from distorted sound that sounded like stylus wear to the disc itself. A problem that no amount of NR could fix. This is the bête noir of record collecting for me. Buying ancient 7″ records half a lifetime old and hoping to get something that sounded reasonably clean to digitize for these long-gestating projects of mine is very challenging.

Seven inch singles are usually in thin sleeves with an open side, allowing dust to invade and take up roots in careless storage situations. Then on top of that design flaw, the small size and tight groove leads to lower fidelity. The cards are stacked against the humble 7″ but some times there are tracks such as the two on this single, that cannot be found elsewhere. We have to furrow our brows and use the noise reduction we have at hand and hope for the best. Manual de-clicking can work wonders with the hours invested, but 7″ records are typically just noisy throughout.

Show Children US + UK cover art
A tale of two Slow Children covers: US [L] and UK [R]

Click Repair is amazing for the pops, and I’ve noted that these days, the broadband NR in the free and open source Audacity can be useful without destroying the music. I’ve recently been trying “Audacity” and I have to admit, that Adobe’s NR has been pretty useful in certain situations. As a Creative Cloud subscriber, I get the whole wad of Adobe software to use. I can recall a time 20 or even 10 years ago when the NR software I’d try [SoundSoap 2] was like cutting off a finger to treat a mosquito bite. You’d get rid of the itch… but at what cost? These days, either my hearing is totally shot or they have made advances in NR software that are capable of doing the job non-destructively. It might simply be down to increases in processing power.

Finally, I thought that the track listing was set down when Scott [Rubellan Remasters] Davis told me that the band’s Soundcloud page contained an unreleased gem from the debut album era, so I had to add the great “Tear Jerk” to the running order. The booklet contained liner notes as well as discographical info. The UK cover was the front of the booklet and the US cover was the back. I scanned the back over of the LP for the rear insert and retouched the photo to remove all of the text, which I re-entered using a similar font that hit close to the mark of the original. In this way I added the bonus material to the image. At first I made the booklet black pages with white sans serif text, like the US cover, but that didn’t work at that size. I eventually compromised with black text on gray.

slow children CD rear insert
rear tray insert

This was finished last November and though the 7″ tracks from the “Staring At The Ceiling” 7″ were less than ideal, I was not going to try to get another copy. They were hard enough to source and besides; I had waited years to get this music into digital shape! Now was the time to finally have this music at my fingertips to once again listen to after a yawning gulf of… almost 40 years. Man, I’m old.

-30-

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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