Limited to 4000 numbered copies world-wide.
Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs believes that mastering systems should be neutral and transparent. The essential idea is to unveil all the detailed musical information on the original master recording without adding deterioration, coloration or other sonic artefacts.
With proprietary innovations such as GAIN 2™, general music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike have reaped the benefit of a higher consumer audio standard without investing in costly new hardware.
C2: Freedom Jazz Dance
D1: Ginger Bread Boy
The clarity afforded by history proves Miles Davis' second great quintet vying for the unofficial honour of being the finest small jazz combo to ever record to tape. Originally released in 1966, Miles Smiles is largely responsible for the feat, as it commences a series of five groundbreaking albums guided not by chordal patterns but open responses to melodies. Music would never again be the same. Neither will experiencing Miles Smiles once you hear this definitive-sounding vinyl reissue.
Mastered from the original master tapes, pressed at RTI, and strictly limited to 4,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 45RPM 2LP set takes the landmark effort into rarified sonic territory. Davis and company play against coal-black backgrounds that serve to illuminate every detail, texture, and nuance. Superb separation and plentiful air allow instruments to fully blossom, effectively taking you into Columbia's 30th Street Studio to watch the legendary combo transpire before your eyes.
Like the other iconic Davis titles in Mobile Fidelity's reissue series, this analogue version also puts a premium on tonality and preservation of individual notes, which arc and decay with uncanny realism. The brilliance of Ted Macero's original production springs forth from every passage. Never before has this standard-setting record burst with as much palpable verve, energy, and spirit. Davis and Wayne Shorter's horns crackle with electricity. Ron Carter's bass attains unprecedented fluidity and dimensionality. Tony Williams' drums burst, splash, and swing with terrific fervour. Herbie Hancock's 88s dance with a communal dynamic.
Even with all the headway the ensemble made on its subsequent albums together, many jazz cognoscenti and Davis diehards strongly feel Miles Smiles remains the apex of their vast accomplishments. The piles of evidence lay within the thrills, adventurousness, and curiosities staked to every composition. At once accessible and unpredictable, songs reflect an ever-changing mentality, an edgy moodiness, and a triumphant will - with each corner the band rounds a new opportunity to integrate and interact, anticipate and respond, investigate open spaces and establish if not fully lock into contagious, broad, striding grooves.
For Davis - and the music world at large - the significance of Miles Smiles cannot be overstated. "The synthesis of complete abstraction with more or less straightforward blues-playing was to sustain [Davis] right through the darkness of the 1970s bands to the later period," write experts Richard Cook and Brian Morton. To their point, everyone from DownBeat to Q to TIME have deemed "Footprints" as one of the greatest compositions of the latter 20th century.
Everywhere you turn, genius abounds. Right out of the starting gates, "Orbits" swirls with hard-driving rhythms and Davis' untethered soloing. "Delores" likewise steams and cooks, retaining a tuneful allure all the while speaking with a streetwise swagger. Anchored in part by Hancock's radiant piano lines, the ballad "Circle" moves gently and expresses a romantic elegance via its superb lyrical poise. On Miles Smiles, the band simply has and does it all. This is a record you want to feel as much as hear.
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's founding fathers - Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL's most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customised reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs only utilise first generation original master recordings as source material for their releases. MFSL then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master's sonic information. The lacquers are then plated in a specialised process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). MFSL further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors' items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
Produced by Teo Macero
Engineered by Frank Laico
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes by Krieg Wunderlich, assisted by Shawn R. Britton at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Sebastopol, CA on the GAIN 2 ULTRA ANALOG SYSTEM.
Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, MFSL 2-486
Series: Original Master Recording, Gain 2™ Ultra Analog, 45RPM 180g Series
Format: 2 x Vinyl LP, 45RPM, Limited Edition, Numbered, Reissue, Remastered, Gatefold
Released: 29 Mar 2019