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.
A1: Dream In Blue
A2: Wake Up Dolores
A3: Angels With Dirty Faces
A4: That Train Don't Stop Here
A5: Kiko And The Lavender Moon
A6: Saint Behind The Glass
A7: Reva's House
A8: When The Circus Comes
B1: Arizona Skies
B2: Short Side Of Nothing
B3: Two Janes
B4: Wicked Rain
B5: Whiskey Trail
B6: Just A Man
B8: Rio De Tenampa
Only a few years removed from breaking through with their cover of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," Los Lobos turned even more heads with Kiko, a beautifully textured and flawlessly executed musical statement that reveals the group taking on ambitious musical challenges and surmounting every one. In pairing with producer Mitchell Froom, the band yielded this critically acclaimed 1992 set that remains the apex of its distinguished career.
The material, too, ravishes the senses. In Rolling Stone's original review of Kiko, David Okamoto remarks "the music sounds more created than contrived, thanks to the compassionate touch of the group's main songwriters, singer-guitarist David Hidalgo and drummer Louis Pérez." Indeed, the Los Angeles ensemble tackles tough-minded social issues such as alcoholism, suicide, abuse, homelessness, death, and rape without coming across as preachy or melodramatic. The record's power relates to that possessed by the most timeless albums - the emotional and metaphysical capacities to transcend problems, overcome adversity, and deliver catharsis.
Spanning rollicking blues and dreamy pop balladry to snarling rock and traditional Mexican-inspired waltzes, Kiko seemingly knows no bounds. Lullabies such as "Saint Behind the Glass" claim mellifluous elegance while the cabaret-laced jazz of work like "Kiko and the Lavender Moon" glows with a dark majesty, thanks to both the skilled performance and Froom's illuminating production. Los Lobos seldom, if ever, drifted so far outside of the roots-rock box as they do on Kiko. And yet, the collective's binding connection to folklore remains in tact. Native American, Hispanic, and Catholic elements surface in the lyrics and arrangements, the characteristics expressing a multicultural reach that parallels the songs' multidimensional construction.
And still, it remains impossible to ignore the use of the studio as the record's secret-weapon instrument. Imaginative tricks such as noise gates, filters, and psychedelic devices help establish a surrealism that never lets up. Neither does Kiko.
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 Los Lobos & Mitchell Froom
Mastered from the Original Master Tapes by Krieg Wunderlich at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Sebastopol, CA on the GAIN 2 ULTRA ANALOG SYSTEM.
Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, MFSL 1-371
Series: Original Master Recording, Gain 2™ Ultra Analog, 180g Series
Format: Vinyl LP, Limited Edition, Reissue, Remastered, Numbered, 180g, Gatefold