(Mini) Vinyl Review: Nirvana – In Utero 2013 Mix
When In Utero was re-released in a stunning Super Deluxe Package earlier this year, an easy highlight of the release was the amazing 2013 mix by original album producer Steve Albini that presented a version of the album that was even more raw and intense than the original. Now that mix, which was previously only available on CD as part of the special edition or super deluxe edition of the album has been re-released as a special limited edition item for the Black Friday Record Store Day event.
And while the release does honestly come off as a bit of a quick cash grab targeted at hardcore Nirvana fans with more dollars than sense, it’s a really good quick cash grab targeted at hardcore Nirvana fans with more dollars than sense, so I’m going to let that part slide.
In an effort to avoid redundancy, this is going to be a bit brief. Pretty much everything that’s great about this release is identical to all things that were great about the 3LP vinyl release of the original mix of In Utero (plus an extra side of B-sides) that Geffen put out earlier this year (and that I reviewed here). Just like that release, it’s a Direct Metal Mastering, cut at 45 RPM, both of which were done to improve fidelity and offer a greater dynamic range than your typical 33 1/3 LP. And just like the earlier release, it sounds spectacular, not a single crack or pop to be found, and there’s hardly even any background surface noise. Incredible work.
The packaging is simple, but it gets the point across. The inverted color scheme is a cool alternate way to present the album (kind of reminiscent of the Let It Be Naked release from a few years back) and helps to visually differentiate this version from the original. There are no linear notes to speak of aside from the basic production credits and thanks, but if you want that stuff you should pick up the 3CD+1DVD edition, it has it in droves.
Again, just like the version of the standard mix that came out earlier this year, this release also includes a download code that features a vinyl rip of the album. If I was going to levy any sort of complaint against this release at all, it would be that the vinyl rip isn’t perfect. I heard some pops and crackles on it, and even a bit of turntable rumble at times. It’s still great though, and a wonderful touch that really shows Geffen knows their audience with this kind of thing. And besides, if you’re like me, you plan on listening to this album for yourself and not just a download code of it.
I don’t know how rare this release will prove to be in the coming weeks and months, or if Geffen will re-issue a non-numbered edition if the demand proves to be loud enough. I will say though that if you do see this out in the wild, or on eBay for a somewhat reasonable price, buy it. It’s a great release, and it’s hopefully a sign that Geffen (and other labels) will start treating their back catalog with the respect it deserves.