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LP Review: Anne Bisson “Blue Mind” remastered RTI audiophile pressing

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33rpm 180gram vinyl HQ Pressing
Fidelio Music Inc. FALP025

45rpm 2-LP set Test Pressing
Record Technology Inc.
CAM5-4109, January 4, 2017
Remastering engineer: Bernie Grundman

Side A:

1. Little Black Lake 4:09
2. Soothing Your Soul 3:30
3. Hoping Love Will Last 4:31
4. Dragonfly 3:25
5. Do What You Please 3:09

Side B:

1. September in Montreal 4:59
2. Camilio 5:02
3. Blue Mind 4:21
4. Why Is It So 5:05

The one thing most pursued by artists in their work is originality. When I hear a remarkable recording, I wish the musicians well should they ever make the decision to do follow-ups. This recording of Anne Brisson strikes me as unrushed, lighthearted, spirited, uncharacteristically trailblazing and preciously original. The level of serenely emotional engagement is epical. A follow-up seems logical.

While developing his megabuck speaker systems, such as the Genesis Prime Dragon Edition with four towers, Gary Leonard Koh of Genesis Advanced Technologies engages the recording industry continuously. Having introduced Lyn Stanley in her first audio show appearance at the 2015 California Audio Show, Gary now brings us Anne Bisson with her 2012 recording, Blue Mind. now remastered by Bernie Grundman and pressed by Los Angeles-based RTI on HQ-180 vinyl. Two editions of Blue Mind was sent to me, one in the 33 1/3 rpm edition, the other a 45rpm double LP test pressing set.

On the back cover of this 33rpm RTI-reissue LP, Anne describes how one night, “I sat at the piano in my studio and a surprisingly touching song emerged, Little Black Lake. It was the first song of this very personal album. I’ll always remember Michel and Rene from Fidelio sitting in my car, listening to it! Michel had tears in his eyes and said, ‘Anne, you should write more like this: you write beautifully … where did you get all the emotion?'”

To me, Anne does not come across as quite as temperamental as some, thus I find comfort in the fact that the LP’s overall mood is one of serenity. That being said, I can’t sympathize enough with some lyrics that I thought constituted portrayal of a deprived woman, while a few tracks are love songs that lament and yet others wonder and wring.

This is not an orchestral recording in a large hall so the spatiality is intimate while still reverberant and airy. As opposed to packing as many instruments as can be arranged into any given track, the music is consistently consisted of Anne’s vocal accompanied by a solo piano. I love piano music and they are mostly classical in genre. And this is jazz and it leaves a strong impression. Anne doesn’t sing at the top of her voice and maybe that is the direction of the production and  not indicative of her limitations. I would say she’s found a good niche in this vocal style. Yet, it isn’t like a closed-mike recording in which every spit and swallow hits the microphone. Rather, her soft singing is adequately and professionally captured to beautiful effects.

The 45rpm double-LP edition has more lead-in tracks than most 45rpm albums I’ve played, it allows a cartridge to find and land inside the groove quicker with quieter impact. A very thoughtful arrangement. Then, the first piano note came in dense but clear, officially declaring its sonic purity and superiority. Seldom has the sound of piano so musically resplendent and sonically engaging, and I reckon it all has to do with the suppleness of tone as accorded by the 45rpm format from a meticulous production process.

The 45rpm made the solo piano alone an evening-long sensation to behold. There are plenty of piano accompanied jazz singing productions out there but few are as lyrical in artistry and yet consistent in mood, fluidic in execution and three-dimensional in spatiality as this RTI 45rpm 2-LP set. Kudos to remastering engineer Bernie Grundman and RTI for this fine production, for I would’ve cast less a vote of confidence in a follow-up production if it were another group by another producer, but with Bernie and Gary together at the helm, lightning will strike twice. Demonstration class in musicality and sound.

ASC TubeTraps (4 pairs)
Audio Reference Technology Power Distributor
Audio Reference Technology Anaylyst SE and Super SE power cable system
MIT Cables Oracle Series interconnect and speaker cable system
Audio Note Io II moving-coil cartridge
Fuuga moving-coil cartridge
Soundsmith Paua II moving-iron cartridge
Spiral Groove Revolution with Centroid tonearm turntable system
Pass Labs Xs Phono stage
Pass Labs Xs Preamp
Bricasti Design M28 monoblocks
Pass Labs XA200.8 monoblocks
Sound Lab Ultimate 545 electrostatic speakers
TAD Evolution One speakers
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