WARNING: NOT THE K2-REMASTER RELEASED IN 2000
BOB | LOS ANGELES, CA | 09/13/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In 2007, there were two Kinks catalog Japan mini-sleeve releases, one in July and another in September. The July release were JVC K2HD remastered discs. Chronologically, these started at "Muswell Hillbillies" and continued thru the end of the Kinks catalog.
However, the September release, and this is despite the text of at least one Japanese on-line retailer, are NOT JVC or K2/K2HD remastered discs. These were issued by BMG. The discs themselves have a "Made In Hong Kong" stamp on the inner ring.
The BMG titles are: The Kinks (1st album), Kinda Kinks, Kontroversy, Face To Face, Something Else, Live At Kelvin Hall, The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire, Lola Vs. Powerman And The Money-Go-Round Part 1 and Percy.
After A/B comparison, these are the 1998 Castle/Essential remasters. These also contain the same same booklets as those releases. The Castle discs have the benefit of an absolute plethora of bonus tracks on each, which do not appear on the 2000 Japan K2 remasters.
WHAT IS A JAPAN "MINI-LP-SLEEVE" CD?
Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.
Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 135MM X 135MM cardboard precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, anything contained in the original LP, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and/or die cuts, are precisely replicated and included. An English-language lyric sheet is always included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.
Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2/K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "obi" ("oh-bee"), a removable Japan-language promotional strip. The obi lists the Japan street date of that particular release, the catalog number, the mastering info, and often the original album's release date. Bonus tracks are only listed on the obi, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork. The obi's are collectable, and should not be discarded.
All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common (again, not always). The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake mini-sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs."