Jefferson Airplane's 1967 Psychedelic Breakthrough First Record to Put Countercultural San Francisco Scene on Mainstream Music Map: Surrealistic Pillow Includes "Someone to Love" and "White Rabbit"
Mobile Fidelity 180g 45RPM 2LP Places "Surrealism" Back Into Kaleidoscopic Surrealistic Pillow Via Revealing Mono Sound: Phenomenal Clarity, Balance, Tonality, Detail, and Separation
Acid-Rock Experimentalism and Folk-Based Arrangements Yield Mysteriousness, Darkness, and Beauty: Grace Slick's Clarion-Call Singing Matches Virtuosic Playing of Band Members and Guest Jerry Garcia
1/4" / 15 IPS analog mono master to DSD 256 to analog console to lathe
They were the best of times for Jefferson Airplane, and the good vibes are heard throughout the band's iconic Surrealistic Pillow. The group's first album with vocalist Grace Slick and drummer Spencer Dryden, the 1967 effort bowed as the first psychedelic-rock breakout from the potent San Francisco scene, climbing to #3 and boasting two Top 10 singles. By bringing the then-unpolluted counterculture to the attention of the mainstream, the effort ranked by Rolling Stone #146 on its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time eradicated boundaries and opened up creative vistas for a parade of likeminded artists that followed. Mobile Fidelity's reissue honors this legacy with an edition that presents the groundbreaking music with incredible realism.
Mastered from the original master tapes and pressed at RTI, Mobile Fidelity's 180g 45RPM mono 2LP set grants Surrealistic Pillow audiophile-grade sound remarkable for its sense of balance, clarity, and tonality. While fans have always preferred the original mono version of the LP, it went out of print soon after its release, causing prices to soar.
Offering wider, deeper grooves for better information retrieval and superior pacing, this deluxe set gives listeners the chance to enjoy Jefferson Airplane's blockbuster set in faithful-to-the-original mono without having to pay a premium. Along with immersive detail and dynamics, the level of instrumental and vocal separation allows the sensory-altering songs' complexities to emerge with full-bloom color and renewed perspective. Mobile Fidelity puts the surrealism back into Surrealistic Pillow.
Allegedly given its name by Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who remarked that the music was as surrealistic as a pillow, Jefferson Airplane's sophomore effort remains renowned for its inimitable combination of collective symmetry, concise melodic frameworks, and razor-edged assertiveness. Reflecting the atmosphere of the period, the sextet spread the songwriting duties among all the members. Slick and Marty Balin share lead vocal duties. Jorma Kaukonen and Paul Kantner come into their own as guitarists. The family affair even extended to Garcia, who plays on several tracks and by nearly all accounts, served as the record's arranger and spiritual guide. Never again would the Airplane convey so much in such a straightforward fashion.
Surrealistic Pillow folds acid-rock experimentalism into folk-derived constructs with a blend of mysteriousness, assuredness, darkness, beauty, and romanticism that mirrored the very traits Slick possessed. Her authoritative, clarion-call voice leaps out from the explosive, fractal-pulsating smash "Somebody to Love" like a truthful challenge that cannot be ignored. Similarly, Slick's measured deliveries and Alice In Wonderland-inspired lyrics give the bolero-based "White Rabbit" its hallucinogenic power while simultaneously bringing drug references into mainstream culture.
Of course, the former model's two songs don't define Surrealistic Pillow – they merely reflect its kaleidoscopic brilliance. Slick and Balin duet to enchanting effect on "She Has Funny Cars." Stripped to its bare acoustic foundations, the mellow ballad 0"Comin' Back To Me" shimmers and whispers, a quaint recorder underlining echoing the yearning mood. Similarly quixotic, the instrumental "Embryonic Journey" hints at the possibilities explored throughout the album and particularly manifested on the gorgeously textured "Today," originally written for Tony Bennett. Inside these 34 minutes, Jefferson Airplane achieves sublime surrealism – and more.
"Produced in the original mono, the Mobile Fidelity version of this Airplane classic comes on like you’ve never heard it before. We could go on with a gaggle of audiophile descriptors, but just go grab a copy."
—Jeff Dorgay, TONEAudio, Issue 75
"Sides are short but surfaces are quiet, the sound vintage analog. But what makes this remastering significant is the use of the monaural mix. Much less reverb was applied compared to the stereo originals, giving each track a stunning clarity and detail and intimacy—and a far heavier, more cohesive energy that places the spotlight on the musicianship and enlivens classic tracks."
—Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound, TAS Recommended review
"Surrealistic Pillow is essential listening. So, if you wanna do it right, go get the MOFI Original Master Recording 45 RPM MONO reissue now.”
—Record Collector News