JSP Records based in London has announced plans to begin releasing a series of Single Inventory, Surround Sound Super Audio CDs in April. JSP is an independent record label that specializes in new recordings of blues, jazz and zydeco music of artists based in the U.S. They also have put out a number of jazz reissues by well known artists as well as released albums by up and coming blues artists.
A Focus on Surround Sound
According to JSP owner John Stedman, he plans to focus on SACD releases which include an immersive surround sound mix.
Stedman says that
“Surround Sound is the thing that I believe might just be a revolution. This is the future for us. We’ve mixed about a dozen albums so far and I believe had incredible results (but so far only I and my mix engineer have heard them!). I really utilise the rear speakers much more than most, the idea being to put the listener in the middle of the group.”
The First 3 JSP SACD Releases
JSP is taking 3 of the 12 sessions mixed to date for their initial round of SACD releases. As noted above, the SACDs on JSP are planned to be Single Inventory, Surround Sound Super Audio CD discs. They will feature SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD Stereo versions of the music on each album. The SACD will serve as the sole release of each disc, there will be no separate CD Stereo edition.
First up will be James & Lucky Peterson’s “If You Can’t Fix It”. John Stedman describes this Surround Sound SACD as “A brand new U.S. studio recording of very contemporary blues. Lots of hot guitar and hammond B3 from Lucky, horns on most tracks (our ‘trademark’ – horns always in the rear speakers – will sound dynamite to those with a SACD Surround Sound set up!).”
Studio work on this SACD has been completed and according to Stedman it is “at the VIVA SACD plant now” being replicated. It is due out in England in April and the balance of Europe in May. The U.S. release will be on June 22nd, with distribution handled by Navarre.
In addition to this Surround Sound SACD, JSP has two more coming right behind it. “Big Blues” by Jimmy Witherspoon is described as
“a 1981 studio recording that features two horn players (including Hal Singer) and keyboard player Mike Carr. On the SACD Surround Sound track you will hear Hammond, electric piano and real piano all placed in different parts of the surround mix).”
Then there is “Harpslinger” by Carey Bell. John Stedman notes that this one is
“a studio set from 1986 which coincidentally was the very first newly recorded blues album from JSP to be released only on CD, never on vinyl. It’s small group stuff but my mix engineer has been able to do some incredible things here on the Surround Sound mix, especially with the drums.”
All three albums sound very interesting. And it’s good to hear the owner of a record label get so excited about his upcoming releases in Surround Sound SACD.
JSP Surround SACDs to be Made by VIVA SACD
The upcoming Single Inventory Surround Sound Super Audio CDs from JSP Records will be made by the VIVA SACD plant in Hong Kong. According to officials at the VIVA SACD division of VIVA Magnetics, the Hybrid SACD replication facility at their Hong Kong went on line in March 2003. They now have two Hybrid SACD lines up and running with a capacity of 800,000 Hybrid SACDs per month. The folks at VIVA tell me that “interest in our Hybrid SACD replication is increasing month by month.”
While VIVA’s initial marketing was focused on record labels based in Hong Kong looking for Hybrid SACD replication services, they are also looking for business from record labels in Europe and in the U.S. as well. To underscore that focus, VIVA SACD now has a sales office in Europe and the staff there tells me that JSP Records will be one of their early clients in this new marketing push.
With Hybrid SACD replication available in Europe from plants in Sonopress (Germany) and Sony DADC (Austria) as well as from overseas operations such as VIVA SACD (Hong Kong) and Crest National (Hollywood), record labels now have several choices for their SACD duplication. It’s certainly an interesting turn of events that will be worth watching.