Six Degrees Starts Super Audio CD Series With Willy Porter Surround Sound SACD

A Hybrid Layer Surround Sound Super Audio CD of Acoustic Guitarist and Songwriter Willy Porter’s self-titled album from 2002 has been re-released by Six Degrees Records. The new Surround Sound SACD is the first of three Super Audio CD releases planned by the label and features the album’s music in 5.1 SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD Audio formats.

Six Degrees Records is an independent label based in San Francisco, CA. Their catalog includes artists in the world music, ambient, folk, contemporary classical and “intelligent pop music” genres.

They describe Porter as

“a seasoned solo performer who honed his songs and his chops traveling across America and Europe playing to captive audiences everywhere. His songs are equal parts muscle and intimacy, and reveal a rarely achieved relationship between an artist and his craft. Hailing from the swamps of Milwaukee, WI, he forged a connection to his fans from his earliest performing experiences that would continue to reverberate even when opening for the audiences of artists like Tori Amos and Paul Simon. On one legendary night in Nashville, in front of a room full of some of the world’s best guitarists, Porter, with just his voice and an acoustic guitar, earned a standing ovation from an audience primed to see electric guitar-hero Jeff Beck.”

1st Six Degrees Records Artist in Super Audio CD Series
According to Bob Appel, Six Degrees Vice President of A&R “Willy Porter was the perfect first artist for the label’s SA-CD series. His approach to playing acoustic guitar, with open tunings, hammer ons and his way of creating grooves simulating a bass drum thump with the heel of his hand are very difficult to capture in Stereo. But surround technology enables us to separate all of the elements allowing for more clarity. He is an artist who, with simply his acoustic guitar can sound like an entire band. This quality combined with the high production values of the original recording lent themselves naturally to the transfer to DSD medium.”

Willy Porter
Willy Porter
SACD Surround Sound/SACD Stereo/CD Audio

(Six Degrees Records 657036-1115-2)

Willy Porter’s self titled album was originally released as a Stereo CD in 2002. It features Porter performing 11 songs he composed. The album features orter along with a band and several guest musicians including flute player Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, drummer Charlie Drayton (performed with Don Henley, Keith Richards and the B-52’s) and bass player Tony Levin (performed with Peter Gabriel, Indigo Girls and King Crimson).

The 5.1 Surround Sound and Stereo Super Audio CD tracks on the new Willy Porter album were produced by Herbert Waltl and mixed, mastered and authored by Ted White at Media Hyperium Studios in Redondo Beach, CA. The SACD was made by VIVA SACD’s hybrid SACD replication line in Hong Kong.

Album Musicians

  • Willy Porter – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Acoustic E-Bow Guitar, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
  • Emanuel Kiriakou – Percussion, Bass, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Piano, Bouzouki, Tambourine, Backing Vocals
  • Doug Petty – Piano, Hammond B-3 Organ, Synthesizers
  • Ian Anderson – Bamboo Flute
  • Tony Levin – Bass
  • Charlie Drayton – Drums
  • Bryan Mir – Bass
  • Frank Almond – Violin
  • Samantha George – Violin
  • Joana Miranda – Viola
  • Kim Scholes – Cello

Album Selections

  1. Unconditional
  2. If Love Were An Airplane
  3. Dandelion On The Minefield
  4. Breathe
  5. Big Yellow Pine
  6. Dirty Movie
  7. Dishwater Blonde
  8. All Fall Down
  9. Everything But Sorry
  10. How Did You Know?
  11. Blue Light

Super Audio CD Production Notes
Herbert Waltl is the owner and Ted White is the Chief Engineer at Media Hyperium where over 75 SACD titles have been produced to date. Waltl notes that these SACDs include the Chick Corea 2-SACD live set, the Concord Jazz SACD reissues as well as the Surround Sound editions of Genius Loves Company album by Ray Charles and a host of guest artists and Concord’s tribute to Henry Mancini titled Ultimate Manicini.

Turning to the Willy Porter SACD, Waltl says that

“The Stereo and Surround mixes on this Hybrid SA-CD are completely new mixes derived from the original multi-track masters. To achieve the highest audio quality, the recordings have been mixed at Media Hyperium Studios on an API Vision console which has been specially designed for surround mixing and features a fully discrete signal path including discrete multi-channel panning. A DCS 954 analog to digital converter has been used to create the DSD files. To keep the integrity of the pure DSD quality, the mastering has been done completely in the DSD domain.”

The 5.1 Surround Sound mix of the Willy Porter Super Audio CD features Porter and his band in the front channels on most tracks with the surround channels used tastefully to enhance the performances. As the album progresses, the Surround mixes get more ambitious with track 10 (How Did You Know?) placing the vocals in the front channels and the guitars in the surround channels for a different take on things. Similarly track 3 (Dandelion On The Minefield) places the backing vocals in the surround channels to offer a strong reply to the lead vocals. The SACD sonics are good – no doubt a product of a good initial recording and the use of the API console and the direct to DSD mixing and mastering mentioned by SACD producer Herbert Waltl.

The new Surround Sound Super Audio CD edition of Willy Porter is now available from Tower Records (filed in the Pop/Rock section CDs) and other music stores for a list price of $16.98. This is the same list price as the Stereo CD edition of this album.

As with most Super Audio CD releases, the SACD edition of the Willy Porter album is packaged in a Super Jewel Box with rounded corners which will distunguish it from the earlier Stereo CD release which appears in a standard jewel box case.

It is also available from several web sites that carry Super Audio CD discs including Amazon.Com (U.S.), Amazon.Ca (Canada) and CD Universe.

Next 2 Super Audio CDs
Now that their initial Super Audio CD title has hit the market, Six Degrees Records tells me that they have two more SACD discs on the way. In Spring 2006, they plan to release Super Audio CDs from electronic and rock musician Karsh Kale as well as a compilation album of Six Degree Records artists that focus on electronic music. We’ll keep an eye out for those early next year.