Sunday, February 8, 2015

G Stands for Go-Betweens: Speed problems

G Stands for Go-Betweens is a lavish—and expensive—four-LP and four-CD box set from Domino Records that compiles the first five Go-Betweens singles, the first three Go-Betweens albums, a live set from 1982, three discs of rarities, and a thick booklet that Robert Forster wrote. (The first 600 copies included books from the library of the late Grant McLennan, and Music Weird is compiling a list of those titles here.) Despite the deluxe presentation, a number of listeners have noted speed problems on some of the tracks. This post will provide details on the tracks that need speed correction.

Archie Moore's review on Sound It Out from January 25 noted the speed problems: 
All of the non-single material from the 1999 release 78 ‘Til 79: The Lost Album appears here, but it’s significantly slower than on that CD, sounding slightly sluggish and tuned-down (i.e. it seems that the slower speed is incorrect and accidental, a tape transfer error, not a correction). It is possible that this has been addressed and/or fixed since I got the digital review copy.
This problem hasn't been addressed, because my standard release copy has the same problems.

The songs from The Lost Album aren't the only ones that sound slow, though. Here's the breakdown:

Life as Sweet as Lemonade  
Tracks 3-22 are slow

Skeletons That Cry  
Tracks 7-11 are slow

I haven't heard from Domino Records yet about whether these CDs will be remastered to correct the speed problems. At the very least, the downloads for purchasers should be corrected, but the best possible outcome would be for the affected discs and LPs to be remastered and replaced. Considering the price of the set and the attention to detail that otherwise went into it, these problems are surprising and upsetting.

If you have additional comments about the speed issues on G Stands for Go-Betweens or run across additional reviews that mention them, please let me know and I'll add them to this page.

Update (March 19, 2015):

Another review has noted the speed issue. This is from Boston Hassle:

Previously heard selections appear here at significantly slower speeds, which begs the question as to whether the Lost Album contained sped-up mixes to make the band sound more sprightly, or if this box set contains slowed-down mixes. Because there can be no logical reason for the latter, we must conclude that we are now hearing the Go-Betweens’ earliest demos at their original speed, and it’s not a flattering discovery.


  1. Since I have software that can correct speed problems, I'd like to know just how "slow" we're talking about. Thanks.

    1. My estimate is around 4%. If they used a standard tuning in the original recordings, then you could figure it out precisely. I keep intending to do that but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    2. Thanks, Greg. Will take me a few days, but I'll try to remember to post an update here after I give it a try.

  2. Anybody know the correct timings of these tracks ? I've got 2'54" for track 10 of CD 6 (I need 2 heads). I've then sped up by 4% - to get 2'45". I've tried to put samples of the two tracks on Soundcloud. If you can access them - let me know your thoughts.

    1. The original sounds really slow to me. Even sped up 4%, it sounds a bit draggy, but that could be the performance. I've been meaning to look into the guitars' tunings to see if that provides any clues, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Domino Records wrote to me and said they'd get back after they investigated this problem, but I've followed up with them once or twice and they have fallen silent. I can't imagine that they would be in a hurry to remaster and repress a box set that has already sold out.

  3. Curious – the version of People Say on The Lost Album disc sounds like a wildly different MIX / recording than the Domino version.

    Is there a chance that the rarities on the anthology are from an altogether alternate session?

    1. I'll have to listen to my copy of the Lost Album again, but the version of "People Say" on the Domino box is the same version that is on the single and on the 1978-1990 compilation. It sounds like it's mastered from vinyl—you can hear the crackles and other surface noise. I'd be surprised if a different version is on the Lost Album, because I think I would have noticed it, but I'll listen again.

      BTW, is this really Nodzzz? I love "Innings."

  4. Hi Greg - yes this is Anthony, (formerly of NODZZZ)! That's terrific you know Innings :)
    I was required to log into our defunct blog to be able to comment! Anyhow - I think I just uncovered the same issue with the Triffids...

    That version is much slower than the track as mastered for the Inner City Sound compilation. About a five second difference short from the Domino version and the Inner City Sound comp version. I'll tell you, this is maddening!