Nevermind and Original Recordings Group

For Christmas, I received the new vinyl reissue of Nirvana’s seminal 1991 album, Nevermind. This beautiful thing, mastered by acclaimed engineer, Bernie Grundman, and pressed at RTI on extremely quiet 180gm vinyl, is brought to us by Original Recordings Group. Thank god for them.

Nevermind always sounded good, but never this good.

I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison with an old compact disc, but upon setting needle to groove, I was immediately struck by the awesome presence of Dave Grohl’s drums. They come from beyond my front wall and rush forth with a power that sticks in my gut. Kurt Cobain’s words were never this lucid, the tone of his voice never so gripping; I wish he were still with us. Grohl’s backing vocals were never such a perfectly integrated part of the whole; you can now clearly hear his own potential superstardom. Cobain’s leads never had this much space to breath, to quake, to overwhelm and dazzle. (I was never aware of the stereo effects—notes come from the right channel and then the left and then again the right and finally from both channels for a dizzying, psychedelic ride. Were these effects even there the first time around?) And while it was always understood that so much hinged upon Krist Novoselic’s bass riffs, it’s now obvious that he was really the tightest of knots connecting this impossibly powerful trio.

I love these songs. I know them like I know my own phone number or street address or best friends; they’re just with me. But I sort of love them more now.

Original Recordings Group was launched in 2006 by Monti Olsen, a senior VP of Universal Music Publishing Group/Interscope Records. The company’s mission is to produce beautiful products at attainable prices.

We want to be known for producing high quality vinyl records of many genres of music for the audiophile and special market sectors.


ORG has the North American rights to Nirvana’s Nevermind, In Utero, and MTV Unplugged. Each album is available in limited-edition color vinyl and 180gm black vinyl. (My copy is black; music editor Robert Baird got a blue one!) In Utero comes in an intoxicating marbled yellow, while MTV Unplugged is bright red. (I’m going to collect them all.) And what’s this?! ORG is set to release other classic albums in the New Year, including several of Sonic Youth’s early albums. (They will be mine.)

2010 is going to be a good, good year. Thanks, ORG.

Tom Collins's picture

stephen: this may seem like a silly question, but how do you buy these albums? at the website, there is no link to purchase. you got me all psyched up,now what's a vinyl lover to do.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Mine was a gift, but I've seen these Nirvana reissues at record stores, on eBay, on Amazon, and other online retailers.

ECC's picture

You can get this album at such online retailers as Music Direct, Acoustic Sounds, and Soundstage Direct.

john devore's picture

It was this very album that finally and utterly convinced me of vinyl's superiority over CD.

It was, in fact '91 when the album came out and I was working at Stereo Exchange, the CD had been around the store for a couple of months, and much played/loved. I picked up the record on the way to work one day and thought it'd be fun to do an A/B. Due to what was up and running at the time the comparison was between a top of the line Wadia stack and a VPI HW-19 III fitted with a modest MC cartridge (probably the Blue Point).

It was over in seconds. For the first time we could understand Kurt's lyrics, the instrumental parts made so much more sense. Ear opening for all of us there.

Stephen Mejias's picture

For the first time we could understand Kurt's lyrics, the instrumental parts made so much more sense. Ear opening for all of us there.That's what I'm talking about! I haven't listened to the CD version in awhile, but the LP sounded very different from what I remember. In a way&#151and I meant to write about this in my entry&#151the LP sounds slower and heavier, while providing greater detail. I'm not sure if this sense of speed and weight is real or is a result of greater air around the instruments, allowing the notes to more fully develop and bloom [Nirvana reference. &#150Ed].

Stephen Mejias's picture

Newsflash: Just booked a trip to CA and scheduled a January 18th visit to RTI to meet with owner Don MacInnis (who says he reads my blog!) and learn more about their beautiful work and latest projects.

Laurent's picture

Yes! I just picked up this one and the Unplugged record and completely agree about the SQ - It's a revelation. Unplugged sounds way better than ever before as well....

Dr. Herzenstube's picture

OK, someone educate me please. Was this album mastered on analog tape? If NOT, i.e. if the recording was natively digital, then any perceived superiority of the vinyl version would HAVE to be due to noise or distortion added somewhere along the line, right?

Dr Bottomfeeder's picture

Dr Herzenstube, I am glad you are back! Please come back home!!! Standbyes are waiting for you!Xin says hello!

michaelavorgna's picture

Hi Doc,From the ORG website - "This audiophile quality vinyl edition has been mastered by Bernie Grundman from the original analog master tapes..."

Eric's picture

Maybe I'm just a heathen, but how does the vinyl stack up against the MFSL UltraDisc CD?

Derwyn Goodall's picture

I have owned and enjoyed the MOFI vinyl version of this great record for many, many years. It sounds totally "right" in my opinion. Apparently, the limited edition UMG Japan 200g vinyl is great as well. Has anyone compared the MOFI, the UMG with this new version? I would be curious to know the differences...

jasjesbe's picture

Last year I bought the Japanese-remastered CD (Geffen UICY-93358), and it's just another story. Give it a try and you'll be surprised.

KevinP's picture

I agree the ORG version absolutely blew me away compared to the standard CD. I have teenagers and when their friends come over to visit, this is the recording I use to "educate" them on the sound of a good analog/LP vs a CD. Amazing record (and I'm not even a Nirvana fan per se)

ali's picture

The Vinyl is indeed slower and heavier, and this is because of the additional detail (air and space) on the Vinyl. The good news is that these details can be recreated digitally and the CD can be made to sounds as good or better than the Vinyl. Something does get lost during analog to digital conversion, but if we can create entire worlds in the digital domain (Avatar), then air and space should not be impossible

darylC's picture

I just purchased this album. I can't believe how amazing this sounds. It takes me back to when the album was released in my youth. I have a feeling all my cd's will be replaced as reissues like this are released. I am so glad that there are those out there with a passion for music that want to release these great work revealing their finest qualities.

thunderfrenchie's picture

Agree that this "Nevermind" LP sounds terrific. Just visited the Music Direct andOriginal Recordings Group sites and wonder though: Nirvana's Unplugged was a digital recording (even marked DDD on the CD packaging). Did Bernie Grundman use a digital master for this particular LP?