Santana – Lotus

17 Oct

Santana - Lotus DS11p front

This reissue is long overdue because i wasn’t overly happy with the overall quality of the original vinyl transfer that was supplied in the early days. Just because it was recorded at 24/96 doesn’t mean it was fit for purpose, which, i’m sorry to say, proved to be correct.

So for this release i opted for the rare Japanese 3CD release after hearing that the American 2CD set suffered from heavy compression, thus affecting sound quality.

As you probably know this is a very long live concert, clocking in at two hours. Because of that it wasn’t possible to get the complete concert onto one DVD-A/V as normal. I had the choice of splitting the concert between two discs or to do the complete concert on separate discs, which is the option i went for. So all you need to do is to download the disc with the audio stream you need, although there’s nothing to stop you downloading both as a future proofing exercise.

One last thing is that i’ve removed that totally unnecessary minute of silence before the music starts. I’m sorry if that aggravates anyone but it being there aggravated me no end.

I would appreciate feedback on the album, especially the use of two separate discs.


Reissue: (D) New source & decode.

Release: DS11p

Source: Japanese 3CD set.

Process: ‘Phoenix’

Format: 1 x DVD-A:  MLP  &  1 x DVD-V:  DTS/DD


33 Responses to “Santana – Lotus”

  1. Drew May 31, 2017 at 20:21 #

    I do enjoy this, as long as I listen to the tracks a few at a time, for the pace is quite same-y, and though I love the Latin-rock percussion, it is a bit relentless at this stage of Santana’s development. But my real problem is with Carlos’s guitar; what a boxy, constricted sound! Is that down to the engineers? – OK, ‘Lotus’ is meant to conjure up ideas of Yogic meditation, but it makes me think rather of the car – hi-octane and probably with a defective exhaust pipe… Running short of inspiration, the great man frequently sustains notes which are decidely out of tune, for no appreciable expressive effect, to my ears. I think he was wise to move in new directions and change the personnel after this. For me, ‘Bourboletta’ and ‘Amigos’ mark a real advance in the Santana sound. For live albums, I think ‘Moonflower’ rewards sustained listening better. But the decode makes the best of a not brilliant live mix, I think.

  2. Owen Smith November 1, 2015 at 13:05 #

    I enjoyed the first third and the last third of this. The middle third is probably being used by the CIA for torturing people, it’s just an assault on the ears. The quad is low key as is often the case with live concerts, but there’s enough going on all around to be worth it. Musically the playing is excellent, if you like this style of Santana then it’s good stuff.

  3. Alfie October 26, 2015 at 10:17 #

    Also, I think separate discs as you’re doing it here is the best solution. However, I’d have preferred the inclusion of the meditation: I think you’re right, that it adds nothing, but when performing archival jobs like what you’re doing, I believe in keeping as closely as possible to the artists’ vision.

    • oxforddickie October 26, 2015 at 14:04 #

      The original reason for cutting it was to attempt to fir the whole thing on a standard ‘universal’ disc. unfortunately although the cut reduce the timing to a fraction below 2hrs, once i’d encoded it to the three streams it was just a little over the limit for a DVD-5, so it was only then that i made the decision to release them as they now are.

      If i had decided before i started i would have left it complete.

  4. Alfie October 26, 2015 at 10:06 #

    I never much enjoyed your original decode of this. Don’t know whether it’s the music or source, so I’m looking forward to hearing a new decode from a different source.

  5. gleeksmirt7 October 26, 2015 at 04:51 #

    What a world of difference a decode makes. This sounds GREAT! “Phoenix” is truly the best! I’m so glad that annoying space is gone from the beginning…It really bugged me.Thanks so much OD! 🙂

  6. Matt Eastwood October 22, 2015 at 17:17 #

    Hey OD! I won’t lie, I could never warm up to this album… Although I tried numerous times. I won’t bite here. However, regarding offering one disc per stream, I think that’s a very good solution. I’m all behind it!

    • Matt Eastwood October 22, 2015 at 17:18 #

      And, of course, thanks so much for making it available – I know this one is a favourite and I’m happy to know about the effort you put into it! 🙂

    • oxforddickie October 22, 2015 at 17:24 #

      I think i’ve already said that, like you, i couldn’t get into it but listening to this decode has changed things somewhat. It’s still my play list at the moment.

      Can a decode really make all that much difference? Originally i thought not, and it was just me being in the right mood at the time, but yesterday it happened again. I decoded an old release which i really couldn’t stand, but now all of a sudden i enjoy it.

      Weird or what!

      • Beechwoods (@Beechwoods_) October 22, 2015 at 21:06 #

        I haven’t had a chance to listen to this decode properly yet – this weekend will be my chance, but I’ve certainly found that I’ve fallen in love with certain high-res releases on the basis of just how amazing they sound, to the point that I’m probably listening to stuff I wouldn’t normally enjoy otherwise (The Eagles’ Hotel California in SACD 5.1 is a case in point).

        Your Phoenix decode of Switched On Bach revealed a delight that I don’t think I’d have enjoyed half as much had the decode not been so clear.

        Likewise Oldfield’s ‘Exposed’ – from ‘OK’ to ‘got to listen to this all the way through in a single sitting’ via a single new decode…

  7. joeerand October 19, 2015 at 17:51 #

    You took out the minute of silence? That was the best part of the concert! :+)
    Just kidding. In the early ’70’s Carlos Santana’s friend John McLaughlin started Mahavishnu Orchestra concerts with a moment of silence…the band on stage, waiting for the audience to get quiet (not such a problem in Japan), trying to make a meditative moment out of it. Then the music would come roaring out of the silence. But it was a dramatic, theatrical moment that doesn’t translate to the audio-only experience.
    I love this recording, and once again I salute your continual quest for improvements in decodes. It makes a world of difference. Can’t wait to hear this one, and thanks for the separate streams. I don’t have an opinion yet about classical works, but I think I like the idea of having them on a single disc.

    • oxforddickie October 19, 2015 at 17:57 #

      I think you put it perfectly in regards to that minutes silence, and do let us know your opinions of the new decode…

  8. floydflush October 17, 2015 at 17:09 #

    So you can do it the same way with my restoration of Welcome Back (EL&P) i sent you month ago. Feel free to change all the menues with yours.

    • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 17:20 #

      Indeed, that album came up in a discussion i had with ‘The Captain’ recently. as we al know there is a faulty section on tape 2 which they never corrected, but it’s basically all we have to play with.

      Thank you for your permission to have a play around with it and use it as a future release.

  9. atq October 17, 2015 at 16:46 #

    Good idea to have the separate streams on separate discs so that the whole concert is on one disc.

    • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 16:55 #

      Yea, that was my view. I’d played it a couple of times before committing it disc and it didn’t seem right to break it up, it flows pretty well when complete.

      I’d like those who populate the classical blog to consider this as there are a few large releases that would normally be on two disc’s. Would they prefer the complete work on one disc instead of having to interrupt the music by needing to change a disc?

      • zaphod2359 October 18, 2015 at 02:36 #

        I like the idea of having the complete work on one disc when needed.

      • gjwAudio October 20, 2015 at 21:06 #

        +1 to “complete work on one disc” – especially for live performances.

        If I can’t sit still for 120 minutes, that’s up to me and the pause button.
        As a side note, in the case of records such as Tubular Bells, I’d welcome a short pause or break between the “side 1” and “side 2” selections.

        I remember the first time I listened to that album, and the astonishing impact it made with the emotional arc it takes over the course of 25 minutes. I HAD to pause a moment to process what I’d just heard – and turn the record over to play side 2. That quiet space was an important part of the experience.

        Nowadays with digital media, unless someone is paying attention to the pacing of the music, the intent of the artist/producer’s careful sequencing can be diminished – if not lost – and you won’t get the full statement they were making (“24 Hott Waxx Traxx” collections notwithstanding !!).

        I have agonized over tempos & fades as part of the musical experience (when producing commercial CDs), and cringe when the work falls prey to the “random” / “shuffle” feature. Arrrrgh… but I guess that’s the Old School Approach crashing into “modern convenience”.

        Back to the TB example: I would be in favour of adding a little silence to the end of track 1 – maybe 10-15 seconds – to permit that “head break” before track 2 continues the journey. The impatient can always hit ” >| ” on the remote for instant track advance.

        In my view OD, this type of editorialization – while totally a subjective call – is in service to the intent of the artist, and something you may consider for any future releases that fall into this predicament.
        OK, sorry if I’ve hijacked the “Lotus” discussion, just thought I’d offer an idea as/when it occurs.

        BTW: good decision to trim the opening “silence” 🙂

        Thank You (as always) for your dedication to Quality, and perseverance you put into achieving the highest standard of production – much appreciated !

        • oxforddickie October 20, 2015 at 21:16 #

          Interesting, something for the mind to chew on…

          I have taken note of your thoughts on the end of side 1 of Tubular Bells.

          So far there’s been no negative remarks regarding my editing, i feel i can relax a little now lol.

          By the way, your view on the new decode?

          • gjwAudio October 20, 2015 at 22:23 #

            Well… sadly, no surround system = no opinion possible. I read the blog(s) faithfully, and see almost universal acclaim for the latest processes. It provides a daily dose of frustration :(.

            I (and the rest of the household) CAN’T WAIT for me to get the hell out of the living room, and back to the dungeon.

            Restoration of Service in “The Listening Room” is still somewhere beyond the event horizon. Numerous issues to sort out (new construction work, floor plan reorg, disposition of “stuff” that’s crept in over the years, $$$$$ !!), and no lottery winnings anywhere to be found – ha-ha.

            Believe me, you are invited to the the Grande Reopening Party !

            • oxforddickie October 20, 2015 at 22:51 #

              It’s been going on so long now, i do hope you manage to see some light at the end of the tunnel very soon.

              It would be good if we could all meet up for the party, quad music only, of course. 🙂

              • gjwAudio October 20, 2015 at 23:55 #

                Ha-Ha… OK, then… we’ll disconnect the centre channel (Genelec HT208B) – and order up a keg or two of refreshment :).

                -BUT- too bad you’ll miss Elliot Scheiner’s SUPERLATIVE 5.1 remix of Kevin Gilbert’s “Toy Matinee” album. An object lesson in how popular music can be communicated via modern surround.

                (…a damn shame they didn’t go Ambisonic !).

    • Owen Smith October 17, 2015 at 19:50 #

      I don’t mind having to change discs. I have to get up and move about every hour or so anyway due to my bad back, the change of disc is a good opportunity.

  10. prefabfan October 17, 2015 at 16:33 #

    The minute of silence struck me as an exercise in pomposity. It was especially annoying on DVDA because you had to check, is the player malfunctioning? Too bad the removal Of that silence didn’t allow it to fit on one DVDA.

    • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 16:45 #

      It is a shame. It is just a fraction under two hours which is the limit for an audio DVD-A/V. I think if i removed the silence at the very beginning and the announcement it might just have fitted, but i felt that would have been going just a little too far.

  11. Owen Smith October 17, 2015 at 15:45 #

    If anyone liked the minute of silence they can always wait a minute before pressing Play. Or was there background audience noise during that minute?

    The Queen + Adam Lambert concerts I went to at the O2 London in January had about 20 minutes of music played before the band came on (the last track from Made In Heaven album). The crowd clapped in time and cheered and so on during this, making it part of the concert really. I have bootlegs of both nights, but I much prefer the one where the boot legger included this initial 20 minutes as it builds the atmosphere before the band came on. I’m wondering if this 1 minute of silence was intended to do the same thing.

    • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 15:53 #

      It was just very low audience noise, there’s nothing there that would be called ‘essential’. Hopefully your idea will allow those who want the minutes silence to return the album to its former glory, and to make it a little more authentic they could murmur to themselves at a very low level. LOL

      • gleeksmirt7 October 26, 2015 at 04:53 #

        Or cough a couple of times… 🙂

    • Owen Smith October 17, 2015 at 16:01 #

      Personally I would have left the minute silence in since it was as the original artist intended. I can’t imagine the record company made them put it in. But it’s your blog so your choice, and if it’s just very low audience noise then nothing sigificant has been lost.

      • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 16:15 #

        It just annoyed me having the Japanese announcement then silence. I did give it a lot of thought as i don’t like altering any releases, and i think this is the first time i’ve done so.

        In the end i did it on the basis of enjoyment value, put the disc on, a little bit of silence then the Japanese announcement and into the music. Anyway it’s going to be interesting to see what people have to say about it.

  12. Highlander October 17, 2015 at 15:29 #

    I”m so glad you decided to revisit this album OD!. It is my favorite of Santana’s, as the musicians are playing at such a high level. I have so many DPRs to catch up on, but I’m sure this will sound great. As for the separate discs, I’ll probably opt for both in case I ever have an issue with MLP playback. Appreciate your efforts, thank you. 🙂

    • oxforddickie October 17, 2015 at 15:45 #

      I’m sorry if these re-issues have been coming out at quite a pace but as i’ve been doing them i’m finding it’s like hearing them for the first time, and this is a perfect example. This is the first time i’ve actually enjoyed listening to it, so much so i’ve played it umpteen times now, and am playing it as i type this.

      What a difference a decode makes…………..

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