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Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On

What's Going On
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    Kudos to Mobile Fidelity for this extraordinary release of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 masterpiece, What’s Going On. A major artistic step, this brilliant psychedelic-soul song-cycle’s themes of social and economic injustice, the horrors of war, displaced veterans, and environmental concerns rings all too clearly to this day. The latest in MoFi’s 1-Step series, this elaborately packaged and pricey reissue also introduces the company’s SuperVinyl technology. Developed by NEOTECH and RTI to lower the noise floor and enhance groove definition, it creates, according to MoFi, LPs “indistinguishable from the original lacquer” and “provides the closest approximation of what we hear in the mastering lab.” My original pressing of the album is edgy and harsh, with pinched dynamics, a thin bottom end, and flat perspective. Behold, then, this mind-popping reissue. Gaye’s voice is suddenly highly present and integrated into the whole—as are his own accompanying vocals. The bottom end is deeper, richer, and it really moves. There’s dynamic range and a sense of freedom to the sound, with a notable sense of air and space. Most importantly, the music’s already powerful emotional impact is that much greater. I couldn’t—and can’t—stop playing it.

    By Wayne Garcia

    Although I’ve been a wine merchant for the past decade, my career in audio was triggered at age 12 when I heard the Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! blasting from my future brother-in-law’s giant home-built horn speakers. The sound certainly wasn’t sophisticated, but, man, it sure was exciting.

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