The UK first edition of Satanic… is available in both mono and stereo. Both editions have the famous beautiful 3D cover in common. This, of course, does not exist on any CD edition that I know of. The original album is light years ahead of the CD not only sound-wise, but also haptically and visually, oh yeah… and of course the CD doesn’t have a psychedelic inner sleeve either.
I can remember collecting those little 3D wiggly pictures as a kid. They were fascinating, but we kids couldn’t really do anything with them. The wiggle image on the Satanic is a whole different caliber. An extra large wiggle picture for the big kids who like to play with mind-expanding substances.
Musically, the album is rather mixed and seems directionless.
Besides meandering tracks and druggy spinet strumming without any real structure, there is also a fast number with real bite like Citadel as well as one of their best tracks ever 2,000 Light Years From Home. Music like from another world. Mick Jagger sings of a star with fiery oceans, of ice-cold red deserts or even green desert sand in the Aldebaran system, which the Stones are heading for 2,000 light years from home – with whatever vehicle (pure poetry, because Aldebaran is actually only about 67 light years away from Earth).
Live the Stones played this song only very rarely. Rightly so, because it doesn’t fit at all into the context of the stadium rock that the Stones have been playing live for decades. The harder rock numbers like Jumpin`Jack Flash or Gimme Shelter from the upcoming albums Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed fit much better into the program.
A word about the sound quality of the mono and stereo vinyl first editions.
The stereo mix comes in a peculiar ping-pong stereo that suits the music presented superbly. On the overtrack 2,000 Light Years From Home, there are chirps and whistles that are a joy to hear. For example, there is a sound that approaches my left ear like a meteor on an elliptical path and comes from my right ear so vividly from the front left that I literally “see” it flying towards me, an incredible 3D effect.
The Monomix has considerably more oomph. It is a real pleasure to put the ears into it. It sounds perfectly staggered and held together with firm reins. It is supposed to be a true mono mix and not a fold down of the stereo mix. At least if you play a copy with the 1P / P1 mark in the run-out groove. Curiously, you can also recognize the “real” mono mix by the fact that in the intro of “The Lantern” three (instead of two of the fold down mix) chimes are heard. Blessed is he to whom the bells ring three times.