Animals 8-Track Cartridge Master (PEC-001)
2008 Remastered Edition
Pigs On The Wing (Inc Snowy White guitar solo) (3:22), Dogs (Part 1) + Dogs (Conclusion) (17:01), Pigs (Three Different Ones) (10:19), Sheep (10:21)
The debut release of the PEC label Animals 8-Track Cartridge Master is exactly what one would expect it to be: a high quality digital transfer of the 8-track version of Animals, which is primarily notable for the inclusion Snowy White’s guitar solo that bridges “Pigs On The Wing 1” with “Pigs On The Wing 2” and is exclusive to the 8-track pressing. The original idea was to create a continuous loop of the album, and of course this cyclical arrangement has been utilized on more than one Floyd album to a great effect that, in itself, poses a number of philosophical questions.
PEC have done a fine job in presenting this material here, although having both parts of “Pigs On The Wing” at the beginning of the disc certainly loses the bookending effect of the original 8-Track and also a bit strange thematically in that ending with “Sheep” deprives the listener of the respite “Pigs On The Wing 2” provided on the LP and CD.
That aside, the only issues sonically here would be a very mild amount of tape hiss during the quietest passages, a couple instances of distortion when Roger Waters REALLY digs in on the acoustic guitar during “Pigs On The Wing,” and a noticeable change in aural perspective starting with the phased guitar at 6:35 in “Dogs.”
Otherwise, what we have here is a fine digital transfer that retains much of the warmth of the analog format from which it came, with the clarity of a 2008 remastering. Mind you, it doesn’t have the “oomph” of the Columbia Records CD remaster, but it’s by no means thin – just doesn’t have that extreme low-end the major labels tend to roll onto their own remasters.
When all is said and done, Animals 8-Track Cartridge Master is an interesting release, certainly superior in audio quality compared to last year’s Animals Test Acetate, and worth picking up if you’re a fan of this era or curious about Snowy’s contribution. At this time, it’s unclear if this is the dawn of a new label or simply a one-off, but new purveyors of silver are certainly welcome and if this is an indication of PEC’s intentions, we could have another Sigma at hand!