London / Decca: Phase 1 was the overall concept of stereo representing a dramatic leap away from monophonic recordings.
Forumusic: Having enjoyed collecting and seeing all the Circle Of Sound Graphreaks lps in one place we thought we’d tackle another series with covers designed around a memorable template and settled on the Phase 4 Stereo lps featuring the large figure 4 only.
Collecting and reviewing all of them seemed attainable. From 4 4s we owned and memories of those flipped back into the wild we figured there would be maybe 40 or so at the most and we could complete the set from car boot sales, charity shops, record fairs, boutique digging and mouse stroking for next to nothing.
London / Decca: Phase 2 was about utilizing the new stereo sound studio technique of separation in the same way Command records and Enoch Light did with their multitude of Percussive lps. Sounds and instruments were placed to come from different speakers allowing a Ping Pong effect.
Forumusic: Google Images, Discogs and various blogs rescued us from what would have been an exhausting, expensive and very long jouney. In just a couple of hours we found images of about 80 of them. We then found more via the excellent but sadly defunct Endless Groove blog which contained a beautifully compiled and catalogue numbered list. We went through that and then found more. We think we have them all here but we're not 100% sure. 116 of them and counting.....
It was obvious there was phat chance of philing all the Phase 4 4s so our Phase 2 was cancelled phorever.
London / Decca: In Phase 3 the engineers were fascinated by electronically moving the sounds in a more fluid way. '...this illusion of stage movement added dynamically to the effectiveness of opera and musical comedy recordings. At it's worst it merely subjected an unsuspecting victim to music which disconcertingly trotted around in circles....'
Forumusic: Realising there was a surfeit of good photos of them all online we decided to gather them up for a Wall of Phase 4 4s. Several weeks later, after sourcing the best images available for each lp, we placed them one-by- one in correct catalogue number order.
Rows of four was a given and only collectors would understand how totally satisfying this was to do. Stitch-by-stich the page grew longer and longer. The similarities we are now beginning to draw between composing this page and knitting a nice scarf for winter should really stop here.
London / Decca: Phase 4 combined the very best of all the early stereo techniques and added a lot more. 'Perhaps the most remarkable innovation was London's custom-built 10-channel console mixer. which permitted a sense of motion and an uncanny illusion of spatial realism unapproached by modern disc methods.' The '+i.m. 20 c.r' at the top of a cover indicates they used an upgraded 20-channel console for that lp.
Forumusic: We sat smiling inananely at our satisfyingly warm Phase 4 knitwear creation for a short while before posing ourselves a hypothetical dilemma to provide a criteria for some Phase 4 4 reviews.
Please note a fast riposte of ‘I wouldn’t buy of any of them’ here is not allowed because added to our purely hypothetical dilemma is a sweet but clearly mad as a balloon old lady shopkeeper pointing a loaded shotgun at your balls demanding you buy ten of them.
It's a tough one. Is there a terrible-looking Phase 4 4 sleeve here concealing an illraersick speed lounge masterpiece like Chico Lopez - Trouble Spot on the dreary looking South Of The Border?
Do you automatically orientate towards the ones that look the grooviest or do you pore over the sleeve information and credits searching for the names of any reputable session players that may lift an Edmundo Ros lp from mundane to magnificent ?
Feel free to Google information on any of your immediate choices but please remember both the welfare of your family jewels and you only have ten minutes.
We’ve made our decision and it wasn’t easy or cheap. A couple we really liked the look of and had never seen in the wild before turned out to be scarce in the UK but plentiful in the States.
Anyway. The clock is ticking. Have fun choosing.
If your Phase 4 Stereo image has been used and you have not been thanked here please contact us on the forum and we will add your site or remove the image. We've had fun and don't want anyone getting upset. Thank you to these blogs for information. We will be hyperlinking them in February 2012.
The Phase 4 Stereo Blog: http//thephase4stereo.blogspot.com
The Endless Groove (Archives): http//www.endlessgroove.com
Distant Earth Blog: http//distantearthling.blogspot.com
detour blog: http://subway-detour.blogspot.com
Many thanks to Runswick on the Forum for alerting us to one we missed. It's Ronnie Aldrich - Love Story and we'll add it at a later date.