For as long as I’ve known about Nirvana’s In Utero, which turned 20 today, fans have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if there was an authentic, pure “Albini mix” of In Utero. There’s some good information about that story in his Reddit AMA from last year, but it hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of the nigh-mythological “100% Albini mix.” Until today.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the “Super Deluxe 20th Anniversary” edition of In Utero after hearing Albini speak to Vish Khanna on his podcast Kreative Kontrol. Disc 2, the “2013 mix,” is actually a brand new mix of the record by Albini, Noveselic, Grohl, and Smear. To me, this was as close to getting the Albini mix I’ve wanted. And, I’ll tell you, it’s totally ace. In this write-up by Khanna, Noveselic states that the new mix would be for fans who would listen in for small differences and additions. Below, I’ve outlined what the 2013 mix adds or detracts from the 1993 release. For your reference, I used the original 1993 CD release ripped into a variable bitrate against a 256k version of the 2013 mix.
I’d love to reader deeper into the interviews you’ve mentioned.
I gotta say, on the other 2 that are the original Albini mixes supposedly scrapped for being too punk, vocals too low, etc….sound about the same to me. Don’t see what the big deal was.
Hey Jeff, thanks for reading. There’s a lot of debate centered around those supposed “Albini mixes” before this 2013 mix; namely that they’re cassette bootlegs that have transcoded out into the universe for forever. NME ran a piece comparing the Litt/Albini mixes, and I gotta say that the levels on “All Apologies” are all over the place and definitely sound like transcodes.
Thanks for writing this. Really enjoyed your take on it. Reading it and listening to 2013 mix at the same time. Loving Albini’s fresh take on my favourite album of all time. You pointed out a few things I may have missed
That’s awesome. I found a hilarious and awkward interview of Steve Albini. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUl3tdVIl9A
Interestingly, I actually own the original 1993 Albini Mix on vinyl. It is available, though expensive (in most cases). You see, what happened was that back in 2007 a German pressing of the album accidentally swapped the “standard” mix with the original Albini. So they were sent out all over Europe and Canada. I ordered mine from Ontario cheap. The local record store owner did not know it was an Albini (they are not labeled, after all).
Here’s a link to one on ebay:
In Utero is my favorite album and, after having listened to all editions, I think the original 1993 Albini is the best. Followed by the 2013 mix.
This was a great article and you made some great points that I completely agree with.
I’m a Nirvana completist and enthusiast, and your sentiment of the 2013 mix sounding “quietly more brutal” is right on point.
My only problem with it is also something you mentioned… the fact that theres no cello on Dumb. Thats a major bummer.
Other than that, I found the 2013 mix to be just as revelatory as the original was in 1993.
Great article, man.
Hi Ryan, Amazing article. Reading it has really opened my eyes to the differences in the mixes. I think that it is incredible that everything In Utero has gone through that Steve Albini actually mixed it again. I’ve noticed that it is mastered quite a lot louder as well. Is this something that you considered when you were writing the review. It seems like a lot of producers these day like the record to sound louder when playing and even willing to let us hear the edge of the record more than ever before. I’ve just started my own label and I am actually the studio producer and engineer for most of the work that is featured on my label. It would be great to chat with you.