Jack White’s new vinyl stocked with hidden tech treasures

WASHINGTON — For those who say there’s nothing new about vinyl, Jack White would beg to differ.

The man who cut the world’s fastest record has included nearly a dozen technical surprises in the vinyl version of his upcoming album, Lazaretto.

For instance, if you start to listen to the record by dropping the needle on the outer edge of the record, it won’t play.

“You begin Side A on the inside of the record and it plays outwards,” says White in a 9-minute video made with Ben Blackwell of Third Man Records, detailing the special features on the the Lazaretto Ultra LP.

White says he had asked pressing experts whether it would be possible to hide a track under the record’s vinyl label.

When Lazaretto is released June 10, White and Blackwell say it’ll include the first-ever “under-label groove,” on both sides of the LP.

“You can still play the song by just dropping the needle on the label and playing the song through the paper, and you can hear the music with a little bit of scratchiness,” says White.

In the dead wax area of the first side of the record, users will see a hand-etched hologram, the first of its kind on a vinyl record.

“We have a flying hologram of an angel, both right side up and upside-down, floating above the record if you look at it from the right angle,” says White.

Here are all the features of the Ultra LP, listed on the website for Third Man Records:

  • 180-gram vinyl;
  • Two vinyl-only hidden tracks hidden beneath the center labels;
  • One hidden track plays at 78 rpm; another plays at 45 rpm, making this a 3- speed record;
  • Side A plays from the inside out;
  • Dual-groove technology: It plays an electric or acoustic intro for “Just One Drink” depending on where the needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song;
  • Matte finish on Side B, giving the appearance of an unplayed 78 RPM record
  • Both sides end with locked grooves;
  • Vinyl pressed in seldom-used flat-edged format;
  • Dead wax area on Side A contains a hand-etched hologram by Tristan Duke, of Infinity Light Science, the first of its kind on a vinyl record;
  • Zero compression used in the mastering;
  • Different running order from the CD/digital version;
  • LP utilizes some mixes different from those on the CD and digital versions.

White says the release isn’t just a bunch of technical gimmicks.

“We should point out you don’t need a slide rule and compass to enjoy this record, as complicated as we’re making it sound with all these hidden, beautiful things in there,” says White. “You can just put this record on and play it normally at 33- and-a-third.”

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