In the collection that is Classic ISKCON Records, there have been a lot of strange practices that went into making these records. From incredibly shoddy recording to bizarre disorganization, it’s been very difficult to figure out not only what was released, but who released it and when.
The Mayapur LP covers all of these bases. And though it’s far from the most disorganized release, this one has me absolutely confused.
By all looks, this is an album that contains a live recording of a Hare Krishna Festival. That festival probably took place in Mayapur. The word “Mayapur” is on the front cover, and on the back there’s a blurb in four different languages that talks about the Mayapur festival. It explains that nobody in this recording was a professional musician.
The label of the record itself gives us a little more information, stating: “Live recordings of a Hare Krishna Festival.” Side one is simply entitled “Part I,” while side two is labeled as “Part II.”
So it seems pretty straight forward. Someone took a microphone and a tape recorder to the Mayapur festival, made some field recordings, maybe touched them up a bit, and then cut a record.
But that’s not actually what’s on the record. The recordings are three tracks of Srila Prabhupada. Two are definitely from the studio, while the last one could be live (or it could simply be in a bigger studio with more devotees).
Getting back to the confusion, I have no absolute idea which record label released this. The record definitely comes from Germany, and in Germany there were two ISKCON-based record labels. One was called Hare Krsna Records, which mostly released recordings made by Hansadutta das. The other was called Radha Krsna Productions, and it mostly released music by Acyutananda das. That said, both labels were somehow related and released at least one identical record (the Hare Krishna Festival, which I’ll reconvert soon, I promise).
The blurb on the back cover alludes to Hare Krsna Records. The center paper label makes no claim to either organization. However, the etching on the runout groove of the vinyl (called the matrix) is: RKP-1006. If true (and I believe it is – mostly because I have to believe in something), that would make this Radha Krsna Productions’ sixth record – and probably their last.
1) Hare Krishna Mantra
1) Sri-Sri Gurv-astakam
2) Jaya Radha Madhava
The first song, which takes up all of the first side, is the same recording featured on the first Krishna Consciousness record, released by Happening Records in 1966 (which I will get to soon enough). This was the only other time (as far as I can tell) that it appeared on vinyl. The second side contains two songs, the first of which is a fairly famous version of “Sri Sri Guru-astaka.” Both of these songs appear on the Hare Krishna Classics & Originals CD released in the 90s.
The last song is “Jaya Radha Madhava,” but it’s no version I’ve heard anywhere before. It’s not any of the BBT CDs, nor on any of the “Vintage Series” CDs. It’s also not been released on any other vinyl records as far as I can tell. This is a very sweet version with a full congregation of devotees chanting along.
You can listen to samples below:
As with most of the Classic ISKCON Records, we’re left with zero details about the recording, pressing and distribution of this release. In actuality, none of it makes any sense. Here’s both a record cover and label that appear to contain recordings of the Mayapur Festival. Yet, when you drop the needle, you’re blessed with Srila Prabhupada instead. How this came about is anyone’s guess.
My speculation is this: The devotees, perhaps in 1976 or so, decided that it would be nice to release a record of field recordings from the Mayapur Festival. Thinking that nothing could possibly go wrong, they threw together an album cover, got a bunch of labels printed and then went to record the festival. Along the way, somehow something went horribly wrong. Maybe the devotee tasked with pushing the [REC] button spaced out. Maybe it was recorded, but somebody misplaced the tapes (ie, “spaced them out”). Maybe the sound quality was so horrible that it was rendered unlistenable. Whatever the reason, the music they wanted to appear on this record wasn’t available.
So rather than trash a thousand (or more? less? who knows!) covers and labels, they decided to fill it with Srila Prabhupada. Listening to it, I can tell that they must have had the master tapes (or a good copy thereof) in their possession. The first song sounds great, especially considering it’s the oldest of the bunch. The second and third sound even better. With these in hand, they then sent thirty-three minutes of mono music to the pressing plant. And what we have now is a Srila Prabhupada album, half of which had been already released, in a record cover claiming that it was a stereo recordings of the Mayapur Festival. Surprise!
The Archival Process
This was one of the easier records to work on. My copy of it is VG+ on the Goldmine Scale, and while it’s got its fair share of pops and clicks, it sounds pretty good. You’ve got to understand that I’m archiving, not restoring. The difference is that while I am doing my best to fix the many, many tiny pops and clicks, it’s simply not possible to fix them all. While I can assure you that this particular record has never sounded better, I also have to remind you that it has been sourced from a 35 year old chunk of vinyl that has gone through the hands of who knows how many people (apparently including someone named Werner Wilde who thought it a good idea to put address stickers on his records). You will still hear some pops and clicks. The only way to really avoid that is to acquire the master tapes and do a full restoration.
I have archived this record in both lossless FLAC (level 8) and as high quality MP3s (320kbps). For most, the MP3s will do just fine.
Just click on the button and it’ll take you to a page where you can download the zip file. Then open the zip file with WinZip (or whatever program you use to open zip files). Add to your MP3 library or burn it to a CD-R. Easy as pie!
Vinyl LP from my personal collection.
Audio Equipment Used:
Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon w/ acrylic platter and Speedbox II
Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red
Preamp: Bellari VP-130 w/ Sovtek 12AX7LPS Vacuum Tube
Soundcard: Roland Edirol UA-1EX USB external soundcard
Audacity 2.0.1 on Linux Mint 14 (recorded at 24bit/96kHz)
Gnome Wave Cleaner 0.21-17 (click/pop removal)
Gnac 0.2.4 (to convert file to 16 bit FLAC level 8 and 320kbps MP3)
Scanned at 300dpi with Epson v500 Scanner
Edited and Restored Using GIMP Image Editor 2.8.2