Grey Album remastered by golden-eared engineer

Sound engineer John Stewart has never fallen out of love with DJ Danger Mouse's genius 2004 Grey Album, a mashup of the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album (and neither have I). He's got a golden ear, and over the years, the little audio infelicities in his copy have been niggling at him, so he undertook a complete, crisp, and beautiful remaster of the album. You can download the tracked-out album from MediaFire, or listen on SoundCloud.

It’s got plenty of advantages too: Revisiting The Grey Album with an expert ear gave Stewart the ability to pinpoint its audio flaws, and his professional experience gave him the agency to do something about it. Stewart says he first got the idea to remaster The Grey Album on Wednesday, Nov. 21, but it didn’t really click until that Saturday. On Sunday he set out to improve the album’s audio, tinkering with various faders in ProTools until he achieved the desired effect: “I just kind of put the sonics on steroids,” he says. Stewart knocked out the entire project that day and uploaded The Grey Album (Remastered) to SoundCloud and MediaFire on Monday. In the few passing days since releasing the updated version of The Grey Album it’s been covered by sites such as The Source and FACT Magazine, and a swarm of fans have reached out to Stewart to thank him. “A lot of people have thought that it needed to be remastered,” he says. “So it worked out.”

Stewart says he’s seen people from around the world flock to him—he said his website received about 200 hits from Hungary on Tuesday alone—though personal fame wasn’t the goal. “I wasn’t putting it out to be discovered,” Stewart says. The digital artwork for The Grey Album (Remastered) does include his name on the back cover (“I’ve always enjoyed seeing my name in credits,” he says), but that’s also part of what he considers a pragmatic move. “I wanted people to be aware it was something different,” he says. Among the subtle changes Stewart made to the artwork is a bold border, which also covers up the lower half of his name. It’s more or less a reminder that this is Danger Mouse’s original product, just with a new polish.

EMI mercilessly censored the original release, chasing down people all over the world for having the audacity to share what Danger Mouse had freely given, and which Paul McCartney and Jay-Z had endorsed. I wonder if they'll do it again?

The Story Behind The Newly Remastered Version Of 'The Grey Album' [Forbes] (via Waxy)


  1. looks like he just plopped “Re-Mastered” on it in powerpoint and went on his way.  no attempt to match typographically.  i’m glad people seem to think the audio stuff is masterful… headed off for a listen

      1. Hopefully someone remasters the remaster; whatever improvements were made, I certainly can’t hear them.

      1. Wow, great resource, I’m going to have to look at that more closely and maybe make some submissions. I was just imagining that it would be nice to have a dynamic range database for music…

  2. Paul McCartney and Jay-Z had no right to endorse the original album! Don’t people realise record companies control the rights of artists music for the good of music fans everywhere!

    1. Not sure, maybe the masters he was working with weren’t high enough quality to justify a lossless version?

  3. It is definitely mastered for the car stereo, rather than the headphones, but I suppose I don’t mind – that is usually where I blast the Grey Album anyway. I do wish it wasn’t quite so heavily compressed for normal listening.

  4. it doesn’t matter if God himself gave his nod to D. Mouse.  EMI owns the copyright, they control what can and can not be done with it.  Don’t like it, get the laws changed.

        1. I’m more interested in changing the interpretation of the laws that describe fair transformative use. But since I’m too lazy to go to law school, I’ll just work on changing the culture by downloading this album (again) and spreading the word.

    1. it’s a shame that you would be ‘let down’ by receiving something for free and then needing to do 10 seconds of work so that it appears as you like every time you listen.

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