News

a-ha’s ‘East of the Sun West of the Moon’ reissued on purple vinyl

First vinyl release in 30 years • Ltd purple vinyl for National Album Day

a-ha‘s fourth album, East of the Sun West of the Moon will be issued on vinyl, for the first time in 30 years, next month. The limited edition 180g purple vinyl pressing is for National Album Day.

Originally released 30 years ago (in October 1990), and named after a traditional Norwegian fairy-tale, East of the Sun West of the Moon was co-produced by Ian Stanley and Chris Neil and the album introduced a more ‘mature’ sound, as acoustic guitars were added into the mix and the piano replaced the keyboard/ synthesiser of previous records.

The lead single ‘Crying In The Rain’ was a sizeable hit (#13 in Britain), even if follow up 45s ‘I Call Your Name’ and ‘Early Morning’ failed to crack the UK top 40.

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy says of East of the Sun West of the Moon ‘’We put together a band with Norwegian musicians, and did full takes on all the songs. It was something completely different, it was a much more human expression. You can listen to it several times and find nuances, ‘cause it ain’t a machine spitting it out.’’

When the album was reissued in 2015, there was no vinyl edition, so this release marks the first vinyl reissue and presumably the first vinyl edition to feature remastered sound.

East of the Sun West of the Moon pressed on purple vinyl is released on 9 October 2020 for National Album Day, via Warner Records. It is available via the SDE shop using this link, or the button below.

LP1

Side A:

  1. Crying in the Rain
  2. Early Morning
  3. I Call Your Name
  4. Slender Frame
  5. East of the Sun

Side B:

  1. Sycamore Leaves
  2. Waiting for Her
  3. Cold River
  4. The Way We Talk
  5. Rolling Thunder
  6. (Seemingly) Nonstop July

44 responses to a-ha’s ‘East of the Sun West of the Moon’ reissued on purple vinyl

  1. Blakey says:

    I recall Julian Cope saying in the NME that ‘Early Morning’ could be off The Doors’ debut album.

  2. Richard Z says:

    Even though I have a nice sounding copy of the original lp release, it is a-ha and one of my favourite albums by them. Just curious to hear the new pressing, and wanting a nice new copy of this album.
    Copy ordered.

    And yes the shiping costs are a bit steep, so have thrown in a copy of the deluxe Tears for Fears “Seeds of Love” set as well.
    After receiving the nicely packed “McCartney” keepsake booklets, why not order something again.

  3. Halici Arif says:

    I’d love to buy this, but as others have noted, the shipping to U.S. is deal-breaker for me. Hopefully we’ll be able to get this stateside for a reasonable shipping cost, or maybe there will be a more widely distributed, non-limited (i.e. black vinyl) version available.

  4. Cormac says:

    Paul we really need this (it’s a no brainer): https://www.discogs.com/a-ha-Scoundrel-Days/release/9023207

  5. Shane says:

    Purple. Ok. Very suited to the black and white artwork.
    Not. lol

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      “a-ha” was written in purple on the original CD. It was an accent colour of sorts, so it’s not totally random.

  6. Martin Farnworth says:

    One of those instances where an “80s band” tried to shift away from the past which is fine but then resulting in a less appealing “mature” sound.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      a-ha were in a similar ‘place’ to Duran Duran at the end of the 1980s. Slightly pigeon-holed in the Smash Hits ‘pop star’ category. a-ha were much more successful (creatively and commercially) in breaking out with East of the Sun West of the Moon than Duran Duran were with Liberty. Both albums came out in 1990. I would probably put that down to Paul Waaktaar-Savoy just being a much better songwriter than anyone in Duran Duran. If you can still write great songs, then you always have a chance, even if commercially things are often in the lap of the Gods.

      • Mario Mastroianni says:

        They are equally genius songwriters, “Liberty” just threw the seeds for the later rock masterpiece “The Wedding Album” and Duran Duran still detain the writing of the best song ever, “The Chauffeur”, not to mention “Vertigo”, “Lady Ice”, “Last Man Standing”, “Before The Rain”, “The Edge Of America”, “Out Of My Mind”, “Palomino”, “The Seventh Stranger”, “Sin Of The City”, “Come Undone”, “Too Late Marlene”, “Winter Marches On”, “To The Shore”, “I Believe/All I Need To Know”, “Lady Xanax”, “Still Breathing”, “Land”, “My Antartica”, “Midnight Sun”, “Shadows On Your Side”, “The Promise”, “Love Voodoo”, “Falling Angel”, “Matter Of Fact”, “Worth Waiting For”, “El Diablo”, “Goodbye Is Forever”, “The Universe Alone”, “Starting To Remember”, “None Of The Above”, “Secret Oktober”, “Too Much Information” , “Face For Today”, “Late Bar”, “Last Chance On The Stairway”, “Of Crime And Passion”, “Union Of The Snake”, “So Long Suicide”, “Ordinary World”, “Sinner Or Saint”, “The Finest Hour”, “What Happens Tomorrow”, etc.

    • Mario Mastroianni says:

      I disagree, they started in 1980 as a symphonic rock band called Bridges, with direct and ambitious inspiration by The Doors, when Morten Harket wasn’t there to add his powerful voice yet.
      Here they simply came back full rocking with jazz and blues touches later expanded in the masterpiece “Memorial Beach” (and in Harket’s solo “Wild Seed”), one of those ’90s adult-oriented albums alongside Duran Duran’s “The Wedding Album”, Alphaville’s “Prostitute” (The Best album ever), Camouflage’s “Meanwhile”, Depeche Mode’s “Songs Of Faith And Devotion”, David Bowie’s “1.Outside” and Billy Mackenzie’s posthumous “Beyond The Sun”.

      • Shawn C says:

        Mario – agree with you on “Prostitute.” What a great album – I wouldn’t go with best album ever, but definitely the best Alphaville album.

  7. Craig Hedges says:

    I find the comment from Paul W-S quite strange “cause it ain’t a machine spitting it out”. Never felt that at all listening to the previous three albums, they sounded very organic even using the tech at the time and definitely stood up to repeated playing. Perhaps the comment is more towards the ‘Stay on these roads’ album as this does sound rushed and a bit half baked in places.
    I like ‘East of the moon’ but I remember when I heard “I call your name” the first time, it sounded like a deliberate attempt to go “look we can really play our instruments”. They were missing the point, it didn’t matter. They were fantastic songwriters who made great pop music, thankfully they remembered this when they came back in 2000 with MEMS and had got their ‘Doors’ phase out of their system. I’d hoped they might have put a box set together of all their albums on vinyl. Are they going to make any more new music?

    • Chris Hopkins says:

      You miss the point that a-ha were Doors-esque before their hits, therefore the 90’s albums were a return to their roots rather than a sneaky attempt to go organic. The truth is that they always were and had got sidetracked with synths at the pregnant moment when the initial hits were written. Check out the 2 pre-a-ha albums by Bridges.

      • Craig Hedges says:

        I disagree, it was really an attempt to shake off the teeny bop image that had built around them after the success arrived. It happened with a lot of bands in the 80s, because they used synths and appeared regularly on the front of Smash Hits the ‘serious’ music press wrote them off. It was evident on Scoundrel Days that a-ha were more than pretty boys with synths and had serious talent and songwriting skills but that got hidden by Morten’s cheekbones. I can understand Pal and Magne’s frustration at the music and lyrics being ignored and by 1990 it was probably time for a change of sound and image but it swung too far from the previous release to be seen as a natural progression. They had done 2 huge world tours where they were screamed at at each gig and weren’t listened to, so something had to give.
        It was definitely an attempt to try and get back on U.S. radio and get another hit over there. After hearing Jeff Lynne’s ‘Armchair Theatre’ for the first time yesterday, also released in 1990 (and another album mostly ignored from that year along with DD’s Liberty). It’s a shame no-one at Warner’s got Jeff to produce a-ha……this could still happen! Jeff, at that time had the right balance of electronics and analogue instruments on his records.
        Whilst the Doors are a big influence on Pal and Magne in Bridges when they formed a-ha and came to England and heard Depeche Mode and Human League, they really wanted to make music like that, you can’t really say they were sidetracked, it was a key part of a-ha’s makeup which goes back to the synth riff of Take on me which Magne first played as part of one of the last Bridges songs prompting the break up.
        It was really the other way round, on ‘East of the sun’ and ‘Memorial Beach’ they were sidetracked by wanting to appeared to be “a real band” In most the post 2000 albums they remembered the sound of a-ha, a combination of synths, programmed and real drums and mostly acoustic guitar. They sounded lost again on most of ‘Lifelines’ and ‘Analogue’ soundwise but were still writing great songs.
        Has the planned film a-ha The Movie been cancelled as it was supposed to have been shot during the tour this year?

        • Chris Hopkins says:

          No, you’re wrong. Even on the pop records there’s a Doors influence. You can hear it all the way through the first 3 albums. Even the riff on Take On Me is a direct descendent of the riff on “Light My Fire”. The pop albums were (production wise) the sidetrack, albums 4 and 5 were the continuation of their roots.

          • Craig Hedges says:

            We’ll have to agree to disagree, life’s too short… but I’m glad you like a-ha enough to argue for them :)

          • Shawn C says:

            Weighing in on the Chris/Craig discussion. I despise the Doors, but absolutely love a-ha. I never really heard the influence in most of their stuff, though it is definitely there on Memorial Beach.

            I have to side with Craig in the discussion, a-ha’s sound started to shift on Scoundrel Days but it did not stray too far afield until Memorial Beach. I absolutely love Memorial Beach, in fact it is one of my favorites. but it is a very different sound to any other a-ha album. I think you had to be a real die-hard fan to love Memorial Beach as an a-ha album

        • Albert says:

          I know The Doors were a big influence on Bridges. But to me A-ha always reminded me of The Walker Brothers. Not all their early pop stuff, but the great Scott (RIP) could easily have done some gems from the A-ha songbook.

  8. JAMES FENN says:

    Missed a tap in there by not doing a double on ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ coloured vinyl. NB I am available if any record companies want me in the design dept.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Good idea, but it’s only one vinyl record. Can you do the A-side one colour and the B-side a different colour?

      • JAMES FENN says:

        According to Record Collector it can be done, but they forgot to put a picture!

        “16 ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS Alison/Welcome To The Working Week (STIFF BUY 14, 1977) £300

        Though there are many instances of coloured vinyl ending up with the wrong tint, or the vinyl’s shade seeping into and infecting the next record on the press, there are very few instances of a black vinyl record being mispressed in white on just one side, with the flip being rendered in standard black. Then you notice that this is, once again, on the Stiff label.” https://recordcollectormag.com/articles/oops

        They could definitely do a picture disc though :)

      • Mike the Fish says:

        Apparently there’s a copy of Special AKA’s Gangsters that’s green on one side and black on the other. Can’t be cheap to produce though!

  9. Kleber A-HA says:

    Melhor banda do mundo!!

  10. Eric says:

    Brilliant album. Not for me here though. The excellent CD / DVD combo from a few years back did that period justice for me. Possibly the best A-ha album alongside MEMS for me.

  11. Shawn C. says:

    I want it -but shipping is more than the album! Not your fault I know. Do you know if this will be released in the States?

    • Rodolfo Marti says:

      Shawn, I am also in USA and the shipping cost are very crazy. There are lower options but sellers do not want to use them because are not trackable. I have not buy from Europe from years now, with the exception of something in eBay with seller offering the cheap shipping option. The collar cannot be more expensive than the dog, I mean, the shipping cost cannot be more expensive than the LP or CD.

  12. Trash says:

    Further to my last comment – I hadn’t even realised that this was not originally available on vinyl. Probably explains why I didn’t have it already…

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It did come out on vinyl originally, but for some reason wasn’t reissued on vinyl (along with Memorial Beach) when all the other albums were…

      • Trash says:

        Ah that makes sense…
        My fault for not reading closely enough – too excited about the purchase…

      • Gyula says:

        hi Paul,

        Ordered thanks!
        I guess also Stay On These Roads were not reissued, is it correct?

        So Memorial Beach and Stay On These Roads still on the wait for reissue…

        Gyula

  13. Trash says:

    Ordered instantly (from SDEShop) – thanks Paul.

    Coincidently, I am reading Barry Page’s excellent A-Ha book at the moment and I go to ‘East of the Sun..’ this morning. I was thinking I really should pick up a vinyl copy and ta-da this pops up. Serendipitous!
    Not sure about the coloured vinyl as I prefer good old natural but still….

    Thanks again Paul.

    • Chris Hopkins says:

      You mean the book which is about 20% fact, 40% conjecture/opinion and the remainder provable nonsense?

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Ouch…

      • Richard Z says:

        Is this in reference to the upcoming book a-ha “Down The Tracks”, which as far as I know, isn’t even out yet.
        Or is this getting confussed with Jan Omdahl’s book, “The Swing of Things” which, while having lots of errors, is still a good and interesting read.
        And I am looking forward to Barry Page’s book.

  14. Olov says:

    This is A-has finest moment. Absolut love this album and this is a release I’ve been hoping for, for a long time. Ordered from SDE Shop. Thanks Paul!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *