Tom Baker explains why there are two different versions of “Hesitation Marks”:
The standard version is “loud” and more aggressive and has more of a bite or edge to the sound with a tighter low end.
The Audiophile Mastered Version highlights the mixes as they are without compromising the dynamics and low end, and not being concerned about how “loud” the album would be. The goal was to simply allow the mixes to retain the spatial relationship between instruments and the robust, grandiose sound.
I couldn’t resist — I grabbed the leaked version last night and have been listening to it nonstop (I’ve preordered it; stop whinging). It’s one of the best albums of the year, but I was dismayed at the extent to which the record is clipped; Baker and Alan Moulder are usually much more careful with their mix. I’m very glad to hear that I’ll have the opportunity to hear it in a more pristine format.