Chicago II Steven Wilson Remix Announced ! 01/27/2017

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Ninecats, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    You can still buy it in high res [24/96] from HDTracks. There won't be another hard media issue of Steven Wilson's remix, sorry to say. I think the band didn't want to compete with the Quadio box, which was only released less than six months ago. I don't think Chicago was interested in the "comprehensive" high res media editions that Wilson has done for so many other groups (and, to be fair, others have been involved; Wilson just does the remixes, that's it, that's all...everything else included on the various reissues with which he's been involved have been decisions made by the band and/or label, afaik, unless it's one of Wilson's own projects (solo, Porcupine Tree, etc)....

    Sorry...but 24/96 digital download is the best you'll get of Wilson's new mix, and that includes no surround mix.
  2. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    He is a BIG fan of this album. He likes some other Chicago records from the early days as well, but this was the one he really wanted to do.

    And it's important to note that Wilson only accepts remix gigs for albums that are significance to if he's remixed it, you know he's a big fan.

    Has he told you that he's also a huge ABBA and Carpenters fans? Just wondering, as I think it would surprise many people to discover just how far and wide his tastes run....and what kinds of records he'd love to remix...if he were to get the opportunity.

    The good news is that the more of them he does, the bigger his reputation grows and the more opportunities come his way....

    And. just for completion's sake, while i posted it in a separate thread, for those who've not seen it you can read my extended review of SW's Chicago remix. Read it here, published just today at All About Jazz.
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  3. I received my copy of the remix this weekend. Of the original mix I have the 48DP and the remix is a vast improvement in my opinion. Most noticeable is a general lack of harshness. Very nice job indeed.
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  4. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    Absolutely - those 2002 Rhino remasters were harsh and lacking in dynamics. The Quadio box is a major improvement, and if Chicago is the only album that Wilson remixes, then they're absolutely the best sounding, overall, that I've heard (emphasis: that I've heard as I don't necessarily hear all releases, but I bought the QUadio box last year, after purchasing the CD box The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1), which contained CTA through XI, from the 2002 Rhino remasters.

    Both Quadio and Wilson's new stereo mix of Chicago are night and day when compared to The Studio Albums 1969-1978 (Vol. 1), but Wilson's stereo mix trumps the Quadio version of Chicago - because, as I wrote, the potential for getting better results is much greater with a remix rather than just a remaster.

    So, I reiterate: since it's unlikely Wilson will be doing other Chicago titles, the Quadio box plus his remix of Chicago (just one dupe) - ideally as the 24/96 download from sites like HDTracks - represents the best-sounding versions of these albums you're apt to be able to find (having not heard the MOFIs, admittedly), and consequently is the way to go, at least IMO, for those of you looking for high res (and, with the exception of Wilson's remix, quad surround mixes). I picked up XI as a CD, with the hopes that I might be able to get it remastered in high res at HDTracks sometime.

    AudiophilePhil likes this.
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  6. jwb1231970

    jwb1231970 Forum Resident

    nice analysis
  7. DougT

    DougT Forum Resident

    Well done John!
    John Kelman likes this.
  8. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    Why thank you, kind sir!
  9. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    I can't imagine how cool it would have been to see Chicago in 1970 at Tanglewood!

    AudiophilePhil and John Kelman like this.
  10. Edgard Varese

    Edgard Varese Royale with Cheese

    I'm from Berkshire County (about 20 minutes from Tanglewood) but I was all of 3 1/2 years old when the concert took place. :) By the time I got to be old enough Tanglewood didn't host rock concerts anymore.
  11. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    :agree: Well that was an absolute pleasure to listen to this remix CD.

    All I can add is:

    I never once thought that I was hearing a remix.
    The tone was just right. It sounded period, you know vintage.
    I was waiting the whole time through the CD to hear something
    "modern" applied to the proceedings and I didn't.
    All I did was smile. And it sounded like tape. I like tape.
    A subtle mix.

    More than anything the newer mix made the band sound like
    like a more cohesive unit, a freaking machine actually.

    For an album that I have owned in one form or another
    since my Uncle gave it to me when I was little...
    I dig this very much. Steven did good.

    That's...that's about it.
    SBC, tenor1, Dok and 8 others like this.
  12. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    What you describe is Wilson's approach to remixing. He's not trying to reinvent it in terms of parts played, or (at least I stereo; surround is, of course, another story) positions in the mix. He's simply trying to make it sound better; to delineate the layers so all the instruments can be heard clearly. He constantly compares work to the original mix to ensure he's respecting it while, at the same time, achieving his goals.

    But respecting the original mix, overall, is a priority. He goes into this in the brief liners included in the CD version...
  13. g.z.

    g.z. Forum Resident

    Well, I dig his approach to mixing and the love
    and respect that's evident in the results.
  14. Mike Campbell

    Mike Campbell Forum Resident

    Minnesota, USA
    5 minutes ago, I received the SACD remaster of Chicago Transit Authority from the MFSL.....about to spin it....Oh, the Wilson remaster is fabulous also...Didn't want to rain on his parade...The bass has been brought out, gives it a bit more funk....nothing wrong with that. "No sir, not one bit."
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  15. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    Have you heard the Quadio box version of CTA, Mike? Just wondering as I've bought a lot of MFSL, but with 24/192 stereo masters in the Quadio box along with the quad mixes, I figured I was covered when it came to new masters. Steven's remix is wonderful because it is a remix...but I like the Quadio box masters...but they can't possibly accomplish what Steven could with a remix.

    So, have you heard the Quadio CTA and how does it compare to the MFSL?

    In other words, are you about to plunder my wallet? :D
    Mike Campbell likes this.
  16. Mike Campbell

    Mike Campbell Forum Resident

    Minnesota, USA
    Wow where to begin.....I have heard some of the Box set, but it was not on my system...It was on another monster system...And I do not own the box it is a difficult for me to compare....But now you have me curious about the difference....I have spun the MFSL only once today since it just arrived today. My wife and I need to kick back and give it a ride....possibly tomorrow night....If I recall the box set issues do not have a sub woofer capability, since most use for that for your question is unanswered....I just might get the box set, simply to quash my curiosity.
    John Kelman likes this.
  17. Sidewinder43

    Sidewinder43 Forum Resident

    Pasadena, TX
    I just finished my first listen and the best way to describe the experience is with a couple of analogies:

    1. It was like listening immediately after having my ears thoroughly cleaned with a ton of wax blown out.

    2. It was like hearing it for the first time on a high end audio rig after years of listening on a cheap department store modular system.
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  18. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

    Mr Wilson, sir, bring on the first two Roxy Music album remixes.
  19. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    Thanks for this, Mike. Since it does not appear that Wilson will be doing any other Chicago remixes, and since MFSL's SACD Hybrid reissues of a Chicago material are curiously chosen (picking and choosing, it seems, almost arbitrarily amidst the discography rather than any kind of organized plan, like chronological, for example, at least that I could suss out), I'd recommend the Quadio box without rrseevation. Even if, as is the case with yours truly, you don't have a surround sound setup (when we renovated, and with our budget - and considering my wife was kind enough to let us go over budget on the technology acquisitions, lucky guy that I am - I had the choice of a very good surround system or a truly kickass stereo setup. I opted for the kickass stereo ), the 24/192 high res stereo remasters on Blu Ray sound pretty darn good to these ears.

    Not as good as Wilson's remix, and were he to be launching a reissue series of the group's first few albums I'd have reconsidered whether or not to pick up Quadio. But since I knew, when I bought the Quadio box, that he was just doing the second album (and other than as a download, no other means of acquiring it in high res, and no surround mix, not that that mattered to me), I decided to go for it...and am totally happy that I did.

    Admittedly, I wasn't as familiar with Chicago after Chicago IV - Live at Carnegie Hall, so getting the Quadio box, which has all the group's studio albums with Terry Kath except for Chicago XI (another curiosity, along with Quadio's inclusion of a Blu Ray of Chicago IX - Greatest Hits rather than Chicago XI, as relatively weak as it is) made perfect sense. And I've really come to love V through VIII. X is ok, not great, but still it has at least some moments - which is exactly how I'd also describe XI. So I think it would have been a better choice to make it a "Kath" studio box, and so Quadio would have been a perfect set had it included CTA and Chicago through Chicago XI, excluding the live IV and Greatest Hits IX.

    Just my opinion, but FWIW....
  20. John Kelman

    John Kelman All About Jazz Senior Contributor

    I believe he's done them, but he has absolutely no control over release schedules, especially so, I'd say, when it's a major label involved. So sometimes he has finished his remixes well before release; and, despite him being clear about this in interviews, in most cases he is literally hired to remix - nothing more - and so, once he turns it/them in, he's out of the picture...

    I really don't know what the reason for the delay is with the Roxy Music remixes.
    JediJoker7169 likes this.
  21. PhoffiFozz

    PhoffiFozz Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, 60173
    I don't think I've commented on this yet, but I received this on release day and have given it a good listen several times. - I'd have to say this is pretty much definitive. I've been listening to this album my whole life (original vinyl, various CD issues over the years) and always loved the album. I, like many, have always thought it was the "muddiest" of the early Chicago albums, but thought the sound they were "going for" in the mix was right. ... It's just absolutely what an amazing job Steve Wilson can do for an album like this. I was sort of consciously waiting for that one moment that said to me "that's not quite right, but I can live with it!" and it just isn't there. What an excellent job!
  22. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Is the AAJ forum no more? Shame. At one time I was a regular member there, I even almost became a writer for John! Then the boards went down for an extended time, and I found my fun elsewhere... good to see you here, John.
  23. Plan9

    Plan9 Mastering Engineer

    Toulouse, France
    He has remixed the first album only. It was completed in 2012 or so.
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  24. Mike Campbell

    Mike Campbell Forum Resident

    Minnesota, USA
    Oh I have surround capability.....8 speaker surround. They get the task done just fine...It took 3 sound engineers 1 1/2 days to set up my system.
    John Kelman likes this.
  25. pool_of_tears

    pool_of_tears Music Appreciator

    Eastern Iowa
    The horns sound a little squashed on the album, due to EQ choices and probably a little compression in the mixing stage. The bonus tracks, remixed in 2005, don't have the squashed sounding horns. Different mixing approach for the bonus tracks
    Mike Campbell likes this.

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