Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zach Johnson, Dec 28, 2016.
I'll hand you over to an expert on such unreleased matters:
Surprised to hear this has skyrocketed in price. It's a great little set, but I'd hardly pay a premium for it.
Honestly, the only real weaknesses are the sequencing on the bonus discs for Outside and Earthling. How many remixes of "Heart's Filthy Lesson" or "I'm Afraid of Americans" can you listen to in a row before you're done?
It exists only as a demo tape. But it does exist.
My amateur theory as to how this happened (somebody with better technical knowledge than me can figure out if this is plausible or not):
1) They accessed the master tape, discovered there was the problematic 'loss of energy' passage in the middle.
2) They executed their fix for the problem section.
3) They then volume matched the entirety of the section prior to the fix to the section after the fix. You know, to make sure it was consistent throughout the song and you wouldn't notice the fix.
4) But, crucially, they ignored the fact that the song is supposed to get louder as it goes along, so matching the volume of the back half (averaged out) to the front results in a sudden drop after the fix. A pretty dumb mistake that should have been spotted as soon as anybody listened to it, but maybe a workflow that looked sensible on paper?
Yeah, but it was supposed to be part of a whole series (3?) of installments of an epic story. I am disappointed that the whole thing stopped with one album. Eno and Bowie! The best music Bowie ever made was with Eno, dammit!
Well, almost. Michael Fremer's review when it came out was just a smidge above tepid. But lots on the forum liked it, true.
So, all in all, you would recommend it?
I think the folks on the forum mainly liked the CD set, which involved flat transfers. What Fremer reviewed was the LP set--a completely different ball of wax (pun only partially intended).
Wow. Great performance. Is that Reeves Gabrels on the red guitar and behind the shades?
That may well be what happened. However I suspect they tried various fixes and used the wrong one. So let's say "Fix 5" was fine, but they accidentally put "Fix 4" in by mistake when assembling the album. Clearly someone should have listened to the final result afterwards.
As for Parlophone's initial "explanation", that was probably just hot air from some PR person who had heard something of the issues with the master tapes. Eventually either Tony Visconti or Ray Staff must have listened to the track and realised, "Uh oh, that's not good". Possibly they even said "Uh oh, that's the wrong version of 'the fix'!"
It sold a lot so it would make sense to me.
Certainly is. Great band here with Gail Ann Dorsey on bass.
Since we're so offtrack talking about Outside, does anyone wanna revisit the 1997/8 Best Ofs issue on Google Play? Check my posts from a few pages ago if you didn't see. I really want to get to the bottom of this. Is Peter Mew really did approach remastering two drastically different ways in 2 years, I find that very interesting.
Ironically the Earthling bonus disc in the set misses out my favourite Dead Man Walking mix.
I would, but I may be a bit more forgiving than I should. I definitely hear the sound drop at the 2:50 mark of "Heroes", it lasts about 15 seconds that I can tell, and the Low remaster doesn't sound any better than my 1999 CD, but it doesn't sound worse. Those are the two main issues for me. I really like the Lodger remix, it seems to have more life to it, same with Scary Monsters.
I should say that I've ripped all these CDs FLAC files and mainly listen on my Pono, with Sennheiser HD 700 headphones and a Beyerdynamic A20 headphone amp. I should say everything sounds the same on my old RCA CD player and reviver. And we are getting the "Heroes" replacement disc, so I'd go for it and make sure to keep the receipt.
But again, this is just me, many others on here know a lot more about sound quality, overall though I'm digging the set. Sorry for the garbled message, but I hope it helps.
I don't know if this is any help, but I just took a look through the "Platinum Collection" CD booklet, and ...
* on the final disc (1980/1987) the non-single-edit digital remasterings almost all carry a 1999 copyright on the remaster: "Time Will Crawl", "Blue Jean", "Loving the Alien", and "Up the Hill Backwards".
* On the single-edit front, 2002 pretty much carries the day: the single edits of 10 different tracks on this 19-track disc show 2002 remastering copyrights. Also showing 2002 mastering copyrights: "This is not America", "When the Wind Blows". Interesting outliers: "Alabama Song" with a 2005 remaster, which corresponds to the year they finally threw these three discs into the "Platinum Collection" package; "Under Pressure" (1994) and "Drowned Girl" (omitted).
* on the 1974/1979 disc.... No individual digital remastering copyright dates are provided, but every track carries two copyright dates: original release year, and 1998, which was the year this individual disc was originally re-released, and would have been the 2nd year of Bowie's 15-year-long agreement with EMI for his 1969-1990 stuff. So, nothing on disc 2 (including "Sound and Vision", not identified as the single version here) is going to be a "1999" remaster, at least on the original single disc released in 1998.
But then, maybe "1999" was the date retroactively slapped on Mew's remastering work going back to 1997, for legal purposes.
* on the 1969/1974 disc...same deal: Two copyright dates, original release year, and 1997, the year the standalone 69/74 disc came out. No copyright dates on individual digital remastering jobs. Bowie's first year with the EMI deal.
Back cover of booklet just says "Mastered by Peter Mew at Abbey Road Studios"
So, it looks like 1997 means:
* EMI/Parlophone cut a big check for Bowie catalogue.
* Bowie had the bonds hanging over his head
* Bowie's vision for three distinct hits compilations, an idea vetoed at Ryko, was apparently greeted with a "Yes, Sir" at EMI/Parlophone.
* The digital remastering elves didn't retire working for EMI/Parlophone' Bowie stash in 1999: There were SACDs to be made and singles to remaster for 2002. Boutique vinyl. "Alabama Song" for 2005. Anniversary editions of his glam-rock stuff. 5.1 Surround DVDs.
It might not be relevant, or it might be a clue to any 1997-1998 vs 1999 differences, but I believe the 1999s have the credit Mastered by Peter Mew with Nigel Reeve. Lodger 1999 definitely has that credit, because I played it yesterday.
Well... what you should actually wonder about is which album in box 4 wouldn't be a candidate
Bowie Heroes 40th anniversary BBC radio
BBC World Service - Music Extra, David Bowie’s 'Heroes' 40th Anniversary
And Garson there too. It was great seeing him with Alomar for that (first?) Outside era TV performance. And although at the time I had only heard of Dorsey, knew nothing about her, I loved that moment where her side profile moves in front of the camera as she stalks forwards while attacking her bass.
I always thought it was the SACDS that were flat transfers, not the CDs. A great-sounding set in any case (with perhaps the slight exception of the s/t and Avalon, but that's another discussion).
There's an interesting review of this set on PopMatters. There's quite a bit about the problems with the set, especially on page 3. Not sure I agree with the overall sentiment though. Have a look for yourselves:
Filtered Through the Prism of David Bowies Quixotic Mind: 'A New Career in a New Town'
Apologies to all but which Roxy Music box set? There is a fairly recent vinyl box.
Thanks. Interesting, although I almost stopped trying to read it due to the huge, more intrusive than normal adverts on the mobile version. And I did stop reading at this point, I'm afraid:
"Low has never sounded better".
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