Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by lemonade kid, Sep 22, 2017.
Yes, and revamped with that genius mariachi sound incorporated.
I had decided I wouldn't buy another reissue of Forever Changes but a good angel gave me a gift card I could use at the record store. And when I saw that they had only one copy, somehow I just couldn't resist. Not my fault.
We may need to join AA...Albums Anonymous
Hi-Res Shootout of Forever Changes. Click here.
I have been enjoying the mono cd the most, which is the way I first heard Forever Changes. Some of the fade outs are longer, and different balances of vocals and instruments. It’s apparently a fold of a different stereo mix or master.
In the review he states:
"Also, note that my download is in the WAV format which like AIFF is uncompressed and lossless. I prefer either of these two over FLAC and ALAC, which are compressed and lossless (by the way, the state of compression referred to here is data compression, not dynamic range compression)."
Do WAV and AIFF have advantages over FLAC and ALAC in terms of sound quality? Regardless of data compression, wouldn't all of these lossless formats sound identical?
The advantage is that for playback, WAV files do not have to be converted on the fly, like FLAC files need to be.
Are you saying that having to convert on the fly somehow negatively impacts audio quality? Even if so, is it perceptible enough to offset the advantage of the smaller file size of FLAC?
The fades are also different, like on the Red Telephone, is a few seconds longer with the “all of God’s children” line clearly heard before the fade.
But that’s also heard in the stereo. Were they mixing from different tapes in the mono?
I just checked and the fades are the same with the line clearly audible on both the stereo and mono. I haven't compared all the songs yet, but have only found one with a different fade between the stereo and mono. Motel has a longer fade on the mono than the stereo. BUT this is only true of this particular version of the stereo (which includes the 2015 HDtracks). All other digital stereo versions of this track I checked- 1987, 2001, Love Story, MFSL, Colours comp - have the same longer fade as the mono CD. So it seems the fade on the 2015/2018 mastering has been started earlier on the song. My question now is whether they used a different tape (which means they didn't really use the master as claimed) or did they fade it earlier for some reason. I'll need to track down a needle drop of an original US stereo now to see if maybe it matches that fade. If not, then I really wonder what the deal is with this early fade.
Update: I checked a US 1st press needle drop and it doesn't have the early fade, so I don't know where this early fade version comes from. If they really used the master, why would Bruce decide to fade it earlier than any other version?
There's a UK repress from the 70s where it doesn't fade at all...
from 50 Years of Love & Arthur Lee "Da Capo" "Forever Changes" "Love" & more: Album-By-Album Thread
Yeah, that could explain it. If the fade isn't on the master, then it would've had to be done during mastering. But then that means every other digital mastering I've checked either comes from an already faded copy or the mastering engineer faded the proper amount. This would also mean Bruce messed up and faded way too early on this 2015 (aka 2018) mastering.
Still lovin' the 50th box...often!
Fantastic and very detailed review, disc by disc. Quite enlightening and enjoyable!
A fine review that explains the MONO "fold down"--here is a short bit from the review below about the MONO fold down:
"Disc two, the mono mix, is interesting in its own way. This is the mono mix that was originally released on vinyl in 1967 but quickly deleted — and rather oddly, it turns out that it’s a fold-down mix of a stereo master, but *not* a fold-down mix of the stereo master used to create the stereo album. For some reason, they mixed the album into stereo twice, and then further mixed one of those stereo mixes into mono."
Here is the full review by Andrew Whickey (very detailed and very good):
Forever Changes: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
Posted on April 6, 2018by Andrew Hickey
Today sees the release of the fiftieth anniversary box set devoted to Forever Changes, Love’s third and, to many, best album.
I say “to many” because while I think Forever Changes is a magnificent album, it’s also one which, like Pet Sounds for the Beach Boys (or to a lesser extent Village Green Preservation Society for the Kinks) has been allowed to overshadow a body of work containing much else that is excellent, discouraging people who dislike it from a wider examination of the band’s work which might lead to them liking other work (I have a friend, for example, who was unimpressed by Forever Changes but absolutely loved Love’s eponymous first album). I tend to get a little contrarian about records like that, and want to insist to people “there are other records!”
That said, Forever Changes is still a classic album, and its place in the canon is, unusually, roughly commensurate with its quality. It’s a dark, depressive, hallucinatory album, and one of the few 1967 albums to acknowledge the dark edge of paranoia that was always there in the hippie dream (the only other one I can think of is We’re Only In It For The Money, a similarly magnificent record).
So it makes absolute sense that it should be commemorated with a fiftieth anniversary box set, going into the album in the same sort of detail those other records have had.
That said, one might argue that this release is a little padded, in order to make it seem more like a luxury item. While Pet Sounds had long, intensive, sessions with multiple vocal overdubs and different instrumental arrangements, and Village Green had dozens of unreleased tracks to fill out a box set, Forever Changes was recorded relatively quickly, and there’s very little from the sessions other than the album’s eleven songs — only the single “Laughing Stock”/”Your Mind and We Belong Together” and the outtake “Wonder People (I Do Wonder)”.
So here we have a six-disc set of which three discs contain exactly the same material — the first CD, the DVD, and the vinyl album all contain the stereo album, as remastered in 2015. (The DVD also contains one video, for “Your Mind and We Belong Together”, but otherwise the content is the same as on those other two discs).
There’s really no need for this — the vinyl is nice for vinyl fetishists, but not for anyone who prefers vinyl for the sound quality as, as is the case with most current vinyl, it’s cut from a digital master rather than the original analogue tapes, and so it will inevitably have the worst aspects of both formats without the benefits of either.
There might be a benefit to having the DVD audio as well as the CD audio (though frankly that’s a bit of a lost opportunity not to do a surround-sound remix for those who like that — though in my own case I don’t have the equipment to reproduce that), but if so it’s a marginal one — essentially what we have here is a four-CD set marketed as a six-disc one.
But still, forty quid is reasonable enough for a new four-CD set, so let’s treat the other discs as nice bonuses for those who want them for whatever reason, and concentrate on the music itself.
Disc one, the original stereo album, should at first seem the least necessary of these discs. Anyone buying a giant box set devoted to Forever Changes is likely to already have a CD copy of the album (I have two — the original CD issue and the 2001 reissue with bonus tracks), and so could be presumed to not need another. In fact, though, this remastering is quite astonishing.
I often wonder, when I’m discussing new remasters of old material, if I’m willing myself to hear differences that aren’t really there, in order to justify repurchasing music I already own. This is especially true since I have neither very good stereo equipment (in fact I usually listen to music on my laptop, though I do own and occasionally use a proper stereo) or particularly sharp hearing — I’m no audiophile and while i have preferences I generally find that I’m as OK with a decent-bitrate MP3 as I am with hi-def DVD audio or half-speed-mastered vinyl or whatever.
In this case, though, there is a very noticeable difference. I’ve listened to Forever Changes… maybe five hundred times in total? That order of magnitude anyway, in the twenty-one years I’ve known the album. And yet when I put the remastered disc on I had to stop it and take it out to check that it wasn’t one of the discs of alternate mixes — the level of additional detail that was audible just on the intro to “Alone Again Or”, that mass of guitar arpeggios, made me certain that this wasn’t the same track I’ve known for my whole adult life.
There are, actually, some minor differences in the mixes here — just things like fades coming a second or so later than they otherwise would, the kind of thing you get when you go back to the original stereo master tapes for a new remastering for CD. But sonically, the whole thing just sounds infinitely better. I’ve noticed lots of the little things you sometimes get when dealing with a much better mastering of something — finger noise, room sound, that sort of thing. On “Alone Again Or”, for example, the guitars are mixed to one side while the rhythm section is mixed to the other. On the intro on the previous CD version, the left channel (the rhythm section one) is dead until a fraction of a second before the rhythm section comes in. On this one, the audio comes in on both channels simultaneously, and so while the bass and drums aren’t playing you can still hear the leakage from the guitars and the room ambience in the left channel. It creates a more spacious sound — the room sounds much *bigger* this way — and I’m not certain that I can’t even hear the snare rattle in sympathy with some of the bass strings. It also changes the whole rhythmic drive of the track during that section — the reverb in the room is so great that you hear a note in the left ear after it’s finished in the right ear, making some of the more emphasized notes sound like they’re actually travelling through your head as they’re being played.
In general, there’s more reverb and more top end, creating what sounds like a much wider stereo spectrum and a more spacious sound, while also creating a more organic sound — the instruments sound like they’re in the same big room, rather than recorded in several different small rooms and artificially placed in the stereo spectrum — and again, this is when listening on very sub-par equipment.
Disc two, the mono mix, is interesting in its own way. This is the mono mix that was originally released on vinyl in 1967 but quickly deleted — and rather oddly, it turns out that it’s a fold-down mix of a stereo master, but *not* a fold-down mix of the stereo master used to create the stereo album. For some reason, they mixed the album into stereo twice, and then further mixed one of those stereo mixes into mono.
As you’d expect from a fold-down mix, there’s quite a bit of tape hiss compared to the stereo version — not enough to make it sound bad or anything, just rather more than on the clearer stereo mix. In general it’s a rather muddier mix than the stereo — there’s less top end, but also the strings and horns are lower in the mix, and the bass and drums up, making it sound much more of a conventional rock album than the stereo version does. The muddier sound gives the tracks an oppressive feel which goes well with the paranoid nature of the lyrics, but which ends up being not as interesting as the combination of those lyrics with the lighter, almost Muzak-y, feel of the stereo mix.
The mono mix is interesting, but it’s not revelatory in the way that some other mono mixes of the period are, and I doubt it’ll ever supplant the stereo mix as my preferred version — but it’s good to have both.
Disc three is an alternate stereo mix of the entire album (plus an alternate stereo mix of “Wonder People (I Do Wonder)”, which was apparently created in 1967 but which even the engineer Bruce Botnick couldn’t remember when presented with it years later. This was apparently released a decade ago as part of a two-CD release of the album, which I was unaware of until now, though I’d heard one or two tracks from it as bonus tracks on other releases (most notably the version of “You Set The Scene” which includes Arthur Lee rapping at the end).
These mixes tend to be longer than the finished versions, with longer fades (and often with count-ins), and were it not for the fact that things are relatively carefully placed in the stereo spectrum I’d have guessed that they were just basic faders-up mixes — everything’s given roughly equal prominence in the mix (so things like Don Randi’s piano, which on the finished mix of most of the songs he plays on is just mild colouration in the bass end, here have equal weight with the string overdubs), there are several parts that were mixed out altogether or mixed far down in the finished mix (notably several backing vocal parts and bits of double-tracking by Arthur Lee, but also an acoustic guitar coda on “The Red Telephone”), while at other times instrumental lines that are meant to be prominent are buried (for example the guitar countermelody on “Maybe the People Would be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale”) and there’s a general sense that this was something done as a quick dump to stereo, possibly in order for the band and engineers to have something to listen to while figuring out exactly what they wanted to do with the final mixes.
And finally, disc four is a selection of the other odds and ends one gets in a project such as this — the single mix of “Alone Again Or”, the “Laughing Stock”/”Your Mind and We Belong Together” single, the outtake “Wonder People (I Do Wonder)”, a couple of instrumental backing tracks, and some bits of session chatter. Much of this is familiar from the 2001 CD, although it’s all had the same kind of sonic upgrade that the original album has, and there’s more of it — notably stuff like a joking, giggly, clearly-stoned, run through of Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs’ “Wolly Bully”. Some of it’s quite nice, like the attempt at an electric backing track for “Andmoreagain”, which sounds very early-Beatles, but none of it’s jaw-dropping.
In the end, this isn’t a collection I would recommend to the casual listener. It doesn’t do what the Pet Sounds Sessions box does and allow you a deep delve into the recording of the album, and nor does it do what the Village Green Preservation Society box does and give you a load of otherwise-unreleased great tracks to listen to. Rather, it presents the same album multiple times, in subtly varying ways. For the vast majority of listeners, those subtle variations simply won’t be worth getting this for, when you can get every actual performance that’s on here (modulo a few incomplete attempts) on the widely-available single-CD version of the album.
Rather, this is closer to the Project/Object CDs that the Zappa Family Trust has been putting out — recordings whose whole purpose is to highlight those tiny differences for people like me, who get great pleasure out of such things. If you’re the kind of person who *honestly wants* to hear what the reverb in the left channel sounds like at the start of “Alone Again Or” before the faders come up on the normal CD version — and I am that kind of person — then this box set is for you. For everyone else, you’ll probably be perfectly happy with the CD you already have (and if you haven’t got a CD of Forever Changes at all… then you’re probably not thinking of spending forty quid on a box set of it).
This whole review may have seemed like damning with faint praise, but it really, really, isn’t. Forever Changes is a great album, and this is a great box set. It’s just a great box set aimed at a very specific niche, and I don’t want to give any other impression. But for myself, I’m very happy in that niche.
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Yes. See review above. There were TWO stereo mixes. One used to mix the stereo release. One to mix the MONO fold down, so they ARE a bit different.
No, FLAC conversion doesn't affect sound quality. The only problem with FLAC is that some devices are unable to offer said conversion and FLAC files won't play on them.
There is no evidence that this is the case and it really makes no sense. The liners simply say "The mono version of Forever Changes does not precisely echo the original stereo mix of the album, perhaps suggesting that another master stereo mix was utilized to create this mono mix during the CSG conversion process."
This is quite a leap to make when lacking any evidence. "Perhaps suggesting" is very flimsy.
I'm not trying to be combative but I don't want to see this very iffy claim being repeated as hard truth. So far, there is zero evidence that an alternate stereo mix was used to create the mono fold down.
Done. You have a very good point.
It puzzles me that "Forever Changes" did not have the original impact that it does today. What in today's mindset make this one of the greatest records ever recorded? I have had this record in my collection from day one, but I never heard others rave about it until the last 15 years or so. Why did it take so long? The Brits claim that record as part of their musical tapestry? I doubt that, check the UK sales charts and see if that is a true fact or not.
I saw Arthur Lee and Love at the Whiskey A Go Go in early 1969 with his new band(who were great by the way). For the most part, their sets contained music that would eventually end up on "Four Sale" and "Out Here". The only song from their early catalog that I recognized was "My Little Red Book". In the two sets they played, not one song was from "Forever Changes". At that time, I didn't get the feeling that record held much value to him. An enigma for sure.
Not a best seller, but it was on the UK LP charts for six weeks, highest position No.24 - many of the albums above it on the chart were greatest hits, "easy listening" and soundtracks
Official Albums Chart Top 40 | Official Charts Company
That is not bad, probably better than the US charts at the time, but I see where The Bee Gees/Horizontal beat out "Forever Changes on the UK charts. I am not knocking that record, but who today is talking about it. I surmise that "Forever Changes" was simply ahead of it's time and needed a future audience to really appreciate it.
Unreadable with my colour schene
I guess this 50th package renders the 2008 2cd Collector's Edition obsolete, except that the latter has a different earlier Botnick mastering of the original stereo album?
Please forgive me if this has already been established within the previous 25 pages.
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