Ultravox (John Foxx Era) - Island Years 4CD Box Set with rarities

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by vzok, Apr 15, 2016.

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  1. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    Get ready to be disappointed. This is from the Metamatic forum:

    Scott Davies:
    So I just read on another forum that the single versions of a few tracks are clearly mastered from vinyl and not mastertapes. Are these tapes lost or did no one look for them? Are the rest of the tracks new mastertape transfers or just tweaked versions of the last remasters? My box is on the way and I'm already getting concerned. Source material should always been mentioned in this day and age of cost cutting shortcuts or tweak and re-release.

    Rob Harris:
    I hope that the following will help clarify matters...
    The three Ultravox! albums (Ultravox!, Ha! Ha! Ha! and Systems Of Romance) were all remastered back in 2006 from the original master tapes. Discs One, Two and Three in The Island Years box set have been remastered using the 2006 masters.

    All of the tracks contained on Disc Four - Rare Retro - that also appeared on the 2006 CDs have been remastered using the 2006 masters.

    The four John Peel session tracks (Young Savage, The Man Who Dies Every Day, My Sex and Artificial Life) and the two tracks from the Old Grey Whistle Test (Slow Motion and Hiroshima Mon Amour) were mastered using audio supplied by the BBC.

    The single edits of ROckWrok and Quiet Men and the twelve inch version of Quiet Men had to be taken from vinyl as unfortunately (and despite extensive searching) the master tapes no longer exist in the Island archive. All of the audio contained on The Island Years box set was approved by John Foxx.
    The Island Years box set is currently available from Amazon

    oldturkey likes this.
  2. Runicen

    Runicen Forum Resident

    My copy is still en route. How much should I brace myself for disappointment having never heard these albums before (I'm familiar with Foxx's solo work and Ultravox with Ure only).
  3. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Surrey BC.
    If you have never heard this stuff before, prepare for excitement, not disappointment.
  4. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    The music is brilliant and if this is your first time buying these albums, then you will likely appreciate them. But for someone like me, who purchased both of the previous CD releases, this doesn't even offer new mastertape transfers, but tweaked versions of what I already own. That's where my disappointment lies.
    oldturkey and Runicen like this.
  5. shadow blaster

    shadow blaster Forum Resident

    Hm yes. I just got mine today in an actual store, Tower Records in Dublin. Not listened yet. Too bad about the vinyl sources. But the 12 inch version of Quiet Men was on the 2006 SoR, so I am confused by the info regarding that.
  6. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Gone away.
    Thank you. This explains a lot - the DR analysis of the first album is almost (but not quite) identical to the 2006. It's a bit disappointing, but I think the problem I had with the 2006s was EQ, so maybe that's all they've fixed. A bit lazy, but for £16-99 it's still a great box set. As someones said earlier, a lot of people were happy with those remasters, so if it ain't broke...
    I think there should be a bit more clarity about the remastering details on reissues in general though, if record companies are expecting fans to buy again music they have already got. We should be treated with a bit more respect, not like fools - but then the music business has a long history of treating both fans and artists with duplicity and contempt.
    Purple likes this.
  7. The Killer

    The Killer Dung Heap Rooster

    The Cotswolds
    I tend not to get too hung up on these things, providing I'm not being fed bs by the record companies, as it can seriously harm your listening pleasure. I'm always wary of buying new versions of stuff I've already got unless I'm absolutely certain of getting something better. In this case I'm pretty cool with it as, apart from my original vinyl, I don't have any Ultravox CD's.
    CBC and oldturkey like this.
  8. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Gone away.
    You're right, but I'm a sucker for buying new versions of my all time favourites. I don't mind buying just slightly different versions of these albums if they're at a reasonable price because they're so important to me. Would like to see the outtakes mentioned earlier released though.
    The Killer likes this.
  9. seventeen

    seventeen Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    No disappointment if a few rares mixes and edits are from vinyl. It happened to more early UK Punk / New Wave than you think. Better have a professional needle drop than nothing.
    Man at C&A and noahjld like this.
  10. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    Most "professional" needle drops tend to sound similar, if not worse, than what most people can do at home. Mastering from vinyl is my specialty, most engineers only do it on occasion, and certainly do not take to time and experimentation required to get adequate results. If you can tell it's from vinyl, they're not doing it right.

    I highly question that any efforts were made to track down the missing masters. If the entire project, aside from the BBC tracks, were being "remastered" from the previous CD issues, then no one was looking in the Island vaults anyway. I don't doubt they're there, it's just that this project didn't include opening the vault door.

    But speaking of vinyl, it's just been announced that all 3 albums are coming out on colored vinyl in September. They are currently listed on Amazon UK.

  11. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Gone away.
    Now why would they announce them the week after all the die-hards had bought the cd set? There can only be one reason and I don't mean pure fluke.
    I just noticed on another forum that details of the mastering for the 4cd box was blocked until after the release. Why? Because they wanted to get as many people to buy them on blind faith before letting them know what they were buying.

    I am tempted by these new vinyl reissues but I sure as hell won't be pre-ordering them. We'll probably find out the week after we get them that they're mastered from the cds. Once bitten twice shy as Ian Hunter wisely said.

    Ultravox Box Set (Proper Ultravox) - Metamatic »
  12. jcarr73729

    jcarr73729 Forum Resident

    I've now had an opportunity to listen to the new boxed set three times all the way through, compared it with the original CD releases and the re-masters, and I'm happy to suggest that the new boxed set is the most pleasing listen of them all. Although a couple of points of DR have been shaved off in the same fashion as the earlier remasters, the production of the boxed set has clearly been overseen by someone with a better set of ears for the sound and the music. Given the very low price of this boxed set, I would still recommend it to those (like me) who have had these on both sets of CD releases.

    It would be nice to see a Hi-Res release to further enhance my listening pleasure.
    Purple and oldturkey like this.
  13. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Gone away.
    I am really enjoying the BBC stuff - esp Artificial Life. Worth it just for those IMO.
    ZBDMiller likes this.
  14. Harry Hood

    Harry Hood Forum Resident

    Does it go on....all night....all night....?
    iainbaker and oldturkey like this.
  15. Turntable

    Turntable Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Looks like the new vinyl reissues are mastered from the CD masters, so they will be digital.

    that is a pity. hopefully they will be mastered from high rez, not 14/44 CD master.

    Don't get rid of your original UK pressings anytime soon.
  16. soundQman

    soundQman Senior Member

    Arlington, VA, USA
    I'm a huge fan of John Foxx. But as I have the 2006 remasters, I wonder if the 6 bonus tracks from the BBC newly released on disc 4 would make the box purchase worthwhile. Anyone have an opinion on the quality of those performances? And I also wonder if the two 7" versions are different in significant ways from the album versions, or just edited to be shorter for airplay.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
  17. iainbaker

    iainbaker Well-Known Member

    I still get somewhat frustrated that no attempt has been made to collect EVERY early Ultravox! track together. They're still missing the other "alternate" take of Hiroshima Mon Amour, that came out as the b-side to the vinyl single of Slow Motion (the WIP 6691 version). That's an edited version of the album track, with totally different FX on CC's sax solo. Be great to have that on CD....
    ZBDMiller, falconerone and soundQman like this.
  18. Mik

    Mik Forum Resident

    Barcelona, Spain
    I bought the box set, although I had the previous 2006 remasters.

    As other members have mentioned, the sound is improved from the 2006 remasters. Despite being more compressed, the sound is kinda flat, beign much more listenable (and crankable) than the earlier remasters (if that makes sense).

    As for the BBC tracks, one or two of them sound a bit raw and nearly in mono, but the others have much better quality and wide separation.

    For the price it's a nice set and for those who don't own any of the albums, it's clearly a must. :righton:
    Vaughan and Purple like this.
  19. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    I heard no improvement in the sound, just the opposite. I disposed of the box on eBay and kept my superior 2006 remasters. They should have started from scratch.
  20. Purple

    Purple Forum Resident

    An added subtle benefit of the 2016 remasters, it seems, is that the albums are presented in their original format, not backloaded with bonus tracks as with the case of the 2006 remasters. For album listeners it seems putting all the extras on a separate disc will add to the listening experience.
  21. Colocally

    Colocally One Of The New Wave Boys

    Surrey BC.
    I never realised that was a different version, not that I have ever played them back to back. Wow learn something every day.
  22. seventeen

    seventeen Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    Thanks, didn't remember either. Sadly, except for fans, many unique mixes get lost because corporations don't have people knowing discographies like the back of their hands.
  23. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    These albums are simply burned into my DNA. I have the Vinyl, the original CD release, the Japanese release, the 2006 reissues, and now this box. I can't help myself.

    I, for one, and pleased they've not been remastered again. The 2006 reissues are/were excellent. Actually, the debut album here sounds better than the Vinyl, imo.

    If you have the three 2006 albums, then there's no need for this. The only rationale I could come up with is that unlike the 2006 discs, the bonus tracks have been moved off to a separate disc, leaving the original albums on discrete CD's - something I prefer.

    Honestly, I've been playing the debut a lot over the last few days. Man, what an album. Foxx was a visionary.

    The box comes in a sturdy clam shell. The 2006 booklets have been condensed into a single booklet. Each album comes in one of those cheap cardboard sleeves - which is disappointing, since we lose the gatefold of the debut. Speaking of the gatefold, there is a picture at the end of the booklet I'd never seen before. In the gatefold of the original album there are four Kodak's of the band members. Foxx isn't included, because he's on the front and back. Well, the booklet has a picture that includes Foxx, along with the others. I always got a kick out of how they each chose a different method to affix their picture. :) Cept Foxx, it seems.

    Anyway - did I need this box? No. It's nice to have the albums on their own. My concern was less with the bonus stuff.
    art and Runicen like this.
  24. Lucidae

    Lucidae AAD

    I thought the box-set was a secret remaster, with tweaks made to the 2006 reissues.
  25. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Essex, UK
    I've read that in here, but can't confirm. My older CD's are boxed, so can't do an A/B. The 2006 discs were very good, and these are good too. The box is excellent value.
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