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Islands: 40th Anniversary Series (CD + DVD-A)
Islands: 40th Anniversary Series (CD + DVD-A)
Price: £15.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine KC surround sound mix, 26 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK so I've had the vinyl of Islands (as with other KC albums) since it came out but years pass and it rather lapsed behind newer wonders; I never bothered to upgrade them to CD until the 40th CD+DVD series and the sonic revelations that ensued with 'In The Court...' 'Lark's tongues...' 'Red' and latterly 'In The Wake...'- so I got round to Islands eventually after these, to my mind, more seminal releases.
The surround 5.1 mix transforms the album relative to the vinyl - spacious, with all the quiet bits crystal clear and the loud bits splendid, an engrossing, open listening experience. This was never my preferred KC line up (I saw them in Hyde Park in 1971) and the truly dreadful rehearsal tracks here as DVD extras make it all the more remarkable that a passable album emerged at all. The plethora of extras are perhaps for KC academics (how many versions of a song do you need?) but 'A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls' (previously unreleased) featuring motifs that took a better KC band to realise later on is of interest along with live tracks 'The Letters' and 'Sailor's Tale' which show how far the Islands line up had progressed.
The CD is fine with some bonus tracks (including 'A Peacemaking Stint Unrolls') but as with other releases in the series the surround sound on the DVD is the main event, Steven Wilson again proving his credentials in the mixing


5 Album Set
5 Album Set

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A proper "best of", 24 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: 5 Album Set (Audio CD)
I'm new to Radiohead - though I rather thought they would fit with my prejudices - I'd not heard any till I heard OK Computer on holiday and gave it a proper listen. So I thought I'd buy it - but I found this instead: it's the first 5 albums 1993-2001 (Pablo Honey, The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A and Amnesiac), with no frills or bonus tracks, obviously without the full sleeves, lyrics etc (but so what) at a better price (and taking up less space!). So, having missed the boat in the 90s - unusual for me - how does it stack up?
Bargain! Original albums - what it says on the tin. Decent card sleeves (opening at the top of the artwork unusually) and the CDs are fine. That's it.
As to the music, there are plenty of reviews of this with the individual albums, but it's impressive and very varied. As an introduction to the band you can't do better - why have a 'best of' CD which rarely has what you want on it? This is album music; these are the albums.


In The Wake of Poseidon 40th Anniversary Series (CD + DVD-A)
In The Wake of Poseidon 40th Anniversary Series (CD + DVD-A)
Price: £15.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory, 23 Aug. 2013
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OK so my least favourite KC album just got GOOD.
I'd had the vinyl since 1971 I had considered this album as rather like weaker left overs from 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', OK in parts but disappointing overall, particularly the Devil's Triangle borrowing of Holst - mellotrons can only do so much. All that despite Keith Tippett's influence. I never did get a CD version.
So after 42 years and having been thoroughly impressed by other 40th anniversary King Crimson releases I wondered if the Wilson magic with the multi tracks could invest Poseidon with new interest and a surround sound experience.
OH YES! It's as if it has emerged from the gloom; the creative spaciousness in 5.1 - especially on 'Catfood' - reveals a fine album albeit in the formula of 'Court'. If the multi tracks for the Devil's Triangle had been found it could have been as revelatory as the rest - it is improved, although the 'up-mixing' sounds flat compared with 5.1 from the original tapes. The new-to-me 'Groon' is simply joyous.
Unhesitatingly recommended as THE version of the album - and I can only get the DTS version - stunning. The CD is fine too but the DVD is the real deal.


Tragedy: 2013 Bonus Edition
Tragedy: 2013 Bonus Edition
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.32

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original to savour, 4 Aug. 2013
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This girl has a vision; she is a musician in a real innovative sense. Original, individual and quirky - think Laurie Anderson, Joanna Newsom, or further back even Bjork or Robert Wyatt. Enchanting, and blissful at times - think Cocteau Twins, LaBradford, Joanna Newsom again, and dream pop generally. Of course it sounds like none of these specifically, but there's ambience, found sounds, fragile vocals, vocoders, textures, atmospherics, melody - it's all a bit woozy and 'other' and almost like God Speed You Black Emperor here and there. Some samples initially seem sudden - just dropped in and clunky but forget it was done in a bedroom using free Audacity software (with a few uppish sound levels) and just listen. There is nothing market driven here, no demographic is being targeted. This record makes its own rules. Just trying to find something to compare it with emphasises its uniqueness.
I've not heard follow ups Ekstasis or Loud City Song - is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
To clarify the two available CD issues (at different prices), the Night School / Leaving Records CD Tragedy (2012) and Domino CD (Tragedy: 2013 Bonus Edition) appear to be the same, one using the front and the other the back cover as publicity. I ordered the 2013 Bonus Edition which apart from a Domino label on the clear wrap had a 2012 Night School / Leaving Records cover. It has 6 tracks - the Introduction and Interlude are simply embedded in the following track rather than separate as listed. The CD text title: 'Tragedy: Assets' adds to the confusion. So why the bonus?


Warrior On The Edge Of Time (Expanded Edition)
Warrior On The Edge Of Time (Expanded Edition)
Price: £17.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surround-sound 3 disc version is the ultimate warrior, 29 July 2013
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With 66 other reviews here I'll keep it brief. I was new to the album other than 3 key tracks on the epocheclipse anthology, and like the Space Ritual 2013 re-issue the sound here is way better than those 1996 re-masters. Then there's the "Wilson effect": a new stereo mix and the related main draw - the surround sound 5.1 from the original 16-track master tapes on the DVDA. For 2 tracks however, Spiral Galaxy and Kings of Speed, it turns out that original tapes were unavailable so 5.1 is "enhanced". Steven Wilson is a sound-whizz (KIng Crimson 5.1 etc, and not averse to borrowing a Hawkwind riff himself) and the surround here is worth the price of entry.
The inevitable bonus material is perhaps a mixed blessing - much can have been originally shelved for a reason - but there is good stuff aplenty here. You can easily listen to the original album on its own if you want just by pressing buttons on most hi-fi equipment, and the DVDA is just the album albeit in 4 sound-versions. The DVDA has nice details of the sleeve for each track but I did wonder what all of it looks like as it's not all on the cover either; it's on the net if you're curious.
No, I didn't read all the reviews of this package either. For helpful reviews I found try Bob Gray (29 Jun 2013) and S. Gornall (31 May 2013); the most helpful are not necessarily those with most positive votes - they were just earlier.
Somehow I never did make it to see them free under the Westway in the early 70s when I lived there, but I've got Hawkwind vinyl from the time and they can be patchy - but great when they're great. If new to Hawkwind, try the cheaper new Space Ritual live 2CD re-issue first - then just see if you don't get this as well!


Mass In F Minor / Release Of An Oath - The Kol Nidre
Mass In F Minor / Release Of An Oath - The Kol Nidre
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £6.98

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A sixties curio of interest, 23 July 2013
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My purchase of this was preceded by the long standing reputation of the Electric Prunes' 1968 LP Mass In F Minor as 'revolutionary' and 'superb psychedelic rock' etc. This 'twofer' of the album with it's thematically related follow up LP is a better buy, I think, than the more expensive single album with other unrelated bonus tracks by the band. There are no bonus tracks here. The LPs were short and the twofer clocks in at 51 minutes in total. It is a fine product though, of good sound quality, with some brief explanatory notes as well as the original sleeve notes of pretentious nonsense.
It was doubtless revolutionary at the time but time passes and leaves this a little clunky sounding, but very much a sixties curio of interest. Forget any singles you may have heard by the Electric Prunes, this barely features the band and both are essentially David Axelrod albums using the Prunes' name and session musicians. He was the "writer and arranger" of both LPs, although derived from medieval church music. The Mass is the better one; the second has more strings and English 'lyrics' of the same intent as the latin originals but thereby losing any mystique. It's sort of 'Arvo Part lite for rock band'. As 'psychedelia' it is fairly low grade, as rock it's OK for session players, but as a sixties curio it's a splendid evocation of the period.


Melt Yourself Down
Melt Yourself Down
Price: £9.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating!, 27 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Melt Yourself Down (Audio CD)
Short (35 minutes) but exhilarating, this is perhaps 'Acoustic Ladyland goes World' with all the verve of that band, by Acoustic Ladyland / Polar Bear sax player Pete Wareham and other musicians (sax, bass, drums, percussion) including Polar Bear's Leafcutter John on electronics. North African rhythms dominate and the whole experience is addictive, doused thoroughly with electronics and vocal echo but mainly honking saxes and heavy bass driven by wild percussion. Phew! It sounds as near to a live set as it could get.
A sweet, slim double gatefold card package wraps the CD giving the feel you got from vinyl albums back in the day, with not a plastic insert in sight; the cover graphic image is in various colours too. Melt yourself now.


Up The Downstair
Up The Downstair
Price: £11.96

4.0 out of 5 stars A period piece worth exploring, 19 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Up The Downstair (Audio CD)
It took a long time (20 years!) for me to get round to this, having had many of the Delerium issues since they came out other than this one, which I couldn't find at the time. The sound depth here is better than these Delerium issues, Wilson certainly knows how to sort this.
There are no surprises here if you are familiar with earlier (or even some later) Porcupine Tree/Wilson records. Some lyrics are by Alan Duffy as per the first album 'On the Sunday of Life' and there is a similar if improved DIY feel despite later addition of 'real' drums, doubtless constrained by following the previous drum machine patterns. There are some lovely fluid passages and the 'Staircase Infinities' set on disc two is perhaps the more consistent and persuasive of the offering on the first hearings. The 'Up the Downstair' album is maybe neither the original (which I've not heard) nor the album the current band could have made of the same material, but somewhere uneasily between the two. Still good though, even if it could have all fitted onto one CD. It features all the standard "psychedelic" tropes, backward tapes, glistening guitar, odd spoken parts and keyboard atmosheres, etc. A shame the 'Voyage 34' apparently originally intended for the album was not included in some form as it would fit the mood and complete the 2CD period piece which this now seems.


Dedicated To You; But You Weren't Listening
Dedicated To You; But You Weren't Listening
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars You should be listening now, 9 April 2013
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Anyone familiar with Soft Machine from Third onward will find this reissue right up their alley; it's a bit like mid-term Softs without Mike Ratledge. Great playing and infectious joyful music. Somehow it was always on my must-get-round-to list in the 70s and then got lost; I'm glad it's back.
Contrary to some reviews Julie Tippett (the erstwhile Jools Driscoll) is not on this disc. Also a good remastering job - would that they all were - but no extras, vault scrapings etc and no worse for that. Still fresh and vital 40 plus years on.


Red, 40th Anniversary Series
Red, 40th Anniversary Series
Price: £13.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in surround, 30 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Red (CD+DVD) package includes the album and extra tracks in 5.1 surround sound (my reason to buy) - I can only get the DTS version (not the dvd-a lossless) but this is terrific - again Steven Wilson proves his metal in the mixing. It has stereo too but does not have the 30th anniversary mix as an extra which some of these packages do. The video extra is a worthwhile TV live set and while the "far out" visual effects are of their time and rather irritating, the performances are excellent - save the vocals which are rather strained; Larks' Tongues In Aspic and Starless though make me wish I'd seen the band at this time (I only saw them once, in 1971).


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