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4.1 out of 5 stars77
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2014
This caused a bit of upset when it was released. Many critics and fans wanted to know why did Kate Bush feel the need to re-record 11 tracks from two of her slightly less regarded albums (The Sensual World and The Red Shoes). As these songs were originally released so many years before, why record them again? And why not record some new material?

Well a few months later the excellent "Fifty Words for Snow" was released, so that's the second question answered. Regarding the first, whatever Kate's reasoning, Director's Cut gives us a set of 11 alternative versions to analyse and enjoy, so I am happy with that. All vocals and many of the instrumentals have been re-recorded or at least rearranged.

This 3-disc edition really gives the best of both worlds: obviously you get the new song versions released as Director's Cut. And if you are unhappy with them, you can still enjoy the originals as both previous records are included (The Sensual World unchanged, plus The Red Shoes remastered from an analogue source, and sounding great). This gives a clue as to Kate's motivation with the project. She had long been unhappy with the very bright digital sound typical of the 1980s, preferring the warmth of analogue, and this is one of the big changes here.

The whole thing is beautifully packaged in a hardback booklet format with lyrics, new photography and explanatory notes from Kate.

As for the music, what do you expect? It's superb. Her more mature singing voice doesn't have the extraordinary gymnastic ability it had when she emerged as a teenager all those years ago (none of the early stuff was included in her recent triumphant return to live performance). But it is still a force to be reckoned with, has mellowed superbly, and conveys the experience and wisdom she has gained since the songs were first recorded.

She has made changes to some songs, most significantly to The Sensual World, now titled Flower of the Mountain, with "new" lyrics (the James Joyce passage she wanted to use all along, but was originally denied by the Joyce estate). I felt her previous lyrics were absolutely fine, but this is definitely a song that suits her more mature voice.

With many of the other songs, I see the new versions as alternatives to, rather than replacements for, the originals. I am happy to listen to either version.

A highlight for me is Moments of Pleasure. The first time I ever heard this, I was stuck in my car when it came on on the radio; I was stuck in London traffic, late for a meeting and highly stressed. But as that song played, none of those concerns mattered; I was just transported for a few moments (of pleasure). To this day it remains one of my favourite songs, by anyone. It is clearly a very personal song to Kate, but the bittersweet pleasure of remembering time spent with those we have lost really resonates. The new version is much simpler, just vocal, piano and understated choral backing; the orchestral arrangement has gone, as have some of the anguished verses ("Just being alive It can really hurt..."). Somehow though, the new vocal conveys as much emotion as the original did; time has added a depth of perspective that the younger Kate didn't have. I still love the original. I love the new version in a new way. That's a great song for you!

Considering the three disc set as a whole, you get lots of excellent Kate Bush music in a lovely package, two of her more underrated albums, brilliant songs like Moments of Pleasure, This Woman's Work, Love and Anger, Lily, Top of the City (and much more!), guest artistes such as Prince, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Gary Brooker, the amazing Trio Bulgarka, Lenny Henry, Nigel Kennedy, Dave Gilmour, and various luminaries of Irish music. A pleasure to own, and highly recommended.
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on 28 December 2011
I just wanted to say, a lot of the negative reviews on her are being pretty unreasonable. This triple disc version features ONE disc of reinterpretations. You also get the 2 original albums remastered. Kate wanted to try something different, for her own satisfaction, and released this boxset so as to present the originals with an improved sound quality AND her reinterpretations as an older woman. This is an extremely sensitive way to go about a project like this and represents decent value for money even if you're not interested in the new versions.I actually don't own 'The Red Shoes' and agree with Kate that the sound on 'The Sensual World' was very flat. I'm very happy with these remasters.
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on 20 May 2011
Really glad I gave this another go, because my original review title was 'Not Many Moments of Pleasure' Given the nature of this album, it really has to be taken on a track by track basis, which is something I don't normally like doing. I must point out that The Red Shoes was never my favourite album. However reading KB's comments about the original digital mastering, I think that has had something to do with my dislike of the album. It always had an unlistenable quality about it, pity I didn't get the box set of this then!

Anyway, here goes

1. Flower of the Mountain - Musically softer & less vital but not radically different, lyrically the original has it.
2. The Song of Solomon - An improvement over the original for me, but Wop, Bam, Boom?
3. Lily - Pretty much the same as above, without the Wop, Bam, Boom bit
4. Deeper Understanding - Erm, Er, The original has it. Auto Tune, really?
5. The Red Shoes - Again I prefer this version, a more 'played' organic feel to it.
6. This Woman's Work - This was always the one that would struggle to win me over, and it hasn't. I'm not saying this new arrangement is awful, it's perfectly fine, but it isn't the same song that can move me to tears. And I don't think it ever would have, had this been the original version. Original wins!
7. Moments of Pleasure - Benefits from the stripped back production & calmer feel compared to the original. I do like the original, but this new arrangement is beautiful.
8. Never be Mine - As others have said nothing much different here, just a softer feel again. A pleasant reworking, that's all.
9. Top of the City - Never really liked the original, this is better..just.
10. And So is Love - Great song, this version does nothing to change that fact.
11. Rubberband Girl - Oh well, she sounds like she enjoyed herself. Something I'll never do listening to the original or this version unfortunately.

So overall, an album of softer, less produced versions of the songs. Did we need this? Probably not, but she's done it and it'll keep her in biscuits or tofu or whatever.

Finally, quite a bit has been said about the perceived poor sound quality of this album. Unfortunately this has more to do with the overly LOUD poor quality mastering we have suffered for the last 15 years, than any problem with this album. Yes, the vocals could do with a bit more 'space' and top end and the bass end is intentionally soft, but think we've all forgotten what voices & instruments really sound like. And as for the album being quiet, that's because the mastering engineer has done his job properly and given this album dynamic range. Quiet things are quiet, and loud things are loud, it's not all at one fatiguing, clipped level and it retains the emotional impact of the music. The engineer has allowed you to determine how loud the music is, you are in charge of the volume control. One day all albums will have a dynamic range, just like they used to!
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on 21 March 2013
I was drawn back to listen to this again by desire to listen to the sublime track Never Be Mine and an underlying feeling that my somewhat lukewarm feelings (shared by a lot of other reviewers here) about the whole set on its release were perhaps overdone - and they were. This is beautifully presented triple set and the original album The Sensual World is perhaps second only to Hounds of Love as her best album. The other original album The Red Shoes is less consistently good, albeit remastered, but also has its highlights. The reworkings on the third disc range from better than the original eg. Deeper Understanding via simply different eg. Flower of the Mountain through to inferior eg. why oh why Kate did you remove the brilliant Davy Spillane's pipes from the reworked Never Be Mine? A star deducted for variability then, but a worthwhile experiment nonetheless.
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on 16 May 2011
This is a review of the three-disc Collector's Edition featuring newly-recorded versions of tracks from 'The Red Shoes(1993)'and 'The Sensual World(1989)'.The other two discs are a remastered Red Shoes and what seems to be an unchanged Sensual World.The newly recorded versions mainly feature new vocals,keyboards and percussion and are generally more stripped-down than the originals.Some songs are in a different key with entirely new vocal melodies and some are almost unrecognisable.I dont see this as an attempt to replace those old tracks-more like a re-imagining,like changing your furniture around.I have played the original recordings to death over the last 20 years and I personally prefer all of these updated versions.We again meet a quirky,playful and wierd Kate Bush,one that was maybe a little absent from the superb but earnest Ariel.

'Top of the City'from 'Shoes'I never really rated as a song,but the new version which is great,makes me realise that it was the original production that put me off,it always sounded a bit too big and epic for me,but this new take is better,less cinematic and leaner with more real sounding drums and shows off the song.

This version of Rubberband Girl is a real surprise-Something like 'Street Fighting Man'with muffled,naive vocals reminding me of Canned Heat or the really young Kate on Passing Through Air.

In a nit-picking moment I notice Eric Clapton's uninspired noodlings on And So Is Love remain intact.This song is probably the most unchanged rework on the record,but sounding much warmer than before

Moments Of Pleasure is revealed as a fantastic song-again free of the massive production that buried it before.This features a male-voice choir,maybe-giving a voice to the departed...

Never be mine,always a favourite has Kate bravely ditching the strong chorus and retaining the hypnotic Eberhard Weber bass melody to great effect

Probably the highpoint of this album is 'This Woman's Work'- a shimmering,crystalline piece of minimalism that almost made me float out of my chair.

The remixed version of Red Shoes does much to improve the sound.Some of the more musically-dense tracks that had sounded a little cluttered are now rendered clearer.I just wish some of those massive,reverberating 90's drums had been toned down just a little.I have always found this the most mixed of the albums-some killers but some tracks sounding like slightly overwrought 'normal'music which is a bad thing for a Kate Bush record.'The Sensual World' is a stunning piece of work-not actually requiring remastering as it has always sounded great.I am not going to review them in full here but I'd give Red Shoes 4 stars and Sensual World 5.

The actual singing is superb-with these long gaps between albums we notice in jolts how the voice changes over the years but the Kate Bush voice is still a beautiful instrument,capable of vast emotional depth and an effortless range of vocal textures from soft whispers to hard-edged bellows.She sounds more relaxed and playful than she did on Ariel,and on some of these tracks she does sound quite unhinged(In a good way).The backing vocals are beautiful,scary and unique-I have always carefully listened to Kate Bush BV's-an important component of the overall sound.

And the bass.Like Jimmy Page,putting the drums right up in the mix,Kate Bush's music has always featured the electric bass,allowing it to sing and be free.There is some awesome playing on this,with performances from John Giblin,Eberhard Weber and Del Palmer.In these more spacious versions the bass is melodic and prominent.

Any new material from Kate Bush is an event.My entire KB album collection of eight is now nine. I really liked this and I have to stop listening or I will become bored of it.Any fan will buy this anyway,and it seems more like a gift for us more than the general listener,but I hope it does well.Now Kate is in the mood for re-presenting her back-catalogue a cd of B-sides and 12" mixes would be really welcome-or do I get a USB turntable and dig out those old 45's?
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on 2 September 2014
Bought this as I wanted The Red Shoes remastered version and thought I might as well get the Director's Cut too. The Sensual World CD is not a remaster as far as I can see/tell. The Red Shoes is an excellent collection of tracks, with fine recording quality. The Director's Cut CD has some interesting new arrangements of some tracks, but has been recorded so poorly that it rather defeats its object. The sound is muffled, sometimes sounding as if you're hearing the music from another room. How could they put this out? Such a wasted opportunity.
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on 2 July 2011
First of all, I do recommend the purchase of the Collector's Edition version of Director's Cut! For a few more pounds you will have a de-luxe edition in hard cover book with photos (old and new/unpublished ones), complete lyrics and 3 discs: Director's Cut itself, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes... as everybody knows by now!!! Kate's revisit to her previous albums of 1989 and 1993 was almost completely successful! I like most of the 11 songs on the album, although some of them should remain just the way they were released, in my humble opinion, as they were already perfect songs! "Deeper Understanding" is the main problem here, I think, since I loved the song on The Sensual World and I don't like it on Director's Cut, with all those distortions! "Rubberband Girl" in a folk style is not good either! "This Woman's Work" lost its feeling and "The Red Shoes" had much more strength originally. The highlights on Director's Cut are "The Song of Solomon", wonderful; "Lily", heavier and this time in a contagious rhythm; "Flower of the Mountain" is really beautiful with new lyrics and a nice and longer sequence of the bells in the beginning! "Never Be Mine" is still there with all of its appeal and the beautiful voices of Trio Bulgarka; "Moments of Pleasure" brings us an amazing and enchanting choir; "And So Is Love" is also nice, but the original one was better, sadder, but better... and "Top of the City" was never a favorite of mine and I don't like it here, either!
The negative review is due to a track from the remastered The Red Shoes, "Big Stripey Lie", which suffered an unexplained cut! One of my favorite sequences in the whole album is just the end of this song, with violins and that abrupt ending! But it was precisely this sequence that was changed in the remastered version of the album. The song fades out and the wonderful sequence disappears! It's a pity! I do not understand why that was changed! The music was perfect the way it was and the end was irreparable!
Anyway, the album is highly recommended ... Everything coming from Kate is well worth! If we can not be fully pleased, we can at least be surprised... And undoubtedly Director's Cut deserves the five stars!
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on 21 July 2011
My wife and I have been Kate Bush fans for many years and like many people, I was fearful when I heard that she was going to do an album of re-worked songs. Upon first listening, I still had doubts but now I have become familiar with the tracks, I cannot help thinking that this was a natural progression for such a creative and inspiring artist to make. Her voice is obviously different but now possesses a distinct maturity that lends tracks such as This Woman's Work with far more knowledge. However, there are some mistakes - Deeper Understanding which was such a poignant and beautiful song has been developed into something that wouldn't be out of place in Doctor Who and there is more than one moment where I found myself questioning whether she was meant to sound out of tune...

There have been many criticisms of this album with people asking what is the point but I think for an artist who has been working as long as Bush, there is a great urge to examine songs written earlier in life and see how your experience could develop them. For me, this is exactly what this album does - it may not be perfect but upon listening, you cannot help but smile at the thought of such an incredible artist applying new thoughts and skills to old work.
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on 11 November 2014
This is not an attempt to remake any of Kate's old songs - its her using her more mature voice and technology she has available that she did not have back in the 80's, 90's. Its wonderful to hear her voice at a different pitch and I love her old stuff as well.
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on 29 October 2014
Totally enjoyable this woman is outstanding, some of its a bit different from the original , but great it was nice to hear some of her older stuff sung as she sounds today, if your a Kate fan do not hold back, order today , Brian.
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