Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about perfect, 7 July 2012
This review is from: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars: 40th Anniversary Edition (Audio CD)
There is a curious phenomenon happening in the world of Bowie CD remasters, which we can hope portends an attitude change in the music industry as a whole regarding the remastering of classic albums. This phenomenon is, simply put, going back to basics. More specifically, it appears as though EMI is actually starting to recognize that the sound of the original Bowie albums, at the time they were made, doesn't require improving upon. Rather, the best a remastering can do is present the original sound in the most faithful manner possible, from the best possible sources. This 40th Anniversary remastering of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars does just that.

Ironically, the original RCA Bowie CDs from the 1980s, which were lambasted at the time as subpar, actually did a pretty good job of staying faithful to the sound of the original LPs. Although they are rumored to have been from latter-generation sources, rather than the original master tapes, they have nevertheless held up very well in light of the reissues that followed: the anemic and overly bright Ryko reissues of the late `80s, and the bloated, heavily compressed Virgin/EMI remasters of the late `90s, which remain the standard versions available today. However, it was the 30th Anniversary edition of Ziggy Stardust that represented the nadir of all Bowie remasters: it sounded worse than even the '90s EMI remaster; worse yet, it actually removed portions of the music and reversed the stereo channels. It was an absolute travesty that never should have seen record store shelves, and it seemed to confirm the belief among audiophiles and music enthusiasts that the more the record companies tried to justify double and triple dips, the worse

This newest release of Ziggy Stardust continues the trend, and may be the best sounding Bowie CD reissue yet. Remastered by Ray Staff, who engineered the original album back in 1971, this version comes full circle, sounding remarkably similar to both the original RCA LP and CD, but with a bit more sonic pop and presence, as well as clarity resulting from a superior transfer of the original master tape. This is miles better than either the 1999 EMI remaster or the ghastly 30th Anniversary edition (stereo channels are as they should be, and the segues are restored); it bests the Ryko version, as well. There is a certain irony that it took four CD reissues just to come back to the sound RCA got right in the first place, but with this remastering, we finally have the definitive Ziggy on CD. Here's hoping EMI makes this permanently available, and never seeks to improve upon it with a subsequent release. They really cannot do better
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jan 2013 16:48:02 GMT
Joskins says:
Thanks for this very informative review which has helped me decide which edition of Ziggy I should get. I'm obliged to replace many of my albums and am horrified to discover that so much of my much-loved music has been horribly tampered with in the name of "remastering". I can't realistically expect the music industry to stop this practice, it sells more copies and, in fairness, some remastering works well, but sensible reviews like yours do help me avoid the worst of the travesties - so thanks again.
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