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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remixed with Mixed Success, 26 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Quatermass (Audio CD)
I have owned and loved this album by the short-lived trio since its original vinyl release on EMI/Harvest 42 years ago, and I've owned this album through two previous CD editions, both of them enhanced with the non-L.P.(Germany-only) single "One Blind Mice" b/w "Punting", and those two bonus tracks appear in this edition, plus two previously unreleased tracks.

Contrary to some reports on the internet, the 5.1 surround mix(on the DVD included with this 2-disc set) is not all simulated surround sound. Much of it is real surround sound, but much of it from "stage two" multi tracks, after 8-track to 8-track, 8-track to 6-track, 8-track to 4-track or 8-track to 3-track reductions. Back in the days of 4-track & 8-track recording, if the artist wanted to add more overdubs(after all the tape tracks were filled), the engineer would mix the original first generation tracks down to 2 or 4 "reduced" tracks and record those onto a second 4-track or 8-track machine, opening up tracks(on that second tape machine) for further overdubs. For many of these songs, all that could be found were the "stage two" tapes(I.E. after the reductions).

What you get on the surround sound DVD is as follows:

One Blind Mice(from the original first generation 8-track tape. There were apparently no reduction mixes needed for this song.)
Entropy(simulated surround from the existing stereo mix)
Black Sheep of The Family(from an 8-track to 4-track reduction. For whatever reasons, this 4-track does not contain John Gustafson's harmony vocal. My guess is that it may have been added live during stereo mix down.)
Post-War Saturday Echo(from an 8-track to 3-track reduction. All of the previously recorded elements had, by this point, been mixed to stereo. Another track was used to add Moog synthesizer.)
Good Lord Knows(from the original 8-track tape)
Up On The Ground(From an 8-track to 6-track reduction, presumably an 8-track tape on which only 6 tracks had been used.)
Gemini(from an 8-track to 6-track reduction)
Make Up Your Mind/What Was That/Make Up Your Mind(Reprise)(Simulated Surround sound from the existing stereo mix)
Laughin' Tackle(from an 8-track to 8-track reduction)
Punting(simulated surround sound from the existing stereo mix)
Afraid Not(a rehearsal of a backing track for an unfinished song. Recorded in a rehearsal room direct to 2-track with a few microphones. No multitrack or professional recording ever existed. This is presented in simulated surround.)
Bluegaloo/Broken Chords/Scales(a 1974 stereo soundboard cassette live in Montreal 1974. Fortunately, the sound quality is excellent, and the recording is presented in simulated 3.1 sound. The rear channels are silent. This recording is more in a jazz-rock fusion style, and features a new line-up. Peter Robinson & John Gustafson are joined by a new drummer, a percussionist and a guitarist.)

My only complaint about the remixes(given what was available to mix from) is that Peter Robinson(who did the remix) strips away all the echo and reverb that had been used on John Gustafson's voice (in the original mix), and(on the tracks that are in genuine surround sound) presents Gustafson's voice totally "dry" and much further out in front of the instruments(versus the original mix)

The surround sound remix appears on the DVD in either Dolby Digital or DTS formats, and the DVD also presents a new stereo mix as lossless PCM. No word on whether the resolution and bit rate of this stereo mix are the same as on the CD(44.1Khz/16-bit) or something better. None of my disc players' displays revealed the information.

The original stereo mix(as offered on CD by the Repertoire label) remains the definitive mix, but its interesting to hear these alternatives....and two previously unreleased tracks.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Aug 2013 04:43:58 BDT
herb says:
G R E A T review~! This is how a review should be done. Thank you so much! Very informative.
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