Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best yet., 27 Dec 2008
This review is from: Space Ritual (Audio CD)
I have been listening to this album for 35 years. It is one of my favourite albums and I am probably as familiar as you could possibly be with a record. I bought this, not because I expected video of the concert, (I knew that it doesn't exist), but because of the possibility of a DVD-Audio surround sound remix. Well I have not been disappointed. I now own no less than four copies of Space Ritual on CD. Up until now the 2001 remastering (which included the Greasy Truckers session) was by far the best yet available, but I think this easily surpasses that version. I listened to the DVD-Audio disc (which has PAL video effects that play on your TV) on a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound system. I chose the Dolby 5.1 audio choice because I couldn't get the DTS version to work on my system (which may have more to do with my system than the disc). The master tapes have been transferred at a DVD quality bitrate and then "upscaled" or "converted" to surround sound. I compared the DVD-A to the two CDs also included in this set and the DVD-A stood out as far superior. One concern I had was that this might be a completely new mix (something that happens a lot with DVD-A) but thankfully it isn't. (God forbid that someone had buried Brock or Lemmy in favour of Turner's noodlings). The surround sound is rendered with subtlety and often is only apparent during quiet moments or occasionally catching just the harmonics. Brock is very clearly placed on the right channel and Lemmy and King are planted firmly in the centre. Very subtle elements like Calvert's tambourine are now apparent drifting in and out of the left channel alongside Dettmar and Dikmik. Turner's flute and sax are nicely positioned just left of centre or dead centre and as previously noted are exactly as loud as they need to be to provide that overall ethereal quality you might desire. The vocals are as clear as I have ever heard them, especially Calvert and Brock. I got the feeling that had I cranked my system I would not have experienced any severe distortion. Of course then there are the bonus tracks. Now that Greasy Truckers has been released in its entirety, those tracks have been replaced by other versions of some songs from the Space Ritual shows. They make for excellent additions. Cap this off with two really nice transfers of the promo films for Silver Machine and Urban Guerrilla and you have an overall must have for any true Hawkwind fan with a surround sound system. Another great bonus is the very nice tribute to Barney Bubbles in Nik Turner's liner notes. These include Barney's original stage drawings for the Space Ritual show and they clearly demonstrate just how involved Barney was in the design work on this legendary tour. My only gripe would be the total lack of acknowledgement for Dave Brock's contribution. There are 110 minutes of music here and Brock wrote the music for 75 of those minutes. The dynamic on this recording between Brock, Lemmy and King is so integral to the album that no liner notes are complete without some acknowledgment. Lemmy is truly at his best here, especially during Lord of Light and you really won't hear this performance any better than on this DVD-Audio. Congrats to Peter Mew and Nigel Reeve for putting so much effort into creating this definitive version of the best space rock album ever recorded. If you have enjoyed this album as much as I have over the years you will love the clarity of the DVD-A in this set.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Dec 2009 12:35:45 GMT
jomojomo says:
It is not a dvd-a. Dvda (dvd-audio) is different from dvd, you can look it up on wikipedia to understand the differences. Also, the dvd 5.1 tracks are just upmixes of the stereo version that appears on the cd and the stereo tracks on the dvd lossily encoded to ac3 and dts, so it is not true 5.1 anymore than you can make a stereo recording out of a mono one. They did very little work on the music for the dvd and it sounds like it.

Any enhanced sound quality you perceive is strictly in your head.
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