Top critical review
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Such a shame
on 26 July 2011
I'll try and keep this brief.
First off -musically, I believe that this is Oldfield's strongest album. I have loved it since I bough it on double vinyl in 1978. It is like an old friend to me. It relaxes, soothes and moves me whenever I listen to it. Since I first bought into surround music in 2001 I had always hoped that one day this album would be given the 5.1 treatment (preferably in DVD audio but at the very least DTS). When Universal released Rush - Moving Pictures on blu-ray it was relieving to see that at least one record company was taking up the mantle of hi-rez 5.1 music after the sad demise of dvd audio and sacd. When I heard that Incantations was to be released as a deluxe addition, I hoped that, as consumers, we would be given the choice of purchasing a hi-rez version, as we were with Moving Pictures, but had been denied with the three previous Oldfield re-masters. Not so, unfortunately. We don't even get a 'lossy' Dolby Digital 5.1 mix of the complete album - just some questionable snippets ( e.g. the Stephen Hawking Addition to Diana which just detracts from the musical ambiance) - in lossy DD 5.1.
I still love this album, and always will, but prefer the previous 2001 HDCD version which sounds better, especially if you have an HDCD capable player.
The previous re-mastered versions have been re-mixed from the original multitrack tapes which gave them some new vibrancy and detail (and allows the entire album to be mixed in 5.1 surround). However, Incantations has only been re-mastered from the 2 track stereo masters, therefore it would not have been possible to alter the original mixes in any way, except with regard to e.q. e.g. by adding better quality reverbs/delays/effects etc, as was the case with the previous deluxe editions. Also without the muti-track masters it would not be possible to mix the album in 5.1.
Maybe the multitracks were lost or in poor condition making this impossible.
I am hoping for more with Platinum. Not so brief, but I had a lot to get off my chest.