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His pop-era - includes some great extras. Faulty DVD.
on 24 June 2013
Firstly any fan will notice the apparent lack of any input from John into the production of this box-set (ie liner notes, mastering, over-seeing track selection etc), aside from the music itself ofcourse! His current trend is cold-noise, so a slight distancing is understandable, but this does result in some fairly indulgent/waffling liner notes from Martin Smith. The general artwork seems a little half-hearted, with nothing new to offer, which feels like an opportunity missed.
CD1 is well compiled, and although some tracks are not my faves the concept of this collection does work.
CD2 is really what I bought this for, as will many die-hard fans, as at last we get the 'proper' 12" mix of "Endlessly", the song which first caught my interest many years back. This track also comes in a second, unreleased, experimental-in-places alternative remix, called the Sparkle Mix. I hadn't realised how extended some of the other 12" from this era were, as the single sleeves did not mention they were special longer versions. Most of this disc has not appeared on CD before, and the BBC Session versions are also strong takes in their own right.
However to my ears "Endlessly" 12" seems to play back at a slightly lower volume than the rest of this CD, which is a bit of shame...but it's still a classic and sounds great!
The real problem here is DVD:
- no Play All option (that I could find), so you have to select each track by returning to main menu
- "Dancing Like A Gun" audio is faulty - certain sections of vocal are missing. When I listened to CD1 I could see what's happened, during manufacture/compilation Edsel have only included the left channel, but across both left and right. Hence John's vocals that often appear only in the right channel, particularly in verse 1 and the central break, are missing from the DVD altogether. I hadn't noticed it was a form of incorrect mono until then. This is the same sloppy treatment FGTH fans got with the bulk of CD1 of "Sex Mix", until Salvo admitted their error and repressed. This doesn't seem to occur on other tracks, or at least the vocals are not effected if it does.
- "Stars On Fire" is just over a minute and hastily fades out. As I've not seen this 'montage' before I don't know if this was a sampler video only, or whether that's all they could locate in watchable quality.
- oddly we get the DVD manufacturer details and copyright/usage warning messages after the end of the "Lose All Sense Of Time" animation, not before the main menu screen.
For me the DVD production lets this box set down badly, due to manufacture. Noone else has mentioned the audio issue in their reviews to date, so I'm not sure if it's the batch mine was from, or across the board.