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Customer Review

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite certain this is a DELUXE version of Incantations, 30 July 2011
This review is from: Incantations [Remastered] (Audio CD)
First off, let me convey how thrilled I was to receive this deluxe version of Incantations, for it arrived here in New Zealand just three days after it was released in the U.K. Now that is remarkable! Well done Amazon, a fine job of such a speedy delivery!

Sadly the story takes a turn for the worse from here on....

My issue is with the term DELUXE...that is to say this DELUXE version of Incantations seems to be way below standard...this is really disappointing from a fan's point of view, particularly when one considers how long some of us fans have waited for Incantations to be issued in DELUXE format.

I picked up on previous reviews in that there seems to be widespread disappointment around the packaging. Yes I concur, the packaging really is not up to 'DELUXE' standards. To my way of thinking, DELUXE ought to mean a substantial cut above the rest. DELUXE meaning something really special that will satisfy dedicated fans because it should attain a special ranking that automatically sets regular versions aside.

I too am disappointed to detect the audio 'glitch' on Part 4 around 12.36. It sounds awful, particularly when listening through headphones. This reminds me of the New Order DELUXE issues of their back catalogue whereby each disc in that series suffered from serious audio glitches. One track in particular was taken directly from vinyl instead of the original master! That whole debacle was a great big disappointment to say the least and therefore DELUXE was actually sub-standard. The same thing is emerging here with Incantations. This should not happen! Who was supervising during the re-mastering and transfer? Just not good enough!

My personal view is that there are simply 4 key components of a DELUXE version. The ingredients of a DELUXE version should be:

1. Top quality printed material (booklet paper, cardboard cover, binding, gluing etc)
2. Relevant bonus material (well researched, rare or highly sought after and of the best possible audio quality)
3. Informative sleeve notes, new insights into the recording etc & new photos
4. Superior audio quality

Here's where Incantations stubs out in those 4 key areas:

1. The printed matter looks like they used second rate paper. The plastic slip case has been replaced with a cheap & lousy sticker.
2. The bonus material on the DVD (visual) is great but the choice of audio tracks on disc two raises eyebrows.
3. The sleeve notes and extra photos are very low calorie...a little more would have made it DELUXE...paper quality is poor so it will no doubt show its age very quickly.
4. The audio quality is generally acceptable but is tarnished by a tape edit glitch on part 4...

Now just a final note on audio quality to UNIVERSAL: some of us are really critical listeners because we have expensive audio gear. We listen for each and every nuance and we do this not to trip up the manufacturer or to be annoying. We do this because we love Mike Oldfield's Incantations and have listened to it hundreds of times over the years...this is meant to be a pleasurable experience but it gets diluted and devalued when audio glitches or over-use of compression significantly changes the actual sound. Sorry UNIVERSAL but you must afford the fans a better service and to be honest this product is not DELUXE at all.

Sorry if I sound like Bad News Brown but I just have to be honest and from a fan's perspective I just wanted a DELUXE version of Incantations, not a sub-standard version that seems to be somewhat less than other versions.

I give it a 3 out of 5 but other fans will have their own views. DELUXE ought to be DELUXE and I just don't see this as being a DELUXE product.

Thanks for reading my review, sorry if it sounds negative.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Aug 2011, 04:03:53 BST
Lee Thomas says:
Well said B. Stuart! A brilliant review that hits the nail right on the head. I gave this Deluxe version a one star review because I was so annoyed at the glitch on part 4. However Universal have rectified this problem, everyone contacting them about this will be sent a new glitch free disc. Mine arrived today and happily the whole album sounds perfect now. I am now planning to change my original one star review. But every issue and point you raise in yours about packaging cut backs and some questionable bonus material, I agree completely. So I'd also now give this disappointing Deluxe entry 3/5.
Let's hope Deluxe Platinum puts things back on track eh?

Take care.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2011, 18:47:05 BST
akjohnson says:
Tubular Bells Deluxe;original mix,5.1 surround mix-5 stars
Hergest Ridge Deluxe;original mix,5.1 surround mix-5 stars
Ommadawn Deluxe;original mix,5.1 surround mix-5 stars

Posted on 26 Nov 2011, 12:43:57 GMT
S. D. Nunn says:
Corker of a review ... and prospective purchasers please note: when a brand spanking new copy arrived this week (26th Nov 2011) IT STILL HAS THE EDIT GLITCH!!!

Amazon is flogging old stock - clearly the dodgy copies haven't been replaced. Appalling conduct by label, distributor and retailer ...

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Apr 2012, 01:19:52 BST
I've stopped buying those endless reissues altogether (of all artists) because of the compression. I stick to the original CD's, earlier remasters or vinyls.
In the case of Incantations, the original was edited, never understood why since the album fits within the CD format time limit.
Original master CD's generally sounds warmer, more dynamic, closer to the original vinyls and overall better.

Posted on 24 Jun 2012, 12:35:35 BST
I so agree with everything, that you say, The cost cutting with the deluxe versions was a disgrace, I am aware that Universal had returned to the proper deluxe versions, I can only think reviews like yours helped.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012, 15:16:19 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Jun 2012, 15:17:43 BST
Just a correction regarding the original Virgin CD of "Incantations". It was just the UK press that had the beginning of track three edited out. The European press is complete and sounds wonderful! No need for any other CD version!
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