December 23rd, 2011
Jethro Tull’s Aqualung got the deluxe treatment in honor of its 40th Anniversary this year. There were multiple configurations of the set but the “standard” 2CD version included a new mix of the album by Porcupine Tree’s Steve Wilson. I don’t have it yet but a fan named Jeff Carney has posted a little video demonstrating the differences between the new mix and the old one.
The instruments are more up front in the new mix and it sounds like the hi-hat is in both channels instead of being buried on the right. Plus the bass is much clearer. The original mix tends to sound like certain instruments were at the extreme of one channel or the other whereas here things are more centered.
Overall the new version sounds more raw, more immediate whereas the original had this dusty, old-timey patina to it. Regardless of which you may prefer, I am just happy that the mix from 1971 isn’t going out of print and that it’s included on the various iterations of the anniversary sets so fans can compare and contrast.
I remember the remixes from Tull’s 25th Anniversary Box Set which included “Cross-Eyed Mary”. The aim there seemed to be simply to move the drums forward in the mix so that Clive Bunker, Barriemore Barlow, and the gang sounded like Lars Ulrich. (But it was nice to hear the tambourine on “Cross-Eyed Mary”.) I am confident that Wilson’s new mixes won’t do the same.