Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Proggy Remixes on Tap

September 27th, 2013

Steve Wilson has been very busy remixing classic prog albums the past few years. Most recently he has turned his attention at Jethro Tull and Yes.

ctte remix cover Proggy Remixes on Tap

A shiny, new Close to the Edge will be released on 21 October. The release will come in a medley of formats and, depending on what you want, you can choose from:

- New 5.1 Surround Mixes from the original multitracks
- New Stereo Mixes from the original multitracks
- High-Resolution Stereo Remasters from the original Flat Stereo Masters
- A wealth of Extra Material

The extra material consists of single versions of “Total Mass Retain”, “And You And I”, and “America” plus an early assembly/rough mix of “Close To The Edge”, an alternate version of “And You And I”, and “Siberia”, a studio run-through of “Siberian Khatru”. Unless Wilson found more goodies, the rough mix of the title track is really the only previously unreleased tune here as most of these songs were on the 2003 remaster from Rhino.

benefit remix cover Proggy Remixes on Tap

Benefit is Wilson’s third tweak of the Tull catalog. This release comes packaged in a 2 CD/1 DVD configuration or on vinyl. The record will have the original UK running order and will be Wilson’s new stereo mix. The CD/DVD combo will get you the 2013 remix, the 5.1 remix, and pretty much every b-side from the era remastered or remixed in stereo and/or mono.

Sometime next year the remaster/remix of A Passion Play will be released. According to the moderator of the Jethro Tull Forum:

The Benefit remix is now due for release in October 2013 (probably a digipack with extensive sleeve notes etc), and the Chateau/APP package will be released in 2014.

The delay has been due to recent record company changes.

The latter package will include an extra 10 minutes of Chateau stuff, all without the 1990s added flute, while the APP remix will have Steven Wilson either following or ignoring IA’s suggestion to leave some instruments out to make it sound less dense and complex.

Although it would be interesting to hear A Passion Play without saxophone, he had better leave it in or there will be a mutiny. I am really keen to hear the additional 10 minutes of Chateau D’isaster material. I presume this will be the original “Lifebeats” and the song known as “Sailor”. “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day”, “Solitaire”, and “Bungle in the Jungle” are all from these sessions and it’d be great to hear the last of those without strings and all three songs in the context of the planned album. Hopefully the liner notes will give some clue as to the proposed running order. The Minstrels in the Red House bootleg has some Chateau D’isaster material on it in this order:

1. Prelude
2. Scenario
3. Audition
4. Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day)
5. Sailor
6. No Rehearsal

I’d swear I read that these songs came from a copy (of a copy of a copy) of a rough mix so I take this order as canon. On the other hand, I very much doubt that the running order of the rest of the material on Nightcap bears any resemblance to what the band had envisioned back in 1973.

vaportrails remix cover Proggy Remixes on Tap

Lastly we have Rush’s Vapor Trails.

“We overcooked it,” bassist/singer Geddy Lee tells Rolling Stone now. “The mixes were really loud and brash. The mastering job was harsh and distorted.”

Lee came to this realization not long after the record came out, but there was little he could do to fix the situation. “It’s a terrible feeling that, due to lack of objectivity, you let an imperfect piece of work get out there,” he says. “But the songs are very strong and people really responded to the record and people were welcoming us back. The sonic defects of it got lost in the excitement of the band’s return to functionality. It’s always been a bee in my bonnet.”

Vapor Trails was a victim of the loudness wars upon its original release. Compressed, loud, and distorted – it really sounds horrible. It will be nice to hear some dynamics on this album instead of a solid wall of sound and distortion. Considering that the band has been dissatisfied with the mixing/mastering of Vapor Trails for a while, I don’t understand why Clockwork Angels suffered the same fate.

Related posts:

  1. Proggy News
  2. Show #78: PROGgy Goodness
  3. Some Proggy News – 10 August '07
  4. New Fish Tracks & Other Proggy News
  5. Remixing the Past

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