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Sgt. Pepper - new mix!!! Well as Geoff Emerick stated: "The best copy of Sgt. Pepper is the mono version... Nobody realises that all the actual effort went into the mono mix..."
Well that was back then - AND now we finally have a new stereo mix, where you definitely can tell that all possible effort was put into as well - and by no other that George Martin's son Giles Martin. The result: couldn't be better if you ask me - just absolutely great!
I only have one little "complaint" and that is the final mastering (not done by Martin) - well, is sounds great and all that, but a little less compression would had been nice for my taste... High volume shouldn't be the goal, it is very easy instead, just to turn up the volume knob on your stereo equipment. Less compression mean more dynamics. Luckily it seems as this trend of high volume mastering is on its way out again.
But I can still highly recommend this new mix - absolutely great.
The music - well what can be said other than great timeless music - absolutely one of a kind - I love the variety of the songs, but even so it still feels like a continuos "story" - just amazing!
Sgt Pepper has entered the fields of legends and therefore has already been the subject of umpteen thousands of reviews. So I won’t be reviewing anything at all to do with the music.
But to be honest every single offering I’ve heard so far has suffered from poor sound quality. Yes, I know it was recorded in 1967, yes I know technology has moved on and yes I maybe expecting a bit too much.
This even applied, albeit to a lesser extent to the 2009 remaster, which was certainly a step up from the 1987 version.
Roll on 2017.
Unbeknown to me there were preparations to release a 50th Anniversary edition which included remastering, new tracks, demos and and unreleased/rare info and photos. The majority of times such things are of little or no interest to me at all. But there was a rumour that something fundamentally different had happened to the sound, And after a little bit of nosiness, yes it looked as if things had changed. Which was good enough for me. And off went my order.
Well I was absolutely blown away with this.
This version is unlike others not just a remaster but also a remix. Apparently the team responsible worked off the original mono source tapes as their reference point, using the latest remixing technology and acquiring some previously thought lost source material (sadly not all the source material has survived!) for it has been brought to bear. And it has made Sgt Pepper sound like it was recorded yesterday !
Absolutely AMAZING sound quality. Crystal clear guitars, nice bass thump, nice subtle details released on the drums which sound natural..not just a big splodge coming out of each speaker.
I know many people will have owned Sgt Pepper in the past, perhaps from the vinyl days and may need convincing as to why they should stump up for yet another version.
The album is still pure genius of course. But for me the sound quality has at last started to approach the quality of the music.
This double CD, with a booklet, was purchased after watching a BBC television programme of the digital remixing of the originals in 2009. Due to the complexity of the whole production, the original recordings took 129 days to put together. The care and attention given to the digital re-mastering of the originals was no less impressive. And what an album it turned out to be, then and now! The two CD's come in a colourful and picturesque box, with a 60 page booklet full of the group's personal or collective pictures, production scenes, words of songs, personal minutia, etc. Very generous. And, of course, there is the music, which one critic considered was "world-changing" and that "the sum is greater than the whole". And what did the whole contain? The cover song itself, as well as "With a little help from my friends", "Lucy in the sky with diamonds", "She's leaving home", "When I'm sixty-four", "A day in the life" - and more! This was music that was topical, full of impression and expression, singable and warm, and it became familiar - expressions of dissatisfaction with suburban living in the 1960's, the failings of parenthood, misgivings about the Establishment, and nostalgia for a previous age. It had little of the militancy and violence that sprung up across the Atlantic during the same era, but it was no less effective, and never anything other than the fullest expression of the British music of that generation. The discs on this 2CD Anniversary Edition are crystal clear, yet not too bright, enabling every word and musical nuance to be heard and appreciated. Certainly a production for the annals as well as the enthusiast's shelf. Go on and buy it, enjoy it... and remember!
Had this on vinyl, twice, then the original CD, then the remastered version in the box set. This is the best ever and the second CD which adds the missing 2 singles Penny Lane and Strawberry fields back to what was going to be the original release is a plus.
To start with, I'm a big Beatles fan. I was born in the sixties, and grew up with them like so many other people. They have been a constant through my life. From my childhood days of playing the singles and albums, to later when I ran my own disco, and bought the first CD releases on their release dates, to the Anthology years and more. I've also picked up bootlegs from various record fairs over the years. I also studied to be an audio engineer, so sound quality is a big thing to me. I've got a reasonably high end Primare stereo, so this should set the scene accordingly.
I went through the whole Beatles Rock Band thing on PS3 when Giles Martin worked with getting the Beatles tracks engineered for use on the game. I loved what he did with the tracks, as they sounded fantastic through 96kHz audio. But for whatever reason, I didn't hear much about the successive remaster from him until the White album remaster a couple of years ago, when my daughter bought it for me for Christmas. I was blown away with how perfect it sounded. White album was always a messy affair, but he'd polished it up to perfection.
This year I got the Abbey Road remaster for Christmas too, and again, I was blown away with how good it sounds.
So I got to searching what else was out there, and learned that Giles had also done the "1" album (which I then bought) and Sgt Pepper (amongst the obvious "Love" album and Hollywood Bowl stuff which I had already known about).
Sgt Pepper for whatever reason has never been my favourite album. I didn't hate it at all, it just never fully resonated with me.
In much the same way that Giles' remaster of the White album made it sound cohesive and tracks well matched with each other, he's REALLY improved this album. With the wide range in musical styles on offer, that's no mean feat. Every track sounds far more detailed and open right from the opener of Sgt Pepper. Listening through either my Primare stereo or on Grado headphones it sounds warm, detailed and has so much more space to breathe.
Giles is also a master of understanding the subject and he's managed to correct small errors in the originals - from tweaking the mix of various instruments to removing the odd bit of leakage - whilst remaining absolutely true to the Beatles' spirit.
So, Sgt Pepper has now become one of my favourite albums and I can't thank him enough for that.
the additional tracks are also well chosen for the most part, and treated with similar care. This is unsual because demos and early mixed are usually just bunged out as they are without much care or treatment. Not so with Giles Martin.
So for me, this is a perfect collection. Unless some much better media comes out in the future, I can't see me getting another release of this, as this is as close to perfection as one can get. Along with the additional tracks, well, they're just the cherry on top.
If you've bought rematsered albums in the past and been disappointed that you can't really tell much different, you could do worse than go for this.
What a truly lovely box set of such a famous album. Whilst this is not my favourite Beatles album there is so much to enjoy listening to the raw versions of songs that did not much to change the course of rock music back in 1967. Personally it was fantastic to hear the orchestral versions of what much be the Beatles most underrated song " She's leaving home " What these versions show is the true genius of Paul McCartney as he moved rock music away from the traditional guitar and drum formula into something incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking. There is so much to enjoy about this boxset. Thoroughly recommended.
Long ago I owned this on LP, but lent it oui and never got it back, so now I've got it on CD. Listening to it again is like hearing some songs for the first time. Being of Sixties vintage, it's surprisingly brief (less than 40 mins) for the thirteen songs on it, but every song is worth it - there's an economy to each one, no expansive flab, just the tune and the words and the message they convey. Remember that this album came before the big prog rock explosion of bands like Pink Floyd and still follows the traditional style of songs being a regular length. Songs like 'Getting Better' and 'For the benefit of Mr Kite' remind the listener of what great songsmiths they were, 'She's Leaving Home' has the barest nod towards a prog feel, 'When I'm Sixty Four' and 'Lovely Rita' are just vintage nice songs. I could say something about every song if I tried, but it's best just to get the album and enjoy it for yourself. The back story included with this CD version is also interesting, but I can't escape the feeling that this album felt a lot 'bigger' when I had it on LP - 'A Day In The Life' used to be a bit of a big deal with its conjoined themes and trippy-hippy bit (remember - this came out just before the 'summer of love') and nowadays I wonder if some brave modern musician will try to expand it into a full-on twenty-minute psychedelic marathon. The Beatles knew how to hit the spot.