67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
After reading Jamie Tate's review [Amazon has since deleted his negative review of the Genesis box set], I went back to listen to some of my old "Definitive Edition Remaster" discs, and Mr. Tate is correct: the "loudness wars" have struck again and the new CDs are much louder than the old CDs.
The word "compression" gets tossed around a lot these days. I don't pretend to understand it all, but I do know that the recording industry is overwhelmed with fear right now. CD sales are in a free-fall, they have given up on DVD-A and SACD for the most part, and in an effort to increase sales, remasters are all the rage to try to get us to buy the same music over and over. Audio level compression is a remastering technique used by producers to change the sound of the music. One easy trick the industry uses is that they can release a "remastered" CD with increased volume levels, and the average listener's first impression to this is that the "louder" version sounds better. Of course it doesn't, but I disagree with Jamie Tate's opinion that this ALWAYS results in an inferior product. (Although it sometimes does-there are numerous examples of producers going too far.) For one thing, the Genesis CDs are not just LOUDER, the mix has been altered. The most obvious example is that, for the most part, Phil Collins' voice is a little more up front in the new CD mixes. Mr. Tate obviously hates this, but your opinion may differ.
After reflection, I do agree with Jamie Tate on his ultimate conclusion - Don't buy this collection if you are only going to listen to the CDs. Especially if you already have some or all of the "Definitive Edition Remaster Series" discs. That being said, the new mixes on the CD hardly make me sick to my stomach [as Mr. Tate claims], nor do I think that most people shelling out $100 for this collection are going to ignore the DVDs. If you have a surround system, you get a completely different mix to listen to, and most seem to really like the 5.1 DTS version(s). I do. Also, there are videos, concert footage, and an extra CD of material that was not released on the original albums or CDs. I'm going with 4 stars instead of 5 for two reasons: 1.) the CD version is no big improvement and increasing the loudness is a cheap trick; and 2.) it was stupid for Rhino to leave the SACD layer off of the CD (it is in the European versions) because the SACD version DOES sound better. The Amazon description is incorrect in its claim that this version contains a Hybrid SACD, it does not. I know that SACD has not taken off in the US, but if people can't buy SACDs they won't buy SACD players, and, obviously, if you don't have a player, there is no reason to buy SACDs. How would a Hybrid SACD have harmed sales?
43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With the release of "Genesis: 1976-1982", it's time for the diehard Genesis fans of the world to raise a toast to this most magnificent band, and to be grateful that their music is finally, at long last, getting some respect. The first of three (count 'em, three!) box sets devoted to Genesis, "1976-1982" covers the five albums the band recorded during this period: "A Trick Of The Tail," "Wind & Wuthering," "And Then There Were Three," "Duke" and "Abacab," and each album has not only been remastered, but remixed (i.e. changed in volume levels & effects) by producer Nick Davis. And each album now comes with a bonus DVD that includes all kinds of video goodies: interviews with the band members about the making of each album, rare archival concert & TV footage, and music videos! You also get two more exclusive Genesis treats: a bonus CD/DVD combo with rare Genesis songs from this period---songs released as EP's, B-sides, etc.---and a lovely 48-page book. I'm not going to re-review all five Genesis albums here---I'll just say briefly that I give all five featured albums in this box set the top rating of 5 stars. Instead, what I will touch down on is what you probably *really* want to know about: the sound quality, the DVD's, and the new mixes themselves. My verdict on the sound quality: SENSATIONAL. Sound-wise, these Genesis albums have all been given a fresh---and refreshing---coat of paint. One thing you notice instantaneously on these new mixes is that all of Phil Collins' lead vocals (and some of the backing vocals) have been brought right up front, so you can distinctly hear the words he sings without having to occasionally consult the lyric sheet. The band's instruments now have more crispness and more punch to them. You can hear more separation in the sound, more boom to the sonics, and you can detect more overall atmosphere. And yes, you can indeed hear notes, effects, and complete passages being played that you never could hear before. It's amazing! The DVD's are nothing short of fantastic. The concert & television footage, the music videos, the band interviews...in short, WOW. The bonus CD of rare songs is *excellent* stuff. (And welcome back "Match Of The Day" and "Me And Virgil," two rare songs that were unfairly kicked off the band's previous box set from 2000. A wrong has finally been put right!) And the accompanying booklet has great photos, and the text is insightful and a pleasure to read, although I disagree with a few of author Michael Watts' less-then-enthustiastic opinions of a few choice songs. But for the most part, he is quite respectful in his writings about the band. So, why am I only giving "1976-1982" four stars instead of a perfect five? Well, because although I give tremendous applause to Nick Davis for a remixing job extremely well done, he didn't do it perfectly. The new, earthier-sounding mix of "And Then There Were Three" took a couple of listens for me to fully appreciate. Also, on "Duke," Davis removed a brief guitar part of Mike Rutherford's towards the end of "Misunderstanding," for God knows why. And the title track to "Abacab" is faded out a few seconds too early, and there's a couple of other minor quibbles like that. So, Nick Davis didn't get it *completely* right---and I'm not gonna toss out any of my old Genesis CD's, 'cause I want to keep the old versions of the albums preserved---but, to Davis' credit, he came very close (oh, and he made a genius decision to alter Phil's vocals on the rare song "Pigeons" to make him sound like he's singing through an old-time radio---it fits the song perfectly!). So there you have it. Genesis have been greatly honored with the release of this marvelous box set, "1976-1982." I guarantee you will hear---and see---the band in a whole new light with this collection. So, a toast to Genesis! And I can't wait for box sets 2 and 3.... :-)
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These new stereo and 5.1 mixes and DVD extras reveal Genesis in an appropriate light for today's music appreciator. Granted, the original mixes (vinyl LPs, the 1994 remasters) will always be a standard for someone out there with a tendency toward nostalgia, but as digital technologies advance it becomes necessary (if financially possible) to take advantage of them.
I do agree that the stereo mixes are much louder, but they are also much CLEARER with a wider frequency spectrum revealing little musical parts that were previously heard subconsciously. The downside of that is some prominent riffs get enveloped in the new wall of sound, however I can practically feel Phil Collin's saliva being spit into my ear now that the vocals are further upfront. And finally, Phil's intricate drumming and percussion touches are brought up, satisfying anyone who, like me, believed they've been too deep in the background before the abacab album.
The 5.1 mixes are subtle and not gimmicky, except for the occasional background vocal or percussion popping up from behind. If you adore Tony Banks' synthesizer and Mellotron work, you'll love the 5.1 mixes. Given that Tony had primary oversight of all the new mixes, there seems to be a lot of attention given to the depth and effect of his keyboards in the 5.1 mixes. In fact, the interviews reveal that Mike Rutherford heard the re-mixes and had some input. Phil Collins and Steve Hackett had no input on the re-mixes, and their participation here is limited only to the interviews.
The DVD extras are somewhat fascinating. Each DVD has a 10-15 minute 2006 interview with each band member about each respective record. Pretty revealing stuff. Did you know that "Behind The Lines," "Duchess," "Guide Vocal," "Turn It On Again," "Duke's Travels," and "Duke's End" were all song parts that was meant to be a 27-minute long suite somewhat like "Supper's Ready"? Armed with that new info, I actually re-created it using editing software, and it WORKS as a long song: lyrically, thematically and musically. Just start "Turn It On Again" before "Guide Vocal" completely fades out and start "Duke's Travels" just as "Turn It On Again" starts its fade out. It works.
The concert footage on the DVD extras is fun to watch, especially the 1976 shows with Bill Bruford on drums. Also, the promotional music videos for the singles off each album are there, including an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show from 1977 culled from what looks like a very old VHS tape. The synching up of the Digital Dolby 5.1 music with that deteriorating footage is a jarring experience, but amusing nonetheless.
The bonus CD contains all the British EPs (Spot The Pigeon, 3x3) and b-sides of singles unavailable elsewhere. Bonus DVD has the "Paperlate" music video and 2006 interviews about the re-mixing process. Also, the booklet included has some interesting commentary on each album by Michael Watts. Each album has full lyrics and recaptures well all the art included in each original release.
Lastly, I need to know from anyone who has bought this box set or the "... and then there were three..." album DVD if at just past the 22:00 minute mark in either 5.1 mix version (during the song "Burning Rope") did your player stop playing and go crazy for about 30 seconds before resuming the song? I need to know if it's just my Sony DVD player or a defect in the DVD, but it only happens there at that exact moment consistently.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sure, ANYONE could say a mouthful about such an ambitious project. I'm going to limit my comments to those things I THINK mid-period Genesis fans would want to know about it before plunking down $162.50+ to bring it home. I have good reason to think that if you're NOT already a mid-period Genesis fan, you've no reason to be reading this.
I'll speak mostly about things unique to the BOX SET. Once I've had time to carefully critique the individual album reissues (no, I haven't had time yet) I'll probably subject the unwary reader to my o-pines under the individual album product headings. (Forewarned is forearmed!)
Now there are several versions of this already, and a US (WEA/Rhino) immitation still to come (5/15 last time I checked.) My version is the EU (PAL) issue on EMI/Charisma. The box is LOVELY despite the choice of an inappropriate Genesis logo to adorn it. The cardboard box it was shipped from Amazon.co.uk in looked like it had been used as the Official game ball in "Match of the Day" but the product survived unscathed. Inside the box is, for me, a nice touch: a plastic guide-liner which the individual jewel cases slide into, separating them enough to allow them to be removed without having to "pour" the lot o' them all out. There's also a hard bound book (with bemusements by one Michael Watts) of the same dimensions. The discs of "Extra Tracks" are inserted in its front and back covers. Since these discs (with the same 13 songs on each, in SACD and DVD formats respectively) are unique to the box (so I've read) I'll say a few things about them here. They lack at least 2 studio recordings by these blokes from the period that I know of: an outtake from the ATOTT sessions that's called "Indians" on the bootleg Lp I have it on, and the single version of "Follow You Follow Me" which I ONLY bought so many Mad Man Moons ago (sorry...) because its B-side was a nice track leftover from W&W called "Inside and Out", which thankfully IS included here. The single of FYFM was markedly different from the album version, and most definitely SHOULD have been included. This is NOT why I didn't credit the product a 5-Star.
That reason (which I alluded to in my heading) I'll now discuss. Look folks, with the SINGLE exception of ONE song from ATTWT, this whole work is completely re-mixed from the Original multitrack session masters...the actual tapes that were running across the tape heads 2 1/2 to 3 decades ago while these incredible geniuses played their instruments! (Just that thought reduces me to a blob of quivering protoplasm.) And NOT to negate the debt of gratitude I (and many others) owe to Mr. Nick Davis who painstakingly poured over what had to be hundreds or perhaps THOUSANDS of rolls of self-same looking 2" mylar waiting and listening for that ONE particular take that had made the final cut, and became an indelible part of the prgressive rock story in general, and the "book of Genesis" specifically.
Naturally the "resolution" here is uniformly PHENOMENAL! On EVERY cut you will hear things you never knew were there, and you will enjoy every nuance you'd already picked out with greater clarity and audiological palpability than ever before possible. Mr. Davis did not have to worry about the final product having to be squeezed into a tiny divit sliding across the surface of a disc of PVC. And THANK GOD he didn't. How rewarding it is to be able to, at least approximately, hear and feel the power of a rock band of virtuosos performing in their studio space as they intended their compositions to...well...BE. That much is a baseline for something like this.
However, we aren't in Heaven, and this falls short of being heavenly. I don't know enough about digital technology to say HOW it happened, or WHERE in the transfer process it crept in. But, sorry to have to tell you this, but it's awfully brittle and digital sounding...throughout. The warmth and comfort that these recordings (at least those before "Duke") used to wrap me up in, is almost absent from these versions. Believe me, I wanted these to be perfect worse than anyone I know. But if analogue (which initially these recordings all were) warmth is important to you, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed by the results. The exagerated silibance (sp?) of the cymbals and Collins' vocals are most particularly distracting to my pleasure while listening. I needed to tell you the truth as I hear it, if you've bothered to read this far.
Perhaps we can hope it was some shortcoming in the DUPLICATION process, and it won't rear its ugly head at all in the domestic pressings to come from WEA/Rhino. Perhaps one of you who select that product will give a listen to it from this perspective and make comment in these "pages" about how well the Americans fared in this regard.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Let me clarify one thing first: In terms of sound, the new 5.1 mixes are masterfully done. Putting in the new disc of Wind And Wuthering or Duke and cracking up the volume will completely blow you away. Personally, I was left with one big "wow" - it was certainly worth the full wait and every penny, but then, I *am* a hardcore fan, so that's hardly surprising.
As for the presentation of the discs, the box itself is beautifully done, albeit not very practical - I do have a lot of trouble getting the discs out of the box, having tried various solutions such as inserting things and turning the box up-side down and shaking it (the latter being my currently favoured approach).
The box-set comes with a special booklet which is quite beautifully done, but whoes content doesn't impress me that much. Basically, a Michael Watt tells us his oppinion on all the ablums and songs, and that's not very helpful to me. To what can I use the fact that he finds 'Submarine' to be going nowhere and 'Me And Virgil' to be a failed experiment, when they just happen to be two of my favorite Genesis B-sides? Nothing ...
But enought a bout the general properties, let me give a disc-by-disc analysis of the set.
- A TRICK OF THE TAIL -
The oldest album of the set, and one that has improved significantly in terms of sound. Also, this disc has the most generous offering of extras: As every disc, the promo videos from this album, that being Robbery, Assault and Battery, Ripples and A Trick of the Tail; hardly that interesting, bearing in mind that these same videos were recently released on the Video Show DVD. A re-isue interview with each band member about the general situation of the band at this time, and the songs of the album. The interviews are really nice, and offers a great insight in the band and the album. On the downside, I will mention that the interviews are only available in stereo sound, this is annoying if you prefer the 5.1 or DTS surround mixes, because the interviews will hardly be audible with you changing the audio settings of your amplifier to stereo mode.
The real gem here, however, is the *complete* In Concert 1976 footage. Though more or less inferior versions have circulated among the fans for some time, it is good finally to have this wonderful show released on DVD from official site. Again, the sound is only in stereo, but it does sound amazing, and the performance, including I Know What I Like, Fly On A Windshield, Carpet Crawlers, Cinema Show part II, Entangled, Supper's Ready parts 5, 6 and 7, and Los Endos, is excellent.
Finally, there are visuals from a tour programme from this time, which isn't that that interesting.
- WIND AND WUTHERING -
This was always one of my favorite albums, and the new mixes sound just beautiful - Eleventh Earl of Mar, One For The Vine, and Unquiet Slumbers for The Sleepers In That Quiet Earth particularly blew me away.
The extras on this disc is a real let down. The interviews are really nice, but the overdubbed bootleg videos from US and Japan television are for me completely worthless. I am particularly dissapointed with the band deciding only to include Video footage, and not Audio footage from this town - there are tons of important live recordings lying around from this time, and any offering from the band would have been greatly appreciated. Also, if they wanted only video footage, they could have included the Seconds Out promo footage from Dallas.
- AND THEN THERE WERE THREE ... -
This was always one of the less appreciated albums, but personally I like it quite a lot. Though not the most profound of the band's albums in terms of musical quality, it is a very coherent album, and the production is nice. It is also one of the few albums where most of the songs sound better on the album that they actually did live. The new surround mix of Down And Out was one I had particularly looked forward to.
The exrtas on this disc is a mixed bag of candies. I'm very pleased to see the Three Dates With Genesis documentary included, a 50 minutes documentary following the band - and the crew! - on tour. But again, the lack of video footage from this era meens that we are completely derived of live footage. This tour accompagnying this album is one of the "lost" Genesis tours, where only small remnants have been released, and it would have been really nice to have some more audio footage included here. The fans certainly would have appreciated it much more than the promo videos - again! - and the programme images.
- DUKE -
By many considered the best album of the era, and probably rightfully so. The music is amazing, and the new surround mix of Behind The Lines is breathtaking. And Heathaze, one of their most overlooked songs, sounds amazing!
The extras are very good - included is the "Old Grey Whistle Test" footage from Lyceum, London, sadly only including the songs Behind The Lines / Duchess / Guide Vocal / In The Cage / Slippermen / Afterglow / Dance On A Volcano / Los Endos, but still essential footage, and the quality is amazing. I guess one can ask for no more.
- ABACAB -
Not one of my favorite albums, the songs always sounded better live than on the disc, but ironically one that is treasured by the band as well as many fans. The extras for this disc are truly disspointing, only including the promo videos, the interview, and still from the tour programme. Even though it is probably too much to ask for, I cannot help but feel it would have been natural to use this opportunity to release the Three Sides Live video footage on DVD, like they did with the In Concert video on the Trick Of The Tail disc.
- BONUS DISC -
The disc includes all - ALL - the B-sides from this era. Yes, this time we get also Match Of The Day and Me And Virgil, thank you! [These tracks were left off Archive II because the band felt they were of inferior quality.] As an interesting note, it seems they have restored the original version of Submarine, instead of the doctored version included on Archives II due to damaged masters!
About the extras on the disc - again, one could have hoped they would have included some "special" treat for those who actually bought the box-set, but no, all we get is the same Paperlate footage (overdubbed) as on the Video Show DVD, and a - rather short - interview on the general procedure of preparing this boxset. Dissapointing.
OVERALL RATING: 9 / 10
An amazing treat for the ear, and a fairly generous offering of exrtas - even though it could have been more, it certainly could have been less, so I guess we should be satisfied. The next box covering the late era should be out this autumn, but I guess the thing we all REALLY anticipate is the release of the third box sometime next year, covering the early era. I can't wait to hear what the new mixes have made of Nursery Cryme - it promises to be mind-blowing!