Remixed Classic albums

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ChrisChopping
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Remixed Classic albums

Postby ChrisChopping » 16 Nov 2021, 19:11

Seems to be a bit of a trend, doesn’t it?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been buying albums that have been lovingly or otherwise “remastered.” My understanding has always been that the usual purpose of remastering is cleaning up the sound, trying to make the recordings sound as close to the original intention as possible though this still leads to lead to arguments over things like compression that I don’t pretend to fully understand.

Now it seems people are trying to quite deliberately change the way classic albums sound. The first example I was aware of was the 50th Anniversary Sgt. Peppers. Apparently all the effort back in 67 went into the mono mix and people have been listening to a half arsed stereo mix for years on CD so it makes sense to me to make a proper stereo version from the original masters. It sounds great but essentially like how it does in your head.

The White Album I don’t know if there was any reasoning beyond milking the cash cow but the music sounds fantastic to me apart from the heavy stereo panning on Revolution No. 9. Let It Be seemed pretty subtle to me but I was more concerned with the Glyn Johns version anyway.

But De-Spectorising All Things Must Pass? George chose to record the album with him all those years ago. It’s fine to hear an alternative but when it becomes the default or widely available version it’s maybe a pain for those with a bit of nostalgia who just want an album to sound like they remember it or people checking something out for the first time, wanting to hear what the fuss was about.

R.E.M.’s Monster has been given a pretty dramatic overhaul but to my understanding that version is bonus content rather than a replacement. Muse have remixed an album but with new cover art making it very clear this is a different version. It’s when the new version seemingly attempts to supplant the old one it bothers me.

Would love to hear other people’s thought or any other examples people people know of.

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GoogaMooga
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby GoogaMooga » 16 Nov 2021, 20:11

My motto is: leave good enough alone. When Yoko Ono remixed the Lennon catalog, I kept all the old CDs. Remixes are a no-no, and even remasters can be dodgy, if they have too much compression. I am often surprised by the flat transfers from the 1980s, they have lots of dynamic range and are nice and quiet. With 80s CDs, I often crank them louder than what I would normally do, and they still sound good.

Sometimes you don't have a choice, though - as with the Byrds catalog, where the original tapes were worn out, so they had to go to the multi-track masters and remix as close to the originals as possible.
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Matt Wilson
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Nov 2021, 20:19

Lots of points/questions here, so it's difficult to know where to begin. Yes, you've got the 'remastering' idea correct. It's merely a spit-and-polish of the existing mix. Nothing added nor detracted. 'Compression' means you clip the top end, which affects dynamics, to make it louder. What your average plebe wants in music, I guess. Audiophiles hate this, but I usually can't tell since I like it loud. Excessive compression can be a bitch though, think certain Springsteen CDs of the last twenty years for an example.

As far as your Beatles points - people have been complaining about Spector's mix on All Things Must Pass and Let it Be as long as I can remember. It didn't help that Paul didn't like what Phil did with "The Long and Winding Road," and voiced his opinions publicly, nor that George eventually told the press he would remix All Things Must Pass if he could and do away with the Wall of Sound stuff. Obviously, people are tremendously influenced by what their heroes think, and an anti-Spector feeling definitely exists among certain Beatles fans. I have no issue with Phil's work with the Beatles, both as a band and solo, so I have no horse in that particular race. When you hire Phil-fucking-Spector to produce your music, what the hell do you expect?

Remixes are another animal. That's when revisionist thinking comes into play (Oh, who am I kidding - people are revisionist when it comes to Spector too), and suddenly the mix we've known for all these years is seen as not adequate, and a new, improved mix is made up. Almost always by some engineer or whomever who had nothing to do with the original recording. Personally, I have almost zero need for your typical remix, and can't think of even one instance where I enjoy it. Really, if it did "sound better," I'd still prefer the original because that's the way it was released initially. If it was good enough then, it's good enough now. Simple thinking from a simple man, I know - but I've never pretended to be anything else. :D

You didn't bring up surround sound, but allow me to explicate for a minute... Every quad or 5.1 mix is by definition a remix, and since I've expressed my pleasure at said mixes, I guess surround sound would be an example of me enjoying a remix. This directly contradicts my opinion regarding remixes in the above paragraph, I know. I contain multitudes, you see.

Anyway, I don't consider remixes to be 'replacing' the originals. The original mix will always be there for people to hear. Remixes, whether two-track stereo or surround, are merely there for consumption if one chooses to listen to them. If you don't care for them, vote with your wallet I say.
it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby jimboo » 16 Nov 2021, 20:19

It is strange that as the technology in mixing and mastering advances that the preferred formats for listening are worse. Bluetooth headphones (the worst possible things to use for music) , streaming services and phones/tablets or computers used as the hardware.
So who benefits or requires this blitz on the past. Middle aged beer bellies in echo & the bunnymen t-shirts are the box set buyers and are more likely to appreciate a good sounding record.
But receding hairlines have been listening to the artist approved/produced and packaged products from the get go. When that suspected mistake of the vocal/bass/drum , take your pic is too far back in the mix who should fix it ? It appears it is self proclaimed sympathetic producers and family members or the trust. What do you do when the product drips when it used to pour? Give it a polish and write paragraphs on the previous masterpieces faults and how now "thanks to modern technology" it can be heard like never before!!! Or , at least an idea of what the dead poet was trying to do before he sadly died or just couldn't find the time to do it themselves.
It's just an industry that admittedly has it's fans (with deep pockets) stereo became better than mono, records are the best format until cassette meant you could make your own albums but c.d promised everlasting in scratchable perfect sound and then there was high definition!!! And the pointless gimmick that is 5.1 . It surrounds you, it's like,like, nothing that was ever intended to happen.
It's your money you earned the right to buy what you want and your ears are happy in different ways. It's a money making exercise and the mix masters genuinely believe they have something to add to art from people they seem to know well enough to understand how to tweak it even though they have loved the art so much that it just has to be changed.
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ChrisChopping
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby ChrisChopping » 16 Nov 2021, 20:48

Matt Wilson wrote:As far as your Beatles points - people have been complaining about Spector's mix on All Things Must Pass and Let it Be as long as I can remember. It didn't help that Paul didn't like what Phil did with "The Long and Winding Road," and voiced his opinions publicly, nor that George eventually told the press he would remix All Things Must Pass if he could and do away with the Wall of Sound stuff. Obviously, people are tremendously influenced by what their heroes think, and an anti-Spector feeling definitely exists among certain Beatles fans. I have no issue with Phil's work with the Beatles, both as a band and solo, so I have no horse in that particular race. When you hire Phil-fucking Spector, what do you expect?

.

I understand Paul’s dissatisfaction with Phil’s efforts, his attempts to get them changed pre-release. Plus aside from the Spector stuff there’s all the Lennon silliness around Paul’s tracks. To me that seems completely different to George regretting years later what he agreed to at the time.

I can see the point in a Let It Be…Naked but again, that had a completely different cover and a different title. You’re unlikely to buy the wrong thing by mistake. I feel like a casual music fan could easily pick up a 50th Anniversary edition of an album assuming it’s the original album plus bonus tracks unless everyone is expected to do a bunch of reading and homework before picking up a CD?

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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby Matt Wilson » 16 Nov 2021, 20:57

ChrisChopping wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:As far as your Beatles points - people have been complaining about Spector's mix on All Things Must Pass and Let it Be as long as I can remember. It didn't help that Paul didn't like what Phil did with "The Long and Winding Road," and voiced his opinions publicly, nor that George eventually told the press he would remix All Things Must Pass if he could and do away with the Wall of Sound stuff. Obviously, people are tremendously influenced by what their heroes think, and an anti-Spector feeling definitely exists among certain Beatles fans. I have no issue with Phil's work with the Beatles, both as a band and solo, so I have no horse in that particular race. When you hire Phil-fucking Spector, what do you expect?

.

I understand Paul’s dissatisfaction with Phil’s efforts, his attempts to get them changed pre-release. Plus aside from the Spector stuff there’s all the Lennon silliness around Paul’s tracks. To me that seems completely different to George regretting years later what he agreed to at the time.

I can see the point in a Let It Be…Naked but again, that had a completely different cover and a different title. You’re unlikely to buy the wrong thing by mistake. I feel like a casual music fan could easily pick up a 50th Anniversary edition of an album assuming it’s the original album plus bonus tracks unless everyone is expected to do a bunch of reading and homework before picking up a CD?


Well again - back to the surround thing. That's why I pick up the Beatles boxes, for the 5.1 mixes, not the stereo remixes. Giles has to remix the album for surround sound, so I guess the thinking is, why not just remix it in normal stereo too? I dunno, like I said, I don't care about stereo remixes, so their inclusion on those 5.1 boxes (which is what I see them as) doesn't bother me one bit.

The Hoffmanites will discuss these stereo remixes ad nauseum for a hundred pages though - so I guess there are those who really do pay attention to such things.
it's weird how carlsson has managed to get wilson over a barrel and then persuade him to let the rest of the PROG goons perform anal chugs on him in said position.

my point is that wilson has sold his arse cheaply. it's embarrassing to read.

-skope

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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby Tom Waits For No One » 16 Nov 2021, 23:46

I’ve been listening to 40th Anniversary Mix versions of The Doors albums and the Be Bop Deluxe remixed/remastered albums lately.
Whilst they give a different listening experience I’m a bit of a ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ type of listener and I found myself returning to the originals and getting more enjoyment out of them.

Perhaps if I give them more time to sink in this might change, but 40+ years of listening to what was originally put out there could see me reevaluating sometime in my 80’s.
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby trans-chigley express » 17 Nov 2021, 04:12

Mike Oldfield remixed all his classic albums for reissue but the original mixes were included on a second CD allowing buyers to choose their preference. I enjoy listening to both and hearing the variations.

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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 17 Nov 2021, 06:15

trans-chigley express wrote:Mike Oldfield remixed all his classic albums for reissue but the original mixes were included on a second CD allowing buyers to choose their preference. I enjoy listening to both and hearing the variations.

The right way to do it.
Wilson also include the original mix, and the remix is a template for
his surround mix.
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby jimboo » 17 Nov 2021, 12:33

Of course the irony of it all will start to appear in the next few years " the original mix , just as the artist intended"
Re packaged and presented in its " original mix"
The original box set available now.
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C
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby C » 17 Nov 2021, 12:47

trans-chigley express wrote:Mike Oldfield remixed all his classic albums for reissue but the original mixes were included on a second CD allowing buyers to choose their preference. I enjoy listening to both and hearing the variations.


I was here to write about Oldfield's first three too.

The remix Hergest Ridge is absolutely awful to my ears

The remix Ommadawn is absolutely robustly seminal to my ears

I remain ambivalent about The Bells

Steven Wilson's attempts with the Tull albums vary too - some work and some (probably one) doesn't.

My view is I will always want the original but I am always game to hear a remix - good or bad

It's then down to the ears to decide




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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby yomptepi » 17 Nov 2021, 15:20

As a rule I am unhappy with re mixes. Certainly the Beatles efforts were just annoying. And Giles' efforts on Goats head soup were just poor. Steven Wilson seems to do better, although I don't have the concentration to be impressed for 45 minutes, so I tend to notice the first five minutes and then listen on auto pilot. I did give the All things must pass set a listen, ans it really is like a decaf version of the album. Not that it was up to much in the first place. One or two great albums have been genuinely improved by re mixes. But for most it is a side ways move at best. I am happy to stick with my original versions, and let the fucking millenials wet themselves over watered down versions of the real thing.
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby Charlie O. » 22 Nov 2021, 21:09

Yeah, it's a crapshoot. The best I ever expect is to hear an old favorite in a slightly different way - not to replace the old version, just hearing it from a different angle. The Doors remixes, for example, worked well in that regard.

The Steven Wilson stereo remixes are a somewhat different matter, in that he's usually looking to do a "cleaner" mix but pretty much following the original specs. For the most part I haven't been overly impressed - that is to say, I tend to prefer the originals. Sometimes the new mixes have even really annoyed me (though usually just in isolated moments). But his Close To The Edge and A Passion Play rejigs were revelatory - the former in particular (arguably my favorite Yes album) had always sounded frustratingly muddy and distorted to me, and Wilson took all of that gunk away (or at least most of it). (I haven't heard any of his 5.1 mixes. I'd like to.)

I was not looking forward to the stereo remix of Pet Sounds - it was my favorite album full stop, I thought the mono was perfect and I was sure they were going to screw it up. But they didn't at all - it's been my go-to version ever since. (I have heard a 5.1 of that. Not awful, but a tad disappointing.)

Frank Zappa's '80s remixes of some of his classic albums were generally poor and sometimes disastrous. But even he got at least one right - Freak Out!, though never a bad-sounding album, was improved upon, I thought. Even the decision to fade "You Didn't Try To Call Me" early - the kind of revisionism that usually makes me want to hit something - made sense here.

Pere Ubu's 1979 album New Picnic Time originally ended with an extraordinary track called "Jehovah's Kingdom Comes!" (Ubu singer/lyricist David Thomas was a recently converted Jehovah's Witness.) When the album was first reissued on CD in 1989, the title of that track had been changed to "A Hand A Face A Feeling" (a phrase from the lyrics). I happened to mention this to a co-worker (I worked in a record store), who said: "I grew up in that church - my parents are really devout - and I can tell you that the church would not have approved of Jehovah's name being used in something as 'trivial' as a rock song. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a word with him about that." Hmmm, interesting! The next time the album was reissued, the song was called "Kingdom Come" and though there was no mention of remixing in the liner notes, the track had been remixed (and maybe even partially re-recorded) to remove all references to Jehovah. (in the most recent reissue, that remix was edited, though that didn't have anything to do with Jehovah - Thomas edited bits out of a number of other songs in that batch of reissues. He's doing shit like that all the time, it's infuriating.)

Speaking of not crediting the remix in the liner notes - Sundazed, long one of my favorite reissue labels (though I've been going off them a bit in recent years), often does that. Sometimes they even remix to mono, as they did with their Standells reissues (twice! - their 2016 mixes are so plainly inferior to their 1994 ones that I have to wonder what in hell they were thinking). I don't necessarily mind them remixing - sometimes it's great - but I wish they would just say as much in the packaging. It seems dishonest not to.
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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby trans-chigley express » 23 Nov 2021, 04:22

C wrote:
The remix Hergest Ridge is absolutely awful to my ears

.

This album has undergone two remixes, the first in 1976 when he removed everything that he felt had been added just because he thought people might find it too boring and it became a more ambient piece as a result, This version replaced all original mixes up until its reappearance with the 2010 remix edition. The '76 remix is the one I grew up with and one I generally favour. The 2010 remix is just as radical as the '76 remix would have sounded to anyone that bought the original LP and takes a bit of getting used to, but it has its good points - side two's "storm" section for example - but some of the changes on part one do jar a bit.

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Re: Remixed Classic albums

Postby trans-chigley express » 23 Nov 2021, 04:24

Charlie O. wrote:Yeah, it's a crapshoot. The best I ever expect is to hear an old favorite in a slightly different way - not to replace the old version, just hearing it from a different angle.



This is pretty much my feelings too