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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Porcupine Tree > Lightbulb Sun 2007 remix - a review

In the year 2000 , when Lightbulb Sun was initially released, it was somehow a change of dogma. Being a rather trippy band, with lots of atmospheric sequences, long melodies, and a rather depressive way of singing, but with complex rhythms and time signatures, and some real great drums, they released an album that went into another direction.
Their sound suddenly went into more compact song structures, almost like a new brit pop band it semed at that time.
Many fans jumped off the train since then, but as the band went forward, they gathered even more fans.

One thing we Munich fans thought about the cd was that it was perfect in sound; a production value never heard before, and we bowed to it.

So why do a remix of a perfectly produced album? I got curious.
It arrived, and contained 2 discs, a CD containing the 2007 remix, and a DVD-A containing 4 songs mixed in 5.1 and the entire album in its original mix.
So I started listening to the remix, and at a first glance there was - nothing....... hmm...... oh, wait... it sounds warmer.
yes, I can hear everything a good tad better. --- That was my first impression.

"The differences are small, but there are some sonic improvements..." Steve Wilson states in the booklet.

So what are the differences?

I think the original mix was done to meet industry standards, making it radio friendly. Removing that was their goal, I guess.
The overall sound is less aggresive, they took much more care to not overload the trebles, not to distort waveforms, and keeping all as transparent as possible.
The entire sound is warmer, in a vinyl style somehow. the loudness of every instrument is matched perfectly, so one doesn't disturb the other, and yes, they made it so good that one doesn't miss one note.
Some slightly different effects have been applied to the guitar for not bleeding all other instruments out, and such things.
Seperating all instuments and make it a new sonic experience, well that's exactly what they did.

In 2000 I thought "wow that sounds like the band is playing right in my living room".
In 2008 I can only top that by saying "nice of the band to stop by in my humble home".

I haven't listened to the DVD-A, as I do know the original version very well, and the 5.1 remixes of those 4 tunes make no sense on a stereo environment.
One thing I can say for sure: I recommend the cd to everyone. It is such a great new sonic experience, you shouldn't miss it!


BG said...

This site may be of interest to PT/Steven Wilson fans:

guitarsean said...

Ray, is it as loud as other cds? I wonder if they are pulling back from the over compressed/limiter loudness war thats been plaguing music. I'll take balance over loudness any day. If I want it louder I'll turn up the volume.

stringray said...

It's as loud as any other actual PT cd, but I don't think they compressed it or clipped the waveforms. Haven't looked at it, just telling from what I hear.