Saturday, 27 March 2010

Duran Duran S/T and 7 and the Ragged Tiger reissues

These came out late last week and arrived on my door over the weekend. Heck, more Nick Heyward references, eh? I've several copies on cd plus UK/US tapes and UK/JPN vinyl so I think I know how they're meant to sound.

For a comparison with all older issues and my 'Gold Standard' references see March 2010 Gold Standard entry.

S/T Review: Original release July 1981 (UK)
This comes in a box with program insert, fold out poster five card pictures of the band plus three discs in card sleeves.
Your first move should be to take your bag of inner sleeves and apply one to each to protect them. Annoying when they got everything else right. 😒
First thing I mention is there is a fade in with tiny pause start about 3 seconds or so on Planet Earth rather than the cold start that graced previous cd versions. This scrappy start only sets the scene for loud harsh mastering throughout this disc.
To me it's disappointing it should just be mediocre compared to all the older cd and vinyl editions.
If you're a hard core fan you might wanna keep your Japan Black Triangle or JPN for UK issue for the running order that takes out 'To The Shore' and adds Is There Something I Should Know we've become accustomed to for twenty five or so years.

Bonus tracks. These are a great improvement on the original 81-85 single box so you ignore that box for the 12" versions and B sides although Late Bar - always a bit thin sounding - might benefit from a touch of D.I.Y. equalizing on your pc if you're that way inclined.
The Extended Night Version of Planet Earth is the same on the Strange Behaviour set.
Conclusion: Recommended for the bonuses.

Raggedy Tiger review Original Release November 1983
This has a program insert, postcards poster and finally three discs which in time honoured style haven't been lined so off we go again to line them 💢
Album (CD1): I have a problem with how it sounds. In essence there are three issues namely EQ, limiting and what I can best describe as a deadness affecting the transients.
The EQ: It sounds to me that to spruce up what was a originally a less than bright mix we've gone for some low end boost, vacuumed the presence region and really pushed up 4-8Khz.
It sounds awful with splashy sibilance!
This takes us to the limiting and it just sounds as if it's at one sound pressure level for much of the time, failing to expand.
On CD I would stick to either the JPN for UK or a 'Black triangle' to listen to the main album that sounds much smoother compared to this or the 2003 re-issue that had a bass bump and grainy vocal sound.
Please don't waste your money buying the 180 gram re-issue vinyl as it will be from the same mastering.
Bonuses (CD2): Tracks 1 thru 7 (Is There Something I Should Know thru' Make Me Smile) have the same problem. Best skipped. 😒
Tracks 8&9 (New Religion & Reflex live LA Forum 2/84) while' loud' are better sounding and otherwise not available on compact disc being originally from the Capitol Reflex 12".Very Handy.
10-13 are the 12" mixes of ITSISK thru Reflex" about loud but tolerable.
Apart from 8&9 there are better sources on cd for these tracks:
ITSISK, Reflex (Single version) - Decade
Faith In This Colour, Secret Oktober & Make Me Smile. -Singles box 81-85 (That box is not perfect but better)
ITSISK thru' Reflex 12" mixes featuring Tiger Tiger (Ian Little Remix) - Japan "Decade" 1991 mini lp on 2 cd set.

DVD Disc 3 Fine and R0 NTSC.
I was delighted As The Lights Go Down was included as my off air billy betamax copy died many years ago.A nice touch is they have the Top of the Pops performances of Reflex and ITSISK included that I saw live back then! Not having on DVD "The Greatest" it was nice to have all this eras promotional videos together.

To conclude: I was disappointed with the sound for much of the audio program but would recommend for the video content and the two previously unissued on cd tracks. I'd gladly of paid what I did for this set on a standalone DVD but suggest you just don't pay too much for a copy.

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