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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not cheap, but worth the investment
This is basically the ultimate version of Brain Salad Surgery, and while I probably wouldn't suggest this as a first-time purchase for any newbie to the works of ELP, it's nice for the dedicated fan. Here, you have the album in 3 forms--the original, remastered, on CD #1, which is the same remaster, as other reviewers have noted, as the one initially made for the...
Published on November 23, 2008 by William M. Feagin

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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Masterging I've Heard on a "Re-Mastered" CD (2007 Re-issue)
I'm not going to talk about whether I like ELP or their music or this album other than I really liked this LP as a kid and was happy to bump into a "Re-Mastered" CD version of it.

However, I have to say that the sound is about the worst re-mastered CD I've heard to date. Most noticable on my system is that the precussion parts have been severely obliterated -...
Published on September 13, 2008 by R. Ripberger


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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not cheap, but worth the investment, November 23, 2008
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
This is basically the ultimate version of Brain Salad Surgery, and while I probably wouldn't suggest this as a first-time purchase for any newbie to the works of ELP, it's nice for the dedicated fan. Here, you have the album in 3 forms--the original, remastered, on CD #1, which is the same remaster, as other reviewers have noted, as the one initially made for the now-defunct Victory Music label in 1993, the first time the ELP catalogue was properly remastered away from the first CD run with Atlantic (and I have memories of the CD version of The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer--a mix so low you had to crank the volume to 11 just to hear anything, which made "Still...You Turn Me On" sound as if the mics were placed near the back of a medium-large auditorium and the band recorded in that position).

On CD #2, you have the outtakes--the first attempt at "When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind, I'll Be Your Valentine" (which didn't see official release until Works, Vol. 2, in late 1977) and the completely unreleased-until-now title cut, "Brain Salad Surgery," which has elements of all the tracks that did appear on the album (save perhaps "Benny the Bouncer"). In addition, first mixes of "Toccata" and "Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression," and new stereo mixes of all the tracks, plus an excerpt from the New Musical Express interview flexidisc of the time. Worthy additions all, for the completist fan.

And CD #3? A hybrid SACD of the album; this is the 5.1 Surround Sound mix used on Rhino's DVD-A release of 1999 (Rhino R9-75980), but it is improved notably. My problem with DVD-As has been that, often, the mix is such that certain tracks seem to have been lowered inexplicably (a problem I noted especially with the DVD-As included in the Genesis remasters and in the DVD-A of Richard Thompson's Rumor and Sigh album--hey, EMI, could we have a hybrid SACD of that one, please?). This problem, thankfully, does not exist with the hybrid SACD, and this remix sounds better.

So if Deluxe Editions of this type are what you're looking for in your favourite classic rock albums, Brain Salad Surgery will be a worthy investment for you. (As of this writing, we're still waiting for a similar version of Black Sabbath's Paranoid, which was initially slated for release at the same time as the Deluxe BSS--Amazon's US site notes the release date as having been pushed back to 6 Jan. 2009, so we'll see what happens.)
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELP: Brain Salad Surgery (Sony UK label) Released 2/22/2011, July 27, 2011
By 
prognosis (Crestwood, MO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
In my mind (and to my ears) this is the best remaster of the best album in the ELP catalog. There is no clipping during Tocatta and the music sounds rich, full and crystal clear. What a nice change from the dreadful 2007 Shout remaster which is so compressed it may well damage your home speakers. As another reviewer pointed out, "drums don't ever sound like that." This version is a little louder than the 1993 Victory remaster but a smidge less bright, though this point is very subjective. (You may find them equally bright or this one slightly brighter). A little more lush than the 1996 Rhino remaster, though that is a very solid remaster as well with a great booklet.

This edition contains a seven-page booklet with new sleevenotes but it's no big deal, certainly not as substantial as Shout's 24-page booklet. Shout got everything right with the packaging (with the exception of cropping the album cover too tight) but missed terribly on the remastered sound. Sony gets the remastered music right but goes the economy route on the packaging.

Sony recently purchased the band's back catalogue from Universal (footnote: Classic Rock presents Prog, issue 15, page 108) so everything has been remastered and repackaged on the Sony UK/Legacy label (including this release). According to that same article, Sony may release Tarkus & Pictures at an Exhibition on their Legacy label which will come with new 5.1 remixes, extensive sleevenotes and bonus materials. If that materializes, I've got to believe they would go all out as well, even more so, for Brain Salad Surgery. We'll have to wait and see.

The only other remaster of this title I might recommend is the 2004 edition on the Sanctuary UK label which I'm betting is very similar to this in terms of sound quality. (I haven't heard it but they did an incredible job on the Black Sabbath remasters, first six albums, and the Kinks Singles collection). The upside of that remaster is the cover artwork is probably reproduced on the disc itself. The downside is the low price is (currently) $15.00 so you will pay a lot more than necessary for this music.

If you don't own a version of this disc you're happy with, this release is for you. Sony/Legacy does a meticulous job of remastering album classics and this edition of Brain Salad Surgery is no exception. Highly recommended.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ELP at the zenith of their career, March 14, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
I've always wondered about the critics who panned ELP. The standard counter-argument is to say that most critics are just frustrated musicians who are simply envious of ELP's virtuosity. If that's true, then it explains why BSS is among the most vilified albums of the prog rock movement. This album is a dark and aggressive musical adventure that's aged exceptionally well. Jerusalem still gives me goose bumps, after many dozens of listens. Still...You Turn Me On is perhaps the most mysterious and haunting love song I've ever heard. And the Karn Evil 9 suite is an eclectic masterpiece that starts off with a bluesy organ riff and rocks into the familiar "Welcome Back My Friends..." -- the 1st Impression is an unbelievable musical blitzkrieg. The jazzy and deft 2nd Impression is stylistically very different -- I don't know how ELP pulled off this juxtaposition, but it works. The 3rd Impression is a computers-run-amok sci-fi extravaganza. One is left with the Impression that Keith's Hammond, Steinway, and Moog were literally smoking by the conclusion. With apologies to the true ELP faithful, I don't think ELP ever came close to the power and glory of BSS ever again, collectively or individually, with the exception of the fantastic reading of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man on Works I. BSS is a must-own for true prog rock fans.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst Masterging I've Heard on a "Re-Mastered" CD (2007 Re-issue), September 13, 2008
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
I'm not going to talk about whether I like ELP or their music or this album other than I really liked this LP as a kid and was happy to bump into a "Re-Mastered" CD version of it.

However, I have to say that the sound is about the worst re-mastered CD I've heard to date. Most noticable on my system is that the precussion parts have been severely obliterated - the cymbals are mostly missing and when noticable sound unreal - not at all like the LP - and most of the rest of the drum kit is noticably muted. Levels are inconsistent within single tracks and from track to track. Karn-evil 9 part 1 seems to have grossly filtered, muted, and muffled. The other reviewer's comment about low pass filtering seems accurate. This CD seems to have lost much of the realism and clarity of the LP.

What a disappointment.

Update 2013:
So looks like Amazon is rolling all the reviews for all the versions of this CD together. I'll have to qualify my comment that my 1 star rating was against the 2007 reissue from Shout Factory.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Hear, December 11, 2000
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (DVD Audio)
Whilst I agree with our friend in Las Vegas, that the classification of this item as a DVD is somewhat confusing, I think the problem is confusion of what DVD-Audio really is!
There is video, but ironically, it is not accessilbe from a DVD-Video Player, rather you require a DVD-Audio player.
The irony is that the DVD-V player can access the Audio tracks, but not the Video, as the Video track is not in the conventional DVD-V format. A DVD-Audio player is required to see the Video!
I do not have a DVD-A player, but enjoyed the 5.1 mix of this classic album to the full!
My dog, who was in the room at the time, did not enjoy it quite as much! The precise and realistic placement of moog whistles flying around my sound room was too much for him and he kept turning to locate the source of the sounds! He far prefers plain stereo!
The bass on "Still.... You Turn Me On" has always been impressive (I have 2 CD versions [original and remaster]) but with the DD5.1 mix, it is more controlled and actually less overpowering.
I hope to add an Active Sub soon, but in the interim, directing bass at my LF, RF, LS and RS [all B&W 602 series 2] seems to be more than sufficient to create a real rumble.
Karn Evil 9 is just brilliant!
For comparison with a more traditional interpretation of Toccata (and Fugue in D Minor), get the Fantasia DVD:
.................../exec/obidos/ASIN/B00003CX9W/
but Keith Emerson's work is still superb.
Yes, I'd like to see the video too, but plan to wait and see if DVD-A as a format actually takes off before comitting to more equipment!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT THE ORIGINAL MIX, July 14, 2005
By 
Vincent G. Marino (Staten Island, New York USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
Be warned! While this import sounds amazing, it's not the same mix as the album we all know and love. "Jerusalem" and "Benny The Bouncer" feature completely different vocals from Greg Lake.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brain Salad Surgery...Missed Again to Hit the Mark, November 23, 2007
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
Brain Salad Surgery, ELP's 1973 crowning achievement. There is a lot to like about this record. The music of course, which was highly innovative for that era. The interesting and thought provoking cover art. Even the title of the album was innovative. In the short span of four years and five albums, Emerson Lake and Palmer truly pushed the envelope of early progressive classical/rock fusion to another level. In fact they took it right to the top of mainstream music on both sides of the Atlantic.

As much as I've enjoyed the other Shout! Factory re-issues, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers and say this time, they fumbled the ball. The games not a total loss, there are some high-lights. I commend the fact that Shout tried to recreate the original style opening cover art. But why on earth did they crop the artwork so bad? (see my thumbnail photo). That is the actual view on the front cover. P. Jackson's photo gives a good example of how it is designed to open, but does not show the mis-alignment of the outer cover with the inner photo. The inner circle is supposed to lay exactly over the photo beneath it. Notice how high up the skull's eye sockets are? They don't match the woman's face underneath. Also, see the letters ELP at the bottom. They are virtually cut in half! This is how badly the cover is cropped. I have an original album, and this is not how it's supposed to be. The inclusion of a replica of the original poster is nice. But, again, the cover art is cropped and it's not printed on all sides as was the original poster. The booklet is great. Interesting liner notes and good photos of the band on stage from that era.

Now let's get to the most important part: the Sound of the Music. As Noel Pratt points out, there are some problems with the mastering. At approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds into Jerusalem the volume level jumps up dramatically. About 10 decibels in just a few seconds. It's as if someone in the control room noticed how low the level was and tried too quickly to run it up to the correct level. If it was done slowly over the course of 30 seconds or so things would have been much better. I think this is just a bad case of the producer trying to make this re-issue more dynamic than previous renditions. My suggestion would be to skip track one and record the alternate mix of Jerusalem provided here as a bonus track (#9). And as far as the complaints about "muffled" sound. I agree...somewhat. In a close comparison of this re-issue with the former Rhino issue from `96, there is major difference. The Shout issue has a more prominent bottom-end. The problem is it's not isolated to the bass or kick drum, it's an over-all increase in the entire low-end spectrum, even effecting the vocals. The impression is the vocals getting slightly "buried" in the murkiness and sounding a little more distant. The Rhino issue has a much cleaner and crisper sound. Note that this comparison took place on a pair of high-quality head-phones that allow every little nuance to be heard. If one is comparing sound on various speaker systems it can be a very different and subjective comparison to the human ear. For instance, If you played this Shout re-issue in a car with a stock stereo system, you may want the extended bottom-end compensating for the lack of, due to poor quality speakers.

Now I'm glad I picked up a copy of Rhinos `96 re-issue of Brain Salad Surgery at a used record store (it's currently out of print). I liked the 3-D cover that changes as you tilt it from the Skull shot to the Female face. I actually bought it because I thought it would be a collector's item. Now I think I prefer the sound on it to any thing else that's been put out so far.

Maybe, just maybe, some record company will finally create the Definitive Remastered Expanded Deluxe version with all the possible bonus tracks available, and get all the newest most creative packaging avialable to bring it all together for the Grang Finale of this most deserving Masterpiece. Until then...
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Notorious ELP Album, July 16, 2004
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
1973's "Brain Salad Surgery" is Emerson Lake & Palmer's most notorious album. On one hand, it's a longstanding fan favorite, with many ELP enthusiasts naming it as the best ELP album. But on the *other* hand, the album's oh-so-grand musical designs have made it an easy target for critics and other detractors. But for those who can handle Keith, Greg, and Carl's daring-do and ambitiousness, chances are you'll enjoy "Brain Salad Surgery" just fine. The band's treatment of classical favorites "Jerusalem" and Ginastera's "Toccata" are mighty impressive. "Still...You Turn Me On" is a beautiful, classic Greg Lake ballad. "Benny The Bouncer" is another of ELP's quickie ragtime piano numbers, but it's great fun, with Lake singing in a faux-Cockney accent. But the album's centerpiece is unquestionably the group's 30-minute epic about man vs. machine, "Karn Evil 9." What can I say about this mammoth prog-rock piece that hasn't already been covered---it is indeed a monster, with the band throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, and THEN they throw in the kitchen sink itself! Keith Emerson's take-no-prisoners keyboards are a force of nature all on their own, while Greg Lake's booming bass strongly anchors the proceedings, along with some very commanding lead vocals & excellent lead-guitar work, while Carl Palmer smashes his big fat drumkit like a pro. No doubt about it, Emerson Lake & Palmer's "Brain Salad Surgery" is VERY grandiose, but it's great stuff. It may not be for the faint of heart, but if you love progressive rock, then this album is a most-essential purchase.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More like De-mastered from the analog tapes, July 5, 2008
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This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
Apparently the remastering process consisted of feeding the original analog tracks through a low pass filter. Everything is bottomed out and the CD sounds like you're listening to it with a blanket wrapped tightly around your head. To add insult to injury, this effect is not consistent from track to track, or even within the same track.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOST IMPRESSIVE ELP' STUDIO ALBUM, October 6, 2000
By 
"cloudlio" (Sao Paulo - SP - Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brain Salad Surgery (Audio CD)
It's not as much about being the best ELP album than being the most perfect realization they did still with the fire of their golden age. Later albums have lots of matured ideas, maybe more than here, but the lacerating sound was being changed into a truly epic nobility, another moment of ELP's history. I can't think another album in rock history more related to the idea of art rock and conceptual album than this. H. R. Giger's artwork is ELP's music in image - one of those happy coincidences when artists interact. There's metal, bones, flesh and eternity in vision as in the refining agressive music.
"Jerusalem" was rejected as single, probably because of conservative reasons. One may think it's contradictory such a sharp-pointed rendition of a Hymn. What you hear sounds more ELP than Parry/Blake, but there's no disrespect, only succeeded appropriating. Ginastera's "Toccata" is an example of the greatest honor a musical arrangement can get: the admiration of the composer. The immortally respected argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) once said "Keith Emerson has beautifully caught the mood of my piece". It's possible to understand better the original version of Ginastera's fourth movement of the first piano concerto after hearing BSS. "Still.... You Turn Me On" is from "Lucky man" lineage, as "Benny the Bouncer" from "The Sheriff". "Still...." is one of Lake's most beautiful compositions, perhaps the only really serene moment of the entire album, few seconds after the "Toccata" nightmare. "Benny", on the other hand, is the humored scene of BSS, the rest of it has an eventually subtle sarcasm, in a most of time heavy atmosphere. After this song, you have less than four seconds to tight your belt, the next song is "Karn Evil 9"(the name comes for carnival). No matter how good are the first four pieces of the album, still, you got the feeling that the real message of BSS is inside "Karn Evil 9". This is the best ELP contribuition, not better than Emerson's Concerto or "Pirates", but more "Elpian".
The first impression of "Karn Evil 9" is a long tense increasing in its first part, violent hammond sounds, syncopated rhythms and a very wise impressing appearance of new motifs almost without notice - a skilful dealing with larger forms, culminating in a plain and somehow lighter guitar solo, but the tensions increase again and the plain turns into climax. The following second part is what usually ELP played onstage after the 1973-4 tour, it's a pitty they hadn't played "Karn Evil 9" entirely more times. It's a kind of stabilized version of the of first part' second half, within a more rock format. On the vinyl, one had to turn to B side to hear the first impression' second part, with a fade out on the end of A side and a fade in at the beginning of B side. The first release on CD (Atlantic) kept this effect, though it may have some point for collectors, its terrible keeping this limitation musically speaking. Nowaday's CD versions present first and second parts of first impression perfectly continuous, a dream for ELP fans.
The second impression has probably the most daring musical textures in ELP, a jazz fusion feature, and a sensuous caribbean accent sometimes, the lips of the cover. Basically, you find this rock band changing into a powerful jazz piano trio.
The third impression is the most melodic part of the piece, with a folk-song like theme, but paradoxically with very provocating lyrics (with Pete's Sinfield contribution) and technology decry. But again the edged rhythms, sounds and harmonies come and you realize that it was just a typical break of ELP's world, inside their own world. So those breaks are their very style.
It is almost comical to know that critics once criticized ELP because of technology abuse and at same time an elephantine dealing with classical tradition. Although this is the first band to play alive with synthesizers in history, mostly they never substituted acoustical instruments with synth replicas - they used synths for original sounds, not for imitating. They never used sequencers for playing faster, only for special effects (like the end of Karn Evil 9). On the other hand, their classical and jazz influence never had arguments with their rock side, and that's probably the great accomplishment of Progressive Rock.
It's very interesting to know through the bonus track "The making of BBS" that Emerson knew "Tocatta" because of brazilian pianist João Carlos Martins, still in The Nice era. Palmer's thoughts about Giger tell a lot about their artistic relation: "it's a pitty he doesn't play instrument, he could be in the band" Also, Lake's vision about studio albums defines ELP: studio albums should be a promise of what the band can do alive. Good point, as ELP is even better onstage....
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Brain Salad Surgery
Brain Salad Surgery by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Audio CD - 1996)
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