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I Am The Cosmos
Audio CD | 2CD
|New from||Used from|
Audio CD, Original recording reissued, February 21, 1992
|Audio CD, September 15, 2017||
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After co-founding Big Star, the world only received two tracks of new music from Chris Bell during his lifetime—a 1978 single on the Car Records label run by Chris Stamey (dB’s, Sneakers) titled “I Am The Cosmos” b/w ”You And Your Sister.” He would tragically be killed in a car accident later that same year. However, those were not the only tracks Bell had recorded in his post-Big Star years. In 1974–1975, Bell worked in the famed Château D’Hérouville near Paris, France, and later recorded at both Shoe Studios and Ardent Studios in Memphis. Some of that material arrived in 1992 as I Am The Cosmos to great acclaim. An expanded 2009 release nearly doubled the track listing, adding alternate mixes, as well as some of Bell’s pre-Big Star recordings. With those early recordings now taking their proper place on Looking Forward: The Roots Of Big Star (released by Omnivore in July, 2017), it is now time for the definitive version of I Am The Cosmos. In addition to the bonus material found on the 1992 release and 2009 reissue, this new 2-CD / Digital set adds 10 more tracks, 8 of which are previously unissued and 2 making their CD debut. The packaging contains updated liner notes from set co-producer Alec Palao as well as Bob Mehr and features previously unseen photographs. Also available the same day, the original 12 track “album”—first pressing on clear vinyl (with download card). All Chris Bell projects are being approved and overseen by Chris’ estate run by his brother, David. With renewed reverence for his work in Big Star, as well as a look back at his earlier work, and an upcoming biography from Rich Tupica, the stars have aligned. This expanded edition of I Am The Cosmos arrives at the perfect time for long-time fans, as well of those who are just discovering the magic of Chris Bell.
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Top customer reviews
having finally picked up the original Rykodisc 1 CD release of the album
that dates back to 1993 and this being a rather pricey Rhino Handmade
edition, but ended up not being able to resist, being
the massive Big Star and Chris Bell fan that I am, and realizing how
much extra material was included I realized it was well worth the investment
and so right was I!! This a simply gorgeous reissue, complete with a lovely
booklet with great rare photos and some nice essays on Chris by
his brother David and other folks, and a run-down of the origins and
differences in the alternate and demo tracks on disc 2. Plus I think the whole
thing sounds even better than the original Ryko album edition,
which already sounded fine but this sounds even cleaner and more powerful
of a remaster.
I think the whole thing is essential and particularly if you're
a dedicated Big Star and Alex Chilton fan you'll likely want to add this to your
collection. I haven't stopped playing it since it arrived and I was already
playing the Ryko CD constantly so it just augments what was already available.
I don't have a least favorite song, they're pretty much all great, and the whole
thing grows on you over time even the alternate versions of tracks like "Speed of Sound"
or "Fight at the Table" or "Better Save Yourself."
Also realized the price isn't that high considering all you're getting and the gorgeous
packaging and loving care with which this reissue was executed. Hats off to Rhino, Ardent,
the Bell family, everyone involved in getting this masterpiece released! It's become
one of my most prized possessions in a very short span of time, as with the Big Star box set which is also
essential as far as I'm concerned. I also recommend reading Rob Jovanovic's
fantastic book on Big Star as accompaniment to both this and the Big Star catalog,
it can only enrich the listening experience that much more.
All in all, a conflicted, depressing soul-searcher of an album. It's heavy stuff, put in the right mindset, it's revelationary.
Best Tracks: "I Am the Cosmos" "Better Save Yourself" "Speed of Sound" "You and Your Sister" "Look Up"