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To Before Import, Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, February 5, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Two CD compilation of demos, out-takes and other 'deleted' stuff from 1978 to 1993 largely taken from The Comsat Angels' own archives. 17 previously unreleased recordings, several of which had been thought lost, including: the ultra-rare first single on CD for the first time, band demos 79-81, tracks from their first self-produced 1978 single and tracks done at same session, tracks recorded in the cellar of the band house in Sheffield 79 - 80, rehearsal recordings, tracks from limited release album Fire On The Moon and early My Minds Eye demos. This double disc set comes in a sumptuous card gatefold sleeve. Renascent. 2007.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Renascent UK
  • ASIN: B000JU7IV0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,995 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Comsat Angels had many good B-sides and non-album tracks. The thing is, all of them have already shown up on Renascent's expanded reissues of the band's albums. What remained for To Before, the official rarities compilation, was a bunch of demos and rehearsal recordings with poor sound quality. It's difficult to listen to the whole thing from beginning to end, but it has its moments.

I've never been an advocate of releasing demo versions of studio recordings, but for example, the demo of "Independence Day" that was appended to the reissue of Waiting For A Miracle was interesting, because the main guitar line had a different sound and tone from the studio version. However, the demo versions on To Before reveal nothing new about the songs. The Comsat Angels weren't much for improvisation, so their rehearsal recordings don't contain any surprises. "Eye Of The Lens" is just like the original, except muddier, missing some lyrics, and played much slower. The song is supposed to be carried by its urgent speed, so this demo version just sounds plodding and awkward. But it keeps the exact same basic arrangement, so all you can really say is, "phew, it's a good thing that bands rehearse their songs before releasing them."

However, the first disc still has many originals. Only five out of twelve songs have appeared on the albums or the other reissues, which means that there's a lot of rare stuff that most people, maybe even most fans, have never heard before in any form. The songs aren't bad. In fact, any of them could have comfortably replaced any of about half the songs on Waiting For A Miracle, if they had been cleaned up and given a studio production.
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Format: Audio CD
To Before has been presented as a compilation of demos and rarities from the personal archives of the Comsat Angels. I prefer to think of it differently, though. Subtract the rough demo of You Move Me and Disc 2 is the real album; it consists of songs taken from some of the band's 1980s releases. All together it plays like an album that could have been released back then. And a great one it is! My favorites are Something's Got To Give, Venus Hunter, Transport Of Delight and Born Again. Where rights to music are a problem, there are demo tracks in place of studio versions, but in most cases it's not obvious. Now for Disc 1, to me that's the bonus CD. We get to hear the band from its beginnings and a few of their songs in the development stage. We even get to travel back to the cellar of the "band house" (three of them lived together circa 1980) where they originated some of their most memorable music. It's a real treat, even though the sound quality on Disc 1 is less than ideal in places. What a lot to get for one album; thanks go to Renascent and the band for putting this album together!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Impressively well recorded. Great performances by the band. This is the CA that I fell in love with. Still sounds fresh to me after all these decades. I have wanted this album for a long time.
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