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Vinyl, Original recording remastered, August 26, 2008
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- from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's web page on the band s 1995 induction
It's rare that a group can truly rock today s world, but the arrival of MOTHERSHIP, the first-ever comprehensive 2CD Led Zeppelin compilation with the soon to follow re-release of The Song Remains The Same on CD & DVD and a concert event reuniting Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones qualifies. Produced by Page and mixed by Kevin Shirley, MOTHERSHIP's 24 monolithic tracks were selected and sequenced by the band, who also oversaw the painstaking remastering. Spanning their epic career, the unprecedented collection pulls immortal songs from all eight of the band s classic studio albums, one of the 20th century s most enduring bodies of musical work. Arguably the most influential and innovative rock band ever, Led Zeppelin has sold over 200 million records worldwide. They continue to inspire successive generations with their passionate, groundbreaking, genre-transcendent, mystic, heavy and blues-infused rock n roll. Forty years since they formed, the song indeed remains the same.
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For the non technical folks, mastering is the process by which a finished, mixed tape of an artist's song is then put through a series of refinements to make the sound a little more uniform for all listening situations. It is also at that stage that the "master" is created from which all copies are then produced.
In the early days of CD and digital sound, the process of converting analog sound to a digital signal was not as good as it is now. Also, coming out of the age of vinyl, where too loud a sound on vinyl could cause the needle to jump, CD's tended to be mastered about the same volume as vinyl. The CD is capable of volume levels that are louder than vinyl.
But, rather than use technology to create a better sounding product, the record companies took a perspective that louder = better = more sales. In other words, the louder the product is, the more people will notice it.
The problem for those of us who enjoy music is that by making CD's a whole lot louder, we are also losing dynamics and dimension. Music is by nature, supposed to have peaks of loudness. There needs to be contrast. A visual representation of what we should be hearing versus what we are getting out of newer CD's would be aptly demonstrated IF I BEGAN TYPING IN ALL CAPS. THERE IS NO CONTRAST BETWEEN LOUD AND soft.
So, with Led Zeppelin's "Mothership" we are now getting louder music at the expense of dynamics. Jimmy Page remastered the entire Zeppelin catalog in 1991 and did a great job of using the technology available at that time.Read more ›
Almost 5 years ago to the day, the compilation "Early Days and Latter Days" was released, hence apparently bringing the 'ultimate' 2 CD "best of" Led Zeppelin on the market. A year after that, the ultimate live DVD compilation "Led Zeppelin" was released, to general acclaim. Fast forward to Fall 2007: Les Zeppelin has finally released its music digitally, plus "The Song Remains The Same" album and movie gets new life on upgraded releases, and oh yea, there is a one-off reunion concert coming up in early December in London. So how to 'celebrate' the occasion? Well, how about another "best of" release!
"Mothership" (2 CDs, 24 tracks, 140 min.) is a virtual copy of "Earlier Days and Latter Days": 20 of the 23 tracks from that appear on "Mothership", including all the staples, from "Whole Lotta Love" to "Black Dog" to Kashmir", and on and on. To mix is up just a little bit, "What Is and What Should Never Be", "The Battle of Evermore" and "Ten Years Gone" were dropped from "Early Days and Latter Days", and these 4 songs were added instead: "Ramble On", Heartbreaker", "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "D'Yer Mak'er". Too me those are minor changes on the fringes. It all sounds terrific, of course, due to yet more remastering from Jimmy Page.
As to the bonus DVD, there is nothing new here. This is a sampling/reduced version of the 2003 "Led Zeppelin" DVD: in order, there are 9 songs from the 1970 Royal Albert Hall show, 4 songs from the 1973 Madison Square Garden show that produced "The Song Remains the Same" movie, 3 songs from the 1975 Earl's Court show, and 4 songs from the 1979 Knebworth show. As such all performances are (and sound) pretty much terrific.Read more ›
I had originally written that "finally there is Zep on cd that sounds as musical as it deserves to sound! for anybody who has been dissatisfied by the digital representation of zep to the point that I have (the last remasterings sound so lousy to me that I can't enjoy them; so I've been listening to Zep on vinyl only) this collection will be a Godsend. For those who couldn't care less about sonics there is no reason to get this, as 'nothing is revealed'."
A 'hat in hand' update of this review posted after further listening on 11/30/2007:
Mothership sounded great to me at first but after reading other folks at Steve Hoffman forums all pointing to the 80's cds as being straight transfers from the analog, i had to check it out.
I realized i may have never heard the 80's version but because i never liked the 90's remasters (compared to my analog copies) i just assumed the 80's were worse - this also was based on prejudice from hating 80's cd's from many other catalogs (miles davis is a good example).
so this re-review stands as unrequired further proof that prejudice is bad and assuming makes a you-know-what out of you-know-who.
Yesterday I got an 80's copy of zep I and sat down with it and "mothership" - and after going back and forth again and again and again - I came to the same conclusion as those others had: the 80's cds sound better.
there are still digitally induced problems with the new versions though they remain vastly superior to the 90's masters to my ear.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i bought this for my father in-law a couple of christmases ago. He loved it, but has since passed away (April of 2016) at a young age & I've inherited it into my collection. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Snert
The CD case was totally destroyed when I got it. The CD's were in perfect shape and the music was fantastic.Published 2 months ago by Man of Legend
This is definitely the greatest $5 I've ever spent, however, and I knew this before I bought it, I do wish The Ocean was on this CD. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JC1977
The song selection is lacking IMHO. They wasted 16 minutes on The Song Remains the Same and Achilles Last Stand, which have no place on a Zep greatest hits collection. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Scott
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