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Presto

4.2 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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RUSH PRESTO
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B0002NRQTS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,702 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Scott D. Harris on August 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Rush's Presto appeared in 1989 and represents the best of their "middle" period of development (Grace Under Pressure through Roll the Bones) characterized by an new emphasis on melodic inventiveness, a lean, stripped-down, bass "lite" sound, with keyboards and effects used heavily at times. It represented a significant departure from the traditional guitar and drum orientation of Rush's first six studio albums and was not welcomed by all fans. It did, however, produce some very good music, notably on this album, arguably Rush's most orignal effort ever.

Though clearly still a rock album, Presto at times has a somewhat jazzy, funk sound to it, evident immediately on the record's opening track Show Don't Tell, which sounds better in this remastering than the original. Scars, The Pass, the title track, and Red Tide round out the album's best, though the only real second-tier song is the forgettable War Paint.

Originally, many fans complained about the album's somewhat tinny, reedy sonic qualities. This remastering has gone aways toward relieving that problem, with a much more "present" sound to the bass and lower keyboards. The fact remains, however, that Presto is still not a "warm" album in the manner of Counterparts or Moving Pictures. I would characterize the sound as "bright" and somewhat cold. Geddy was still using his Wal bass at this time, and whether because of his preferences or the bass itself, the sonic result was a spare, though crystal clear bass line. Similar results occurred on the Roll The Bones album, which was also produced by Rupert Hine. Neil and Alex's guitar fills are also captured with great clarity. The original album was a favorite in terms of Neil's drum sound and this remastering has only improved the result.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought the re-mastered Presto to replace my old CD and I can't believe the difference in sound quality between the two. This album has by far benefitted the most in the Rush re-master series. Adam Ayan has done magic to this magical album. Alex's guitar has been separated from the synthesizers, which now seem to play a much more minor role in the album's sound. Getty's bass is now audible on all tracks and the professor's drum kit has been brought front and center, giving the entire album a more spatial, stereophonic sound.

I heard music on this album that I didn't know was there. You can hear Getty play a nice little bass riff at 2:40 in Chain Lightning, and his string picking behind the piano chords at the intro to Available Light is beautiful. In War Paint, you can now hear Neil hit probably every drum head in his kit. The bass kick drum can now be felt in every song, a fundamental requirement in rock music as Neil himself has said. I've always listened to Rush because I enjoyed their virtuoso musicianship. Singing and lyrics were always second to me. However, while listening to The Pass on this album, I heard two phrases in a way I never had before. You can hear vibrato in Getty's voice during the phrase, "Nothing's what you thought it would be..." that makes the vocal soar across the music. And his unaccompanied, "Christ, what have you done?" literally jumps out of the song and smacks you between the eyes.

The re-mastered Presto is like a whole new album for me and I would recommend it to any Rush fan who classifies themselves as not a fan of Rush's middle period. Now, if only we could get Ayan to re-master Vapor Trails, a great album that sounds like it was mastered inside a garbage can. Are you listening Atlantic?
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Format: Audio CD
When this album came out in November of 1989 I was no longer an avid Rush fan. I had other bands stealing my attention. It wasn't until some years later that I got back into Rush and began to listen to the albums that I had missed. Presto was one of them, so was Roll The Bones and Counterparts. Rush had grown kinda tired to me. There is the old die-hard Rush side of me that digs anything before Moving Pictures (except The Necromancer and maybe Rivendell) and then there is the new Rush fan that likes Signals and Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows. Rush has always broken their albums up in fours (until recently that is) by making a live album to close the door on another section of Rushtory (History. KISStory. Why not Rushtory?) and those live albums have always marked a new direction in the band's sound or motivation. You can hear the most drastic changes after All The World's A Stage and Exit...Stage Left, but even after A Show Of Hands, Rush continued to change. Hold Your Fire had already started the progression Rush was formulating with their latter work and Presto is the culmination of that. Lite and often overlooked, there are still some standout songs here in the mix. Let's look at the listing:

Show Don't Tell - The first time I heard Presto I was hardly impressed. This song did nothing to minimalize my fears. After years of listening to this song and the rest of the album, it grows on you. Presto was one of the first Rush albums that I had to digest for some time before I started to like it. The is a great song, it just took a while for me to realize it.

Chain Lightning - The Presto sound is not gonna go over very well with a lot of the old Rush fans, because it lacks the punch of previous Rush efforts.
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