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Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust (LP/DVD) Original recording remastered
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MP3 Music, June 5, 2012
Audio, Cassette, Original recording reissued, June 15, 1990
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There is a curious phenomenon happening in the world of Bowie CD remasters, which we can hope portends an attitude change in the music industry as a whole regarding the remastering of classic albums. This phenomenon is, simply put, going back to basics. More specifically, it appears as though EMI is actually starting to recognize that the sound of the original Bowie albums, at the time they were made, doesn't require improving upon. Rather, the best a remastering can do is present the original sound in the most faithful manner possible, from the best possible sources. This 40th Anniversary remastering of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars does just that.
Ironically, the original RCA Bowie CDs from the 1980s, which were lambasted at the time as subpar, actually did a pretty good job of staying faithful to the sound of the original LPs. Although they are rumored to have been from latter-generation sources, rather than the original master tapes, they have nevertheless held up very well in light of the reissues that followed: the anemic and overly bright Ryko reissues of the late `80s, and the bloated, heavily compressed Virgin/EMI remasters of the late `90s, which remain the standard versions available today. However, it was the 30th Anniversary edition of Ziggy Stardust that represented the nadir of all Bowie remasters: it sounded worse than even the '90s EMI remaster; worse yet, it actually removed portions of the music and reversed the stereo channels.Read more ›
Ziggy Stardust has been reissued countless times on CD in the past 15 years. In fact, let's take an inventory. There was the original, from-second-generation-tapes-but-unprocessed RCA disc that's currently having something of a critical renaissance. There was the original Rykodisc issue which came with bonus tracks. There was the anniversary Ryko box, with the same disc but a great box/booklet (far nicer than the one in this 30th Anniversary volume, and packaged much better to boot). Then there was the gold, Au20 series disc issued by Rykodisc (remastered again), and then in 1999 the Virgin reissue of the disc, which deleted the bonus tracks. And then this. While not publicized quite as much, it seems as if David might be competing with Hendrix or Elvis for "most endlessly reissued album" in this particular case.
So, uh, what do we have here, then? Well, we've got a two-disc set, held together by some *very* fragile packaging (the booklet seems almost designed to fall apart!). The main set is remastered again (although not very well...we'll get to that in a moment), and is supplemented by a second disc of bonus tracks.
Unfortunately, the iteration of "Ziggy" here is, I dare to say, the worst version on CD. The sound is slightly muddier than the already-overcompressed Virgin CD, but that isn't the main problem.Read more ›
(1) Some tracks have rather muffled sound: "Ziggy Stardust" is just a tiny bit congested when compared with the old EMI disc, but "Suffragette City" is noticeably lacking in upper-end bite. There's more low-end on the new disc, so this may represent an intentional change in emphasis, but it still sounds odd to my ears: much of the snarl is missing from Ronno's chugging guitar riffs.
(2) The little tiny three-note guitar lick at the very end of "Ziggy Stardust" -- the one *right* before "Suffragette City" crashes in -- has been faded out, so that the two songs no longer flow continuously one into the other. I can't imagine why this was done.
(3) The *really* puzzling one: the new disc has the stereo image REVERSED. Check out the opening of "Ziggy Stardust": the new disc has the acoustic guitar in the left channel, when it's been on the right on every previous release. Similarly, the five little hits on the ride cymbal at the very start of "Suffragette City" should be in the right speaker: here, they're on the left. It's not a remix: they've just swapped the L and R channels.
(4) The very first piano note in "Lady Stardust" is missing its initial attack: it sounds as if the track was faded up from silence, and a little bit of the initial "thunk" was lost. It's quite noticeable when compared with the 1999 EMI disc.
(5) The "one-two" count-in at the start of "Hang On To Yourself" is gone. Not reduced in volume: it's *gone*. The song just starts off with the two-chord hook. As far as I'm aware, every previous release of the album has had the count-in.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Vinyl has skips in it. This seems to be a common occurrence when buying albums from AmazonPublished 1 day ago by David Jacobson
Great album sounds amazing on remastered 180 gram vinyl. Rich, crisp full sound on some of Bowie's best songs. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Glen Moon
If you don't like Bowie, don't bother. If you do like Bowie you areal know you're gong to get it :)Published 1 month ago by Natalie L. Sin