Seems Like a Lifetime Ago
Import, Box Set
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Audio CD, Box set, Import, October 27, 2017
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Limited eight disc (six CDs + two NTSC/Region DVDs) box set from the prog rock icon. This set contains previously unreleased, remixed, or remastered material from the Bruford band of the late 1970s, presented in a 12" box complete with 16-page color booklet and a signed, numbered certificate of authentication. Four gatefold sleeves contain two discs each: Disc 1 (DVD): Feels Good To Me: 5.1 surround sound mix and original 1978 mix remastered; Disc 2 (CD): Feels Good To Me: 2017 Jakko Jakszyk remix from original master tapes; Disc 3 (DVD): One of a Kind: 5.1 surround sound mix and original 1979 mix remastered plus additional audio; Disc 4 (CD): One of a Kind: 2017 Jakko Jakszyk remix from original master tapes; Disc 5 (CD): Gradually Going Tornado: remastered; Disc 6 (CD): The Bruford Tapes: remastered with bonus track; Disc 7 (CD): Live at the Venue: previously unreleased: recorded London 1980; Disc 8 (CD): The fourth Album Rehearsal Sessions: previously unreleased: eighteen sketches of new material recorded 1980. Also includes:16-page 12" booklet with a Sid Smith essay, new interviews with producer, engineer, band members, eyewitnesses and others, previously unseen archive visual material, and the complete band date sheet with contemporary critical reaction. Also two black and white 10" x 8" band photos, one A3 size color poster accompanying Live at the Venue, and one signed, numbered certificate of authentication. The boxed set is produced by Bill Bruford.
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Gradually Going doesn't get a new mix or 5.1 treatment. It is basically unchanged from the most recent Winterfold version. The Bruford Tapes was a 2 Track recording of a radio broadcast that never sounded that great, and it does seem here that may be a bit more listenable than it was before.
That brings us to the completist side of things. You do get the ideas for the potential 4th Bruford album and a new (to me, at least) live recording of a John Clark era show (circa Gradually Going). The 4th album set is a bunch of idea fragments that don't for the most part give a real sense of how a song might've fleshed out eventually. Jeff Berlin is only on one of the 18 tracks, so it's basically moog bass from Dave Stewart and a "let's see where this might go" kind of flavor to things. The Live at the Venue show is on a sonic par with multiple Bruford boots that might've appeared on a Highland release or a torrent site. That is to say, it's not even on a level with the Bruford Tapes recording.
Why Rock Goes to College, featuring Allan Holdsworth isn't included in this set is a bit odd, as it's probably more historically interesting than either of the live shows that are here.
The booklet and individual cd booklets are nice and have good notes. There's a poster, band photos, and a certificate signed by Bill too. These are all kind of a poor man's version of what might be familiar to those who have seen some of the King Crimson boxes.
I'm glad I've gotten this, but paid about $40 less elsewhere than the current Amazon price. Is this set in any way essential? I'd have to say no, but it is great music from a bygone era all in one place and that does have some appeal.