December 20, 2006

CD/DVD-A Combos – A Trend I Like Very Much

Here’s some recent releases of some truly great records available in deluxe 2-disc packages which include a standard CD along with a DVD with a high resolution stereo (and sometimes) a 5.1 soundtrack, along with other fun stuff all for a list price of around $20.00. Definitely not a rip-off! How refreshing! More please!

I will try to write some more detailed reviews of these records, but for now, here are some examples of the best that digital technology has to offer us music fans, right here, right now:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Live at the Fillmore East March 6&7, 1970 (Reprise)
The original Crazy Horse headlining over Miles Davis (!) at the famous Fillmore East in New York City, this is unfortunately only about 40 minutes of music. But what glorious music it is! Classic songs like “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand” are given epic performances in spectacular (stereo only) sound. This is a must-have for all Neil Young fans. And, by the way, Miles Davis’ March 7, 1970 set is available on the 2001 Sony/Legacy CD, It’s About That Time, a mind-melting performance of Bitches Brew-era material with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, and Airto Moreia.

David Crosby: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Atlantic)
(originally released 1970)
A neglected masterpiece recorded with the cream of the West-Coast musicians including members of the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Joni Mitchell. This one remains largely unknown even among fans of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and (sometimes) Young. Maybe this deluxe reissue will change that unfortunate fact. Crosby’s ethereal, often-times wordless harmonies are angelic and the musical backings are superb. Hippie Heaven.

The Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin (Warner Bros.) (originally released 1999)
The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Warner Bros.) (2002)
The Flaming Lips: At War With The Mystics (Warner Bros.) (2006)
Back in 1984, I never would have imagined the Flaming Lips, a scrappy little punk rock band from Norman, Oklahoma, would still be around, much less making the most ambitious symphonic pop music of our time. Exploiting the near-infinite potential of the Pro-Tools platform, this is digital recording technology pushed to its limit and the CD can hardly contain it all. The high-resolution DVD-A versions are a revelation: spacious, airy, three-dimensional, and utterly compelling. This stuff is the most sumptuous pop music since the Summer of Love. Oh, and these discs are loaded with bonus tracks, b-sides, videos, and other ephemera – you certainly get your money’s worth. At War With The Mystics features a video of Wayne Coyne’s commencement address prepared for his alma mater’s 2006 high school graduation ceremony which is both hilarious and earnestly inspirational.
Buy these records!



Christopher Murray said...

These sound fabulous! But tell me, what exactly do you mean by Pro-Tools platform?

Sam Byrd said...

Rodger, excellent comments! I love "Soft Bulletin"--which, by the way, could not exist without the precedence of the Beach Boys. I am not as taken with "Yoshimi" because of the over-reliance on the drum machine. On "Soft Bulletin" the drummer really smacks it (love his snare sound), but on "Yoshimi" the effect of his drumming is muted by the synthetic drum sound. I'm sure the sound is what they were after, but it sounds tired to me. Maybe it's just too much acoustic guitar on that one too. I've only heard "Mystics" once but it's definitely intriguing.

I have a soft spot for the David Crosby solo LP, and I was actually going to ask you what you thought of it when I see you next. I didn't appreciate it as much when it first came out, but listening back to it over the years I have come to appreciate its unique dream-state qualities, and Garcia of course is brilliant. Are there many alt takes or extras on this new version?

Well, I'm so far behind it's not funny. The Neil Young will go on my list, alongside "Arc," which I still get off on with the cassette version you taped for me ages ago. I did finally get "On the Beach" and "Tonight's the Night," so I'm catching up.

Rodger Coleman said...

Chris, go here:

Pro Tools is the standard digital multi-track platform and has revolutionized the way records are made.

Sam, Soft Bulletin is where it's at. Yoshimi is definitely going for a particular sound and feel and succeeds, maybe a little TOO well. Mystics is stylistically all over the map and a little bit more straightforward, but I like it a lot.

"Kids and Dogs" is included as an extra track on the Crosby reissue. It's another wordless vocals with dreamy backing by the Marin County Millionaires.

It's fun to see you all here!