February 25, 2012

Playlist Week of 2-25-12

Jethro Tull - Aqualung 40th Anniversary

* Hesperion XXI, et al. (Savall): Borgia Dinasty: Church & Power In The Renaissance (Alia Vox 3SACD)
* Purcell: Fantasias For The Viols 1680 (Savall, et al.) (Alia Vox SACD)
* Geminiani: Cello Sonatas, Op.5 ((ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics CD)
* Miles Davis: The Bootleg Series Vol.1: Live In Europe 1967 (d.1) (Columbia/Legacy 3CD+DVD)
* Sun Ra: Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Nov.1976 (AUD CDR)
* Sun Ra: Jazz Showcase, Chicago, IL 11-27-76 (AUD 2CDR)
* Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* Herbie Hancock: Thrust (Columbia/Legacy CD)
* Gateway (J. Abercrombie/D. Holland/J. DeJohnette): Gateway (ECM LP)
* Gateway (J. Abercrombie/D. Holland/J. DeJohnette): Gateway 2 (ECM LP)
* Grateful Dead: The Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack (d.1-3) (GDP 6CD)
* Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority (Warner Bros./Rhino 2LP)
* Chicago: Chicago [II] (Warner Bros./Rhino 2LP)
* Jethro Tull: Aqualung (40th Anniversary Special Edition) (Chrysalis/Capitol 2CD)
* Caravan: In The Land of Grey And Pink (40th Anniversary Edition) (Deram/Decca 2CD+DVD)
* Gentle Giant: Three Friends (Alucard/EMI CD)(†)
* Gentle Giant: Octopus (Alucard/EMI CD)(†)
* Gentle Giant: In A Glass House (Alucard/EMI CD)
* Can: Waldbuhne, Berlin, West Germany 5-22-72 (AUD CDR)
* Can: Soon Over Babaluma (Spoon SACD)
* Can: Unlimited Edition (Spoon SACD)
* Can: Landed (Spoon SACD)
* Can: Flow Motion (Spoon SACD)†
* Can: Saw Delight (Spoon SACD)†(‡)
* Amon Düül II: Phallus Dei (Repertoire/SPV CD)
* Amon Düül II: Yeti (Liberty/Repertoire/SPV CD)
* Amon Düül II: Tanz Der Lemminge (United Artists/SPV CD)
* U2: Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition) (Island/Universal 2CD)†(‡)
* Wilco: A.M. (Reprise/Nonesuch LP)
* Wilco: Being There (Reprise/Nonesuch 2LP)
* Wilco: Summerteeth (Reprise/Nonesuch 2LP)
* Porcupine Tree: Fear Of A Blank Planet (Atlantic CD)
* Porcupine Tree: Nil Recurring (KScope CDEP)
* Porcupine Tree: The Incident (Roadrunner 2CD)††
* Steven Wilson: Grace For Drowning (KScope 2CD)
* Opeth: Morningrise (Candlelight CD)†
* Opeth: My Arms, Your Hearse (Candlelight CD)†
* Opeth: Still Life (Peaceville/Icarus CD)†
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)†(‡)
* Opeth: Deliverance (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)†
* Opeth: Damnation (Music For Nations/KOCH CD)†
* Opeth: Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner CD)†
* Opeth: Watershed (Roadrunner CD)†
* Katatonia: Last Fair Deal Gone Down (10th Anniversary Edition) (Peaceville 2CD)
* Katatonia: Viva Emptiness (Peaceville CD)
* Katatonia: The Great Cold Distance (Peaceville CD)†(‡)
* Katatonia: Night Is The New Day (Peaceville CD)†(‡)
* Agalloch: The Mantle (The End Records CD)†
* Agalloch: Ashes Against The Grain (The End Records CD)†
* Agalloch: Marrow Of The Spirit (Profound Lore CD)†



It would seem Steven Wilson is seeking to single-handedly restore the reputation of the much-maligned musical genre known as progressive rock. Not just with his own proggy bands (or his work with Opeth) but also as an audio engineer, being called upon to remix classic ‘70s prog records by King Crimson, Caravan and, most recently, Jethro Tull’s iconic Aqualung. Reviews have been so ecstatic, I had to check it out for myself and let me tell you first hand: the results are astonishing.

I hadn’t heard this album in a very long time, having gotten rid of my old LP many years ago in a periodic purge of the record collection. Tull were not necessarily the most musically accomplished of the prog-rockers, but they were the most popular amongst regular kids. The insistently creepy title track remains a staple of FM radio to this day (which is actually kind of amazing, when you think about it). I don’t remember my old LP sounding very good at all (sludgy would be the best word for it) but Wilson’s remix is incredibly clean, clear and punchy while still retaining that vintage analog vibe—a truly remarkable achievement. If you like this record, you owe it to yourself to hear this 40th Anniversary Special Edition. It’s like hearing it for the first time all over again! The 2CD set contains a second disc of bonus material to sweeten the deal but the truly hardcore fan will want to shell out for the Collector’s Edition box set, which includes the two CDs, DVD and Blu-Ray discs of the album in 5.1 surround sound along with a heavy-duty vinyl pressing of the LP, all housed in a lavish slipcase. I like this album well enough but perhaps not that much. Wilson’s treatment of Thick As A Brick is due April 3—can’t wait!

I had been holding off on the 40th Anniversary King Crimson reissues, seeing as I was perfectly happy with my 30th Anniversary Editions (wow, has it really been ten years?)—but after hearing the miracle Wilson has performed with Aqualung, I think I need to go ahead and upgrade. King Crimson is, after all, the (ahem) king of prog. My wallet may be lighter, but my ears will surely be happy. Thank you, Mr. Wilson, for helping to rescue progressive rock from the trash-heap of history!

1 comment:

Sam said...

Ha! "Thick as a Brick" --my old high school daze. How do you like the land of grey and pink? Gotta love "Golf Girl!"

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2012-02-27:

*Anthony Braxton: Four Compositions (Quartet) 1983 “Composition No. 105A”
*John Coltrane: Live in Japan “Peace on Earth”
*Miles Davis: 1973-07-08 Montreux
*New Loft: 2012-01-25 "Slide Over Here" (wav)
*New Loft: 2012-02-06 "Blueberry Bill" (wav)
*Sam Rivers' Rivbea All-Star Orchestra: Inspiration
*Sun Ra: Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Vol. 1
*Henry Threadgill & Zooid: 2010-06-24 Jazz Gallery, NYC (CDR)
*Beatles: For Sale Studio Sessions: Back to Basics disc 1 (boot CDR)
*Jeff Beck: Emotion & Commotion
*Tamar Davis: Milk and Honey
*Dr. Dog: Be the Void
*Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste
*Grateful Dead: 1973-12-01 Boston (CDR)
*Jimi Hendrix Experience: Winterland (disc 2)
*High Llamas: Buzzle Bee
*High Llamas: Snowbug
*High Llamas: Talahomi Way
*Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
*Robert Pollard: We All Got Out of the Army
*Robert Pollard: Moses on a Snail
*Prince: Dirty Mind (Homemade Deluxe Edition)
*Prince: Chaos and Disorder
*Zu: Igneo

Reading List 2012-02-27:

*Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (transl. Malcolm C. Lyons) Vol. 3 (in progress)
*Brandt, Dorothea. Becoming a Writer (in progress)
*Ebert, Roger. I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie (in progress)
*King, Frank O. Walt and Skeezix: 1925 & 1926 (in progress)