November treat for fans of Kate Bush

Well, it finally looks like the entire Kate Bush catalogue has been remastered and is being re-released in November.  What's more, everything will be available on vinyl as well as on CD.

James Guthrie did the remastering alongside KB.  Apart from that, there doesn't seem to be any more detail, particularly with regard to the vinyl releases.

I have everything of Kate Bush's releases on vinyl and CD already, but still I'm tempted, especially by the last box of 12" and rarities.  It could get a bit expensive though...

Original Post
Richard Dane posted:

Well, it finally looks like the entire Kate Bush catalogue has been remastered and is being re-released in November.  What's more, everything will be available on vinyl as well as on CD.

James Guthrie did the remastering alongside KB.  Apart from that, there doesn't seem to be any more detail, particularly with regard to the vinyl releases.

I have everything of Kate Bush's releases on vinyl and CD already, but still I'm tempted, especially by the last box of 12" and rarities.  It could get a bit expensive though...

Got to get this, thanks Richard for the heads up. Should be top notch with KB involved.

This looks like a wonderful release. But but you have ask yourself has KB gone completely mad. Where was the build-up, no fanfare, advanced publicilty or sneak previews - what a great idea let's release a deluxe set on the market in the same period when we have:-

John Lennon - Imagine

David Bowie - Loving the Alien

Bob Dylan - More Blood on the Tracks

The Beatles - White Album

The Police - Every Move You Make

and of course that creme de la ceme of a deluxe re-issue The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (errrr!!!!)

Post Christmas, I reckon there's going to be a few bargains around.

On CD all the albums from A Kick Inside to The Sensual World sound good quality to me.   Be interesting how much improvement can be made with the remastering.  It makes me want to buy a Turntable though.         All we really want is a live DVD of Before the Dawn.

Richard Dane posted:

This Kate Bush release has already got my money.  One thing I did notice though is that the box sets cost rather more than buying the albums individually.  I'm not sure what you get extra with the box.

I thought the rarities discs only came with box 2 and not separately?

I've got all the KB albums, mostly on UK first press vinyl. But the box of rarities and covers looks very interesting. Although - unless I'm missing something - the "On Stage" EP doesn't seem to be anywhere. Will probably go for the Box 4; and, depending on what members of this forum say, I may then plump for some of the others, if there is any improvement in SQ.

It's the warmth of the recording on her first two albums that comes through so well in the vinyl format. Hard to think of a better recording for vinyl other than the usual suspects, Revolver, Abbey Road, DSOTM etc. Can't wait for their release.

Oh and on the discussion of this being a potentially expensive autumn for new and re-releases, Dead Can Dance have their new album out in Nov too! Vinyl version going for a cool £80 on Amazon!  

£360 for four sets of remasters of what people very likely have already? That’s a lot of money that could be spent on discovering new music. These vinyl remasters do seem to be getting a bit out of proportion. They look lovely of course, and doubtless sound good, but it does seem slightly excessive. I guess some like to collect, and it’s playing to that market. Ideal Christmas gifts for the fiftysomething in your life. 

hungryhalibut posted:

£360 for four sets of remasters of what people very likely have already? That’s a lot of money that could be spent on discovering new music. These vinyl remasters do seem to be getting a bit out of proportion. They look lovely of course, and doubtless sound good, but it does seem slightly excessive. I guess some like to collect, and it’s playing to that market. Ideal Christmas gifts for the fiftysomething in your life. 

Ah but it is all in a good cause paying for Bertie’s school fees.

Nick Lees posted:

Hounds Of Love, side two of which is a masterpiece. The only one of hers I’d hesitate over is 50 Words For Snow, which is overindulged and, in parts, tiresome.

And yet...  there is genius hidden within 50 Words For Snow.  It just doesn't work on a sunny Summer day, but change the season and the weather and all of a sudden it becomes sublime.  It took just such a wintry cold, snowy day for me to appreciate it.  Before that, i felt much the same as you about the album.  

If I can count The Kick Inside and Lionheart as just one double album but issued as individual releases, then add The Hounds of Love and Never For Ever.  After that, if Kate is getting under your skin, go to The Dreaming, which is perhaps her most challenging album but also her most weird and wacky, and ultimately, maybe even her most wonderful.

Richard Dane posted:

If I can count The Kick Inside and Lionheart as just one double album but issued as individual releases, then add The Hounds of Love and Never For Ever.  After that, if Kate is getting under your skin, go to The Dreaming, which is perhaps her most challenging album but also her most weird and wacky, and ultimately, maybe even her most wonderful.

Richard Dane posted:
Nick Lees posted:

Hounds Of Love, side two of which is a masterpiece. The only one of hers I’d hesitate over is 50 Words For Snow, which is overindulged and, in parts, tiresome.

And yet...  there is genius hidden within 50 Words For Snow.  It just doesn't work on a sunny Summer day, but change the season and the weather and all of a sudden it becomes sublime.  It took just such a wintry cold, snowy day for me to appreciate it.  Before that, i felt much the same as you about the album.  

I rather like 50 Words but you're right, it's a time and a place album, I made a point of listening to it back in March during the big snow and it was rather good, particularly the title track with Stephen Fry. Maybe it'll get another outing this winter!

 

Richard Dane posted:

If I can count The Kick Inside and Lionheart as just one double album but issued as individual releases, then add The Hounds of Love and Never For Ever.  After that, if Kate is getting under your skin, go to The Dreaming, which is perhaps her most challenging album but also her most weird and wacky, and ultimately, maybe even her most wonderful.

I agree, it might be weird and wacky but I find it her most rewarding album.

I’ve always been a huge Kate Bush fan but pricing is putting me off a bit.

As mentioned earlier The Kick Inside and Lionhearte have incredible warmth on vinyl.

The real question at the price is whether or not the remastering and pressing quality will make these releases any better or worse than the originals.

I have all the released albums on vinyl already bar the Director’s Cut and have the older This Woman’s Work box set with virtually unplayed copies of earlier albums, B Sides and rarities. Found several Hounds of Love era  12” singles the other day too.

If buying the whole set it’s a huge outlay for things you have unless there’s a tangible sound quality improvement.

Some of the albums in the older box set I think were those cheap ‘Fame’ releases you could buy in Woolworths so perhaps some improvement to be gained but who knows for sure!

Richard Dane posted:
Nick Lees posted:

Hounds Of Love, side two of which is a masterpiece. The only one of hers I’d hesitate over is 50 Words For Snow, which is overindulged and, in parts, tiresome.

And yet...  there is genius hidden within 50 Words For Snow.  It just doesn't work on a sunny Summer day, but change the season and the weather and all of a sudden it becomes sublime.  It took just such a wintry cold, snowy day for me to appreciate it.  Before that, i felt much the same as you about the album.  

I can honestly say that overtime I listen to the duet with Elton John I'm overwhelmed with emotions. It truly is a terrific piece of work.

The advantage of having Millenia (the time it takes for KB to issue an album) is that I already own the lot on original pressings. Who wants a quick fix when one can play the long game? anticipation and evolution outstrip over hasty bingeing any day.

 

Well, well I forgot to order the vinyl fo the first set of the release, and to my delight Qobuz seem to have parts I and II available in Hi Res 24 bit 44.1 kHz - anyone seen them in higher quality or DSD?

Interestingly, The Kick Inside/Lionheart/Never for Ever/The Dreaming are cheaper as a part I bundle than the individual albums, at least with Sublime pricing for the 4 albums - £34.99 Sublime vs £53.99 non-Sublime (nice £21 saving) (£45.99 CD quality seems hardly worth the effort).  I guess the question is if they'll all have the same Artwork and a Pt I metadata title as I think I'd prefer individual albums and album art though of course this could be tweaked later.

The individual albums are: £10.49 Sublime, £15.99 non-Sublime and £13.99 CD Quality.

Part II however only has 3 albums and is priced the same as Part I, so here cheaper to go for individual albums unless there's some bonus digital PDF content or something.

 

I've got my copy of Box 1 of the CDs and have to say I'm a bit disapointed with them.

While I can hear the work that's gone into them, there's no extra artwork, photos or writing in the booklets, except for  one line saying "Remastered by James Guthrie & Joel Plante at das boot recording". 

There are no extra tracks, in fact "The Sensual World" is missing a track compared with the original CD ("Walk Straight Down The Middle" is missing) and on "Hounds of Love" "The Big Sky" has been replaced by "The Big Sky (7" mix)", i.e. the single. While I suspect "Walk Straight Down The Middle" wil return in Box 2 I've no idea why, and can't guess, why "Hounds of Love" has been altered. It's not a space issue as it's less than 50 minutes long (the additional tracks added for the EMI 100 Year Anniversary Edition* are not present either, but I wouldn't expect them to be).

Perhaps Box 2 will reveal all in a couple of weeks and feature all the additional material we want/expect/there is, perhaps even a book(let) of additional written/photo material and artwork; it has to have something to justify the higher price than box 1.

If you only want the music it's less than a tenner an album for box 1, which makes this good value. If you're after that "something special", this isn't (yet ?) it and I'd rate it at 6/10.

It's probably not worth replacing your originals, especially if you have the "Director's Cut" with the updated "Red Shoes" and "Sensual World" in it.

* I think

TallGuy posted:

I've got my copy of Box 1 of the CDs and have to say I'm a bit disapointed with them.

While I can hear the work that's gone into them, there's no extra artwork, photos or writing in the booklets, except for  one line saying "Remastered by James Guthrie & Joel Plante at das boot recording". 

There are no extra tracks, in fact "The Sensual World" is missing a track compared with the original CD ("Walk Straight Down The Middle" is missing) and on "Hounds of Love" "The Big Sky" has been replaced by "The Big Sky (7" mix)", i.e. the single. While I suspect "Walk Straight Down The Middle" wil return in Box 2 I've no idea why, and can't guess, why "Hounds of Love" has been altered. It's not a space issue as it's less than 50 minutes long (the additional tracks added for the EMI 100 Year Anniversary Edition* are not present either, but I wouldn't expect them to be).

Perhaps Box 2 will reveal all in a couple of weeks and feature all the additional material we want/expect/there is, perhaps even a book(let) of additional written/photo material and artwork; it has to have something to justify the higher price than box 1.

If you only want the music it's less than a tenner an album for box 1, which makes this good value. If you're after that "something special", this isn't (yet ?) it and I'd rate it at 6/10.

It's probably not worth replacing your originals, especially if you have the "Director's Cut" with the updated "Red Shoes" and "Sensual World" in it.

* I think

Must confess I actually don't like remastered CDs with loads of bonus tracks on them, as it's not the album you had on release.

If there was an extra disc/compilation of alternative mixes/bonus tracks that's how I'd like such a release to be offered so the original album is as you remembered so a bit disappointing if they've changed Hounds of Love.

That said, the original album was often different for vinyl vs CD where extra tracks were often added as it was easy to do so.  In addition there are many examples where an album might show regional differences in tracks or running order so perhaps I'm being too fussy, I just find that with newer CDs I rip I rarely listen to bonus tracks.

All this aside, how do the remasters actually sound? I'm always sceptical of remasters, though the ability to buy in hi res is something I've longed for for some time.

I’m also not a fan of “extra tracks” on the disks themselves, but on extra disks, but I know they exist and would expect a completist set to contain them - as I said I’m expecting them on the extra disks in Box 2.  Replacing or removing tracks is a different matter though. My main point was the apparent lack of thought as to the packaging - you get a pretty box and that’s it. The disk sleeves are high quality card but the booklets are 8 page lyric listings with the original pictures - I’d like to see more - pictures obviously exist and it’s not hard to produce a book as in the Bowie boxes.

Rant mode off.

The sound is a big improvement on the originals  but it’s not a case of extra detail forced at you as in so many remasters, but it all sounds as though it hangs together better - there’s all the expected improvement in sound stage etc, but it’s all “more natural” - I.e. the equipment is better - it’s like a black box upgrade at our end. There doesn’t seem to be any compression - the “play loud” on The Dreaming still applies. Mr Guthrie has done a very good job.

For me the least improvement is Hounds Of Love which still has an overall sound I don’t particularly like, but that could be me. It’s  Ms Bush’s Animals - good music, sound not so good. 

On SQ terms I’d have no hesitation recommending these new versions, I just felt (and still do) miffed at what’s not in the package.

Good points there.  I agree it's a shame if they've not taken the opportunity to have some new accompanying material.  I had the old vinyl set 'This Woman's Work' which seemed to be simply the existing albums you could buy separately (including ones with the budget logo) and some B sides/rarer tracks on an extra album or so, but little in the way of extra notes/pics and so forth.  Time and time again the music and movie companies are happy to extract all the money they can from us.

As superb as Hounds of Love was, it always had a rather digital/compressed or congested feel to it on vinyl/CD/cassette, basically whatever I played it on - interesting to see if this has changed.

Just purchased the Pt II albums on Qobuz at £10.99 (Sublime pricing) - I prefer the earlier ones, but these are cheaper individually than as the Pt II set.

As I suspect individual artwork is not available in the Pt I or Pt II sets on Qobuz (Edward confirmed they are not on HighResAudio), I will probably get the earlier albums individually despite it costing another £7 or so more over the set - why? Simply to get some lovely digital artwork which for these releases seems to be around 16 megapixel ! (4,000x 4,000).

played these back to back yesterday on my deck (details on Bio)

first impresstions - OUTSTANDING quality, I had not got the first pressings which a few people rav about so for me the uplift in quality is nothing short of breath taking - focus, music and her voice which has allways been well recorded has more pressence

a real treat for me, I have old (very) albums of Never and Kick so reall tick in the good album guide from me

I have asked Santa for the other box set in December

Just a note on the directors cut cd, the Sensual World was not remastered for this cd so the latest release is a new remaster, The Red Shoes was remastered so the new release should be the same but reports by some say it sounds different so it my have been tweaked slightly mainly on the loudness side.

I received a large and very well packed box today from What Records, and inside were the new 4 LP Beatles White Album box and...  the first lot of Kate Bush reissues.  

I'll dig out some of my first issues after the weekend and do some listening and comparisons and then post my impressions here.

Depending on the context, quality, content . . . I'll listen to the "extra tracks" pretty much at most once.  Outtakes...partial instrumental tracks....bleh for the most part.

The best "extra" material I've maybe heard ever is the Esher sessions on the new White Album remix reissue.  We'll actually listen to that more than once!

Well, I had a busy weekend of cooking and entertaining, but I just couldn't resist the siren call of Kate, so just before I had to start preparing dinner last night I slipped away to have a listen to the new reissue of The Kick Inside.  Then, this evening I dug out my originals and listened to those and then compared a few tracks between original and reissue.

First, I need to get one disappointment off my chest.  Surely Kate could have looked to her old friend Peter Gabriel as an example, and released some or perhaps all of these reissues as 45rpm double LPs?  Or maybe that's something for a later date.  Either way, it's a small gripe, but not without grounds, as an album like The Kick Inside would certainly benefit from the extra groove space that a double album would afford.  

Anyway, as to what you get, the sleeve artwork is pretty much identical to the original.  Only a very slightly darker, more contrasty image gives it away from the front.  On the back, you have a barcode and the Fish People logo alongside that of Parlophone. However, there has been a slip up with this reissue.  If you look at the spine carefully there's a spelling mistake - it says "The Kick Insde".  I don't know how many are affected - maybe all the current batch, but I suppose it will be rectified at some point, and for future collectors that will be indicator differentiating the earliest issues from those coming later.  

The inner sleeve is poly lined black paper and the LP itself immediately differentiates itself from the original by sporting the Fish People label and artwork in place of the original '70s large stylised EMI logo label.  The vinyl is heavy and appears well pressed - flat and perfectly centred on my example.  The deadwax reveals the BG etching signifying the lacquer was cut by Bernie Grundman - usually a positive sign. 

So, first spin of the LP in its entirety and I was delighted to find that in isolation it was an excellent cut.  Any deterioration in the original tapes was hard to detect.  Certainly I couldn't hear any obvious drop-outs or azimuth issues.  I loved listening to the entire album on vinyl.  I realised that I hadn't yet heard the original on the new RP10, so wasn't sure how this new reissue would compare.  Memory told me that on all my original copies, track to track could be a bit variable.  For example, while the opener on Side One, Moving, always sounded really good, the corresponding opener on side two, James and the Cold Gun, could sound a bit boxed in and with obviously less sparkle to the sound. A play this evening of one of the originals confirmed that my memory was right, and against the reissue, on Moving it was pretty close to the original; Brighter though, and with a more extended bottom end, but maybe lacking a touch of the creaminess that could also be considered a certain opacity in the original.  Where the reissue really showed its superiority though was on James and the Cold Gun, where the extended bandwidth and extra clarity really made a difference to the track. This mean't that track to track the sound quality of the reissue was more consistent.  

But to get things into some perspective, The Kick Inside was always a rather lovely sounding record, so any reissue had its work cut out to make any big improvements. The fact that the new reissue seems to succeed in doing so, with little or no apparent sense of any digital flattening or graininess is very pleasing.  The bottom line is, which one will I reach for the next time I want to hear The Kick Inside?  Well, it's a tough one, I love the original, and after so many years its particular sound is firmly imprinted on me, but I think it will be the reissue - it just seems to give me more.  Hopefully time and further listening will bear this out.

Next up will be Lionhart...

So this evening I listened to the new reissue of Lionheart, an album that is often judged to be one of Kate's weakest and least loved.  Which is all pish really - if Lionheart had come from anyone else it would have been heralded as a work of great stature.  It's only because the standard of Kate's output is so high and the release so quick on the heels of The Kick Inside that Lionheart tends to be seen as a "lesser" album.  Better I think to view it as the second half of what could have been an amazing double album, had she already been well enough established for EMI to have taken such a risk.  As it is, it's obvious that the success of TKI meant that EMI allowed a gatefold cover and also a bit more effort to be placed on the production.  Oh, and they also allowed the mad picture of Kate in the lion suit, so they must have been pleased with how things were going..

Personally, Lionheart holds a particular place in my heart.  It was a favourite album of someone very special to me. Listening to it now it's difficult not to be transported to a particular time and place.

The gatefold cover is a really nice facsimile of the original.  The printing is sharp and the raised embossed lettering is nicely replicated. I also had the German ATR Audiophile reissue to hand, and here, while you got the gatefold, the printing quality was far inferior, with a lot of the dark detail lost. Inside the reissue the only major change is that you lose the die-cut pale orange inner sleeve.  Instead you get an anti-static poly-lined black inner like on the TKI reissue.  

The back is a similar story.  Very close to the original, with perhaps a touch more contrast.  Only big difference being the rather unsightly barcode, rights info, and the Parlophone and Fish People logos.  The LP labels are, yet again, in the Fish People style.  The vinyl is again a nicely pressed piece of 180g vinyl - flat, centred, and showing the BG initials in the dead wax that signifies it was cut by Bernie Grundman.

So how does the reissue fare?  Well, it scrubs ups very nicely. Very nicely indeed... In some ways the sound here is even better than on the reissue of TKI.  Compared to the original issue of Lionheart, the rather homogenised and slightly boxed-in sound in freed up and allowed space to breathe.  I'm being tough on the original - to be fair it was pretty good, but being really critical there's that opacity and touch of wooliness again. I need to dig out my Fame reissue to compare, as I seem to recall that this perhaps better (I need to find it though - I know its somewhere hidden in the collection!).  

I also had a quick listen to my ATR Audiophile reissue that i purchased back around the turn of the century.  I've always found this rather variable, and listening to its afresh after so long I found that my opinion has not changed so much. In fact the RP10 and Superline were revealing hitherto hidden problems - a sound like squealing reels hidden deep in the background - it sounds like there was a tape issue or maybe tape transport issue.  High frequencies are at one point vivid, next dulled and the sound closed-in.  Disappointing really, as at times the ATR shows great insight and promise, but ultimately it's too flawed. By contrast the reissue was detailed, well balanced and had good space and location, and was consistent right from start to finish. Interesting too to note that with the original cut, there's not much dead wax left at the end, whereas the dead wax margin on the reissue is much larger.  The ATR splits the difference.

It's a clear win here for the latest reissue. I do need to find my Fame reissue though, as I think that might be better sounding than either the original or the ATR.  However, it'll have to go some to match the reissue. I'd be very surprised if it did so...

Richard are you a fan of Fame recordings generally? I'm curious as I always treated them as poorer brothers of the originals, not least the nasty quality outer sleeve and the inner sleeve usually replaced with a paper liner covered in adverts for other Fame albums.

Although they were mid priced reissues, and often looked like it, with thin vinyl and paper inners, some of the Fame reissues sounded good.  In some cases even better than the originals. The KB Lionheart on Fame was one of the good ones, IIRC.  However, to make matters more confusing there were different Fame labels and issues. I've heard good and not so good Fame reissues of other titles.

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