Out of all the versions I have heard of this album, whether vinyl LP, cassette, CD, SHM CD, SACD, nothing compares to this. Just considering the stereo portion of the blu ray disc, the 24/96 LPCM transfer is stunning. I have never heard CTTE sound so clean and clear. The litmus test for CTTE has always been Wakemans church organ solo on the title track. On previous CD versions, this has always distorted. Not here. It is grand, full and simply pleasant to listen to. Yes always excelled at vocal harmonies and these are really highlighted in this new mix, especially during the "I Get Up, I Get Down" section.
The blu ray is brimming with every conceivable version of the album. Maybe too much, but it is all here anyway, from vinyl transfers, original mixes, surround mixes, single edits and instrumental versions. Special mention on the blu ray menus. I am never too bothered by this on these discs, but the authoring by Neil Wilkes and design by Claire Bidwell is exemplary. Everything is clearly laid out and looks stunning as the screen shots below show.
The 20 page booklet is nicely done too. Superb notes by Sid Smith, though the type for me is a bit small. Don't they realise that us old proggers' eyesight is not what it used to be! The booklet fits loosely within the gatefold of the mini LP design, so you will need to keep the whole package in the supplied plastic sleeve. Just watch out for the adhesive on the closing flap. This can easily stick to the album artwork.
This is a great package, as I think most of us were expecting. But this exceeds those and is a prime example on how to do these archival releases properly. I cannot wait for the next installment in the Spring whatever that will be. I wonder what they will do with "Tales from Topographic Oceans"? It's already on 2CD's, plus a blu ray would make for at least a 3 disc set. I smell a box set coming on!