Saturday, 18 October 2014

King Crimson - Starless Box Set Just In

Well, here it is. This years King Crimson box set. This time based around the Starless and Bible Black album. This set completes the trilogy of boxes based around what I consider Crimson's most electrifying period from 1972 to 1974. Though we were all amazed at the previous boxes, I think this one ups the ante even more. The quality of restoration and sound reproduction has been taken to an even higher standard, thanks to David Singleton's endeavours. On the Blu-ray Discs you have stereo up to LPCM 24/192 and DTS-HD Master Audio. That is top of the range. The music I will need time to digest, but what I have heard so far is a band that is truly pushing the boundaries in terms of playing the album material and in improvisations. The latter is where the gold is! So, now to digest this lot. There will be more on all this.



Sunday, 12 October 2014


There is lots and lots of new releases and top re-releases coming out over October and November. But I will ignore all those for now and look at these new SACD discs of UK's two studio albums and live album which have just been issued in Japan.

Over the last few years Universal Japan have been releasing a range SHM-SACD discs primarily aimed at the audiophile market. They all seem to be sourced from the original master tapes. What sets them apart is that they are flat transfers from these tapes. That is, there is no further mastering involved in the transfer of the tapes to discs. That is unusual for the Japanese who do seem to like lots of compression and EQ in their discs. So, with these they do seem to understand the need to achieve the best reproduction of the original tapes without any additional tinkering.

I am pleased to say that these new reissues of the UK albums are DSD flat transfers from the original tapes and not from Eddie Jobsons remasters of a few years back as was originally rumoured and feared! Though it doesn't state it in the notes, I believe these new transfers were done this year. So all that is good, so what about the actual discs themselves? Well, the original EG discs of many years back didn't actually sound too bad for a first issue. Compared to what companies were dishing out back in the day they sounded not bad at all. Maybe a bit flat to my ears, but sonically could have been a lot worse. These new transfers sound not dissimilar but there is far more detail and depth to the sound. For instance on "In the Dead of Night" from the first studio album you can actually discern Wetton hitting his bass strings. The clarity and separation is that good! This is true for all three discs. So, for me these will be my go to versions for listening to UK. And as usual the packaging is top notch too. The discs are in their own protective sleeve, with a complete mini reproduction of the original LP sleeve, together with inserts and lyric sheet in English and Japanese, all housed in a cardboard box. Yes, it's all over the top, but that's how the Japanese do things and I am happy they do!