Monday, 29 December 2014

Bruford - Japanese Papersleeve Box Set of SHM CD's

Bill Bruford, drummer extrordinaire of Yes and King Crimson fame recorded his first solo album back in 1977, just prior to his stint with UK. When that band split in two, he put together his own band Bruford, which comprised the same key musicians who appeared on his solo album. They recorded two studio albums plus a live recording, before that band too broke up. These albums are wonderful slices of British jazz-rock, with hints of the Canterbury Sound of National Health. No surprises there as Canterbury keyboard star Dave Stewart played keyboards on the Bruford albums.

Bruford himself re-issued the albums a few years back on his own label Winterfold, remastered by John Burns. But to be honest they didn't sound massively improved over the original EG CD's. Now they have just been re-issued again on the Japanese Belle Antique label as SHM CD's, individually or as a box set. As the bonus tracks are as per the Bruford issues, I assume these new CD's use the same digital transfers. However, the notes state digital remastering by Kazuo Ogino, so they are different to those discs and boy are they different! These have to be some of the best sounding SHM CD's I have heard. The mastering is really sympathetic to the material, which is unusual for Japanese discs. Their mastering engineers tend to crank the volume up a lot, but not here. I had to crank the volume up more than usual, so the dynamics are very good indeed. In fact the space, detail and warmth of these masters is quite something. I put them akin to some of the best SACD's I have heard. On the track Back to the Beginning for instance you can hear Annette Peacock's vocals reverberate around the studio. That I have not heard before. I was really impressed by these discs and they were definately worth the upgrade. Maybe Japanese engineers are at last getting the message about subtlety in mastering!


  1. Hi. Thanks for the reviews. I am discovering great new music because of them. Could you tell me where I can find the Bruford remaster? I have been looking but no success so far.

  2. Hi Patrick, if you are referring to these Japanese issues, then ebay is your best bet. That's where I get all my papersleeves from as buying direct from Japanese sellers offers the best prices. The standard remasters on Brufords Winterfold label should be easily available on Amazon. Let me know if you need further help in sourcing these.