Friday, 19 June 2015

Phil Manzanera - SHM Editions

Another bunch of SHM discs from Japan and all in a nifty Disk Union promo box. These discs seem to be released on the back of Manzanera's latest album The Sound of Blue. That in itself is a pleasant enough, mostly instrumental outing from the guitarist. It's not going to change the world, but Manzanera always produces beautifully arranged guitar based pieces, mixing in Latin elements which echo back to his childhood upbringing in South America. The other albums in the collection, especially Diamond Head, Listen Now and K Scope are without a doubt classics. I actually prefer what Manzanera was doing on his early solo work here and on the Quiet Sun and 801 Live albums than anything Roxy Music produced. I just think there was something more off centre and wayward with Manazaneras music, especially when he had the likes of Eno, Robert Wyatt, John Wetton, Bill MacCormick, Mel Collins and Simon Phillips collaborating with him.

These new issues seem to be based on the latest available mastering from Manzaneras own Expression label reissues, though they do mostly contain a few more bonus tracks than those did. So, I am not sure the origin of those tracks. The papersleeves are up to the usual Japanese high standards though they have not reproduced the insert sleeves. Those are printed in black and white and form part of the usual Japanese credit booklets which come with their papersleeve editions. That's slightly dissapointing, but overall these look and sound sumptuous, especially Listen Now which has always been one of Manzaneras lushest and smoothest recordings. Overall a nice set!


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