Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Gentle Giant - Octopus 2015 Mix


That man Wilson remixes another Gentle Giant title. This time what many consider their greatest achievement, Octopus originally released in 1972. The Blu-Ray Disc of this package includes the obligatory surround and stereo mixes of Wilson's new mix, instrumental mixes and a flat transfer of the original album. But here's the thing three tracks had their multitracks missing and so Wilson had to create pseudo-surround mixes from the original stereo masters as he did recently for the Steve Hackett box set. To make the whole album seamless he has included the original stereo remastered tracks alongside those tracks which are newly mixed. But you can tell the difference. It's not huge but the newly mixed tracks sound much "cleaner", whereas the tracks from the original masters sound a tad rough round the edges. Maybe not surprising as the multitracks haven't been touched for many a year, whereas the stereo masters have been handled more to produce different CD versions over the years.

I compared the "new" version of Octopus, via the 24/96 LPCM version from the blu-ray against the Japanese SHM-SACD from 2010. Now that disc is one of the best sounding digital discs I have ever heard. They did a mighty job on that transfer and that was taken from a Japanese tape copy! If the SHM-SACD is anything to go by, then the quality of that tape is far superior to the original master. Maybe it is in better condition. The Wilson mix is slightly quieter and doesn't have the same crisp detail of the SHM-SACD which offers a much warmer, natural listen. So for me the SHM-SACD is still the best sounding digital version yet. The Wilson version is good, but not that good! It was going to be a hard act to follow anyway!


1 comment:

  1. Would really love a re-look/mix of "In A Glass House" - it's always been one where the final mix from the time was substandard and, despite having been re-released a couple of times over the years, is still substandard to my ears. Love that album (as well as Octopus).