Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Beatles In 5.1
To the persons who make the decisions regarding the The Beatles back catalogue,
Today I wanted to listen to The Beatles and to my own surprise, I dusted off my version of Love and listened to the DVD containing the 5.1 surround sound version for the Cirque du Soleil show.
Putting aside the almost sacrilegious and frankly gimmicky notion of taking signature sounds from one track and dropping them in another, for an hour or so, whatever misgivings I originally held about this release were blown away as I was totally transported into another world: all thanks to the glorious sounds emanating from every corner of the room.
It made me want to hear more but apart from the recently released blu-ray of Yellow Submarine, there's nothing available.
It made me think: isn’t it time to get The Beatles Blu-ray special edition 5.1 editions out now?
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first album I bought (Christmas and birthday money in 1968). Since then I’ve purchased it in every available format.
Here’s my suggestion for what would be on the Blu-ray edition:
5.1. mix (more likely 7.1 but hey, let’s have both)
2009 Stereo and Mono mixes
Extras to include all of the working versions of songs previously collected on Anthology
Plus full alternate takes where they exist
Unreleased work in progress / demos / alt mixes etc.
For all of the above - dressed in special CD-sized packaging (so it sits nicely next to the rest of my Beatles releases, please) - I’d part with £20 of your English pounds, as my pal Mr.CBQ might say.
That's £20 - at the drop of a hat. A price tag of £25 would make me hesitate a moment, but, if I'm honest, only for a moment. Well, you get the idea.
In this world of admittedly declining physical product, how many other Beatles fans would part with twenty notes?
Lets say it's only 5000 worldwide (but in reality likely to be many more times this).
You, as the saying goes, do the math!
As someone who has involved (albeit tangentially) in the reissuing of an artists back catalogue in 5.1 surround sound, I understand co-ordinating such a project can be a complex and occasionally fraught process.
And that's not even taking into account the politics between various camps and estates who have an opinion to express.
I don’t think the average punter realises just how many time-consuming and costly hoops that all have to be jumped through before the wished-for album is ready to be released.
So while I completely understand the scale of the task involved, I think the artistic rewards (coupled with the not-insubstantial financial returns for all concerned) make this project a no-brainer.
Let's be clear: the mono / stereo mixes remain the definitive way of hearing this music.
However presenting The Beatles catalogue in the very best available audio format, whose resolution is simply stunning, is surely the very least it deserves.