Saturday, January 28, 2006

Crosseyed and Painless

Instead of starting the Talking Heads DuoDisk collection with 77 as I suggested earlier, I picked up Remain in Light last night with the B&N gift card I got for Christmas. It seemed to be the best choice to really see how much difference both the remastering and the 5.1 surround made to the mix. After getting it home and opening it up, I read the liner notes and Jerry Harrison was pretty much on the same wavelength:
Remain in Light was the first album we remixed for 5.1. It seemed to be the perfect place to start. The overlapping, contrapuntal parts can now be heard in all their glory. From the three-dimensional swirl of "Once in a Lifetime" to the staggered choruses of "The Great Curve" to the hypnotic drone of "The Overload," Remain in Light is as dense an album as we ever produced...
Yes, indeedy. It's good - boy howdy it's good! We popped the DVD side into the player in the family room with the home theater system as soon as we got home and cranked up "Crosseyed and Painless" in 5.1 Surround and it knocked my socks off. There are also a couple of videos from a German television show that are pretty fun, but if you've got the DVD for Stop Making Sense they're not crucial (except for the addition of Adrian Belew in the TV bits). I'm listening to the remastered CD side now on the audio computer in my office (with the Klipsch speakers and the Soundblaster Audigy card) and "Born Under Punches" sounds unbelievably good.

My biggest fear after reading reviews on Amazon was whether it would play on my equipment. Both the DVD and CD side played flawlessly on my 3 or 4 year old Pioneer DVD player. The CD side plays fine on the audio computer and I was able to rip it to the hard drive with no problem at all (I'm actually listening to the CD I just burned from it since I don't want to risk the DualDisk in the car). The only thing that hasn't worked is the DVD side in the drive in my audio computer, but that's no big deal for me (and it worked fine in the DVD drive on my general purpose PC).

Given that I'm using older hardware and still have had relatively few problems with the format, I'm guessing you won't either. I would just suggest burning a user copy of the CD side, since the DualDisk format is horribly prone to scratches, and using the original just for the DVD player. The sound is flawless, so even if you replaced your old vinyl versions of these albums with CDs, I would highly recommend these remastered versions from Rhino. I intend to get them all.


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