What does it sound like?:
This two cd plus two bluray set comprises, to give it its full title, ‘The Complete Recording Sessions – 2023 mixes – Dolby Atmos’. Of the copious amount of content included, only two selections have been previously released – the David Singleton audio documentary ‘Keep That One, Nick’ and the thirtieth anniversary hi-res stereo mix of the original album master, both of which first appeared on the 2012 box set. Everything else here is newly released. So what do we have exactly? Well, I won’t go through this track by track as the hardcore fans this release is surely aimed at will obviously know them off by heart already. Certainly though it’s true to say that Steven Wilson’s newly created Atmos mix, and the updated 5.1 and stereo mixes created as part of the same process, add a welcome new dimension to the familiar music – the complex interwoven sounds have really benefited from the technological advances that have allowed a greater clarity and separation of the myriad individual components. The first cd has the new 2023 stereo mix along with three instrumental versions, while the second has four new ‘elemental mixes’, which put an intriguing new focus on the chosen songs, and three selected master reels. The material on the second cd is repeated on the first bluray, along with the Atmos mix, which really is the centrepiece of the whole set, revealing the creativity and depth of the vast scope of the elements that make up each individual piece. It certainly gives a fresh perspective on the music, revealing previously hidden nuances and sounds which were obscured in the overall complexity of the music, or in some instances left unused altogether, and overall provides a more expansive sound while still retaining the essence and power of the original recordings. The second bluray collates in chronological order every single take from the recording sessions in the first two months of 1973 – you have to be a very hardcore fan to work your way through all of these, but they do give the feel of what it would have been like to be in the studio with the band, and they give a real insight into the development of the music as the sessions progressed. Overall, this set provides a unique and previously unseen look at the magical blend of ingenuity and skill that came together to produce this musical masterpiece, and the extensive new writing by Sid Smith in the booklet supplies some further fascinating new insights into the context and creation of the album. Got a new Atmos set up – then why not give it a thorough workout with this magnificent music?
What does it all *mean*?
This set provides a fresh look at an iconic album, one of the band’s finest and one that still stands up today in all its groundbreaking glory. Even now, half a century later, you wonder just how they managed to dream it all up.
Goes well with…
Being astounded yet again by the breathtaking musical inventiveness of the band, and marvelling at the incredible virtuosity they consistently display here.
Might suit people who like…
Crimson completists who want to hear every note and nuance of the development of the individual pieces, and those with the requisite Atmos set up at home.