Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Remaster Hell blog is officially launched

Have you ever walked into a store and seen a CD of an album that you haven't thought about in years? I mean, you used to have this album on LP, 8-track, or cassette. Hell, maybe you still have it, but you never listen to it because you don't have working equipment anymore. You forgot about it even though it was one of your favorite albums and you know it inside and out. Maybe you had looked for it on CD before, but couldn't find it. Now, here it is, in all its glory, with a big "Digitally Remastered" label on it. You buy it immediately.

As you get in your car, you painstakingly remove the wrapper and that top sticker-seal, open the jewel case, remove the disc and insert it into the CD player as you pull away from the store. You drive down the road but you realize that something is wrong. "Wait a minute. This doesn't sound right. What's going on here?" As you begin to think that you are imagining things, something comes out of your car speakers that is drastically different from the album that you knew and loved. You scream. You stare at your car stereo in horror. "What happened? What did they do to the music that I loved?"

Then you look up from your stereo and realize that you are about to barrel into a stopped 18-wheeler. You swerve to the right, only to end up jumping onto the curb. You try frantically to regain control of the vehicle, but it's no use and your car runs head on into a telephone pole. You are killed on impact.

All because some asshole decided to remix an album.


Okay, maybe the last part didn't happen, but as those of us who grew up with vinyl records have transitioned over to the digital age, we have discovered a disturbing trend. The powers that be whose job it is to take the music that we love and make it currently available to the general public have, at times, been doing some undesirable things that have detracted from our enjoyment of the music.

Sometimes, it's a record company. Sometimes, it's an engineer. Sometimes, it's the artist's management or even the artist him/herself.

As a lover of rock music, I find this phenomenon fascinating. I used to find it appalling and, more often than not, I still do. Every once in a while, though, someone will make changes to a recording that I like. Nevertheless, I prefer it when the original recording is still available and the "new version" is made available as an addition, not a replacment.

So, I've decided to chronicle the various issues that I have discovered with reissues that I have become aware of.

The above example is only one of many things that are currently happening with reissued music and, over time, I am sure that a pattern will emerge as far as what content will be included here, but much of this all started from the trend of remastering older albums for CD, hence the name "Remaster Hell".


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