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Dive Deeper (Ray Mono Remix)

There was a time when the Kinks had no box sets to their name, but that ended in 2008 when the career-spanning Picture Book appeared. Six years later, there have been two limited-edition boxes -- 2011's The Kinks in Mono, which rounded up CD mono replications of their '60s LPs for Pye, plus 2012's The Kinks at the BBC -- and a host of deluxe editions and other compilations that may wind up dampening the appetite for the five-disc The Anthology 1964-1971, a deep dive into the group's '60s peak. After this steady stream of reissues, it's hard for some Kinks diehards not to cast a wary eye on The Anthology, but this is an exceptional set that eclipses any previous Kinks box. A large part of the success of The Anthology 1964-1971 is due to its tight focus on the Pye years. Such specificity allows for the inclusion of plenty of interesting alternate mixes and studio excerpts -- tracks that appear at first glance to be nothing more than collector bait but don't play that way in context -- but the greater gift of this limited scale is that it allows compiler Andrew Sandoval go into detail as he traces a dramatic arc from the Kinks' raucous early rock & roll through their ornate middle period and ending with Ray Davies' groundbreaking conceptual work of the late '60s. The Anthology takes its time. It takes eight songs to get to "You Really Got Me," which is enough for that galvanizing opening riff, which has been dulled a bit through repetition, to regain its edge. Elsewhere, there are similar nifty tricks of sequencing, particularly as Ray's songwriting starts to come into focus on the second disc, and once the third disc kicks off with "Sunny Afternoon," there is no end to the riches to be heard. This run is one of the greatest in pop music history and it sounds even better here thanks to the inclusion of songs that were scuttled off to B-sides or bootlegs but are firmly part of the Kinks canon ("Good Luck Charm," "Misty Water," "Creeping Jean," "Berkeley Mews," "Where Did My Spring Go," "Lincoln County," "This Man He Weeps Tonight"). Add to this alternate mixes that have some serious kick and original single mixes for the big hits, and it becomes clear that this is the Kinks box that rises above all the others.

Dive Deeper (Ray Mono Remix)

However it is a different story for a mandatory decompression stop. The diver must now be at exactly the depth required. Any deeper and they will not be releasing the gas that has built up in the body fast enough, but any shallower, and they may be releasing it too fast, possible resulting in decompression illness (DCI). For this reason they need to maintain their stop depth plus or minus no more than half a metre. Clearly good buoyancy control is essential here.

For deeper dives, it is sometimes the case that the DSMB is not long enough to reach from the maximum depth to the surface. For this reason, it is also important for technical divers to be able to deploy a DSMB from a decompression stop or whilst ascending from one stop to another. In order to do this, it is essential that the diver has mastered both skills individually before combining them.

Before we dive deeper, we need to understand its basic definition. A stereo field is a range between the right and left sides of a song. It has both right, mono, and left elements. It is used to make space for the elements in the mix and make them sound prominent.

If Madman Across the Water - reissued and expanded last year by UMe - was Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin's answer of sorts to life on the road in America, then Honky Château marked an even deeper dive into the sound of the States. It moved away from the progressive overtones of its predecessor, toward an eclectic mix of upbeat, even funky rock and soul alongside somber, aching piano melodies. Named for the 18th century manor where it was recorded in Hérouville, France, Honky Château is notable as the first of Elton's albums to feature his acclaimed touring band playing every track on the album. (Producer Gus Dudgeon had only allowed bassist Dee Murray and drummer Nigel Olsson to play sparingly on Madman, and guitarist Davey Johnstone - the primary guitarist on that album - was invited into the band after that album was completed.)

Paul has worked in the industry for years, collaborating with a who's who of producers and artists, winning numerous awards in the process. More relevantly, he was one of the key people who worked on the John Lennon Anthology CD set and subsequent reissues of John Lennon's catalog, as well as numerous projects with Yoko Ono over the past 15 years. Paul loaded the 1987 CDs and the 2009 remasters, in both mono and stereo, into Pro Tools. And (where available) he also loaded up the songs that were remixed from the original multitrack tapes, such as the Yellow Submarine Songtrack and Let It Be... Naked. He also accounted for variations in volume. In this way we were able to compare each version of the songs in The Beatles' catalog side-by-side. Aside from Paul and myself, our listening session included session drummer Alex Alexander (Dido, Ritchie Blackmore), Grammy-nominated producer and engineer Scott Sherratt as well as playwright Norman Lasca. (Norman was the only non-musician and his reactions turned out to be invaluable.)

The remasters from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band drew raves. Everyone was especially impressed with the 2009 mono remaster. Scott noted that the mono mixes were "hands down the richest, fullest sounding versions of the Sgt. Pepper material" he'd ever heard. Oddly, the Yellow Submarine Songtrack versions of the Pepper tracks didn't fare as well. "The clarity is fantastic," Paul noted of "When I'm 64". "But there's lots of reverb and it's obviously a remix. The remix is very well done, but it's just not in the same spirit as the original mix."

We finally compared several versions of "Ticket to Ride". Not only were we able to compare the 1987 CDs with the 2009 mono and stereo remasters, but the 2009 mono remaster includes the 1965 original stereo mix of the original LP as a bonus. (The 1987 CD release was a remix George Martin did at that time to try to minimize the harsh separation of the original stereo mixes.) While I preferred the original mono and stereo mixes, Alex and Scott were partial to the 2009 remaster of the 1987 remix. Paul balked that the smooth, clean Abbey Road room reverb of the 1965 mix had been replaced by what sounded like an EMT plate, creating a dramatically different acoustical sound, but Alex and Scott stood firm. "It's the difference between toms and timpani," Alex joked of the improved drum sound on the 2009 remaster of the 1987 remix, while Scott noted that the difference was so dramatic it sounded as though they'd replaced the toms. To me the 2009 remaster of the 1987 remix had too much bass and sounded too '80s, but the consensus was against me.

This again raised the specter of remixing. We all agreed that while the current remasters are the best representation of The Beatles' catalog to date, a remix of some sort has to be in the cards in the future. But given the glacial pace at which The Beatles' Apple Corps Ltd. moves - and the distractions that projects like Cirque Du Soleil's Love create - it could be some time before those become a reality. Over the course of the listening though, we all agreed that The Beatles' catalog had undergone a much-needed sonic upgrade that was worth investing in. While it seemed that some EQ could have been tweaked more effectively (harsh mids on some of the early tunes like "Can't Buy Me Love" were particularly distracting) and some songs (or whole sides from the "White Album") seemed several generations down from the original masters, the overall reaction to the remasters was that all the fuss was warranted. "The folks at Abbey Road were in a no-win situation," said Scott. "People from all types of backgrounds are going to pick these apart. But the new stereo remasters are respectful and very well done and the mono remasters will be a revelation to just about everyone."

Also (and oddly) my stereo jacket is slightly, but noticeably, heavier, sturdier and has deeper colors. The mono jacket is very nice and typical Impulse, but the stereo jacket is really great. Unsure what to make of that, if anything. 041b061a72


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