Wings Wild Life – Deluxe Edition Unboxing

Paul McCartney has issued an “unboxing” video of his forthcoming Wings deluxe edition of the album Wild Life:

Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway are the next two titles in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series, and both are due for release on December 7. Full details are contained in the official press release.

There will be multi-disc deluxe box sets for both titles, as well as 2CD editions and 2LP Archive releases as well. Red Rose Speedway gets an additional 2LP release that re-imagines the album as it was originally submitted to the record company, but rejected as a concept and the original single LP issued instead: If you wanted both deluxe CD box sets paired into one very limited edition box, along with an additional bonus Wings Over Europe 20 track CD, photo book, facsimile 1972 tour programme all housed in a special 7 colour screen printed box, inspired by the 1972 Wings Over Europe tour bus, then that was available too – for a time. The website is saying the first edition is now completely sold out. No news of a second edition – yet. The 11CD super box set is called Paul McCartney and Wings 1971-1973 and the details are here

Meanwhile on Instagram McCartney has shared some comments from Abbey Road mastering engineer Alex Wharton about his experiences working on the reissues of both Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway:

“It’s always an absolute honour and pleasure to work with Paul and the team at MPL. Working on Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, there were so many nuggets such as the psychedelic jam ‘Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)’ and ‘When The Wind Is Blowing’. These are incredible portals in my opinion! It’s amazing to see how much Paul cares about music that he has already put out into the ether – to go back to the original tapes and create a sound that both Paul and we believe will touch people in a deeper way. The song ‘Wild Life’ is a real highlight for me. It’s a great sounding record, but the lyrics cover real awareness and the relationship between ourselves and other animals – themes that are more relevant today than ever.”

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Beatles 50th Anniversary White Album – First Look

Some reviewers are flouting the embargo on showing and reviewing The Beatles new 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album).

While it is not officially released until November 9, Michael Fremer – who is an equipment reviewer for the legendary Stereophile magazine, but who also runs his own YouTube channel and a blog called AnalogPlanet – has given fans a tasty preview of what to expect.

Fremer shows us not only the 4 LP set, but also the Deluxe 6 CD plus Blu-ray box containing Giles Martin’s new remix, the Esher Demos, and much much more in this YouTube clip:

He’s also published this lengthy review. In a nutshell – he really likes the vinyl:

“….the reissue does not sound like the original U.K. pressing nor was it intended to. Yet it remains true to the original’s intent, in part because there was less Mr. Martin could do to change it.

The new mix does sound more “modern” because modern techniques and gear were used, and the final source was a modern digital storage system, but this reissue does not sound “digital” as the pejorative use of the term has come to be used.

You’ll definitely be able to hear further into the reissue mix because it has greater transparency. And you can crank it up farther because it’s less harsh and somewhat smoother but not to where it’s soft.”

Mr Fremer also says that the Esher Demos LP is exceptional:

“…..they are truly wondrous. John brought 15 songs, Paul 7 and George 5. You are in the Kinfauns Bungalow as they strum, bang and shake and you’ll love every minute of it.”

So, how was the CD box set by comparison?

“When I played the CD version….all of that magic disappeared. I was hearing a plastic-sounding recording. Was it different EQ? Was it the downrez from 96/24 to 16/44.1? I don’t know and I don’t care. Am I prejudiced against CDs? Damn straight I am! Based on what I hear and nothing else.”

And how does he sum it all up?

“My conclusion about this remix is that if you have an original British pressing that you love, you will still love that. If you have an open mind you will also love this re-mix. You might be surprised which one you choose when you want to revisit this album. Yes, The Beatles has been “Martinized” but you won’t be left thinking you’ve been taken to the cleaners!”

Beatles Launch Official “U.S. Albums” Website

Beatles US Albums Advertisement

The 50th year has kicked off with a bang – the big release of the Beatles The U.S. Albums in a 13 album box set, and as individual titles on CD or digital download. Yesterday the Beatles official website unveiled a new interactive page dedicated to the release (just click on the image below to go there):Beatles Official US Albums Website

Meanwhile on YouTube, this guy was amonst the very first to get a copy of the box set and upload an “unboxing” video showing the contents in detail:

Beatles 2012 Remastered Vinyl – Released (First Pictures)

Is Australia the very first country to see the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set delivered?

The new records aren’t due for release in the UK and the USA until next week (12 and 13 November respectively). However, today I got a call from my local record store in Sydney saying “Come on in – your order for the Beatles box set is ready for collection today“.  (That’s Thursday, 8 November)

Naturally I high-tailed it down there – and here are the first pictures of it being unpacked. It comes in a big protective outer box:

The large sticker declaring the contents is placed on both sides of the box:

The two shipping labels on the side. Both say “Deliver Thursday”:

 

When you open the box you see what looks like another box-within-a-box:

It is held in place by two thick white foam inserts that you usually see in packaging for large electrical goods like TV’s, etc.  At this point I should say this package is incredibly heavy. You actually have to lie it on its side to slide it out:

What initially looked like an inner box is actually a thick brown cardboard wrap around the main package (above). Once you take it off you see this:

It’s just like the Beatles Remastered Stereo CD box released in 2009. There’s a thin cardboard outer sleeve around the record box itself. As you can see above it has “The Beatles” and an Apple logo printed on the front. This is what’s printed on the rear:

The outer sleeve slides off to reveal the main, lidded box:

Opening the lid – there are two pieces of black foam and two large moisture absorbing packs:

The book and all the LPs are completely sealed in heat-shrink plastic:

“Let It Be” (below) has the green Apple on the rear:

The book is really heavy and looks amazing – even in its heat-shrink wrap:

It has black-edged pages:

One side of the outer sleeve has the record and book edges printed on it. I guess that’s so it’ll look good when sitting on a shelf with that edge facing out:

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Haven’t had time to open up any of the records or the book. Just wanted to get this up quickly for all to have sneak peek at the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set. 

(Click on images to see larger versions)

Yellow Submarine – Songtrack and Blu-Ray

The new “Yellow Submarine” has been out for a couple of weeks now and my copies have just arrived – courtesy of Amazon in the United States.

I got the re-packaged “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” CD.  Yes I know, it’s the exact same songs re-mixed and remastered way back in 1999.  Despite a perfect opportunity to do so Apple hasn’t provided us with the 09.09.09 remixes that were used for the “1962-66″ (Red), “1967-70” (Blue), and the “1” re-issues – but the same old remixes used on the original “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” release. As one Beatles collector wrote: “Just how lazy is that. Making us pay again for the same 12 year-old mixes?”

But it does come in the re-versioned packing making it compatible with all the new-look cardboard CD covers, including the back-catalogue titles in the 2009 box set – and the Beatles “1”, and so the completist collector just has to have it:

I also got the Blu-Ray of the 1968 film (it’s also out in a refreshed DVD, too) in excellent remastered quality.

(Click on images to see a large version)

But did you know that there was a unique, limited edition Blu-Ray cover offered in the UK, apparently issued in small numbers only by the HMV chain of record stores there? Check it out in this un-boxing video…

For more on “Yellow Submarine” see this post. Yes, the Blu-Ray will be crystal clear and worth it, but what are we collectors really getting that’s new?

The Fireman – Electric Arguments Deluxe Edition (and others…)

This latest addition to my collection was released a little while back now – but I’ve just been able to secure a very nice copy of the very rare and limited deluxe edition of the 2008 release “Electric Arguments” by The Fireman (a.k.a Paul McCartney and his producer, Youth). This is a truly over-the-top item, a bespoke, hand-made item with unique artwork and inserts.

Before we get to the details of this release, we’ll take a look at the standard editions first – and there are a quite a few. Just the scale of the different versions and artwork created for the “Electric Arguments” project is staggering.

The most common commercially-released and readily available version of “Electric Arguments” came out as a single CD.  McCartney was between labels at the time and so in the UK it was released and distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it was released and distributed by ATO Records.

In both markets the CD is contained in a cardboard digipac gate-fold, the cover of which looked like this in both markets:

The black square and those circles that look like stickers on the front of the cover are actually printed onto the shrink-wrap plastic around the cardboard cover, not on the cover itself. The only difference between the two countries is the catalogue number and the printing on the CD – which carries the name and logo of the record company releasing it:

The UK CD released and distributed by One Little Indian - catalogue number: tplp1003cd

The US released - distributed by ATO Records - catalogue number: 88088-21640-2/ATO 0063

(If you’d like to see larger versions of any photographs here just click on the image).

The CD gate-fold contains a 46 page booklet, which slips into a pocket inside the cover:

This official, commercial CD release was supported by three promotional CDs. These were only sent to music reviewers and to radio stations. The first contained exactly the same 13 tracks as the commercially-released album, but with a completely different cover and artwork, and different printing on the CD, which states “For promotional use only”. Its catalogue number is MPL 922:

There were also two separate, single-song promo CD’s sent to radio stations to promote the album. The first (and more common one) was for the song “Sing the Changes”. It came out in a simple digipac gate-fold with unique artwork and printing on the CD itself. It has the catalogue number MPL 1006-CDPROMO:

The second and more difficult to find promo CD contains the song “Dance ’til We’re High”. Again, like the other two promos, it is presented as a unique picture disc mounted on a clear tray in a digipak cover with alternate artwork. The CD printing was different, and the catalogue number is 1011tp7cdp:

There was also a limited edition, double LP vinyl pressing of the album (catalogue number tplp1003/5016958 1040 1 6) which has been Direct Metal Mastered at the Abbey Road studios. The two LPs are in a gate-fold cover which has the same artwork as used on the outside as the commercially released CD. Its pressed on heavy 200g vinyl and the cover comes inside a thick clear-plastic outer with a yellow limited edition numbered sticker on the outside:

Inside the gate-fold cover of the 2 LP set is a 15 page book:

The LP packaging also contains a CD copy of the album which is held in a simple custom slipcase envelope. Here are the front and rear covers:

The records themselves are also held in thick paper inner sleeves with even more artwork on them and each side of the the vinyl has these custom designed labels:

Then, a few months after all these releases above (LP and CDs) came what could only be described as a very special and limited edition of the whole “Electric Arguments” project. This version has the catalogue number TPLP1003DE. It came sealed in this large, custom-made paper satchel:

Inside the bag is a heavy-duty steel box:

Before we go any further, I must acknowledge and talk about the person responsible for the entire design of The Fireman “Electric Arguments” packaging. Art direction for the project (including the standard CD, promo CDs and the Deluxe Edition) is by Norman Hathaway, a creative director based in Brooklyn, New York who has done a number of other projects for Paul McCartney, including CD covers and books. It’s not the first time Hathaway has done a Fireman album either – he also did the artwork for “Rushes”, Paul McCartney’s second collaboration with producer Youth. His work on “Electric Arguments” though, particularly this Deluxe Edition, is very special. I’m really not sure how they manufactured it – parts really do have the look and feel of being hand-made.

Once you open the metal box you see this sheet pasted inside the lid:

As you can see, its like a replica studio reel-to-reel tape box, listing the contents, and stating it was recorded at May Hill, McCartney’s own Hog Hill Mill studio in Sussex in the UK. Down the bottom it says in Paul’s handwriting: “This is not a pizza. Enjoy it: Paul McCartney x x “. The next thing you see is the first of two art prints, exclusive to the box set:

Underneath these is a deep red cloth-bound folder, with embossed writing on the outside saying “the fireman – electric arguments – paul mccartney – youth”:

This opens up to reveal not one, but four separate CDs:

This CD holder looks truly handmade – you can see it in the image above, and it has nice detail touches, like the words “electric arguments” imprinted on the cardboard inside the place where the CD sits. The CDs are: the full 13-track album (with different printing on the disc to the standard release);  a 7-track bonus song CD; a high resolution stereo audio CD with all 13 songs from the standard edition, plus a further bonus track (a dub-step remix of the song “Highway”), and three videos (“Sing the Changes”, “Dance ’til We’re High” and “In the Studio”); and finally a multi-track audio files data DVD containing mixing “stems” for 5 different tracks from the album:

 

OK. Then comes a 46 page art book, which is the same as the booklet you get with the standard CD but in a larger format:

And then a copy of the 200g vinyl 2 LP set:

Really, for the collector and completist it is all fairly breathtaking!

Finally, to get an idea of the Deluxe packaging in it’s entirety here are two short videos of owners “un-boxing” their copies. The first is a bit rough in places, but it gives you a good idea of the way this entire project is put together:

For more on The Fireman and “Electric Arguments” go to these official sites:

http://www.thefiremanmusic.com/purchase

http://www.thefiremanmusic.com/home

http://www.thefiremanmusic.com/media/gallery/