Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A couple of years ago, EMI Records orchestrated what was probably the biggest reissue campaign ever: putting out the remastered Beatles catalog. This year, they're rolling out the remastered Pink Floyd catalog.  They are very good at this kind of thing.

Floyd's catalog has been reissued before, but this is the first time it is being remastered (I think).  If you want  Pink Floyd's albums, straight up with no bonus tracks, buy the new reissues.  You can actually buy the entire catalog of studio albums (but not live albums) for about $180 via the Discovery box set.  (Full disclosure: I got all of the reissues from the label, but not as the box set, just as individual CDs.)

The sound is incredible and with Pink Floyd, fidelity is important. If you have these versions, you won't ever need anything else, unless you want to dive deeper with expanded editions.

So far, two of their albums have been expanded in two different forms, which is how it's done these days (see recent reissues by U2, Nirvana and The Rolling Stones).  The albums that have been expanded have "Experience" (2 CD sets with a disc of extras) and "Immersion" versions (much more lavish editions).

I bought a copy of the "Experience" version of 1973's Dark Side of The Moon for $25. The second disc is a live concert recorded at The Empire Pool in Wembley in 1974, and features the band performing Dark Side from start to finish.  It was cool to hear them reproduce the album in a more raw form - they had not yet become a completely slick stadium band. The "Immersion" version costs over $100 and has lots of extras that I didn't really want: DVD-audio, Blu-Ray audio, 5.1 remixes, surround sound remixes.  There are some video and audio elements that I was interested in, but not enough to spend the extra $75, given how many other reissues I've gotten this season.

I also bought a copy of the "Experience" version of 1975's Wish You Were Here for $25.  The second disc features a bunch of extras: a live version of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1 -6)," as well as "Raving and Drooling" and "You've Got To Be Crazy," songs which ended up morphing into tunes from their next album, Animals. But my favorite extra is an alternate version of the title track featuring jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Honestly, when I first heard about this reissue campaign, I was kind of ambivalent about the prospect of a Pink Floyd reissue containing any extras. Their classic albums seem so perfect that I wouldn't change a thing. And Floyd's mystique is such that, I don't want to see anything more than what they reveal.  On the other hand, the live Dark Side is pretty awesome, as are some of the Wish You Were Here extras.  I know that next year, they are going to do expanded editions of The Wall, and I'm curious what the extras will be. I've heard that they may also be doing an expanded Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, and I guess if there's unreleased Syd Barrett material, it would be cool to hear it.

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